Posts in the “Economy Class” category...
British Airways has revealed some details of the layout and style of its forthcoming Airbus A380 ‘SuperJumbo’ aircraft, due to enter service later this year. The images take the form of a YouTube video.
Those with an eye for detail will probably be most interested in the following time-stamped screen-grabs from the video:
00:15 – The new First Class cabin, which shows a more spacious and rectalinear layout to the seats, compared to the airline’s Boeing 777 and Boeing 747 cabins:
00:18 – World Traveller Plus seats, as already in service on selected Boeing 777s:
00:20 – Upper Deck Club World outboard seats, featuring the A380′s signature under-window storage units:
00:26 – Upper Deck World Traveller outboard seating, again showing the under-window storage units:
00:32 – Upper Deck Club World inboard seats, which for the first time offer a single central seat and appears to benefit from additional width to the passenger’s right hand side:
The new aircraft is scheduled to enter longhaul service on routes to Los Angeles (15th October 2013) and Hong Kong (15th November 2013), although it’s expected that passengers’ first opportunity to see the latest addition to the fleet will be on shorthaul ‘familiarisation’ flights between London Heathrow and Madrid Barajas airports.
No dates or times have yet been published for these flights, which will provide cabin and flight deck crew with the opportunity to perfect service and operational routines in the shortest possible time. With longhaul service due from October however, familiarisation flights are likely to commence in late August or early September.
Meanwhile, special fares from £494 return to Los Angeles, and from £556 return to Hong Kong have been loaded, for bookings made by 15th March 2013. To check whether a particular flight is scheduled to be A380-operated, click on the flight number shown on the ‘fare matrix’ on the British Airways website. If you’re looking at a connecting itinerary, you will need to click the ‘Show Journey Details +’ button first:
It’s possible to combine an A380 flight in one direction with a B777 or B747 flight in the other (depending on route) and special fares will earn Avios, Tier Points and OnBusiness points based on the passenger’s status.
For more information and to book seats on the currently scheduled flights, visit ba.com.
by Continental Club on March 13, 2012 | 4 comments
It appears that the next British Airways sale of seats in their World Traveller (economy) and World Traveller Plus (premium economy) cabins from the United Kingdom is being loaded today in preparation for launch on Thursday 15 March 2012. Various travel departures up to 31 January 2013 and 90 destinations worldwide are slated to feature.
Fares for flight-only offers include New York from £396 return and Los Angeles from £449; Dubai from £410 and Bordeaux £98.
Members of the British Airways Executive Club may be particularly interested in the inclusion of World Traveller Plus premium economy flight-only fares in the sale; such fares may be upgraded (subject to availability) to Club World business class using Avios points.
Past experience suggests that fares will be progressively loaded during the day so it will be worth checking the British Airways Low Fare Finder on ba.com throughout the day to see when the new fares appear.
The best availability tends to be before mass-marketing commences on the official launch date.
Bookings must be made by 27 March 2012.
For a full list of currently available destinations and starting fares, scroll down or click ‘READ MORE’ below:
A customer walks into a car dealership. No, not a joke, just an analogy. So, a customer walks into a car dealership and orders a new car. Of course, these days they may not even walk into a dealership; they might just sit down at a laptop and type an order online. Or pull out an iPad and configure the specification with a few sweeps of the screen. Well, assuming that the website isn’t written with Flash.
But I digress.
The customer chooses the model and the colour and all the extras, and does a little dealing on the price. If they’re lucky, they gets floormats and mudflaps, a tank of fuel and six months’ tax thrown in.
A couple of days or weeks later, the shiny new motor is transportered to the dealer, or sometimes even right to the customer’s front door; payment is confirmed and everything’s good to go.
It’s not a lot like that with a Boeing.
First of all, there’s no dealership. Secondly, their products take a while to build. Thirdly, you usually have to go and get them from the factory yourself. And fourthly, when you do rock up to collect a new one, the model and the colour will be spot-on, but you’re probably going to need to fit some of those optional extras yourself.
Of course, you could just buy a standard version; something that everyone else has got and drive it straight to work. But if you’ve got the chance to personalise it, the chance to do something a bit different, then why wouldn’t you?
Which brings us to Seattle. Or should I say Everett. And by us I mean eight of us; bloggers, writers, travellers, passengers: customers – strangers to each other nearly-all. And British Airways, our hosts, whose Boeing we’d come to coo over.
We eight checked-in at Heathrow, and it didn’t take long for the passion for travel to spill forth. By boarding time, any casual observer would assume that they’d stumbled upon a regular reunion, not a minutes-old introduction. Experience, opinion and impressions flowed, from Executive Club Blue members to Premiers and vice versa, through Silvers and Golds between, such that the flight West was over before we knew it – as if our Queen of The Skies had had her skirts picked up by Concorde, and her stateliness sent supersonic.
The Pacific Northwest brought no respite from the buzz. Iconic planes aplenty at The Museum of Flight. Emerald-filmed freighters on the 747-8 production line. Dreamliners by the dozen inching towards hangar doors the size of football pitches. And now forty more folks to share our awe, drawn from every corner of BA. From offices to operations. From desks to decks. From headquarters to hangars. Recognised for exceptional performance for those usually behind-the-scenes; for the highest customer satisfaction scores for those on-stage and front-of-house. To schedule, to serve. To maintain, to serve. To procure, to serve. To Fly, To Serve.
We boarded a bus and rolled in the rain between factory and the Future of Flight. Looking across the aisle, past seatbacks embroidered with Boeing logos, through water-beaded windows, rows of almost unreconcileable technological achievement stood ready to soar skyward.
And inside this aviation delivery room, itself a vast space but one still dwarfed by the production facilities across Paine Field, tables and chairs were set out in front of a bolted, rivetted and crimped Pan Am 737 cross-section. Next to it, a similarly-sliced 787 fuselage was by contrast smoothly-fused, and warm to the touch.
But all eyes were on British Airways and Boeing representatives, emerging with the signed Birth Certificate and ready to commence the delivery room speech. Thirty-foot high black drapes behind them parted to reveal grey but drying skies, and beneath them the newborn – the glossy, gleaming, factory-fresh Triple Seven.
The scarlet-painted stairs we’d ascend were in place, with the bowed red ribbon ready to cut. And under the flight deck window, the name ‘Irene’ was stencilled in royal blue on to the fresh white paint in honour of the most VIP of our assembled throng – one of the operating flight crew’s 75 year old Mum – along for the ride as a special surprise birthday present.
The official scissors were wielded by the winner of a ballot the night before, with the crew and Irene looking on. Four dozen cameras were passed around to record the moment. The man from Boeing snapped from every angle. Then we retreated inside for final preparations to board.
Luggage (mostly spotter-goodies procured only moments before from the Boeing Store next door) was meticulously X-rayed and bodies scanned through the arch. Passports checked and bon voyages issued, we climbed the claret stairway to 777, and the ‘new plane smell’ wafted over us as we crossed the threshold.
Sole seats aboard were in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins, the latest products to fly with British Airways and three at least for each excited passenger. Carry-ons were soon gulped-up into the vast overhead bins.
With forty five minutes to departure, there was time to tour – starting with a one-at-a-time glimpse of the dashboard; 21st century displays on a flight deck as spacious as a Stratocruiser. Acres of brown plastic last seen in Cagney & Lacey’s Dodge Diplomat. The office with the best views of the World.
Next, the Cabin Service Director’s (or Customer Service Manager’s) station, just aft of the cockpit door. Nerve-centre for delivery of onboard operations.
Then to the First Class galley, an empty honeycomb of cart bays and stowage racks; oven voids and chiller fans; switches and buttons to control the yet-to-be-slotted-in kit. But one appliance was already there, primed to dispense the rocketfuel that will wake thousands of slumberers in the years to come.
We walked onward, to the First Class cabin, a hybrid of fully-finished BA bulkheads, curtains and brushed steel skirting, atop factory contract flooring and ex-works wall panels. Like a gallery waiting for its artworks to be installed. For here, in a few short weeks, will be leather-trimmed mini-suites, deep pile carpets and blue-washed blinds.
Behind the gallery, a Business Class ballroom, once more skirted and bulkheaded as she’ll continue to be, but yet to receive the lampshades and Speedmarque, seatbeds and carpets that will complete Club World.
And in the absence of those fittings, along the cabin’s port side, a special grab rope in case of turbulence should crew be caught when passing through.
Through another curtain and it was familar and yet new. The latest wide-backed World Traveller Plus seats, their casings bathed blue with Speedmarque screensavers. Dark navy upholstery and smart carpeting.
Still further we roamed, to equally-new World Traveller seats, with their hammock headrests, glowing screens, USB ports and RCA jacks.
Reversible remote controls for TV and audio, games and messaging, call buttons and lights; more brushed metal for the coathook trayclamp.
Then to the very tail of the bird, to an even bigger honeycomb than that at the nose. Slots and voids hungry to swallow half a day’s sustenance for two hundred or more.
Ranks of tea and coffee makers waited to welcome their stainless steel vessels.
More buttons, more switches; more knobs and more dials – a miniature flightdeck for feeding.
And did you miss it? That door? The one that would be a loo but there’s no ‘Vacant’ or ‘Occupied’ sign glowing. Look carefully: it wasn’t a cupboard. But remember too: only one per bunk.
High above the passengers, atop a tight half-turn staircase, were eight pullman berths with bedbelts and reading lights; dimmer and call-light, the latter for when the rester must return to the workplace below.
And back down there by that rearmost left hand door, Extension 15 of the onboard switchboard.
It was time to fly though, so we settled into our spaced-out places and each took a just-printed safety card, slipped from its cellophane wrap. Our operating captain took the handset of Extension 24 and delivered his welcome in person; each line of the UK Civil Aviation Authority-mandated announcement explained. We knew before that BA9176E was to be operated by British Airways. We learnt then that it’s the law to remind us.
Our cabin crew took over for the demonstration; word-perfect and live. No Lynn West. Beaming smiles. They were clearly enjoying it as much as we were, but they still had a job to do. Belts and backrests were checked. Big wheelies in the overheads? Good. Little wheelies all the way under the seats in front. Electronics away. Mugplugs out. Pointless a crew shouting Brace, Brace and Come This Way if we were all wired into The Best of The Grateful Dead.
Were the seatbacks on parade? Standing to attention to mark their first passenger flight? The GE90s spooled, each the diameter of a 737 cabin and, outside in the rain, one of those waving Future of Flight volunteers, in his Hi-Viz jacket, filmed our taxi, our roll, our full-power ascent from the Snohomish County tarmac into the evening sky.
It was bumpy. Very bumpy. We were light and we were bouncy. Seatbelt lights above us stayed on until long after we’d breached the cloudtops and we were heading higher through the jetstreams.
Buckle lights chimed off at last, and World Traveller Plus was designated the dining room. There was an ante room in the first row behind too, for the latecomers loathe to leave their windows.
It was a magical mystery tour for the crew as they liberated the Boeing catering. Pacific North West beer; Washington wines. Shrimp, salmon and crab claws; salad, and to finish: cheesecake. Who knew that there was chicken or beef too? And who wasn’t already too full to eat it?
Conversation flowed as the night wrapped itself around us; passengers swapping seats and stories, meeting those we’d not yet spoken to and learning all about them. The Aurora Borealis danced greens and blues across the Northern skies as we knelt in the First Class gallery, watching the live artshow framed by the port side windows.
The crew found mini tubs of ice cream, and we sat around the dancefloor in that Business Class ballroom, chatting to those with whom we’d still not been acquainted – talking fuel and freight, ramps and repairs, catering and customers.
When we could talk no more, the lights were dimmed in the World Traveller bedroom, armrests were lifted and Mr Sandman lulled the excited but exhausted to sleep.
But some couldn’t rest for long and the shadows of the half light brought new sights to see. The bulk of the doors with their slides smoothly-encased, curving away into a dusky cabin….
Crew service panels glowing blue in softly-lit corners.
Landing lights of seatback screens beneath a cerulean sky….
Waves of sculptured bins in the ballroom….
Unique icons where Ying and Yang will soon waltz….
And lowered eyelids in the scalloped sockets of gallery walls….
When resistance became futile, even the most awed slippedaway to dream, but as the light returned we were descending towards Wales and our day-old Boeing’s Cardiff maternity ward.
The GEs coasted as we approach the cloud tops, reflecting our vantage point alongside.
Their softly-rounded profile disguised their scale, with their pylons appearing like slender forearms to lightly grasp them.
The vortices around them invisible in the transparency of clear air….
…. and only the central swirl and the up-tick of the wing tip giving something away of the forces at play.
And those forces weren’t just at altitude, for as we apprached the runway, a crosswind would be welcoming our half-furnished ‘plane without bulk luggage or cargo; light of fuel and passengers, and with a three-storey vertical stabiliser to catch the breeze. Our flight crew requested that we all be seated in the first rows of the dining room to minimise the additional lateral forces once earthbound again.
We shimmied as we settled on the suspension stops, but the snaking was checked and with the nosewheel planted we were dead ahead for deceleration.
Breakfast time in Cardiff looked a carbon copy of the Washington weather just left.
It wasn’t just us that had returned though; so had those gargantuan GEs, now scaled against the dimensions of the real world on an airport apron.
Irene had the Red Dragon flying from her flight deck, as we parted from the newest member of the family….
….and we took one last look back over our shoulders….
….and up at the wing that had carried us….
…before we handed Irene back to her midwives at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff; to dress her up and to discharge her, fresh and ready to head home for the first time to Heathrow.
And we boarded another bus, wondering whether Boeing had indeed chucked in a free tank of fuel and six months’ tax.
Continental Club travelled as a guest of British Airways and The Boeing Company.
This article is winner of the FlyerTalk British Airways Executive Club Trip Report Of The Year 2012 Award.
For in the past few months, Continental Club seems to have been reprising travels of yore with some regularity.
On this occasion then, our mind is cast back to the middle of a sultry 1981 night; a night further laden with excitement and expectation, as CC took to the skies for the very first time.
Destination: Malta. Airline: Air Malta. ETD: 02:00hrs.
Regular readers may already have suffered a slight cardiac flutter with the news that such a class of travel exists, if not a full-blown arrest at the revelation that continentalclub has sampled such a thing. Nevertheless and in the name of research, your intrepid reporter has done just that and lives to tell this tale.
Granted, a slightly shorter sample would have been sufficient, but we were in Hong Kong and we needed to get to Auckland, so eleven-and-a-bit hours it would have to be.
by Continental Club on May 28, 2009 | Leave a comment
The valiant voyagers who make it through the Maginot Line of security and duty free at Newcastle Airport may seek refuge and rejuvenation in one of three lounges. British Airways operates its own Terraces Lounge for eligible passengers, flybe has recently opened a facility and all other airlines use the Cheviot Lounge, which is also open to Priority Pass cardholders and guests who have booked and paid-for access in advance through a variety of online booking agents, including Priority Pass themselves.
The lounge is spacious and affords good views of almost all the apron stands, with even the furthest gate being an unhindered 5 minute walk away.
Plentiful armchair seating is augmented by a number of workstations, and there’s a wide selection of newspapers and magazines to while away the waiting time. Refreshments are limited to a bean-to-cup coffee machine, reasonable bar of soft and alcoholic drinks, crisps, biscuits and pretzels. This is not a place for pre-flight dining, it’s really just a retreat from the hubris of the public areas outside.
There are toilets and information screens within the lounge, although the latter annoyingly scrolls through arrivals and sundry advertisements before the departures page eventually flicks up again.
There are no boarding announcements, so it pays to keep an eye on the screen, before the two minute walk to Gate 3 for British Airways departures is commenced.
Swissport handle BA’s ground operations at Newcastle, but boarding by row number and priority priority for Silver and Gold cardholders is a complete and utter mystery to them. The gate lounge doesn’t quite have enough seats to accomodate the full passenger complement of an Airbus A321, so there’s usually a certain amount of standing before the scrum to board.
Nevertheless, once down the jetty, we’re greeted at the aircraft door by name and our Purser offers to hang my jacket as soon as the flow of boarders has slowed. Somehow, neither of these events came as much of a surprise, as I’ve now developed an innate ability to reasonably reliably rate a crew from about two thirds of the way along the airbridge, as soon as they’ve come into view. I’m not yet able to provide a written checklist of characteristics to look for but, whatever the subliminal signals are, they seem pretty rock-solid as indicators of how the entire flight will progress. It therefore followed that the safety demonstration was carried out promptly and professionally and, once airborne, service began swiftly with the correct front-to-back process followed, food first and immediately continued with the bar cart. The BA sandwich twin-pack continues to be a lamentable offering, but better than nothing and washed down with a Coca Cola it would keep the pangs at bay for the duration of the flight. Having packed all the associated detritus away into the (supplied) waste bag, I kept my milk and stirrer out, just in case there was a second pass of coffee. As it happened, there wasn’t but instead the Purser, who subsequently passed down the aisle and was clearly paying attention to her cabin, re-emerged immediately from the galley and offered tea or coffee, saying ‘I saw you had your milk there.’ Top marks for attention, there. The cabin was clean and in good condition, with the seat back pockets neat and fully-stocked. The aircraft carried the new 3D version of ‘Airshow’ to keep track of progress towards the capital. The flight itself was just 45 minutes on a Friday evening, with no hold for Heathrow and a clear run on to the glide path for runway 27R. This Westerly approach gave us a very short taxi to Terminal 5 where, joy of joys, the guidance system was switched on and we swung straight on to stand. Jetty attached and doors opened, the completely full flight disembarked more than 10 minutes ahead of scheduled arrival time, a situation which is becoming increasingly common at the now smooth-running T5.
Final Verdict for British Airways UK Domestic: 8/10. The Purser and her crew were on-the-ball, although ground handling is ripe for improvement in terms of the boarding process and BA should invest in affording premium cabin passengers the opportunity to make use of security ‘Fast Track’. Security itself was dreadful, though outwith BA’s control, but there’s an obvious opportunity for the home airline to seize the initiative in that space and counter Emirates’ publicity with some far more credible messages of its own.
The British Airports Authority, now known as BAA plc and in charge of the security operation at Heathrow, would appear to be in something of a schizophrenic mood when it comes to the policing of their Heath Robinson-style trays, scanners and arches at Terminal 5 however.
A couple of weeks ago, one of their constables of the conveyor belt decided to apply a zero-tolerance approach to some mashed potato which, inexplicably, appeared to be a liquid or gel in his black and white eyes. Confiscated it was and the poor passenger proceeded veg-less.
Meanwhile, the policing of the system’s Fast Track lane is rather more liberal. Approaching the guardian of the tensa-barrier, he simply said ‘Fast Track, Sir?’ And I simply said ‘Yes.’ Despite the fact that I did, of course, have the appropriate authority in my pocket, the simple utterance of an affirmative seemed to do the trick and I was through and out of the other side in 90 seconds. Whilst undoubtedly quick, one assumes that this somewhat laissez-faire attitude might ultimately cause one or two problems, but I shall leave you to ponder what those might be.
Lounges apart, Terminal 5 presents a never-ending selection of opportunities to liberate currency from your credit card, as long as you can manage to avoid gassing yourself with the stomach-churning aromas eminating from the fast-food outlet at the head of the North escalators.
When boarding is announced, it’s pleasing to see that gate staff are finally getting the hang of boarding by row number and priority/at leisure boarding for shiny cardholders and business class passengers. A little more work to do on this though, as Club World passengers were summoned to this flight – which as a short haul operation was, to be accurate, offering a Club Europe cabin.
The jetty pre-assessment of the crew suggested ‘good-not-great’, which again proved to be reasonably accurate. During the short, early-morning flight, service extends to a hot sandwich in EuroTraveller, and a tea and coffee run. With the humungous Sofitel breakfast still heavy on the belly, the sandwich was politely declined and coffee accepted instead. Which was, to be honest, pretty rotten but at least hot and wet.
Arriving early into Zurich, it was a short walk to the airport’s transit system, and one of those little things that gladden the heart every now and again; in this case, the high-speed video welcome from Heidi as the train shoots down its subterranean tube. It’s not the smoothest of rides however, so Heidi is a bit jiggly:
Passing through immigration and customs is fast and typically-Swiss in its efficiency, before exiting into the arrivals concourse. The quickest and best value way to reach the city is by train, and the station is a short walk across the forecourt and into another terminal area which is built above the platforms.
Tickets can be purchased from machines which take cash only, and cash or card. There’s a bank and an ATM in the vicinity, and a ticket office for advice, information or more complicated requirements than can be fulfilled by the machines.
Particularly good value is the Zurichcard at a cost of CHF38, which affords unlimited tram and train travel for 72 hours within the Zurich canton, as well as numerous other attraction entry and travel benefits. I couldn’t immediately see a button on the machine for the card (which is oddly only available for either 24 hours or 72 hours, but not 48), so the ticket office was called upon instead.
Trains leave for the city every 10-15 minutes, with a variety of train types to be seen as the airport is on a mainline route. Some are sleek InterCity style models, others more run-of-the-mill double-decker commuter contraptions.
All are clean, comfortable and spacious and take just 15 minutes to reach the city centre; look for Zurich Hauptbahnhof on the platform information boards.
Final verdict for British Airways Euro Traveller: 7.5/10. There’s not a lot of scope to shine on these shorthaul flights, but with seats no narrower than Club Europe and the same on-time departure and arrival as the front of the aircraft, there was little to consider unsatisfactory with the service. T5 was a breeze to get through (although BAA’s security shenanigans are trying) and the service on board was friendly. The British Airways short haul seat remains one of the more comfortable too, in my opinion.
by Continental Club on May 28, 2009 | Leave a comment
The Swiss, of course, are famous for their clockery. They’re also rather renowned for their railways. Combine the two, and Swiss Railways are a by-word for punctuality.
So it was something of a surprise that our train to the airport left the Hauptbahnhof almost 20 minutes late. Having said that, by the time the guard had articulately made his sincere apologies in three languages, citing some unspecified technical glitch as the cause of the delay, we were almost arriving at our destination. The train was, as it had been on arrival, clean, comfortable and quick, and all trains bound for the airport and beyond are clearly identified with the ‘Flughafen’ designation on the Hauptbahnhof destination boards.
British Airways utilistes Check In Area 2 and offers both traditional desks and self-service machines, the latter capable of processing passengers for half a dozen airlines.
Passing through the boarding pass check and security, there’s a decent selection of shopping and refreshment options, before signposts to the E Gates lead BA passengers down an escalator and towards the Skymetro transit shuttle.
Having been welcomed by Heidi on the inbound journey, Skymetro passengers are treated to reminders of the Helvetic countryside as they whizz past the tunnel-wall video screens and shoot on down the tube towards the train’s terminus.
The E Gates are not havens of retail abundance, but the Bellevue Lounge provides a warm welcome for British Airways Club Europe passengers and Silver and Gold card holders, as well as Priority Pass lounge access members.
The access to the lounge, however, is through a slightly tatty space which has an air of no-one being quite sure what to do with it.
Once reached, the lounge is spacious with dining, lounging and work areas, all overlooking the aprons and runways of the airport.
The self service bar area presents a generous selection of well-chilled soft drinks and beers, premium spirits, wine and prosecco. There are cascades of nuts, pretzels, gummi bears and savoury snacks, as well as abundant fruit.
There are also platters of sandwiches, a crock of soup, hunks of crusty bread and delectable chunks of cake.
There’s even a feature fireplace, which is presumably particularly enjoyable on cold winter days.
Flights are not called in this shared lounge, but screens are clearly visible. It’s not too long a walk back through no-man’s land and past a handful of gate lounges and a chocolatier’s kiosk, to the gates used by British Airways.
It’s not immediately apparent whether priority boarding facilities are offered, however, nor how efficient the overall process is (although it surely will be; it’s Switzerland after all). The lack of visibility is merely a function of the load on this RJ100-operated flight to London City airport – just 1 Club Europe passenger and 17 Euro Travellers.
In order to trim the small aircraft, Euro Traveller seat allocations have all been made from row 10 back, so there’s a significant void between the lone premium passenger and the hoi polloi up the back. The curtain separator, only in place on the occupied starboard side and in its furthest forward position, is rendered almost redundant by the gulf of vacant seats.
Push back is right on time and the crew complete the safety demonstration with a passenger almost equal to First Class on a BA Boeing 777. Once airborne in the aircraft once dubbed the ‘whisper jet’ but now rather noisy compared to more modern equipment, the crew begin service promptly. There’s a bar service, a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich in a ‘Deli Bag’ (far better than that offered on UK domestic services) and tea and coffee.
The light load makes the cabin more comfortable than it would otherwise be; most operators of the RJ100 and the BAe146 upon which it was developed utilise a 5 abreast seating format, but British Airways have always shoe-horned 6 in. For those slim-of-hip, it’s not a major issue, except for those in the A and F-designated seats, who’ll find that the seat headrest is actually cut out slightly to accommodate the curvature of the cabin wall. Taller and wider passengers are therefore very firmly advised to avoid these window seats.
The flight is smooth and quick, lengthened only slightly by the necessary of an approach into the Docklands airport from the West. Once on the ground, there’s the trademark pirhouette at the end of the runway, essential thanks to the narrow spit of land upon which its built and the lack of any parallel taxiways.
Disembarkation is through both the front and rear doors, which seems a touch of overkill for the 18 passengers, but it allows the swiftest of passages from the aircraft, straight through passport control and customs, and out into the dinky terminal concourse and the forecourt outside within 5 minutes of doors opening.
Years ago, this is what all our UK regional airports were like; perhaps the physical constraints of City’s location will mean that it’s the only one which is likely to remain this way. It’s almost certainly a character that will be hugely appreciated by passengers on British Airways’ forthcoming service to New York.
Final verdict for British Airways Euro Traveller: 7.5/10. It’s difficult to rate a flight which was so clearly under-loaded, almost certainly as a result of the mid-Bank Holiday weekend timing. Having said that, Zurich Airport and the Bellevue Lounge were joys to use, the cabin crew on board were still motivated despite the low load, the catering was marginally better than other BA services and London City is a superb airport too. The aircraft, soon to be replaced by new Embraer jets, was cramped and noisy, which would undoubtedly have been an issue with a full load, but the short flight time means that even this wouldn’t have been a huge problem. A very pleasant experience.