Review: St. Regis San Francisco
Review: British Airways Lounge San Francisco Airport
Review: British Airways Club World 777 San Francisco To London
Review: St. Regis Rome
Review: Hotel Cala Di Volpe Porto Cervo
Review: Dining At Hotel Cala Di Volpe
Review: Hotel Romazzino Porto Cervo
Review: Dining At Hotel Romazzino
Review: Hilton Rome Airport
Review: British Airways Lounge Rome Airport
Review: British Airways Club World A380 London To San Francisco
As many of you may know, I reviewed British Airways business class last year, on the A380 from Los Angeles to London, and on the 777 from London to Los Angeles. To say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement, especially on the outbound flight, where the service was horrible. I was curious to see how this experience compared.
British Airways 284
San Francisco (SFO) – London (LHR)
Friday, September 9
Arrive: 11:05AM (+1 day)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 12B (Business Class/Club World)
We boarded through door L2, where we were greeted by the customer service director (CSD), and pointed right towards our seats. On the British Airways 777-300 there are 14 first class seats in front of door L2, and then the entire business class cabin is behind it. The business class cabin has 56 seats seats, with eight seats per row, in a 2-4-2 configuration.
We had selected seats 12A & 12B, which were the aisle and window combo in the third row of business class.
I wanted Ford to have the better seat so I selected 12B. As you can see in the picture, these seats are narrow, and there’s virtually no privacy or separation between the aisle seat and the aisle.
The window seat is just as narrow, though at least a bit more private if you raise the partition between seats (which can only be done after takeoff).
The window seat feels like a bit of a cocoon, and there’s a footrest that folds down from the seat in front of you (or since this seat is rear facing, I suppose from the seat behind you). The catch is that the footrest is really flimsy, and if you apply any pressure to it, it’ll just “crack” and fall to the floor.
The seats have a lack of storage, aside from a small compartment underneath the center console. It’s maybe big enough for an iPad, but not big enough for a laptop. That’s also where the power ports are located — there’s both a 110v and USB outlet.
The seat controls are also attached to the center console, and are easy to use.
Next to that are the entertainment controls.
Waiting at our seats on boarding were the pillow and blanket. British Airways has some of the worst premium cabin pillows of any airline, as they’re extremely thin. The blankets are a bit scratchy, though overall fine.
There were also headphones waiting at our seat, though I used my Bose QC35s throughout the flight.
Within a few minutes of settling in, one of the friendly flight attendants came by to offer us pre-departure beverages, with the choice between water, orange juice, and champagne. I could tell this crew was significantly friendlier than the crew I had on my previous flight to London on British Airways.
About 10 minutes later the crew came around with amenity kits, or perhaps more accurately, amenity “sacks.”
They’re pretty basic though have all the essentials, including eyeshades, a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, cream, etc.
Another five minutes later the crew came through with menus. I don’t envy the crews working the Club World cabin, especially during boarding. All premium economy and economy passengers also walk through the cabin, and the aisles are very narrow, so it’s not so easy for the crew to go about their business.
By 4:25PM all the doors were closed with every seat on the plane taken, at which point the captain came on the PA to inform us of our flight time of 9hr30min, expecting we’d be “nicely on shed-jewel at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5.”
Moments later the CSD, Michael, made his welcome aboard announcement, after which he screened the safety video.
We pushed back by 4:30PM and began our taxi out to runway 28L. We first taxied past a Virgin Atlantic 787, and then past some Southwest planes.
We first taxied out past runways 1L & 1R.
Then we taxied along the water down to runway 28L & 28R, where we’d be taking off from.
By 4:45PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 28L, where we had a fairly quick takeoff roll.
The views on the climb out were gorgeous, as it was a stunning afternoon.
As we climbed out I turned on the airshow, which allows you to zoom in or zoom out as much as you’d like.
I then browsed the entertainment selection, which is fine though not in the same league as some of the better systems out there.
About 15 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, at which point the crew closed the curtain between the cabin and the galley.
About 20 minutes after takeoff the CSD came through the cabin to welcome everyone aboard and to take meal orders. I thought it was a nice touch that he did it himself.
The menu read as follows:
And the beverage list read as follows:
The meal service began with warm towels being distributed. British Airways seems to use the same cheap towels as US carriers.
30 minutes after takeoff drinks were served. I ordered the Italian white wine, and it was served with packaged mixed nuts. The flight attendant working our aisle, Angela, was super fun and friendly.
What was a bit disappointing is that it took a full hour after the drinks were served (so 90 minutes after takeoff) before the appetizer and starter were served. I assume most passengers are trying to maximize sleep on this flight, so waiting until 90 minutes after takeoff for the appetizer is a bit ridiculous, especially when there’s no “express dining” option on British Airways.
For the appetizer I selected the salmon, which wasn’t very good at all. It was flavorless and tasted soggy.
Meanwhile Ford had the goat’s cheese appetizer.
The salad was a bit better, however.
I was also offered a selection from the bread basket.
Also on the appetizer tray was a piece of packaged chocolate, perhaps because they realize how slow the service is. 😉
It was another 30 minutes after the appetizer was served before the main was served. I ordered the fish, and it was tasteless and way overcooked.
Meanwhile Ford had the short rib, which he also said was way overcooked (admittedly it was short rib so is supposed to be well done, but still apparently it was really overcooked).
Another 20 minutes later the dessert was served. I had the cheesecake, and it was excellent.
After dinner bottled water was distributed.
We had a beautiful view of the sunset during the dinner service.
Altogether the dinner service took over 2hr30min, and we were approaching the Great Lakes by the time it was done.
The crew was really friendly and professional, though I can’t get over how drawn out the service is. It’s one thing if it were a great meal, but waiting 90 minutes for the meal service to even begin is a bit ridiculous, in my opinion.
It’s not like British Airways has a dine on demand or express dining option, so if you want to eat that’s just how long it’s going to take. If they can’t speed up the meal pace, perhaps they should do something similar to Air Canada’s late night departures out of Toronto to Europe, where everything is served on a single tray.
After dinner I quickly headed to the restroom. There are four restrooms for business class, and they’re all located behind the cabin. That makes it a bit tricky to use the restrooms during the service, since there’s a single big business class cabin, so if the cart is in the aisle there’s no good way to walk around it.
After dinner the lights were dimmed and I reclined my seat. I was super tired at this point, so despite the subpar pillow and narrow seat, I slept just fine for about five hours, and woke up about two hours before landing in London. That’s about as good of a night of sleep as I can hope for on a transatlantic flight.
I browsed the entertainment selection, and decided to watch a couple of episodes of “The Goldbergs,” which is a pretty funny show.
Within about 30 minutes of waking up the cabin lights were turned up in anticipation of the breakfast service.
The breakfast menu read as follows:
I ordered the muesli and a croissant to start, and was also offered coffee and a smoothie (both of which were pretty good).
For the main course I selected the frittata, which was excellent.
About 45 minutes before landing the first officer made the pre-landing announcement, informing us that we’d be landing in London at around 10:25AM. Shortly thereafter we began our descent, and about 15 minutes later the seatbelt sign was turned on.
The descent was smooth, and fortunately we didn’t even have to enter a holding pattern, which seems rare nowadays.
We touched down at 10:25AM, and from there had a roughly 15 minute taxi to our gate at Terminal 5.
We taxied past Terminal 3, which is used by American, Virgin Atlantic, some British Airways flights, etc.
Then we finally arrived at Terminal 5, which is used primarily by British Airways.
We pulled into our gate at 10:40AM, nicely ahead of schedule.
British Airways Club World bottom line
On the plus side, the crew on this flight was extremely friendly and professional. I also thought I got a great deal at ~$1,150 roundtrip in business class.
That being said, in comparison to most other transatlantic business class products, British Airways falls short in most other ways.
The main meal wasn’t very good, and was far too drawn out. It shouldn’t take nearly three hours to be served a simple meal on an overnight flight. It’s one thing if the food were actually good, but waiting an hour between a disappointing starter and a disappointing main is… disappointing.
My thoughts on the British Airways Club
Coffin World seat are well documented, so I don’t have to say much there.
So to sum it up, this was probably my all around most pleasant Club World experience, but that’s not saying all that much.