Flying BA First for the first time!

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This topic contains 38 replies, has 25 voices, and was last updated by  christopheL 5 Aug 2019
at 14:05
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Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 39 total)

  • openfly
    Participant

    @esselle…true!


    Window-seat
    Participant

    Ignore the doubters, too many here love bashing BA. Flying first USA to UK there is no better product (and possibly no other products!) – the seat is huge, I always sleep well in it, the new food and wine is great and if you get a good group older crew from the Wordwide Fleet there are no better crew in the sky.

    While it can’t compete with the ME3 in terms of bells and whistles or Air France or Lufthanser in terms of privacy and indulgence I’ve always had a great time flying first and I’d rate BA over many airlines purely because of the staff, who genuinely want you to have a good time and if you are friendly and respectful they will make your trip a treat.

    5 users thanked author for this post.

    rferguson
    Participant

    Markiv J keep an open mind.

    Yes, if you’ve flown First with other carriers such as LH/AF/EK/EY/QR/SQ etc then the difference will be noticeable.

    Saying that if you got a deeply discounted F fare (which are seldom if ever offered by most of the aforementioned) look forward to your trip and ignore the negativity whilst keeping your expectations in check.

    BA F is also very aircraft dependent. Personally I think F on the 380 and 787-9 is pretty good. The other aircraft it’s still a step up from CW anyway. I actually operated SIN-LHR on the A380 the other week and was carrying a QF Chairmans Lounge customer (equiv of BA Premier). I asked for her thoughts of BA F versus QF and whilst just going to collect my flak jacket he said she actually preferred BA as the QF cabin was ‘very plain’ and food ‘too nouvelle cuisine’. Saying that she’d probably only experienced the A380 product. And obviously a wonderful crew 😉

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    rferguson
    Participant

    Most of the passengers are BA staff and family on their annual freebies, or duty staff travel, or “friendly” upgraded staff from lower classes, or the Captains mothers window cleaners next door neighbour who paid £100 (but a nice gesture)…..!!!

    This isn’t the case across the board at all.

    The issue BA has with First (debates about the actual product aside) is that nearly all of their aircraft has a First class cabin and nearly all of them has a cabin of 14 seats. First class only has that kind of demand on a few routes (think JFK LAX BOS JNB etc). On other routes you are right, hardly ever are ALL these seats sold at F fares.

    BA has massive premium class cabins on many of their aircraft and obviously the name of the game is to fill them. And not only route dependent it’s also very seasonal. For example now during the start of the school holidays a LHR-JFK flight on a super high 747 (config 14/86/30/145) could have booked loads of say 10/70/33/160. So some J will be pushed up to F, W to J, Y to W. During peak business season the numbers work out fine.

    BA has worked out that the optimal number of F seats to accommodate those actually paying for them is 8. Hence, when the first 777’s are reconfigured with the club suite this year the F cabin will be reduced from 14 to 8.

    The only staff that have a staff travel priority for F are pilots and senior managers. Yes, the captain does have discretion to move whoever he wants wherever he wants but 90% of the time this is done responsibly. Of course if a captain brings a partner or such and there is a seat in F they may well end up there. The whole friend of a friend of friend thing happens far less often. Very rarely these days. Although they will often be reseated in W or J.


    Nogbad01
    Participant

    Personally I rate the 777 in F. Loads of space and if you get the right crew it will be great.

    I have had the best meals in F on BA and yes I have flown on the ME3 (business not first though).

    On the whole I think the F on the 747 is less good, but hard to quantify why. I think it just feels a bit cramped.

    If your flight is from T5 make sure to dine in the Concorde Room, its worth it!

    If its T3. sorry


    rferguson
    Participant

    Agree. I’ve never understood the whole ‘I must have 1A/1K’ thing on the 747. They must be the most cramped F seats out there.

    I think the OP will be connecting at T5 as going to TLV so will have access to the CCR.


    Gold-2K
    Participant

    Agree if on a 747 go for 2A or 2K. 1A and 1K are not very private and the wardrobe invariably pops open during take-off when the ‘old girl’ shakes and rattles.

    …..and of course Im referring to the plane, not the crew 🙂

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    travelworld2
    Participant

    If “most of the passengers are BA staff and family on their annual freebies, or duty staff travel, or “friendly” upgraded staff from lower classes, or the Captains mothers window cleaners next door neighbour who paid £100” BA would have dropped First long ago.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    Markiv J keep an open mind.

    Yes, if you’ve flown First with other carriers such as LH/AF/EK/EY/QR/SQ etc then the difference will be noticeable.

    Saying that if you got a deeply discounted F fare (which are seldom if ever offered by most of the aforementioned) look forward to your trip and ignore the negativity whilst keeping your expectations in check.

    BA F is also very aircraft dependent. Personally I think F on the 380 and 787-9 is pretty good. The other aircraft it’s still a step up from CW anyway. I actually operated SIN-LHR on the A380 the other week and was carrying a QF Chairmans Lounge customer (equiv of BA Premier). I asked for her thoughts of BA F versus QF and whilst just going to collect my flak jacket he said she actually preferred BA as the QF cabin was ‘very plain’ and food ‘too nouvelle cuisine’. Saying that she’d probably only experienced the A380 product. And obviously a wonderful crew 😉

    A fair summary. I rarely travel F, but if I (or employer/client) was paying for it then I wouldn’t consider BA seriously.

    On the other hand if you can get a discounted flight (as in J prices on other airlines) or a cheap upgrade/mileage/GUF etc then it comes into play.

    As I understand it BA is downsizing or removing F cabins as few people will actually pay top dollar for it. Now the new J proposition is about to be implemented it will be interesting to see if BA persist with an F cabin (in which case they will need to upgrade the offer) or throw in the towel completely.


    MarkivJ
    Participant

    Thanks all for the wishes and great tips.

    1. Looks like I can’t pre book Elemis for Arrivals, only on departure. And my TLV flight leaves at 8a so I may not get to it.
    2. I’m looking fwd to trying out the CCR.
    3. This is my first ever time on FIRST class on long haul. The reason I brought up EK, QR, CX, etc. earlier was solely based on Hindu veg meal on BA’s CW being miles ahead of the other J classes.


    openfly
    Participant

    On all BA a/c avoid any rows in F or J close to the galley, due to consistent irritating loud galley noise. Back row in F is always bad news….
    Just flown Etihad First on the A380…not a sound all night from the galley….so it can be done!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    nevereconomy
    Participant

    I hope you enjoy your flight – I remember the excitement of my first BA F flight, though hate to think how long ago. I still enjoy their F product and to me a lot of the differences with other carriers are nuances rather than issues that make or break a flight. Crew more often than not the best there are and in F usually have time to chat if you are so inclined. Food is more than acceptable and they have some decent wines. I still enjoy their F product and I think you will too. If you get galley noise ask the CSD to politely tell them to do things more quietly, as I do. BA crews are unfortunately notorious door slammers.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    canucklad
    Participant

    Thanks all for the wishes and great tips.

    And markiv, you’re obviously going to come back and give us a review of your experience ? : )


    Bullfrog
    Participant

    I’ll agree that 2A or 2K are my favourite seats on the 747 .. and apart from wishing you a safe and VERY comfortable flight, have a great time in Tel Aviv .. Israel is a country of many contrasts, and bearing in mind it’s history, it is a wonderful place to visit, even with its very strong currency, which makes things quite expensive.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    esselle
    Participant

    I’ve just come home JFK-LHR in F.

    The flight itself was very good; old school BA crew at their best, and the new bedding etc made for a very comfy, if short, sleep.

    What I do want to comment on though is the CCR in JFK. I was a very regular visitor to it during the noughties and up until early 2003, and have fond memories; one in particular of having lunch with a now peer of the realm famous for putting on great musicals. We had chicken vol au vents, and decided they should make a culinary comeback, which of course they didn’t.

    The lounge itself is the same size and shape now as then, with an improved range and variety of seating, and the addition of dining booths, where previously it was just set up as a regular restaurant.

    What really surprised me, though, was the quality of hospitality, service and food. It was the equivalent of anything I have had in one star Michelin establishments, and by far and away the best experience of any airline lounge I’ve ever visited anywhere in the world. I appreciate that the numbers of pax are relatively low, and that it effectively only serves one destination, but I was totally blown away by how good it was.

    2 users thanked author for this post.
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