04/01/2015; BA189; LHR – EWR; Club World
At the airport:
Arrived at the airport at 12:30 for the 15:10 departure and check in/bag drop took all of 5 minutes – plenty of check in desks available. My bags were tagged as priority. The airport screens showed that the North Security was less busy than South so headed in that direction. CW allows you fast track security and there was no queue at all and the security staff were pleasant – I was through in 5-7 minutes.
The North Galleries lounge looked very busy and decided to walk across to the South Galleries lounge. I enquired at the Elemis Spa of any availability and was told there wasn’t any. I then proceeded upstairs to the business lounge and was told that my flight was departing from a B gate (had just been announced) and I should use the lounge there. The South lounge also looked very busy.
I got the train to Satellite B and what a great lounge this turned out to be. It was quiet, lots of space to sit and the Elemis Spa even had availability for a massage.
The massage was fantastic and by the time it was finished, boarding had already commenced. Most people had already boarded so I just walked straight on through and was greeted by name by the FA and pointed in the direction of my seat.
The cabin layout in the 787 is 2-3-2. I had selected seat 7E at online check-in, which was a middle rear facing bulkhead seat. This meant direct aisle access both sides, yet afforded me a private area when the electric blinds were up. Also, these middle seats have apparently more room than the other seats, with a space on the side of the seat for small items. The seat did have some food crumbs in the crevices and in the gaps beside the seat, which wasn’t great.
Champagne was offered as soon as I settled into my seat and the Elemis amenity bag was handed out. The FA’s were proactively handing out eye masks and ear plugs that were not included in the bag. Interestingly, on my first leg flight from EWR-LHR which was a Sleeper service night flight, these items were not handed out or even in the amenity bag. Another inconsistency was hot towels – Not provided on the night flight from EWR-LHR where it was most required in the morning before landing! But was provided at the start and end of this daytime flight.
The plane taxi’d and joined the queue for a while as was expected at the 2 runway Heathrow. The flight took off smoothly, the drinks order was taken and were given the food menu. I had the salad for starters, pasta for main and the chocolate torte with salted toffee syrup for dessert. Food was ok, filled a gap but really nothing more than that.
One thing I did notice being in the middle seat was that it was really a faff for the FA when serving food – the electric blind had to be lowered and they had to reach across my neighbor to give me the food tray and then put the blind back up and the same exercise again when I had finished – quite unpleasant for my neighbor I would imagine, as it required the FA to somewhat intrude on their personal space.
The entertainment system was on a good sized screen and was clear. The noise cancelling headphones did their job. However, I found the touch screen commands delayed, which at times was very frustrating. Perhaps I am just too used to my smartphone screen reacting instantaneously to my touches! But I thought it would be quicker given this was a new plane with new equipment.
I did take the opportunity to lay the seat completely flat and get a few hours sleep. It was actually a very comfortable sleep and the benefits of a window or middle seat was most beneficial at this point. I felt the aisle seats were a little too exposed when sleeping.
A tea round was made with warm scones followed by sandwiches which was great and the remainder of the flight was pleasant. The toilets were kept clean and re-stocked with supplies.
We landed about 45 minutes late due to strong headwinds. The priority tags did work…my bags were already on the carousel after I cleared immigration while a lot of people were still waiting for theirs.
A very smooth flight. Middle CW seat was on the whole pretty good, with plenty of privacy and direct aisle access on both sides. Once airborne you couldn't tell you were sitting rearwards and was great when landing as you were forced into your seat rather than out of it. Seat cleanliness could have been improved as could the food offering. Crucially the flight was $1,500 cheaper than VS and UA, so with that in mind I didn’t feel short changed.