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I joined the Heathrow – Bahrain – Doha service, having transfered from my Glasgow flight in T5. I spent some time in the First Lounge (see elsewhere for my very positive comments about catering and general ambience) and then headed out to the C Gates area, which was incredibly quiet – indeed, I think our flight was the only one scheduled for departure at that point.
Boarding started very early, with priority passengers called first. Given the quiet gate area, this did not look like a busy flight and so it proved, with all cabins seemingly well down on 50%. I was greeted by name on boarding, which was fine but not so very important to me. I was seated in 21B, the first row of WT+ but, with plenty of seats free in the cabin, I migrated a few rows back to to have sole occupancy of the four block in the centre and, with nobody in front of me, had a perfect environment for the serious work I was planning on this daytime flight.
The seat and legroom in the revamped WT+ on BA is as good as anything I have tried in this class – superior to Qantas which I have liked in the past and, I would say, probably as good as if not better than Cathay. The seat is wide, legroom allows passengers easy access to the inside while you remain seated and the overall feel of the seat is soft and supportive, if that makes sense. Add to that, both plug and usb power and a reasonable sized screen and things were really looking good for my planned working day on board. I will see what the seat is like for sleeping on my return leg next week.
We pushed back a few minutes late, due to ATC restrictions but, after a short taxi, were airborne and promised a 6 hour flight. Service started soon after we settled into the cruise and here BA does loose out a bit to QF and CX in that the drinks offering is that of economy and the meal service, while enhanced by Business options, lacks the table cloth and finish of the alternatives. However, for me, space and facilities far outweigh food and drink so BA wins by a short head in this class. That said, my beef curry was very tasty.
I worked solidly excepting for food and comfort breaks and did so in comfort and with the ability to spread papers etc all around me – almost like my somewhat cluttered office!! Cabin service staff and attentive (if you required them) were fine and helpful to other passengers looking to enhance their experience with champagne. Sandwiches (wrapped but very fresh) and a Kitkat were served about 45 minutes out from Bahrain.
We landed bang on time and taxied into the terminal. It is about 20 years since I have been to Bahrain and I was somewhat surprised to face a demand for 5 dinar and to see my passport disappear into a back office with the abrupt command to “Sit”, pointing to some seats. After about 10 minutes, my passport (thankfully) reappeared and was processed, along with a visa receipt. After that, a short wait for my luggage to appear and out into the sticky heat and my hotel transport.
I cannot speak highly enough about BA’s new WT+ product – very much 1980s Business Class with the added benefits of seat-side power etc.