13th April 2011 at 16:26 #500276
Anonymous13th April 2011 at 16:26 #500277
So i mentioned in another thread I am just starting a round the world trip in business class on BA, Cathay, AA and AE US internal, finishing off with AA back to LHR. I will try to be as objective as possible considering usually my carrier of choice is Qatar out to Asia.
So, first leg BA 747 to HKG. Check-in was a breeze, I opted to check in online and do bag drop. Strait in and with no problems. Strait up to the lounge which as expected was very good. The food was nice if a little short on options. They could improve by employing either more or better cleaners in the lounge, there were a lot of empty plates lying around and food remains just dropped on the floor. (Doesn’t anyone clean up after themselves these days??) Overall lounge experience was good, one aspect was gate call. We were leaving from B gates and the boards didn’t show boarding until 18.20, flight leaves at 18.40! As a FF I was well aware of the time to go from A-B but the noobs probably are not and there was quite a few runners arriving late.
Aircraft..well it’s an old 747, now I actually like the pod layout if i get a window seat, which I did. It gives a nice isolated feel but can also mean you are overlooked by the crew. However the aircraft had obviously done a lot of miles. The interior was looking grubby and worn out, catches on lockers needed slamming, the seat squeaked and groaned and you needed to punch every button on the controller to get some life out of the aging IFE, I am sure the toilet was held together with BA security gaffa tape + copious amounts of bathroom sealant, this bird was well past her sell by date and needed a facelift or flogging off to some 3rd world airline.
The crew was professional as expected but one couldn’t help but notice they were either overworked or just going through the motions when it came to service, I suspect probably the former due to the staff/customer ratio
Drinks was very a much a can of coke, a glass of ice and a miniature of vodka, make your own. Maybe I am spoilt but i am used to a drink coming premixed and not having to store cans and bottle in the small workspace until they are cleared, I rang the call button twice and both times took over 10 mins for staff to come.
Food: this is a big letdown, I can only compare it to little chef in quality, both in the flavor and the presentation. A plastic tray dropped on the desk, a cheese plate that consisted of 2 dairylea sized triangles of cheddar and what I think was brie but too tasteless to tell. The breakfast wasn’t much of an improvement, actually worse, truth be told. The traditional English with so much salt and a square scrambled egg that resembled a sponge in texture, color and as aforementioned tasted of salt. So, a big thumbs down to BA on the food.
Did I imagine things or at one time would the staff greet you by name? Has that stopped or was it just today?
Apart from that the flight was on time, comfortable and the bags greeted me at the other end. Overall i would give them a 6/10, pluses for punctuality check in and lounges, an even Stevens for service and negatives on the aircraft condition and food. If they update the fleet and either put more staff on or improve the efficiency then there is no reason why service on board could not match the growing number of lines overtaking them.
Next week, what does Cathay have to offer?13th April 2011 at 17:58 #500278
I’m sure Cathay will be far better .. what routing are you taking ? and what aircraft ?14th April 2011 at 00:55 #500279
777 HKG-LAX14th April 2011 at 06:22 #500280
It must be also a matter of luck, my experience 31.3. LAX-LHR upperdeck seat 62A was very good: the seat was very private, staff served from up front rather than through the sliding divider, they greeted by name, were very helpful and always present, main meal was very tasty, breakfast was adequate if not great…
I like it when you get to mix your own drink – you can add only half of the liquor and thus not make the drink so strong, since the glasses are very small! And if seated upperdeck window you have all the extra space you need above the storage lockers.
Shared oneworld lounge in LAX was huge, but crowded, foods and drinks plentiful, security swift, boarding pleasant…
747 ceratinly showing its age, I agree, but upperdeck is always better compared to main deck or 777.25th April 2011 at 12:53 #500281
Round 2 of the one world leg.
CX880 HK to LA,
Check in, this would have been a breeze. Except I forgot to do my ESTA change for new passport! Result was a mad rush to do a renewal online in the airport, 30 minutes to complete, a free HKG WIFI connection and I was all done. Unfortunately I didn’t get to use the revamped wing lounge, I was with an economy class colleague and rather than leave them sat with the great unwashed I used my PP for us both to use the travellers lounge as Cathay would not let me admit a guest, which was no problem and as I expected.
Boarding was smooth but I did notice them letting a few Econ passengers go thru the business class queue even with a few bus class people still waiting, most unlike Cathay. The aircraft was a 777, was clean & tidy and I really could not fault it. Whilst it was an older aircraft attention to quality of maintenance work was good. Unlike the gaffa tape and white silicone sealant fixes all of the BA 747 I flew to HK in originally. It was using Cathay’s original Herringbone layout which I am a fan of as the cubicles give a nice level of privacy when laid down but you don’t feel you may be missed by the crew. The bed was full flat and comfortable; my lack of sleep was more to do with this being a 16.20 flight than the comfort level. I will note that it’s a little narrow and lacking on any usable storage space. Any movement to the bathroom or stretch required a Rubik’s cube style maneuvering between laptop, headphone, IFE screen etc. Food was ok, not to the standards of some ME lines I normally use but tasted good, was presented well, and was available when you wanted. Certainly the quality of this far outshone BA. The crew was attentive and speedy with any requests. I will note however that this flight in business was maybe only 40% capacity, the previous BA one was full so it would be unfair to judge cabin crew against each other in this case.
Overall of the 3 main carriers I am using on this RtW Cathay outshines BA on the condition of the aircraft and the Food. On the ground they are both evens.
This was actually my first time landing In LAX internationally; I have been many times domestically. What can I say, Immigration is a joke, 50 minutes to clear with just 2 flights when I got into the hall, my CX and an emirates! Add to that another 30 minutes to clear the customs wait and it resulted in me missing my connection to SD. So here I am in the admirals club T4 LAX waiting for a new flight. The lounge is ok, I like that I can take an economy class passenger in as a guest, it’s clean, tidy but….Wi-Fi is only free to Admiral Club members!!!! Maybe BA should think of that at T5 and make all those free loading AA members pay for it. Additionally free bar drinks restricted to 1 per person. I give BA lounge thumbs up against this example of tightfistedness. Maybe I should be happy my guest got in free, but even if not it’s would still only be a 1 drink and no free Wi-Fi for me as a BA member, flying business class.
Incidentally, the difference between business class and economy on the LA to SD leg…none you just get lounge access for 1 free drink. The plane config is the same in both classes. Seeing as you can buy lounge access for 50 bucks no point in paying for business class on flight, there is no dedicated fast track either.
Next up, AA flights in econ, bus and first from SD to Seattle, over to ORD, down to Blue grass and up to Philly before joining AA back to LHR26th April 2011 at 07:33 #500282
Interesting reports, thanks Steve. Reading them makes me realise more and more why I fly Swiss whenever I can.
Just a comment on a point you made about the Admirals lounge, drinks and wifi. I just wonder why we pander to our cousins over the water the way we do and why it’s so one-sided?
US citizens need no visas/machine readable passports / ESTA etc. to enter the UK. As you point out, free wifi to Admirals but not BA gold? Why doesn’t BA do the same which would really hack the Yanks off if they couldn’t get to their emails for free, but may at least bring in some proper repricocity? For that matter why don’t HMG do the same re ESTA?26th April 2011 at 07:37 #500283
Probably becasue BA already agreed to provide Admiral Club members free wifi, before BA management realised the the Admirals club do not reciprocate.26th April 2011 at 07:44 #500284
Like the extradition agreement, I also wonder (I’m doing a lot lf wondering this morning!) why in Britiain we don’t read both sides of the agreement?26th April 2011 at 08:06 #500285
they never do – like bailing out the banks and not realising that there was no agreement for the momey NOT to be used for bonuses.26th April 2011 at 08:23 #500286
Interesting to see what they will do at Helsinki Airport now that American starts flights to Chicago next month… At the Helsinki lounge wine and beer are freeflowing, unlimited selected hard liquors are available to Finnair Business Class passengers (at least long haul) and tier card holders. At JFK Finnair C-passengers get 2 drink coupons at the Admirals Club (at least used to be like this some time ago).27th April 2011 at 06:48 #500287
Just took alaskan from San Diego to seattle. check in nice and smooth at SD. 3 hour flight in economy on a 737-400. full flight, very comfortable and padded leather (feux) seats. nice recline with ample legroom for my 6 foot frame. didnt try the food as it was a pay for basis. Staff polite but best of all was in flight WiFI, I was able to take part in a 3 way skype conferance call, ok, there was a litle lag on the line but definatly a plus side. I just wish the main carriers would introduce this. I remember a few years back taking part in the lufthansa trial to HKG and it was great .
anyways, Air Alaska, no compliants27th April 2011 at 08:46 #500288
Steve interested about the ability to make a Skype call on Alaskan, esepcially as the flight was full.
Did your fellow passengers/crew make raise any concerns about the “phone call” especially the level of sound coming from your seat. Also, were you concerned about any privacy issues in what you were speaking about.
I too remember conducting a radio interview call with LH from 37000′ via MSN messenger (I think thats what it was at the time) with the added bonus of a video link to the studio thrown in along with countless other calls with video cam. The biggest issue was always the disturbance to other passengers and business privacy issues.
I usually ended up making the calls from the galley area or even on one occasion locked in the toilet.
Most airlines with wifi now ‘lock’ or ban VOIP. Interested if you could extend your report a little Steve.
Happy, safe and PRODUCTIVE/PROFITABLE travelling.27th April 2011 at 13:11 #500289
Privacy wasnt a problem, I saw it as no diffrent from talking on a tube etc. As there was about a 2 second delay my comments were more yes and no answers, anything that was confidential I typed in. background noise wasnt too bad using a headset with a mic and just as in the lounge I kept one ear uncovered to get an idea of the noise I was making 🙂
This was a day flight so no-one was dozing, if it was later I wouldnt have done it to avoid annoying someone. I did try a skype out test (skype to landline) however it just kept dropping the call, I dont think it was blocked but more to do with Skypes software detecting a huge delay and trying to improve it27th April 2011 at 14:15 #500290
Thanks for your comments. If the opportunity arises, try a call through MSN Hotmail or Live Messenger or whatever they call it these days. I remember this worked very well on LH and there was no delay.
Did you have a the video connection going as well. Again via MSN that used to work very well on LH.
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