19/12/2014, BA188, EWR to LHR, Club World:
Really looked forward to flying in the B787. This was my first time travelling on BA CW.
Being a Blue BAEC member seat selection was not free more than 24 hours before the flight. As it was a night flight and sleep was paramount, selecting the right seat for privacy was crucial so I stumped up $113 to select my seat. I chose 7E. Reviews stated that these middle seats offer slightly more room than the other seats and being a bulkhead seat I would have direct aisle access.
24 hours before the flight the plane had changed to a B777-200 G-ZZZA and I was initially disappointed because the CW cabin on this plane is 2-4-2 and really did not want to end up in a middle seat!
However, when looking to see what seats were available, I was able to reserve the last seat in the F cabin – 2E. A bit of researching told me this aircraft has 17 F seats in 1-2-1 configuration which was updated in 2010 – Thanks to The BA Source and FT for the info!
I was booked on the 21:20 arriving next day at 9:00 and as such was the Sleeper Service. I arrived at Newark pretty early at 17:45 and proceeded to the separate BA CW check in desk and was checked in within 5 minutes, although I noticed my bags were not tagged as priority. Security at EWR was also swift and was through within 10 minutes. The layout of EWR by gate clusters mean there is no large duty free area (a blessing) and the BA lounge was very conveniently located (turn right after security and take the lift up).
I was greeted and my boarding pass was scanned, was advised of the Wi-Fi password and was given an invitation card for the pre-flight supper. The lounge looked like it had recently been refurbished – it was a good size and clean. It was pretty empty and there was ample space to sit. The open bar was sufficiently stocked, however, I was disappointed they did not have Johnnie Walker Black Label – Red Label was the only choice. There were ample crisps/snacks and a coffee machine with cookies. The Wi-Fi worked well for basic use like Whatsapp, Facebook etc, but did struggle with videos. The lounge also has views to the apron although there was not much to see in darkness. There was also one shower available.
The dining area is separated by a glass wall from the rest of the lounge only accessible by CW and F customers. F customers have their own area within the dining area in CCR style booths. For CW it was a self-serve buffet selection – including a salad bar, hot and cold mains and cheeses/desserts. Its fine for a small meal, but for those who would like a substantial dinner will be disappointed.
The gate number was called and I headed downstairs – the gate is a 2 minute walk from the lounge. Those with children were boarding first followed by the usual fast track customers. There was a jet bridge into the flight.
I was greeted and pointed to the F Cabin and what a relief that it was indeed the new F cabin! The suite was a great size with ample storage space – slightly larger than Emirates A380 J Class I travelled in earlier in the year.
I can imagine the CW seats would not be on par with ME3 J seats.
The FA advised whilst we were in a F seat the service would be CW due to a change of plane. This did not bother me as my aim was to maximize sleep so the F seat was a blessing! Once I was settled into my seat, drinks were served – choice of champagne and fruit juice. A bottle of water was also provided. I was asked if I wanted breakfast in the morning and I declined to maximize sleep. I would have breakfast in the Arrivals Lounge. An Elemis amenity bag was handed out and this was not really that impressive – it came in a cheap looking cloth bag. Also, for a sleeper service I thought an eye mask would be a logical inclusion. We were provided the F bedding – mattress sheet to lay on the seat and pillow/duvet. The flight departed on-time after a relatively short taxi. Soon after take-off once the seatbelt signs were off, I laid the bedding and headed straight to sleep. The suite itself was very British especially with the “wall” lamp and divider which reminded me of something you’d see on an old train – very quaint! I slept reasonably well although the cabin temperature was slightly warmer than I’d have liked.
As I awoke 1 hour before landing, the FA asked if I wanted a drink. A perfectly made coffee in a mug came within 5 minutes. The overall service was great, served by legacy staff. It was not intrusive which was great for a night flight. The flight landed 20 minutes prior to schedule at one of the satellite terminals and required to get the train to the main terminal. I was through Passport control in 5 minutes using the e-gates (worked first time) and proceeded to baggage. Bags took a long time to arrive, about 20-25 minutes.
Once airside I proceeded to the Arrivals Lounge and was impressed by the size. I was greeted and my boarding pass was scanned. Just to the left as you entered there was an attendant where you could leave your bags. I dived straight into the breakfast, which was buffet self-serve. Choices were on par with hotels, with plenty of hot food, juices, cereals and fruit. However, the scrambled eggs did not look appetizing. The lounge also has an Elemis Spa which was not busy; however, I did not have time to use this. I noticed there was also a separate attendant managing shower allocation.
Overall it was great flight, aided by the surprise F seat. Together with the flight arriving ahead of schedule and the use of the Arrivals Lounge made this a positive BA experience.