Tried & Tested

British Airways B777-200ER Club World

15 Apr 2011 by Tom Otley

FIRST IMPRESSIONS I had checked in for this flight the previous day and so arrived at 1130 for the 1300 departure on BA0035. BA flies five times weekly direct to Chennai (omitting Wednesdays and Thursdays). On the way through the airport I used BA’s Android app to generate the boarding pass. I dropped off my bag and was intending to use the mobile boarding pass to go through security, but when the lady offered me the option of having a paper boarding card as well, I accepted, reasoning that if the battery died on my phone I might be in difficulty somewhere further along in the journey. There was only a short queue at the fast-track security, but by the time I was airside (1200) my gate was already showing as being open. Since this was Gate A10 I knew we would be being bussed out to the aircraft, and so I quickly went to the lounge to have a drink and a snack, before heading to the gate.

BOARDING The flight was about to board when I arrived, and a BA lady asked if I was business class before ushering me forward onto the bus. It was quite a prolonged journey out across the airport through various tunnels, but we were onboard by 1230. A flight attendant took my jacket, offered me a choice of drinks, and we departed on time at 1300.

THE SEAT This particular B777-200ER was the four-class configuration with First, Club World, Premium Economy and Economy. To see the seatplan click here.

I was in 15B, an aisle seat in the back row, but since the flight was only about half full in business class, once the seatbelt sign had been turned off I moved to 14D, rear facing, with 14E empty next to me so I could spread out with my work, plug in my laptop (US adapter required for UK plugs) and start writing this review.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? We have discussed in previous reviews the best seats in Club World. On a configuration such as this, other than avoiding the front and back rows (ten and 15), the choice is one of window, aisle, or double seat in the middle, possibly with a stranger. The aisle seats (B or F) on 15 are fine if you like walking around, but you may be disturbed by people stepping over your feet as they move from the two middle seats. You also have their food served over you by the flight attendants, which can be nerve wracking or disastrous, depending on what happens. If you want a window seat – all rear facing – you have to climb over the feet of the person on the aisle seat, unless you are in 15A or 15K, though note that as these are in the rear row they are separated only by a narrow piece of wood from World Traveller Plus. Finally, the middle seats are only really to be chosen if travelling with a colleague one gets on with, or a loved one / family member.

On this flight both of the seats I sat in had extremely wobbly arm rests, and the table was too unstable to type on without wedging a blanket between the arm and the underside of the table.

THE FLIGHT It was a daytime flight, and I was hungry. The food was as follows:

Starters

  • Chicken rillette with celeriac remoulade and raspberry vinaigrette
  • Papdi chaat (V) – crispy wafers topped with tomatoes, potatoes, chick-peas and spiced yoghurt.
  • There was also a fresh seasonal salad with vinaigrette

Main course

  • Pasanda badami lamb with dal makhani and rice with peas (seasoned lamb with lentils in a butter and tomato sauce and rice with peas)
  • Roast breast of chicken with spring onion mash and roast root vegetables
  • Avial, coconut rice and lentils with spinach (vegetables, yoghurt and coconut with coconut rice and lentils with spinach)
  • Chilled salad of sea bass ceviche with grilled baby courgette and new potatoes

I was also offered a chicken tikka masala, but went for the Avial which was delicious.

Dessert was treacle tart with Cornish clotted cream or Normandy Camembert with Denhay Cheddar served with biscuits. Since I’d been good ordering the vegetarian main course I felt I could have the treacle tart, and ate the lot. There was also a selection of fruit and chocolates which I declined.

There was a choice of wines.

Whites:

  • Lovivalo 2009, Rueda, Spain  or Sancerre 2009, Domaine Bardin, Loire
  • Glen Carlou Chardonnay 2009, Paarl South Africa
  • Old Well House Grenache Blanc, Chenin Blanc 2009, Western Cape, South Africa

Reds:

  • Chateau Landat 2005, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux
  • Ermita de San Felices 2007, Crianza, Rioja
  • La Puerta Malbec Reserva 2008, Famatina Valley, Argentina
  • Langmeil Three Gardens “SGM” 2007 Barossa Valley Australia

Although this was a day time flight, because it got into India in the early hours and I had some morning appointments, I made sure to get some sleep – around five hours in the end. The flight was quite bumpy, and the pilot later explained that this was because of a strong tailwind which had shortened our journey time.

I woke in time for breakfast which was a choice of chilled fruit juice or a raspberry and oatmeal smoothie; fresh fruit or Bircher muesli. The main course was a choice of Full English breakfast of scrambled eggs, grilled bacon, Cumberland sausage, tomato and sautéed potatoes; Chana masala with kadhai paneer and kulcha (seasoned chick peas with Indian cheese and bell peppers in a creamy tomato sauce with Indian flatbread; or creamy mushrooms on a toasted English muffin.

ARRIVAL We arrived around 0255 into Chennai and after immigration our bags were waiting for us.

VERDICT An excellent flight, good food and polite, professional service.

PRICE Internet prices for a return from London to Chennai in Club World start from £2,139.

CONTACT ba.com

Tom Otley

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