Airlines lately have been investing quite a lot on advertising, don’t you agree? Earlier I remember seeing only Qantas ads on TV but off late Emirates, Lufthansa, Air Maldives and god knows how many other airlines have started to promote their services through ads. British Airways too launched a big campaign recently and that campaign really caught my attention – remember the Fueled by Love and Go Further to Get Closer ads? Emotional right? Also, surprisingly, when I checked their rate till Seattle, they were almost 5-10K cheaper than other flights and had the least amount of layover.
Happy and emotional – I booked my first ever British Airways flight! The minute I booked my flight from the British Airways site, I was extremely happy about not much added tax to the original price, but what made my day was the baggage allowance. They allowed two standard 23 kg bags and one laptop bag also upto 23 kg initially, but since I was travelling on an F-1 visa I got additional 23 kg for baggage and 23 kg more for cabin – (do the math) total luggage of 92 kg at absolutely no additional cost! Tell me which flight would give you that? On the day on my flight, the ground officials impressed me right away. They were fast, methodical and efficient, but they were also very warm and understanding. At the check-in counter, when they noticed my other cabin bag was also a heavy one (18 instead of 23 kg) and hat I had a flight change at London Heathrow, they actually asked me if I wished to check-in that cabin bag as well (which I did). And after that I had a tiny laptop bag to lug around and was free to explore all the airports I went to! Very accommodating and understanding right?
Now comes the true story of the flight. Economy class, window seat, all-nighter flight to London – I was so scared that I would get no sleep since I decided to not get my neck pillow. But the minute I saw the seat I was in a zen mode to be frank – the seats looked so comfortable compared to the ones of the other international flights I have taken till date! The seats had a soft and shaped headrest and we were given good pillows and blankets (yes they were good so needed to be mentioned). I also managed to keep my laptop bag in front of my seat and still had pretty good amount of leg space to sleep comfortably for 5 hours during my 9 hours’ flight. Of course compared to the Business Class World Traveller Class (my section) had less leg space but it made the journey anything but uncomfortable.
And after people settled in the flight and we were well above the ground started the continuous service of food and drinks! Continuous because it seemed like it went on and on till we reached London and then it was the same scenario from London to Seattle. Being a Hindu Brahmin, I do have some peculiar restriction on food and which I follow ardently, hence I had pre ordered Hindu Meal from the various options British Airways provided us with on their site – which by the way has too many options to choose from! Since my meal was pre ordered it was served separately and before the other meals, but here came the big disappointment. Quantity of the food did not cover up the not so good quality of the food. Maybe after having some amazing meal on my last international flight, my standard for in flight food has gone higher and BA food didn’t even come close on the first flight. But luckily it got way better on the second flight and we were served rice with baby corn and paneer(cottage cheese) curry which finally made me happy again.
The in-flight magazines are not really great but the video service makes up for it big time. From prime time shows to football matches to some amazing movies, it has a lot of options and almost all are really good. I was kind of spoilt for choice during my second flight when I decided to not sleep and enjoy some movies and it literally took me 20 mins to narrow down to two movies. And of course I saw football later – so I was at peace!
In terms of hospitality, British Airways scores a century, clear one. The in flight crew is friendly and very accommodating. But well guess that is with almost every airline, still I am going to give them full credits for making me feel so welcomed and like a VIP when I wasn’t even a business class flyer.
Overall experience with British Airways was quite good – If I forget the food, the in-Flight magazine and the display and confusion at Terminal 5 at Heathrow was a big fiasco – not really BA’s fault but still.
· If you have light sleep and need leg space, I would suggest getting an upgrade.
· Food isn’t great but it is still better to order your food online if you have some particular diet – they have a lot of options.
· Check-in even your cabin bag if you don’t need it much. It would let you move around freely in between flights, and of course be a big relief during any fiasco at gates of the airport. (I was glad I did it)
Have you guys travelled with BA? How was your experience? Do let me know in the comments below.