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Anonymous15 Nov 2013
BA 767 LHR – CAI return in Club World (sorry this is not the LCY flight; but that is the only option for long haul on 767)
Overall I was fairly pleased with my rather short long haul flight to Cairo this week, but it in no was justifies the cost. Some thoughts:
LHR – CAI
Departed from Terminal 1. There is no First lounge in T1 for gold members, but the old BMI lounge is in good shape with a nice view of the runway. Good selection of magazines, which I appreciate. The food selection was similar to the T5 Galleries selection; adequate if not superlative. A rather surly lounge guard who couldn’t be bothered to find or lend me a pen, but otherwise very attentive cleaning/catering staff who were busy with a fairly full lounge. Boarding was a free for all, and while the usual announcement for business and status passengers was made, it was not heeded by passengers and staff could care less. Rather shambolic and reflected poorly on BA, but frankly not unusual. My view is that if they are going to offer this service, then it should at least be policed and monitored. Greeted by name at the door. Not particularly important to me, but if they are going to do a check at the door, it’s nice to be welcomed.
On board, business class was full. This must have been one of the oldest 767s out there, and certainly looked like it had seen better days. The pros/cons of this seat have been covered elsewhere and there is not much to add here. But it was clean and I really like the seclusion of the window seat (although one has to the do the hop over another passenger to get out, getting a rather bemused look – I would rather avoid this if possible, but it is not so off-putting on a day flight). Also, this is my first business class flight where the divider (the oldstyle fan one) was up the entire flight. I liked not ever having to face my neighbour; I’m sure the feeling was mutual. Of course the drawback to this is the difficulty the FA has in serving, but they tended to circle around the back and it worked fairly well when they made the effort.
Food was adequate if not wow. I had cod for my main, swimming in cream but tasty and not overcooked. A decent Chablis. Being a 5 hour flight, there is no second service. Although I wasn’t interested, there was no attempt to come by and offer any follow up drinks or anything. After the meal wrapped up, I didn’t see another FA for the remainder of the flight. Perhaps with the divider up FAs think you want to be left alone; it certainly makes it difficult to get their attention even if they were patrolling the aisles (which I don’t think they were). In general, I’d say the service was fine, but not special.
IFE – the usual assortment. Some good films, let down again by the BA system which makes it virtually impossible to see the screens during daylight. Even with the blinds down, detail is lost. And a disappointing selection of TV programmes. Will be glad to see the end of this on the new aircraft.
Arrival was on time, bus to the terminal, which meant waiting for all the passengers to get off before departing. Otherwise an acceptable trip, but again nothing which justified the price tag for such a journey (+£2000 bought a few days before the trip).
CAI – LHR
The return was better. The plane had a newer interior, and felt a bit less haggard and on its last legs. I again had a window seat, although on the K side, and therefore facing backwards. This bothered me not at all, and I had the advantage of being in 4K, which meant I could get in/out without hopping over another seat. A big plus.
The crew was the same I went out with (they were also at my hotel and I sat next to the captain at breakfast in the lounge – he was pleasant and happy to hear I was a passenger on his flight), but they were much nicer this time around. Maybe because they had been on the outbound with me, but the service was more attentive. Some banter and chatter. Although the divider was up the entire time again, it may have helped that I was in the last row as they could serve me more direct from behind my neighbour. I think the window seats are great, but they do perhaps leave one feeling isolated, and if you are looking for constant service, it probably will not live up to that level.
The flight was 5+ hours and departed at 8:40. I was a bit disappointed that there was one meal service and it was breakfast. The standard English breakfast, with a rather putrid looking smoothie (that did not taste too bad) and some excellent smoked fish that raised the game a bit. Otherwise, 3 hours in to the flight and I was hungry. I went to the galley to see what was on offer. The standard mix of crisps, fruit and drinks. Not really sufficient for such a long flight, IMHO, but maybe that’s me, who likes to eat while I’m flying. I think BA could offer a bit more even on this shortish long haul.
Arrival was early and through T1 quickly and onto the train, saving a few minutes over the journey from T5.
In conclusion, there is absolutely no justification for shelling out this kind of money for a flat bed on a 5 hour day flight, and unfortunately, the food and service, while fine, does not support the proposition. A shame that BA does not up the game where they can in this area. You can argue all you want about the old aircraft, but for me, the flight disappoints on the little things in food and service that BA can actually do well when it wants to. Not that I’m complaining on the food and service, but it does not offer anything memorable that one hopes for a ticket costing that much.
flydrive15 Nov 2013