Review: British Airways Business Class 777 London To Los Angeles

Introduction
Review: Qantas First Class Lounge Los Angeles
Review: British Airways Business Class A380 Los Angeles To London
Review: The Park Tower Knightsbridge, London
Review: British Airways Galleries First Lounge London Heathrow
Review: British Airways Business Class 777 London To Los Angeles


After the outbound flight from Los Angeles to London on the British Airways A380, I was excited to try the British Airways 777 on the return. Not only would it allow me to sample a different plane type, but I was also curious to see if the service would be any better on the return sector.

British Airways 283
London (LHR) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Sunday, November 29
Depart: 10:25AM
Arrive: 1:55PM
Duration: 11hr30min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 11K (Business Class/Club World)

We boarded through the second door of the aircraft on the left, where we were greeted by the customer service director and some of the business class crew. The entire business class cabin was located to the right, as it’s just the first class cabin between doors one and two.

Business class consists of a single massive cabin. There are a total of 56 seats, with eight seats per row. The cabin feels dense as could be.

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British Airways 777 Club World cabin

We were seated in 11J & 11K, which were the aisle and window seat in the second row of business class on the right hand side.

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British Airways Club World seats 777, seats 11J & 11K

Much like on the A380, the aisle seat faced forwards while the window seat faced backwards.

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British Airways Club World seats 777, seats 11J & 11K

As someone who usually flies in business class products with four seats per row, I was just sort of shocked by the eight seats British Airways has in each row. The center section has four seats — the aisle seats face forwards, and then the two center seats face backwards.

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British Airways 777 Club World cabin

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British Airways 777 Club World cabin

And goodness, the two center seats are… intimate! I see how they could be nice if you’re traveling with someone and are on your honeymoon, but could you imagine booking a last minute full fare business class ticket and ending up in one of these “honeymoon” seats next to a stranger?

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British Airways 777 Club World cabin

Anyway, back to our seats. Ford took the aisle seat, 11J, which was forward facing.

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British Airways 777 business class, seat 11J

Meanwhile I took the window seat, 11K, which was rear facing. The window seats are infinitely more private (at least at cruise altitude), so if you’re traveling in British Airways business class be sure to get a window seat, in my opinion.

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British Airways 777 business class, seat 11K

The 777 business class seats seemed to otherwise more or less be identical to the A380 seats, except they felt even more cramped (that may just have been my perception). On this plane the button for raising the privacy partition between seats was located on the very top of the partition, presumably making it easy for the crew to lower and raise it during the service.

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British Airways business class partition control

I wasn’t really paying attention to the reaction of other passengers on the outbound flight, though did on this flight. The guy settling into the window seat in front of me was genuinely confused, and looked at us to ask how he was supposed to get out of his seat. He continued with “this is the worst business class I’ve ever seen.” Some other passengers seemed equally disappointed, including the guy traveling alone who ended up next to a stranger in one of the “honeymoon” seats.

Within a few minutes of settling in we were offered pre-departure beverages. I selected a glass of champagne. The five (or so) business class crew were all male, and on the senior side (this route used to be operated by mixed fleet crews, which are British Airways’ super-young flight attendants, so it’s a bit of a contrast). They were also rather international, as they all seemed to have accents from somewhere else in Europe — one had the Italian flag on his nametag, one had the German flag, etc.

While one of the flight attendants was reasonably friendly, the others were stone-faced throughout the entire flight.

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British Airways 777 business class, seat 11K

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British Airways business class pre-departure champagne

About 15 minutes after pre-departure beverages were served, the crew came around with menus for the flight.

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British Airways business class menu

Shortly thereafter they came around with the Elemis amenity kits (I posted pictures of the contents in the outbound review).

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British Airways business class Elemis amenity kit

Before takeoff I took the chance to change into pajamas, and found the lavatory to already be rather filthy… and that’s before the plane even took off!

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British Airways business class lavatory

At around 10:20AM the captain came on the PA to welcome everyone aboard and wish us a pleasant flight. He informed us of the flight time of 10hr40min, which he anticipated would put us into Los Angeles on schedule, or maybe even a bit early. Much like on the outbound, he couldn’t have sounded more confident, soothing, or British in his announcements. Gosh, I sure do love British Airways pilots.

At 10:30AM we began our pushback with a completely full plane (at least I’m pretty sure every seat was taken), at which point the safety video began to play.

The British Airways 777 at the gate next to us had a rather interesting livery.

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British Airways 777 Heathrow Airport

We taxied out to runway 27R, which meant first taxiing by Terminal 5, then past Terminal 3, and then finally past the Queen’s Terminal.

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British Airways 777 Heathrow Airport

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British Airways A380 Heathrow Airport

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Taxiing to departure runway Heathrow Airport

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Heathrow Terminal 5

At Terminal 3 there was a Qantas A380, Cathay Pacific 777, tons of American planes, and even some British Airways 747s (which are becoming a more common sight, given that some BA routes just transferred from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3).

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Qantas A380 London Heathrow

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Heathrow Airport Terminal 3

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Heathrow Airport Terminal 3

The traffic at the Queen’s Terminal was perhaps the most varied, as there were tons of United planes, as well as some planes from Air New Zealand, Air Canada, Ethiopian, Thai, etc.

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Heathrow Airport Queen’s Terminal

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Heathrow Airport Queen’s Terminal

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Heathrow Airport Queen’s Terminal

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United 777 Heathrow Airport

Once past the Queen’s Terminal we taxied past the Virgin Atlantic hangar and the strange green “test” airplane.

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Virgin Atlantic A330 Heathrow Airport

Once at runway 27R we were number two for takeoff, behind a United 767.

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Queue for takeoff Heathrow Airport

At 10:50AM we began our takeoff roll, which was long and smooth. It always feels a bit strange to be seated backwards when taking off and landing.

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Lining up runway 27R Heathrow Airport

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Taking off from Heathrow

There was some light chop on the climb out, and it certainly wasn’t as scenic as the approach we had into London a few days prior.

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View after takeoff from Heathrow

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View after takeoff from Heathrow

Above the clouds it’s always a beautiful day, though. 😉

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View after takeoff from Heathrow

The seatbelt sign was turned off about 15 minutes after takeoff, at which point I reclined my seat and made myself a bit more comfortable. The window seats are private, though it doesn’t change the fact that they feel really narrow and almost claustrophobic.

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British Airways business class seat reclined

I extended the entertainment screen from the center console and turned on the airshow to take a look at the progress of our flight.

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Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

Then I browsed the entertainment selection. There was nothing I found especially interesting. That being said, I knew I didn’t want to sleep, and there was no wifi and I had no entertainment loaded on my iPad, so the options were limited. I decided to watch “30 Days In Atlanta,” which was…

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British Airways inflight entertainment options

Anyway, once we leveled off at cruise altitude hot towels were distributed.

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View from cruising altitude

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British Airways business class hot towel

Then the crew came around to take meal orders. The lunch menu read as follows:

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And the wine/beverage list read as follows:

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Service began with the cart being rolled through the aisle with drinks and packaged nuts. I decided to have a glass of the French white wine, which I didn’t particularly care for.

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British Airways business class lunch — white wine and mixed nuts

About 20 minutes after the initial beverage service, the crew rolled the cart through the aisle with the starters and salads. We were also offered a selection from the bread basket (this time around I could easily identify what all the types of bread were). 😉

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British Airways business class lunch — salad and starter

I selected a piece of garlic bread, which was quite delicious.

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British Airways business class garlic bread

The salad was tiny and quite plain, aside from the shaved parmesan which was grated on top.

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British Airways business class lunch — fresh seasonal salad with vinaigrette

The salmon itself was on the slimy side, though wasn’t bad.

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British Airways business class starter — Scottish smoked salmon

Ford had the kibbeh as the starter.

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British Airways business class starter — cream cheese and spring onion kibbeh

Interestingly British Airways also placed a couple of chocolates on the tray with the appetizer and salad. You’d think that would make more sense with the coffee service, but that seems to be their procedure.

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British Airways business class chocolates

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British Airways business class chocolates

For the main course I ordered the salad. It’s perhaps an unconventional choice for a main course, though I quite like prawns, and none of the other choices really interested me. I have to say, the salad was exceptionally good, especially the prawns. It was one of the better main courses I’ve had in business class.

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British Airways business class main course — spicy prawn and couscous salad

Meanwhile Ford ordered the macaroni & cheese. Also an unconventional choice for the healthiest eater I know… must have been opposite day, or something. 😉

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British Airways business class main course — macaroni & cheese

For dessert I had the spiced pear & custard tart, which was simple but nice.

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British Airways business class dessert — spiced pair and custard tart

Ford asked if they had any ice cream, and requested vanilla. They did indeed have some ice cream from the Club Kitchen (the mid-flight snack bar), though the flight attendant insisted Ford also have the dulce de leche ice cream, which he said was amazing.

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British Airways business class dessert — vanilla and dolce de leche ice cream

The meal was done about two hours into the flight. The service was reasonably efficient for a daytime flight, especially given the challenges of serving this type of cabin.

One of the flight attendants was quite charming, in a rugged sort of way. The other guys working the cabin were heavily focused on efficiency, and on principle didn’t seem to think they were being paid to smile or use phrases like “you’re welcome” when I said “thank you.”

After the meal I decided to recline my seat and nap for a bit. We hadn’t gotten much sleep in London, so Ford and I had sleeping “shifts” on this flight. I got the window seat for the first half of the flight, while he got it for the second half of the flight. So I took advantage of that by getting a solid three hours of sleep. Again, the seat is narrow, but at least it’s also private.

By the time I woke up we were over Greenland, where it seemed to be a gorgeous day.

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View enroute to Los Angeles

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Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

I quickly visited the loo. There are four of them in business class, all in the very back of the cabin, in front of premium economy. There are two on each side of the aisle, so I’d say that’s a pretty fair passenger to lavatory ratio.

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British Airways 777 business class cabin

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British Airways 777 business class cabin

I also quickly checked out the Club Kitchen setup, which was located in the galley in front of the cabin. Even though it was intended for passengers to visit and pick out what they want, I got glares when I walked through the galley, as if I were disturbing “their” space (and I get the galley is the crew’s space, but there’s no other way to access the snack bar).

As far as snack bars go, this was one of the better ones. It featured whole fruit, all kinds of packaged snacks, as well as some cold items in a fridge. These included small sandwiches, yogurt, fruit salad, etc

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British Airways Club Kitchen — midflight snack setup

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British Airways Club Kitchen — midflight snack setup

About 30 minutes after returning to my seat I realized I really wanted a coffee. If you’re in the window seat you have to step over the person in the aisle in order to “escape,” and I didn’t want to disturb the person in the seat behind me, as I had gotten up just 30 minutes prior.

So I pushed the call button to ask for some coffee, and when the flight attendant appeared he almost had a look of disbelief, as if he couldn’t believe I dared to push the call button. That should always be acceptable in business class, especially when you’re in a window seat and getting up would disturb the person in the aisle seat, in my opinion.

Anyway, I watched a few more sitcoms and switched seats while Ford switched to the window seat to get some sleep.

Eventually we found ourselves just a couple of hours from Los Angeles. The views were stunning.

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Airshow enroute to Los Angeles

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View enroute to Los Angeles

90 minutes before landing the pre-flight meal service began. The light meal menu read as follows:

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British Airways used to offer afternoon tea as the pre-landing meal, which I loved. But apparently due to customer feedback they recently began offering a second hot meal instead, which makes me sort of sad. Afternoon tea was always the best meal on British Airways!

Anyway, the meal consisted of a starter and fruit salad.

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British Airways business class meal — starter and fresh fruit

I had the prawns with cucumber and red pepper salad to start.

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British Airways business class starter — tiger prawns with cucumber and red pepper salad

Ford had the goat’s cheese.

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British Airways business class starter — goat’s cheese with blood orange dressing

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British Airways business class meal — fresh fruit

For the main course we both had the Thai vegetable curry. It seemed like the best of the options, though wasn’t very well executed. The rice was crispy, and the sauce almost seemed like more of a cheese sauce than a curry.

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British Airways business class main course — Thai vegetable curry

At about 1PM PST the captain came on the PA once again to provide us with updated arrival information. He anticipated we’d touch down in Los Angeles at 1:40PM, and that we’d commence our approach within 15 minutes.

Sure enough about 10 minutes later we began our descent, whereby we basically flew down the Pacific coast, then turned east, and then turned around again to land into the west.

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View on approach into Los Angeles

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View on approach into Los Angeles

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View on approach into Los Angeles

We touched down on runway 24R at 1:40PM, and then had a super long taxi to our arrival gate. While you can usually access Tom Bradley International Terminal directly from the north side of the airport, in this case we basically taxied around the airport.

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Touchdown Los Angeles

First we crossed runway 24L, then we took the taxiway which swings around to the south side of the airport, where a lot of planes were parked for the day.

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Taxiing at LAX

That included some of the more “exotic” airlines, like Air Tahiti Nui, Air New Zealand, and Fiji Airways.

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Taxiing at LAX

Then we taxied along runway 25R, and then along the side of Terminal 4 before finally reaching our gate at Tom Bradley International Terminal.

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Taxiing at LAX

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Taxiing at LAX

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Arriving at gate LAX

We arrived at our gate at around 1:50PM, and then had to wait about five minutes for the door to open. They opened the forward cabin door first, so we walked through first class as we deplaned. Never before has British Airways first class looked so comfortable!

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British Airways 777 first class cabin

British Airways 777 business class bottom line

This flight wasn’t as offensive as the one on the way out. I’m genuinely trying to be unbiased here:

  • One flight attendant on this sector was quite friendly, while the rest were apathetic as could be. At least none of them were actively unfriendly or offensive, unlike on the outbound.
  • The food on this sector was edible though nothing special. I don’t place all that much weight on food in business class, as I always say that business class is all about the seat.
  • The hard product is still the worst part of British Airways business class as far as I’m concerned. The seats are extremely narrow, and while the window seats are comparatively decent, I find all the other seats to probably be the worst fully flat hard product out there.

What do I take away from this trip? As much as we often complain about US airlines, American’s new business class is so much better than what British Airways offers.

If there’s another amazing deal for British Airways business class I’d consider flying them again, and I’d be sure I snag a window seat. However, if American is an option I’d hands down choose them over BA.

Hopefully that’s a fair assessment from my perspective. I realize others like the seat more, and I totally respect that.

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Comments

  1. “It always feels a bit strange to be seated backwards when taking off and landing.”

    From Seinfeld, “The Hamptons”:

    Jerry’s Girlfriend Rachel: The train was so crowded. I had to sit in the seat facing the wrong way.
    Jerry: Oh I like that. It’s like going back in time.

  2. Ben, nice review. One suggestion — as part of your introductory information for your flight reviews, could you include how you scored your seat? E.g. 67,500 AA miles, or transferred x number of Thank You or Membership rewards (and how far in advance you booked). Thanks

  3. We’ve flown them as bargain hunters on three round trips (two on Open Skies) within the past six months.

    I agree with you about the hard product, but from my still limited sampling I think you had some bad luck both ways with your crews, especially the outbound.

    I used to joke that “British service” was an oxymoron but we really enjoyed the service, finding the crews genuinely friendly. We had pleasant interactions with no fewer than two FAs and the Purser on last week’s LHR-SEA flight. The food was okay and we managed the wine, although the choice was limited, especially if you’re neither a Chardonnay nor Pinot Noir fan.

    Still, I’m a legacy UA Million Mile Flyer so my standards are definitely not up to yours. 🙂

  4. Let’s be blunt.Ben Schlappig has never given a fair description on any of the BA products. Anyone reading this and expecting a well balanced narrative, never gets it, especially when poor old Ben just forces himself onto a BA club or BA Firs seat.

    You just know that for whatever reason, Ben really has to grit his teeth to say anything remotely complimentary regarding British Airways.

    This is what makes reading his articles most disappointing. Clearly he has some talent, but little want to truly help his readers when it comes to BA.

    I myself, do not agree with you and stress how truly sad reading them makes me feel.This is especially so, after so many years of BA positive experiences.

    As a disabled, successful, business man,(in that order), I am lucky enough to afford the choice to travel Club and First regularly. The staff attitude’s that Mr Schlappig describes are completely alien to me.

    And for the record with my disabilities I should be in position to comment more than anyone on the attitude and sensitivity of peoples around me.

    Yes the business class seats don’t compare well with AA. However they are not as draconian as are painted here.

    Regretfully yours

    Mark Smith

    PS. This is my third semi complaint against your anti BA articles.Non have been published. Which is more of a sad reflection on you then any half hearted article you will ever pen about BA.

    Disappointing , most disappointing.

  5. Has the afternoon tea been given the elbow in First as well, or is it possibly just a Business thing given the lunchtime arrival of your flight?

    Flying First LHR-SFO next year and was rather looking forward to the Afternoon Tea!

  6. @ Richard — Cut in first as well. Flew LHR-LAX a few weeks prior in first and was sad to find out it was cut.

  7. Thanks for your review, if I was paying for a business class seat which I probably would do on a 10 hour flight I should find the staff want to serve you and be happy. Cabin crew is such a much wanted job I don’t understand why people do the job if they don’t enjoy it, there are thousands of people that want and would love those jobs. IF I had your cabin crew I would be complaining to BA. Keep posting Ben, loving your life LOL!!

  8. I’ve got to decide wether to fly BA business or first on a flight back to Doha next February. Unfortunately there is nothing available with QA or Etihad so is it worth using the extra 10,000 miles for BA first?

    It’s quite depressing knowing that I could have had an Etihad apartment for the same number of miles but nothing is available for the whole of that month!

  9. Flew BA business for thanksgiving as well, I would actually take an aisle seat on the 776 as I found the window seats extremely claustrophobic and had a near panic attack. Window seats on the upper deck of the 747, which i flew on the return leg, are excellent!

    if there is another cheap fare like this in the future, i’ll definitely pick New AA business > BA 747 upper deck window > any other BA business class seat.

    And I hate to say this, but the best transatlantic flight i’ve ever had till date was Delta One on a A330.

  10. Ben I think I have to agree with Mark a little – despite you suggesting otherwise, your BA reviews just seem tinged with pre-existing biases. I have flown the Club World product over 50 times and have never experienced anything other than polite crew. They might have a little of that good old British stiff upper lip and therefore not always seem warm, but always polite and service-oriented. I would agree that the seat is possibly 1″ to 2″ narrower than ideal but would not describe it as claustrophobic at all. I recently flew PHL-LHR on AA metal (legacy US Air A330) and would agree that the seat was comfortable but not a meaningful difference between the two.

  11. “I find all the other seats to probably be the worst fully flat hard product out there.” Worse than UA 8 across on a 777? I realize you may not have experience with them. But those are pretty bad!! Seems BA offers more privacy.

  12. @Lucky Not true, had a wonderful Afternoon tea two weeks ago on a flight to JFK. Daily flight on 747 UD.

  13. @ Paul — Sorry, to clarify, the afternoon tea has just been cut on the longer transatlantic flights (LAX, SFO, SAN, etc.). On the shorter ones they still have afternoon tea.

  14. @ Richard — Sure, my reviews probably have pre-existing bias, which would be my impression of the company based on having flown with them dozens of times, between shorthaul and longhaul. So just as I go into a Cathay Pacific flight expecting to have good service (based on past experience), I also go into a British Airways flight expecting not to be impressed. As humans we all have an inherent bias and expectations when going into an experience, so hopefully everyone can draw from the review what they will. I’ve flown BA many times before this and never had a terrible crew (I’ve even complimented some of them), but the service on the outbound was exceptionally bad.

  15. Surely service on any flight should be great, but especially in business and first it should be good if not great or above for the money/points people are spending. I trust your review to be impartial Ben, the amount of time you spend in the air there cannot be many better people to comment.

  16. I was curious as to whether the BA layout really allows them to fit that many more seats. It’s hard to compare apples to apples, but looking at airlines that fly the 777-300, most seem to have the business class cabin between doors 2 and 3. Assuming the distance is the same between those doors on all 777-300s, it looks like BA is able to cram 12 more seats than AA. Here’s a quick count of how many seats a few airlines are able to fit between those doors:

    BA: 56
    AA: 44
    ANA: 44
    Cathay: 45 (but the one extra seat vs. AA is really in place of a lavatory)
    JAL: 42
    Singapore: 36

  17. Good review, again, Lucky. While not awful, the cramped feeling of the BA J class cabin is probably the worst part. I haven’t exprienced the bad airborne crew service, but have on the ground at LHR. Food is OK in J, but certainly not outstanding. I think BA and U.S. carriers have some commonality with regards to service/crew types, cousins sorta. I prefer Asia (minus mainland China) carriers for decorum and avoidance of rudeness by staff. And yes, I have used the call button on occasion. Gasp! Imagine that.

  18. Stop the press. Ben Schlappig admits “my reviews probably have pre-existing bias.”?!

    I for one are not interested in your inherent pre-existing bias.

    I reading the boarding Area in the hope of getting a “FAIR” un biased report from so called experts.

    But if so called experts like yourself have already formed an opinion before they have even boarded then its time for you to either stop flying BA and let another one of your collegues fairly judge the service or seek (cough) some kind of help regarding what continues to be a one sided description, which is causing non BA regular fliers to also form a similar ill towards BA

    I disagree about humans always having “an inherent bias and expectations”. I for one was not expecting Cathay Pacific to loose my wheel Chair! But heh ho thats how life is sometimes.

    Mark Smith

  19. @Mark Smith

    Jesus, Mark, stop being such a kill joy. You don’t pay Lucky to write reviews, so stop acting like he has completely ripped you off.

    Please, do us all a favor, and go take your “I am righteous” behavior to another boarding area blog.

    Lucky, you keep doing you. Great job!

  20. BA crew are hit and miss. I have flown them economy and business both as non rev and commercial. Some just don’t want to be there and grooming with some is just awful. Shirt hanging out e.g. I have had simply fab crew. Went out partying with some of them on their layovers.

    When you have a great crew it makes all the difference even if the seat and food is below par. It beggars belief as the WW crew are one of the best paid with amazing flexibility re roster. Just retire already some of them. MF are paid pittance and some may lack the experience of the older crew but that will change in time. Pam A loves BA.

  21. @Mark I actually would expect an airline would provide better than average service to someone with a disability. While your experience certainly adds perspective to flying BA, I’ve seen FAs provide exceptional service to disabled passengers and thoroughly mediocre/ robotic service to everyone else.

    @Richard You really think there isn’t a “meaningful difference” between US-configured all-aisle access reverse-herringbone seats and BA’s 8-across configuration? You must not have to get up much in flight.

  22. Great review!! I agree with the person who said they would like to see how you purchased or used miles for each individual trip. This would be a great addition to your reviews. Keep them coming!!

  23. @ Casey Srader — Thanks! I always put that information in the introduction post of the trip report. 🙂

  24. @ Mark Smith – “I for one are not interested in your inherent pre-existing bias”
    It sounds like you have a pre-existing grudge against Lucky…. He gave a fair and honest review and too bad you don’t like his thoughts.

  25. I’m not sure it’s quite fair to say 8 across, as the seats are wider at the shoulder and get narrower half way down. So each row has 4 of each type. If you flipped the seats all the same way, at the shoulders I think you’d only be able to fit 6 seats across then. Maybe not as spacious as say Qatar on a 777, but I’m not sure the 7th seat would quite fit… Will have to take a tape measure next time:). As I recall your AF 777 2-3-2, would you rather have this or BA’s?

    Personally I love the privacy of the window seat, and have never had to share the middle seat with someone I don’t know. And for me as a bed, I still find it far more comfortable than some others. The flexibility of the leg rest is also nice I find, rather than just a fixed position. So there are positives there. Let’s not forget apart from a slight mid life refresh, it’s still effectively the world’s first fully flat business class bed, so it can’t directly compete against the latest products. I can’t wait to see what they come out with for the new seat, which from what I’ve seen may be unveiled next year?
    The wine selection in Club is also superior to US airlines I feel.

    Of course today I agree, the AA 777 cabin is a far better choice for the hard product. I got to fly this last week in fact and also had a great crew, making it one of my favourite flights. But if you compared to the old AA angled lie flat, I would have taken BA club world any time. In fact I’ve had flights in Club I’ve enjoyed more than First even, as a day flight, talking to my partner sat opposite me, with great crews.

  26. Biased? Why not? My recent business class flights, all awards, all from the eastern U.S, have been ATL- ORD-HKG, HKG-JFK, LGA-ATL on AA/ CX, ATL-LHR on DL, AMS-ATL on KLM, ATL- STR on DL, CDG-ATL on AF, ATL-CLT-DUB on AA( ex-US). LHR-ATL was in 1st on BA simply because BA was the only (fees galore) choice for the dates. I forked over the extra AAdvantage miles simply because I couldn’t bear the idea of the their business hard product. Was the BA 1st product worth the hype? Only the seat and the space was. So, where would my preference lie, biased however one measures it? Tops was CX, then DL, AF(old seats), KLM (old seats), BA 1st, then AA/US.

    It really is about the seat and pleasant service. I don’t demand anything special. I’m a disabled veteran with lots of metal in one leg and three bone grafts in the knee. And, with 30+ years of R.A., being cramped up is akin to torture. I’m not a Delta fan boy, despite being Atlanta based, because of the Skymiles program so do almost all my domestic travel on AA. True, they try to shunt you onto BA when redeeming their awards for international travel, but they’re no trouble with domestic awards. Reviews of BA’s high density business class like this do a real service for me, and probably lots of others.

  27. Great review Ben! We are taking the same flights LHR-LAX-LHR in 2 weeks on BA and were looking forward to it, however we have certainly lowered our expectations after your reviews.

    Keep up the good work!

  28. Not sure why you are “surprised” with the eight across. UA is 8 across in J on it 777, just that all the seats are forward facing with no partition between the seats.

    Although there is a lack of privacy on UA 777 (pmUA) the seats are comfortable (better padding) than most J seats I have experienced (which is a lot).

  29. Would you recommend using miles to upgrade from Business to First on BA? Would you reco vary based on the type of aircraft?

    We are booked on 747 in J (JFK-LHR) both ways in the summer (took advantage of the October deal). Definitely looking forward to trying to upper deck (so will fly in J at least one way), but given the reviews I read, am considering flying First on the way back (we flew in First on 747 in Aug and it was a cool experience – I have a mild obsession with this type of aircraft and we got to sit in the very nose (1A/1K)

    How would you (or any other reader who has tried them) compare Business class experience on BA (747 upper deck) to Openskies (I HATED the hard product, but the food was pretty decent) and AA on a newly refurbished 767 (no real complaints but super generic and seat controls are insanely clunky – NYC-based (vocal) crew “thoughts” on those definitely provided great in-flight entertainment)

  30. @ Andy – That is absolutely true about airlines being expected to provide better than average service to passengers with disabilities. Last year, my seat was given to an elderly person who was traveling in a wheelchair. The gate agent never bothered to inform me of the seat change and just shoved the new boarding pass at me. Of course, the new seat was much worse than the one I had booked. That is just one instance, but it’s enough to convince me that any assertion that BA service is great just because a disabled person never had any problems on a BA flight must be taken with a grain of salt.

  31. Hi,

    Next March I am travelling on a BA 744 in F from DXB – LHR . I have always liked the self-service idea of the Club Kitchen. Will I be able to access it even though I am in F?

  32. Yikes. I’ll be doing this exact flight in February. I’m really considering an upgrade to First Class–but is it worth it? I haven’t checked the amount of Avios I need, but I’m sure it’s A LOT. I really should’ve book an AA flight back to LAX.

  33. @Randy. UA are 8 across, alternating between forward facing and backward facing. I found, in terms of seat comfort, BA 380>UA 747 > BA 747 = UA 777. One disadvantage of the UA 777 is it’s only two lavs for 48, vs 4 for 56 on BA. Food is similar but the wine is better on BA. The thing which puzzles me about the review is the crew. Whilst they all vary on all carriers, I’ve never had a bad crew on BA and sometimes had outstanding ones. Not something I could say for UA or AA.

  34. @Mark Smith. You get consistently good service on BA because you are disabled ex-UK.

    Firstly because they feel sorry for you and secondly because they are scared of the PC backlash – and to be honest you sound like the type. That’s the cold reality.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, especially on their own blog.

    I’m glad you get such good service with BA.

  35. Lucky,

    Please review more business class! First may be nicer, but business is the sweet spot of air travel: comfortable enough, but not prohibitively priced in miles, points or money.

    Also, it’s time you updated your criteria: food and wine and IFE and service are just as important in business as in first, now that you have dozen of airlines with reverse herringbone seats. For example, could you please review AA business 77W to HKG and CX business 77W back?

  36. I fly USA-UK and back about once a month for business and have down so for the last 4-5 years. 50/50 mixture of World Traveler Plus and Club World. To be honest I find your review entirely typical of my experiences with BA on these journeys. Crew can be great, can be mediocre but on average are… well, just average. Club World used to be cutting edge but is nowadays just a tired middle-of-the-pack-at-best hard product. I have an aisle seat booked for my next trip and I can’t say I’m hugely looking forward to it.

    BA need to get their finger out if they want to catch up, but I can’t see that the desire is there.

  37. @Mark Smith

    I’ve flown BA CW a few times and I have to say that his assessment of the hard product is pretty much on point. The seats are tight, either completely lack privacy or are awkward to access, and the cabin feels way too crowded. As far as airlines with flatbed seats go, BA’s product is pretty much worse than all of its competitors except Lufthansa and United and their First Class hard product is hands down the worst of any First Class product out there, at least in terms of space.

    To be fair, Lucky probably had below average service and have noticed that due to almost exclusively flying F, even though he conceptually understands that service is one of the big differences between F and J, his reviews of business class flights often seem to belie that understanding and he can be a bit harsh on the cabin crews (that said, the FA on the outbound flight was completely unacceptable given that they often charge $5-10k on that route for a ticket). Additionally, CW on the A380 and 777 is not BA’s best business product (that would be CW on the UD of the 747, which still has some awkwardness, but has a far more civilized feeling).

    The point is that BA markets itself as an elite global airline and, particularly in the US, as a better airline than any US-based competitor. It used to deserve that reputation when it was an industry leader with its flatbed seats and it service was significantly better than US airlines. Now that AA and DL have installed business class seats that are seen by most frequent travelers as better hard products than BA, and BA’s service, while still better than US airlines has significantly declined, Lucky is making the point to his readers that flying BA over AA or DL is not necessarily going to guarantee the better travel experience in business class that it once did. It’s also important that you consider probably most of Lucky’s readership is US based and that almost definitely the most well-represented FF program among his readership is AAdvantage. For those wanting to use AA miles for redemptions to Europe, BA redemptions are significantly more expensive than the alternatives, due to the fees they impose. Many people used to think it was worth it because BA was significantly better than AA, but now that the experience on AA (or even Air Berlin) is much closer in quality to BA its good that he reports that.

    Lucky definitely has his biases and quirks, but all reviewers do. He’s pretty open about his preferences and if you read enough of his reviews, you get to know the things he cares and doesn’t care about and what he sees as “good” service or a “good” hard product. It’s not like he intentionally wants to take down BA, it just don’t match his opinion of the sort of products a truly world-class airline should be providing.

  38. It looks like BA F is equivalent to a good J product, though not as good as SQ J. And BA J is really the world’s best W — just a bit better than SQ or JL.

    I’m curious if BA W is just a good MCE product and BA Y is just a little nicer than flying in the baggage compartment.

  39. It’s OK to like BA and it’s fine to hate them. I like reading Ben’s opinions, even if I don’t share them sometimes.

    What really bugs me is the suggestion that AA Business Class is so much better. In fact a small number of new and refurbished planes have decent Business Class, while the rest are an embarrassment, even in F. And good luck finding award seats in J on the new configuration…

  40. Lucky,

    Thanks for the excellent review. I agree with others that your attention to detail makes your reports the best. Just today my Facebook feed suggested a review of The Residence by… ahem… another travel blogger. Let’s just say it wasn’t a Lucky trip report. The quality just wasn’t there compared to what I’ve been accustomed to from you.

    Regarding those complaining of the BA bias: As an infrequent international traveler, I depend on these reports to make a good decision on how I want to spend my miles/points. I value your opinion highly due to your reputation for premium cabin international travel. Please keep doing what you’re doing. Thanks!

  41. I have flown BA’s business class on the 777s a few times and I have say that I agree with your review. The lavatory cleanliness is a hit and miss. The service is efficient but I am still trying to find a non-robotic, human BA attendant. Their telephone customer service has got to be one of the worst among all major airlines of the world. As far as the seats go, the aisle seats are preferable for me purely from ease of access reason. The window seats do feel very claustrophobic. However, I flew business class on the upper deck of a BA 744 and had the exit row. That window seat is probably the only one I would pick.

  42. Dear Lucky, the “bread” you had on this flight is called Focaccia.
    Well, at least BA serves pre-departure drinks in actual glasses rather than in the plastic ones you see on US carriers which I consider as a criminal offence 🙂

  43. I don’t know what I can add that hasn’t already been expressed except to say that for as much grieve as Delta gets — and rightfully so — it’s business-class on everything but the 757, in which it’s 2 x 2, is way better than this British Airways arrangement. Talk about horrible seats, a cramped cabin and awkward layouts, especially for a night flight if many, but not everyone, is sleeping. On the plus side, I like the looks of the shaved parmesan salad, smoked salmon and goat cheese salad.

  44. 1. I’m sorry the IFE was disappointing. You should consider that new-fangled thing called “reading”–I hear it’s all the rage. ; )

    2. If I have to weigh climbing over someone every time I want to get up vs. A lack of privacy, the latter will win every time (though I prefer not to have to choose at all). Sometimes it feels like all people think about are themselves. I’ll take being the climbee over being the climber, thank you.

  45. Thanks for the great review Ben! I have to travel HKG-LHR semi-regularly and was wondering if BA J was any good (usually travel CX on J).

    Re crew, I think there is a line between apathetic/reserved and plain out rude. Even for CX J (which seems to be more reserved/ efficient type), I have had very bad experiences with plain rude behaviour. Reminds me of my recent flight where one crew just consistently shoved me things (bread basket, water, pralines, etc) without any eye contact (except for things which he had to ask me about) whilst he would be all smiles and courteous with others around me (I am not sure if it because I look like high schooler travelling J on my parents money) …. I therefore wouldn’t doubt if Ben had a very bad experience, because it can happen on any flight.

  46. @Bob Baker:-
    I have no idea how you came to the conclusion that my  criticism of  Mr Schlappig self confessed bias, was in  any way “kill joyish” in any nature.I most certainly do not have an  “I am righteous attitude”. I have a careful ,direct, well balanced and  true perspective on what I say.

    @Andy @chancer:-
    I travel  with my PA and a nurse and they both have received the same exceptional service as me. The staff  that have dealt with me  have treated my abel bodied colleagues in  the same way. Even when they have been  in different classes, when we have not bean able to sit together. I expect to be treated no more or no less than any other abel bodied passenger, in the same class of travel. When you have disabilities the best way to be treated in life is to be treated no worse or better than an able bodied person. The only significant “benefit” I enjoy is being able to bored the plane before most people.

    @patrick :-
    I  do not know the gentleman and I certainly do not  have any pre existing  grudge against anyone I have never met, seen or discussed  the above  with. I  would however love to have  tea in the Concorde room and get a better picture of why the young man continues  to adopt an unbalance and self confessed biased to his BA reporting.

    @Xulu:-
    I get constantly good service because I pay  for the service. Not that I am in someway, less a person than you, to  be treated  in a pitiful way  because I am disabled.How patronising and backward that you consider that I am treated  any better than any able member of socity. Feel sorry for me do they? I will ask them next week when I am flying in F if they feel sorry for me and get back to you  with the answer?!
    You know what I sound like?A straight talking, non favour wanting person, loving life and wanting as always a well balanced perspective and fair description of what BA does.Thats all, and I didn’t even mention the D word….

    @chasegoose
    Well done. Probably the best reply on here. I want Mr Schlappig to become a better more well balanced blogger. Weather he can be bothered just like he’s not been bothered to not answer any of my points, is another point entirely.

    If I was writing his report card, “Must try harder,” would be my current conclusion

    
Regards

    Mark Smith

  47. The only thing I can add culturally just so that you may understand, and avoid taking as a slight in future, in regard to the FAs is this; in the UK, Australia and New Zealand (and I would even hazard a guess, South Africa too, but don’t know for sure), we almost NEVER say, “You’re welcome”, after someone thanks us. This is perceived in these countries as being very much only an American thing to do culturally.

    Of course everyone has their own perceptions that it may be considered rude not to say this after being thanked, and I totally understand that, but it would very much go against the grain for people from those countries to do so.

  48. I should probably also add that we Aussies have our own version of, “You’re welcome”, which is, “No worries” (or the even far more informal, “No wuckin’ furries”). However, neither of these would be suitable for use by a FA from BA, particularly in a premium cabin; you may, however, hear the former on occasion on board a Qantas flight 😉

  49. It’s important to remember that BA business class isn’t catered for luxury unlike some of their competitors, but rather for a business traveller. Admittedly, they don’t have wifi which is becoming more common on flights but in terms of someone flyin purely for business, it is convenient. Especially when you think that it links up London to the world on a direct flight

  50. @Mark Smith

    I really struggle to see how your complaint is valid considering the high level of bias that you have toward BA. In your experience they are phenomenal and can do no wrong. Unless you were on Lucky’s flight, I don’t see how you can comment and tell him that his experience was not a negative one. Maybe he got two out of two terrible flights. Bad luck for BA. The seat looks horrid to me and if I was paying the amounts BA charges for Club World, I would not be a happy camper.

    If his reviews bother you so much, you know you don’t actually have to visit the site or read them…

  51. Ben,

    Question. Because I experienced the same attitude by pushing the call button in business on Emirates lately (I asked for a blanket): Do you find that in cabins where they have First, service is somewhat deteriorated in Business?

    Calling a steward on VS or QR -esp cabins without first- in J for example you don’t get attitude. But I almost feel bad calling them on Emirates unless I see that the hostess is especially attentive. I definitely would think twice about pressing the button on a legacy carrier.

    Even thought I think you’ve answered this in past, do you think it is acceptable to push the call button in J? It should be, but is it? I’m not saying that you should be ridiculous about it. You shouldn’t even be ridiculous about it in First, in my opinion. But there are cases when you’re tired/drank too much champagne, when you just want some service. You are, in most cases, paying twice the price for J after all. What’s you opinion on this?

  52. Hi Lucky,

    Your reviews are just awesome and you cover every aspect thoroughly. However, being a long time reader, I have a very small bone to pick with you. Don’t you think you have reviewed all flights to LHR, DXB (the most popular routes) and the respective airport lounges numerous times? Would it be possible for you to review the routes or airlines which aren’t as popular? For example Alitalia, Air India, Jet Airways, Vietnam Airlines and other less well-known carriers. I concur that these airlines are no match to the ones you regularly fly. The experience let’s say will be amusing to say the least

  53. Dear Mark,
    Your decription of the 777 BA Business experience was spot on, I did the same trip no so long ago and you made me relive the experience as if I was there all over again. I think you are right, American provides you with a better businnes class service (starting with the seats). Next flight to Helsinki via Manchester from Philadelphia in business. Whish me luck!
    Saludos,
    Pepe

  54. Dear Ben,
    Your decription of the 777 BA Business experience was spot on, I did the same trip no so long ago and you made me relive the experience as if I was there all over again. I think you are right, American provides you with a better businnes class service (starting with the seats). Next flight to Helsinki via Manchester from Philadelphia in business. Whish me luck!
    Saludos,
    Pepe

  55. Ben – another great review! Everything you do is perfect and you have the best blog ever! Those people who disagree with you are all haters! Besides being smart and funny you are also gorgeous!
    I adore you and hope you live forever so everyone in the world and in the future can experience your perfection!!

  56. Jordan : Thanks for the info on the cultural differences. I really had no idea, and being from the (US) South, we tend to judge people harshly on manners. Since Brits have such a rep for proper behavior, I would have been offended by the consistent lack of “you’re welcome. ” I appreciate the heads up, and will keep it in mind. Any other differences we might find interesting?
    @Ben, it would be interesting to see mentions of these cultural differences in reviews, when you spot them. Thanks for another great review!

  57. “Since Brits have such a rep for proper behavior, I would have been offended by the consistent lack of ‘you’re welcome.’ I appreciate the heads up, and will keep it in mind. Any other differences we might find interesting?”

    For starters, if a Brit says he’s looking forward to seeing your homely residence when he knocks your sister up tomorrow, resist the urge to punch him out. 😉

  58. Did the BA A380 LAX-LHR upstairs C couple days ago. Aisle seat width fine, but shoulder room lacking, least for me. Plane less than half full. Flight crew all women, and upbeat, nice to have around. Made the mistake (twice) of pressing the attendant call button thinking it was a IFE home function. Food ok, nothing to write home about. Took ten years, but yes first time on A380 for me.

  59. To be fair to Ben this is a far more balanced review of BA J.

    However a couple of things – Brit crews are not the same as American ones. We do not as a rule say “You’re Welcome”, we might say “My pleasure”, but I wouldn’t bank on it. There are cultural differences and that’s a fact. Let’s all try and embrace that.

    My 747 upper deck window J seat was just fine this week – but I agree in that I didn’t fancy the aisle seat much. The crew, who were not all Brits were efficient and polite using my name throughout the service. They certainly didn’t gush. That’s enough for me. The food was better than expected although I didn’t like the wine much – personal choice.

    Flying AA 777 J tomorrow so I look forward to comparing the two.

    But hey I asked you to say something nice about the UK/BA and to be fair you did. The positive comment about BA pilots is noted – and let’s face it it’s much more important to have a pilot who inspires confidence than a FA who doesn’t know what “beets” are.

  60. The strange green plane is a training aircraft used for practice putting out fires and rescuing people from burning aircraft.

  61. The pictures of the seats are enough to prevent me from ever flying J on BA. Although Lucky prefers the window seat, it strikes me as extremely claustrophobic, and I can’t see any reasonable way in or out for a senior. I usually fly UA J TATL, and choose aisle seats. I thought the UA configurations were terrible until seeing pictures of the BA configuration, AA between DFW & HKG with 1-2-1 configuration in J is the best hard product that I have encountered. Maybe if BA had a better hard product, Lucky might be more forgiving of the service lapses, Lastly, Mark Smith has such an obvious pro BA bias that his opinions totally lack credibility.

  62. Ben, love your blog, very informative and entertaining. Everyone should know that a blog is not objective journalism but about sharing subjective opinion. It needs to be taken with a grain of salt. My own opinion about BA Club World:

    Pros:
    – Consistent product across entire fleet
    – I find the seat comfortable, especially as a bed, and have no problem sleeping on it for 6-7 hours on night flights
    – Very private window seats (which I prefer)
    – Seat is not getting narrower towards the foot end, and you do not have to put your feet in a “box”
    – Generally, I find the food quite edible and the service reasonably effective and friendly
    – I can’t really understand the complaints about sitting “face-to-face” with another passenger, don’t find that bothering since it is only in peripheral vision
    – In terms of style, I do like the looks of the cabin and the seats (yes, I am opposed to gold plating and fake wood)

    Cons:
    – The bed is relatively short at only 185 cm. If you are taller, you cannot fully stretch out
    – No unrestricted aisle access for many seats
    – The window seats are in fact a bit awkward to get in and out, and it might be a problem for people who cannot move well
    – There is very little storage space around the seat. The solution for me is to put my laptop bag under the footrest and put everything I need in there. Situation is better on upper deck window seats in A380/B747.

    Bottom line: I have no hesitations flying BA if the price is reasonable. And on my Europe-Asia routes, they are often one of the cheapest with semi-flexible tickets.

  63. @ Ken: If I had the choice between BA and the UA 2-4-2 layout, I would chose BA any day. The big difference is that in the BA arrangement on an aisle seat, you are physically separated from the passenger next to you by a solid barrier. On UA, you sit as close to the passenger next to you as in premium economy.

  64. Well after having tried the AA 777 J seat today I have to agree with Ben to the extent that it is far superior to that offered by BA. I am comparing perhaps BA’s best J seat – upstairs 747, with the best AA J product. There is no comparison – sorry BA – 5 hours straight sleep with AA. Loads of room and much better IFE/Screen. However the food was noticeably better on BA and as for the crews….I had a slight preference for BA although this was personal and I had no difficulties with AA FAs. Whilst I wasn’t impressed with the Admiral’s Club in terminal 8 JFK I would now go out of my way to fly AA 777s to New York over BA. That said I still prefer Virgin UC on this route overall for the sense of fun!

  65. I must agree that I much prefer AA’s business to BA’s business. In fact, I’m just as satisfied with BA’s premium economy as their business seat. For the past couple years, I have only flown American across the Atlantic. My three decade “love affair” with BA has come to an end.

  66. I have flown BA business many times, you are such a snob! You don’t even seem to like other humans.

  67. Maybe they were getting too much positive feedback on the tea and wanted to make the “expericence” worse for biz passangers 🙂

  68. Reading this article I was starting to wonder if this was the same B.A. as the one I frequently use between Brazil and the U.K. I frequently fly Club World (Business) and NEVER have I found the service to be anything other than friendly and professional. Also the food is always good to very good, though I never put too much store on that subject as I don’t like eating too much on a long haul. The seat is comfortable and the flat bed perfect. One aspect I do agree with is the configuration of the middle seats if you’re not flying with a companion, this should be altered. On a recent trip with Delta I found myself constantly comparing them with B.A. and they didn’t score very well that’s for sure! The elderly crew clearly found their job getting beyond them.

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