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Sadly I didn’t take a photo of it. Could have sworn it was a Grosset although a quick scan around their website confirms they don’t appear to make one. Strange. Will investigate further as whatever it was, it was rather tasty!
**Turns our it’s a Petaluma Croser (not Grosset). I grabbed a glance at it before it was poured and squirrelled away beneath the counter**6 Feb 2018
Was in the US (JFK) last week and flew AA to a) mix things up and keep life interesting and b) because I was terminally bored with BA (as I’ve been doing it weekly for a few months now). 777-300 on the way out w Flagship Business and a 200 on the way back. Both are great hard products. V comfortable, loads of space to sleep, recline and stash my kit. F&B was also v good, as we’re the staff. Of more interest though we’re the lounges at both LHR T3 and JFK T8 (dedicated AA terminal).
As I’m OW Emerald I thought I’d try the new Qantas lounge alongside the BA First and AA Flagship lounges (didn’t have time for CX – next week maybe!). Qantas in particular was a very pleasant space. Wide, airy, nice circular bar at the top, dining room on the ground floor. Grosset sparkling wine (v good – love his Polish Hill Riesling’s) and other decent Aussie reds and whites on offer along with some interesting cocktails (Laurent P on offer for Qantas First passengers which is daft and embarrassing for the bar staff). Good selection of hot buffet food before the restaurant opened at 17:30. Was quiet and felt new and special, especially with all the wood, brass and leather fittings – reminded me of The Delaunay in London. BA F lounge is now tired, dated, crowded and noisy with the industrial fridges. AA lounge is probably the least inviting but it had Moet on free pour, sit-down Pre flight dining and power points literally everywhere.
The Flagship lounge at JFK T8 is an entirely different proposition. It serves all domestic and international AA First class flights as well as Qatar by the looks of it, so it was very busy. That said, it never felt crowded. Wine selection was excellent (Ornellia’s Le Volte as a red, great chewy Malbec from Argentina as well as a very tangy Chablis and a great grassy, Californian Sauv Blanc). Comfy lounge chairs by the huge floor to ceiling angled windows and plenty of other nooks and crannies to get comfy. I’m sure some folk dislike the American lounges but this one actually really impressed me. There’s also a separate (dark and far plusher) First dining room if you had a genuine First Class ticket. May upgrade next time and give it a try!6 Feb 2018
To ThomasCox: A quick question please re CCR at JFK – when did you visit and enjoy the Taittinger Comte de Champagne?
I was there in July 2015, and the champagne was non vintage something and the wines were very ordinary.
They had some in early Dec last year (2017), although I’m in here again now, waiting for the BA114 and it seems Laurent Perrier NV is the pick of the bunch. Not even the Grand Siecle sadly. Hopefully they have something better onboard.18 Jan 2018
For what it’s worth, here’s my two-penn’th:
1 – The old Concorde Room at LHR Terminal 4 – I flew Concorde once, aged 25, just before BA announced its retirement and I took my brother to NY for his 21st Birthday. Maybe I have rose-tinted memories but this was the pinnacle of luxury for me, with free-flowing vintage champagne (Alfred Gratien Cuvee Paradis) and canapes with caviar. Not to mention a view of Concorde and direct access to the plane. Heaven.
2 – Qantas First Lounge Sydney – hands down most comfortable, most spacious lounge with a great view, the best / friendliest service and the tastiest food courtesy of Mr Neil Perry.
3 – Cathay Pacific First, The Wing, Lounge HKG – Whilst the Pier is cosier this one has the private cabanas with baths. Repeat, baths. This alone wins if for me 🙂
4 – Virgin Clubhouse LHR T3 – Private entrance, private check-in and security, then a short walk to the lounge which is still bonkers / lovely, and one of the few lounges I know of where you can get a properly made cocktail by bar staff who know what they’re doing!
5 – BA Concorde Room at JFK – comfortable, exclusive, spacious with friendly staff and excellent wine / Champagne selection (vintage Taittinger Comte de Champagne last time I was there). And it’s far nicer than the Concorde room at LHR which is sadly always underwhelming.
Honourable mentions to
1 – BA’s First lounge in Chicago which, whilst small, has lovely staff who invariably upgrade me. There’s also a decent view of the piers / runway and you can access the plane direct from the lounge
2 – BA’s First lounge in Houston where staff escort you the short walk to the plane and ensure you’re first to board.15 Jan 2018
“We’re not satisfied until you’re not satisfied” [post: IanfromHKG #838567
I have just disgraced myself in a silent area of an academic library by laughing out loud at this! Nice one Mr Ian.
Classic quote. For more like it check out the Demotivators at https://despair.com/collections/demotivators/2018
I’m convinced certain tiers of IAG management bought a job lot and actually don’t recognise them as being ‘ironic’…in reply to: BA boarding by group number?23 Nov 2017
This is an eminently sensible clarification to an existing policy that – if handled appropriately and consistently – will ensure smoother departures driving improvements to the doors-closed ARTG metric, and ultimately improving the overall customer experience (welcome news indeed!).
What made me laugh over the weekend is the ridiculous notion that this is somehow a ‘class’ issue, or that BA should be doing it’s bit to ‘make society fairer and more equal’ (this last comment coming from an interview with ‘An Exec Club Blue card holder in The Independent’ – a stunningly pointless piece of journalistic fluff if ever there was one).
Leaving the argument over BA’s general declining service standards aside, they are a commercial organisation that should be prioritising value creation first and foremost (increasing revenue, improving profit, reducing risk and deploying capital more effectively). They’re not a flag carrier and they are not a public-owned entity. They have no ‘social’ obligations other than the usual CSR-related ones like Change-for-Good.
Plenty of other airlines operate this system and no-one has batted an eyelid. And to state the utterly obvious, if you pay more, are a high-tiered frequent flyer, or travel in a premium cabin, you are directly contributing to BA’s bottom line. And as such OF COURSE you should get preferential treatment in terms of boarding and service. For those on cheapo hand-baggage only fairs whining about being put at the back of the queue, the simple answer is pay more, or fly more frequently. Otherwise, you get a seat, and a safe flight. And nothing else for your £39.99 return to Lisbon. Much like on any of the other budget carriers.in reply to: BA boarding by group number?20 Nov 2017
Not knocking BA – just having a light-hearted dig at management’s historical responses to these sort of things. Besides, as far as I’m aware, BA technically doesn’t have any IT anymore as it all resides in IAG’s Group Business Services division now. I guess this also explains why the BAEC gold line was down this morning.28 Sep 2017
I’m flying into Schipol weekly at the moment. Flew in last night on the BA444 and arrived around 22:00 local. Queue for passports was up the escalators back into the concourse. Must have been at least 200 people waiting to get through. I now have Privium Basic membership which was €121 for the year involved getting a retinal scan. This allowed me to go straight past the crowds and out in less than 60 sec. I was in bed at the Sheraton by the time my colleague had got thorough passports. If you travel regularly, I can’t recommend it enough. Equally useful when getting out of AMS also! Details here: https://www.schiphol.nl/en/privium/in reply to: Long Schiphol Queues3 May 2017
Ultimately, competition can and will sort this out. I’m always amused by the levels of anger that the BoB debate sparks around BA. If BA introduces BoB on longhaul economy then passengers have a clear choice: either fly with BA and accept the terms and conditions of carriage, or travel with another carrier. There is choice in the longhaul route market (arguably less so in the short haul) so passengers can pay their monies and take their chances. FYI, I am not supportive of BoB – it smacks of short-term, penny-pinching corporate myopia. It devalues the brand and it shows a basic lack of hospitality. However, if it’s that offensive and off-putting I’d strongly advocate just not flying economy on BA.3 May 2017
Not sure about laptop access (as that would involve booting the cursed thing up whilst flying which I always try to avoid). I can however confirm that the new seating gave me unimpeded access to my gin and tonic. In the interests of research I also tried it with Champagne and a whisky on a recent CE trip. I had ample, unhindered access to all three drinks with the seat in front both in the upright and reclined position. Like-minded readers can now rest easy…in reply to: No more “Golden Row” on BA21 Aug 2014