18th February 2014 at 12:06 #569622
Anonymous18th February 2014 at 12:06 #569623
My wife and I decided that a year of travel splurging was the best way to celebrate our impending significant birthdays. First stop, New York using Avios and Amex Companion vouchers to travel F outbound J return on BA. Given the number of flights to NYC we had no problem finding availability on our preferred dates.
I have to say that despite the mixed reviews of NF and the CR on this forum, I was still very excited about flying F on BA. My personal budget doesn’t extend beyond J and on recollection I realised that my last transatlantic F flight must have been 1986 on the BCal 747 Combi that used to ply the LGW-JFK route. As it happens I remember it quite well and was interested to see how much had changed. After all F seats in those days were now something that would be complained about as a regional J seat and IFE was, I think, still one movie on a communal screen. But the food was good and the crew as ever on BCal made the journey fun from beginning to end. So this us what happened…
We arrived in T5 with plenty of time to enjoy what was on offer. It being the first day of half term the airport was busy and there was even a line for the F checkin. In fact it was all a bit disorganised with some very ungentlemanly barging and jumping going on. But we were soon checked in and through the fast track security, currently housed behind rather unattractive temporary hoarding.
And so to the magic door, guarded by Cerberus and her minions. In fact not – they were both perfectly pleasant and in we strode. The CR was quite busy, so much so that there was no room to sit in the dining area, although it seemed that this was because there weren’t really enough people to clear the tables. So we headed for the outdoor terrace, which in fact I found more pleasant as it all felt a bit hot and oppressive inside. Eventually we were served a perfectly good breakfast, a very decent cup of tea and hot toast, something I find many hotels struggle with. We buzzed in and out a few times for shopping and on each time the staff were smiley. So all in all much preferable to the galleries lounges. But a couple of things would have made it a whole lot better. First, simply not enough waiting staff to maintain efficient service. Second, and sorry to be indelicate, but the restrooms were just as smelly as the ones in the Galleries. That really needs sorting.
The flight was called to A10, which I immediately realised meant a bus ride, but frankly the transit schlep to B or C is no more preferable. We were soon up the stairs, battling against the wind, and met by the friendly CSD, who immediately quipped “we are expecting you”, not quite in Bond-villain style, but slightly curious nevertheless. We were then escorted to our seats.
This being one of the 3 non -ER 777s, there were 17 seats in F rather than the more common 12/14. The cabin looked sleek and classy on first appearances. But fear not, the usual generous helping of crumbs on the seat and floor had not been overlooked, and glancing around once seated a fair few scuffs were apparent. But nothing was raining on my parade – it felt fab. We were offered the full array of slippers, PJs, new wash bags etc, and my wife was served up a cup of tea instead of champagne without fuss or comment.
Unfortunately our on time departure evaporated as the”thingy” (the Captain’s word not mine) that loads that cargo bins was broken and couldn’t be moved away to enable us to push back. But after about 1 1/2 hours we were off. Frankly we were too comfortable to mind.
Drinks and lunch soon followed. I’m not going to recite the whole menu but service started with a tasty Guinea fowl amuse bouche. My wife and I both had the lobster timbale which was light and fresh. My daughter and I both had beef fillet which was perfectly cooked with crisp vegetables and red hot plates, which for me is essential. My wife’s salmon was also spot on. Vanilla ice cream to follow. We were all heavily medicated following chest infections so alas no alcohol. The service was perfectly paced (we are all gobblers and hate meals being dragged out) and low key. Top marks.
The IFE selection was reasonable and I was happy to find two Woody Allen movies. But not being on tip top form we really wanted to sleep. I was stopped from trying to make up my own bed by the attentive crew, and with comfortable mattress and crisp cotton-covered duvet I had a few hours of good and much needed sleep.
It seemed no time before afternoon tea was served. The sandwiches were fresh, and only one completely unidentifiable. By a process of elimination it must have been asparagus and radish with cream cheese. Buttermilk scones were deliciously warm and melt in the mouth, and the cakes were similarly declared a success, though I gave them a miss.
In what seemed like no time at all we descended into the snow and murk at Newark. Immigration took no more than 15 minutes, though the queue for non-US passport holders looked pretty lengthy, and we arrived in Manhattan in around 1 hour and 20 minutes of landing – the snow had kept every off the roads – ready for the delights of the Elysee and Monkey Bar.
There really was a lot to like. The seat was comfortable. I’m not in a position to compare with other airlines’ F offering, but I felt we had been looked after very thoughtfully. The service was understated, but friendly and personal. I’m sure this was in part due to the light load (we were only six in total) but I walked off that plane feeling very happy and relaxed, with part one of the birthday treat having been a success.18th February 2014 at 13:10 #569624
Hermes1964 – happy X0 birthday! 😉 :-))) and to Mrs H 🙂
I think when you come off a flight feeling relaxed and well, just “looked after” in the way that BA can do very well (oh I know it doesn’t always work out like that), you can forgive a few scuffs …. I loved the sound of the menu, perfect start to your trip,
I usually find that a cup of tea is something those F CC are more than happy to bring you – any time of the flight – especially those slightly more mature gals, who totally understand how much better you feel after a decent cup of tea!
I think IMHO, that the CCR needs a bit of a makeover – it really is showing wear and tear. It drives me nuts when waiting staff walk past dirty tables, empty handed on their way to nowhere! Just pick the blooming dirty dishes up ….
Anyway, wishing you a lovely trip and thanks for taking the time to tell us of this trip. Can’t wait now for my next F – few more months yet!18th February 2014 at 21:15 #569625
Thanks Papillion 53
Having read stilllovethejumbo’s sorry tale, I’m thinking maybe I was lucky! It does seem there are real consistency issues with BA F.
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