British Airways B747-400 Mid JBack to Forum
Anonymous23 May 2016
I flew from LHR to LAS on BA275 in CW on a 747-400.
This was the second leg of a DUB-LHR-LAS-CHS-MCO-LGW-DUB trip that I was taking with my parents. The cost of the ex-DUB ticket worked out at around EURO1400 per person (but the LAS-CHS-MCO bookings were made separately for about £740 per person).
Having got into Terminal 5 at around 10.10am thanks to our first flight from DUB, we followed the Flight Connections signs to Terminal 3. There was a short queue to get our boarding passes and passports checked and then we followed the signs for the Terminal 3 buses. It was my first time doing this connection and I was surprised at how much walking was involved. There was also a bit of confusion when we got to the area leading down to the buses, mainly because the signage was not particularly clear but matters weren’t helped by a large group that had congregated around the staircase and were blocking people from heading downstairs.
We got to the bus queue at around 10.20am to find a small queue. There was a short wait before we got on board but because we were near the front of the queue, we were able to get a seat on the bus (most of the other passengers had to stand). The bus stopped off at Terminal 5B en route to Terminal 3 to pick up more passengers (creating more of a crush on the bus) and we eventually got to the terminal at around 10.35am.
We followed the signs up to security and used the Fast Track lanes, which were pretty efficient but I again got selected for a further body scan and swabbing (no idea if I was just unlucky or whether I look suspicious but the security staff were perfectly polite about it). We stopped off at the BA desk for a visa/ETSA check and then made our way into the terminal departures area, following the signs to the BA Galleries Lounge.
Once we got to the lounge area my mum and I headed for the Elemis Spa to see if we could get an appointment (my dad having decided that they could not improve upon perfection). The very nice beautician reassured us that there were plenty of slots available after noon so my mum and I each booked a ready-to-fly facial. There is a sign up in the spa saying that some treatments are not available in Terminal 3 (the most notable being the power shave for men) but they are introducing 5 new in-chair facials, which sounded interesting for those into that kind of thing.
We received a courteous greeting from the lounge agent and found that the Galleries Lounge was pretty quiet so we easily found a couple of tables. The lounge was still set up for breakfast but having eaten at DUB and on the incoming flight, none of us were hungry for the usual selection of pastries. The breakfast things were cleared away at around 11.30am and soups brought out. The soup choice again consisted of 2 spicy options – spicy root vegetable or tomato, potato and smoked paprika. The hot food items were exactly the same as per the Terminal 5 Galleries Lounge from the day before (chilli con carne, vegetable curry or Thai red chicken curry but at least the mascarpone and spinach pasta didn’t look congealed). Again, this is really disappointing for anyone who doesn’t like spicy food and once again, it meant that your only food choice was jacket potato (which came with cheese and/or baked beans). I ended up taking a look at the salad options and came away with a piece of cheese and leek quiche, which was okay.
My mum and I headed for our spa treatments at 12.35pm. Although there was only one beautician on duty she was absolutely brilliant – very pleasant and friendly and both my mum and I enjoyed our facials and the massage chair (my mum has a bad back and asked for the chair to be put on a softer setting, which the beautician did without any issue). We were both given some free samples of Elemis products to take away with us.
Afternoon tea was brought out at around 3pm. Again, the sandwich options were exactly the same as per the Terminal 5 lounge the day before – tuna, sweetcorn and rocket or egg and sundried tomato bit there was also a third option of chicken, spinach, lemon and herb. The cake options were banana and toffee cake (which my mum said she wasn’t going to try again given her experience the day before) or raspberry and white chocolate.
The drinks selection was fine (although I noticed that they were serving Pepsi instead of Coke) and both my parents enjoyed sampling the wine selections – perhaps a little too much and they agreed to switch to coffee on my suggestion.
At around 3.40pm the screens flashed the gate for our flight and because my dad gets edgy about flights leaving without him, we headed over to gate 35, which took us about 15 minutes. Boarding began at around 3.55pm with a call for first class passengers, BAEC gold card holders and One World emerald card holders. At around 4pm the call was made for Club World passengers, BAEC silver cardholders and One World sapphire cardholders. Boarding was via an air bridge and we received a friendly greeting from cabin crew who directed us upstairs.
I’d pre-selected seats 64K, 64J and 64B at the time of booking because the bubble cabin has better storage than the CW seats downstairs and because I think that it has a bit more of an exclusive feel, which I thought my parents would enjoy. The seats were clean but in a worn condition and had a pillow laid out on them. We were able to get all of our things in the 3 side bins next to my seat and as we settled down, cabin crew brought around a choice of orange juice, champagne or water. My mum and I went for champagne, which was perfectly drinkable and my dad had an orange juice. I showed my mum how to use the seat controls but I was disappointed to realise that the plane had the old IFE system, which meant that the choice of entertainment was pretty limited.
The plane pushed-back at around 4.35pm and cabin crew came around to clear away the glasses. It took 3 attempts for cabin crew to get the safety video to play and after a short taxi, we were airborne by 4.50pm. Amenity kits, menus and hot towels were brought around promptly after take off, immediately followed by customs forms. Cabin crew then did two drinks rounds (serving from the front each time) before confirming our food orders. The menu choices were as follows:
– Scottish smoked salmon tartare with blood orange jelly and beetroot coulis
– Char-grilled aubergine and feta with smoked chickpea puree, artichoke and pomegranate.
Fresh seasonal salad served with vinaigrette
– Seared fillet of British beef with smoked potato fondant, Romanesco, carrots and a Tellicherry black pepper sauce
– Smoked haddock with basil mashed potatoes, prawns, fennel, sugar snap pears, roasted peppers and lobster sauce
– Risotto primavera
– Chilled main course salad of Cumbrian air-dried ham, artichoke, mozzarella and sun-dried tomato with lemon vinaigrette
– Key lime pie with blackcurrant confit
– Barber’s Cheddar and Cotswold Brie cheese served with spiced mulled apple jelly and biscuits
A selection of whole fresh fruit.
I failed to make a note of the wine selection, but the champagnes on offer were
– Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain NV
– Champagne de Castelnau Brut Reserve NV
– Champagne de Castelnau Brut Rose NV.
BA offers passengers the chance to pre-select their main course 30 days before flying on the LAS route, which my parents and I had taken advantage of (my parents went for the beef and I chose the haddock). We all had the salmon tartare starter, which my parents said was okay but which I didn’t like at all because I don’t like cucumber. The salad looked wilted and rather sad and my mum said that it didn’t taste great. The bread rolls had not been warmed either.
It took 15 minutes for the starters to be cleared away and the next course served. My fish and prawns had been slightly overcooked so the haddock was a little dry and the prawns a little chewy but the sauce and mashed potato worked to counteract that and ultimately made for a tasty enough meal. My parents had both been concerned at the point of ordering that the beef wouldn’t be cooked well done (which is how they prefer it) but I assured them that this wouldn’t a problem and sure enough, it wasn’t. In fact, my parents said that even for them it was slightly overdone but otherwise fine enough.
My mum didn’t have a desert but my dad went for the key lime pie, which he said was very nice. I had the cheese and biscuits – the cheese was great but as ever, BA don’t give you enough biscuits to go with it and I’m not a fan of the baked cinder biscuits they serve. There were a couple of Lily O’Brien chocolates after, which were delicious.
The meal service was cleared away by around 7.20pm (my parents remarked on how slow the service was given how small the cabin was) and I turned my attention to the IFE. My parents and I were all disappointed by the limited number of movies and TV programmes on offer (although my parents ended up re-watching Spectre and Star Wars). I didn’t fancy the films or TV on offer and so checked out the meagre music offering, settling on the Angie Greaves Soul and R&B show, which I thought had a great playlist for those who enjoy that kind of music.
Once I’d exhausted the IFE, I went back to reading my book and switched my watch to LAS time. All time references for the rest of this report refer to LAS time. I did raid the Club Kitchen for snacks a couple of times, which was relatively well stocked. The only downside was that I picked up a couple of tubs of ice cream for my mum and I only to find that they had melted to a point where it wasn’t safe to eat them – you have to wonder why BA offer ice cream if they can’t keep it frozen.
A light meal was brought around at 4.40pm but neither my dad nor I really wanted to eat anything else. My mum tried the main course salad with salmon – she said that the salmon was fine but the dressing wasn’t particularly pleasant. For those interested, the menu options were:
– Tiger prawns in a Marie Rose sauce with a cucumber and red pepper salad
– Fivemiletown Dairy goats cheese with blood orange dressing.
– A selection of toasties featuring chicken with courgette and chorizo.
– Rigatoni pasta in a chestnut mushroom and pesto sauce with baby spinach and sun-dried tomatoes
– Main course salad with Mediterranean vegetables and smoky tomato dressing accompanied by warm seared Scottish salmon
– Warm steak sandwich with horseradish relish, baby spinach and piquillo peppers.
Fresh seasonal fruit
At 6.15pm the pilot announced that we were 20 minutes from landing and I got some great pictures of the Nevada desert as we came into LAS, eventually landing at 6.35pm (which was 30 minutes ahead of schedule). We were off the plane at 6.50pm by air bridge and I was pleasantly surprised to find a very short queue at immigration, which we were through by 7.10pm and our bags were already on the carousel when we got there, enabling us to leave the airport at 7.15pm.
This was my parents’ first ever CW flight and while they said that it was a lot better than WT (which is how they normally travel), they were glad they hadn’t paid a lot of money for it (had we bought the flights ex-UK, it would have cost upwards of £2,500 each). They were especially disappointed by the IFE selection (which I have to agree with) and although they thought that the food was a lot better than in WT, my mum was concerned that the cabin crew were allowing ice cream to melt because of the potential for food poisoning and neither of them liked the light meal option and she didn’t see why they had to serve strange sauces with the main courses. (Ironically, I think that they would have preferred the old afternoon tea offering instead). My mum also said that she wasn’t sure she’d have enjoyed navigating the LHR transfer connections process with my dad because they found it a bit confusing. That said, my mum did enjoy the spa treatment and even though she didn’t like the lounge food offering, both she and my dad really enjoyed the space and the drinks offering (perhaps a little too much) to the point that even though this was supposed to be their last hurrah long haul travel, they’re now thinking about doing some business class flights for a trip next year.
My own view is that although the flight was okay, this wasn’t BA at its best and I was disappointed at how tired the IFE offering was and how slow the meal service was. For what we paid for the flights, it was fine but I agree with my parents that I would have felt royally ripped off had I paid an ex-UK price for this flight because it simply isn’t worth it.23 May 2016