BA – Ex europe to Denver – Flight Review positive

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  • SwissExPat

    A few months ago, I needed to visit Denver on a personal trip.

    Having searched various options via my initial default search engine SkyScanner, I ended up purchasing a Y+ ticked from BA departing London. This was despite the often-quoted assertion that the fares ex Europe are significantly cheaper. I used avios to connect into the departure from LHR to DEN. The Y+ fare (even booked 3 months in advance) was approx. €1,000 cheaper ex London than a through ticket from my ZRH origin.

    I stayed overnight in the Hilton in LHR T2. This is a very practicable hotel for those departing T1 (and to a lesser extent T3). The hotel is charmless and the walk-way through to it from the Underground station is bleak (putting it mildly).

    On the LHR DEN leg, I was upgraded to Club (assume being BAEC Gold helped here). This was after enjoying the Cathay Pacific F lounge in LHR T3. The BA F check in in T3 was chaos. If one had paid (the full fare) for this experience it would have been extremely disappointing especially compared to the first wing experience in T5. How an airline can have such a diversity in experience in product depending on destination is a mystery to me. The staff there did their best and remained cheerful but it was anything but a pleasant experience. The only consolation was that the J and Y sections were even more chaotic.

    The BA flight to DEN was fine in J despite the 2-hour delay on the ground due to a tech issue. I expect that I was simply glad to have had the J upgrade. It was strange that almost immediately after booking the ticket, the manage my booking was offering me a paid for upgrade to J for GBP 450 which then increased to GBP 699. I believe that at the time of booking, the fare difference between Y+ and J was approx. GBP 350. As I had a first row Y+ seat in a High J config, I was not tempted at this price. Thankfully the Gods shone on me for the upgrade to J although the Y+ cabin would have been acceptable.

    However, for the return overnight Leg, an online search facility showed me that Avios seats in J were available and I upgraded the return overnight for 25,000 Avios plus GBP 100. I was able to secure an upstairs exit row on the 747 and hence made this purchase good value.

    The main positive of this review were experience in Denver.

    Firstly, as my booking was on separate tickets with BA (to LHR and then onward to ZRH on a separate avios ticket), I expected some difficulty in checking my bags through to ZRH. At check-in in DEN, the agent said “We have your onward booking in the system and would you like to check through to your final destination?”. Happy Days.

    Secondly, as BA uses the American Airlines lounge, I expected the worst. This used to involve getting 2 vouchers for drinks (and a Bar server who expected a tip) and also having to buy substantial food items. This seems to have changed. The Lounge agent advised me that all drinks were included as was all food items and one simply needed to show the BA boarding card at the Bar and order from the Menu. I am a regular at the AA lounge in JFK where the flagship lounge has a complete full self-service facility and is excellent but only a few hundred metres away there is still an AA lounge in the remote section of the terminal where the old system applies.

    I enjoyed the AA lounge in DEN and over the course of a few nice ‘Premium’ Oregon Pinot Noirs (US$ 11 for non-BA), I left a few bucks tip with the bar man. The tips certainly meant that my arrival at the bar prompted a very efficient service.

    The overnight BA J flight back to LHW was fine. It was a mixed fleet crew but the CSD came by an we had a brief chat. Overnight upstairs on 747 with BA is hard to beat for privacy and quietness.
    On arrival in LHR T3, I used the Transfer bus from T3 to T5 but then avoided the internal airside security. Instead, I cleared the automatic immigration desks in 1 minute and then used the first wing security [a tip I picked up on this Forum]. The following final sector was uneventful and my through-checked bags arrived as planned.

    All told, the price and service afforded on this journey was hard to beat (although I accept that being BAEC gold and also using avios for the return upgrade was a help). There were some foibles in the service (Check in in T3) but in terms of value proposition and general delivery, this journey was a very good value for money experience.

    Happy Travels.

    6 users thanked author for this post.


    Interesting review. In many ways it summarises well what BA is all about these days.

    Shambolic check in, technical delay, inconsistent baggage policy (checked across when their stated policy is not to), BA lounge a dump compared to CX etc.

    On the other hand the mix of cheap fares, cheap/mileage upgrades and so on clearly work for those for whom a flat bed is the key factor.

    2 users thanked author for this post.


    Some people are very easily pleased. I don’t know why bother then, just fly coach and be done with it.


    This was an objective review but all it gets in response is the prejudged rubbish one would expect here. I have spent a lifetime travelling in First Class as I was good enough at what I did that my employer was happy to pay for it. I have flown the best of the best and many many BA flights. I have to honestly say that the differences are not so great between them all that I would waste too much time documenting them. I have had some awful experiences on almost everyone and the same on BA, too. But BA has always been far ahead in terms of crew making it enjoyable to sit on a plane for 12 hours YET AGAIN. That, for me at least, nullifies any seat, onboard bar, Krug, caviar
    service. We all pays our money and makes our choices. Have to add that, more often than not, BA was much the cheaper option to get where I was going and I DO like that!

    5 users thanked author for this post.
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