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We arrived at our gate about 35 minutes before departure to find that boarding had not yet started. However, I’ve found that foreign airlines can get everyone onto an A380 faster than many US carriers could board a 737, so I wasn’t worried about our flight being further delayed.
I headed over to the windows to photograph our aircraft, registered G-XLEK and delivered to BA only a year ago.
Soon enough, boarding began, via two jet bridges (one for first and business class, and one for economy).
British Airways flight 268
Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR)
Seat 14A, Business Class (Club World)
We were unable to reserve seats on the upper deck for this flight, as four seats together on the upper deck were not available, thanks to British Airways’ policy of charging exorbitant fees to select seats in business class until 24 hours before departure. Thusly, I was in seat 14A, a rear-facing window seat towards the rear of the business class cabin, for this flight.
Folding out of the divider between the aisle and the window seat is a personal TV, as well as your tray table and a locker for storing a laptop, shoes, or a camera, or whatever else you can fit in there.
Next to the seat on the left side were the seat controls and the remote which controlled the entertainment system.
While most A380 operators have their upper deck in an entirely premium configuration and the lower deck all economy, British Airways spreads their cabins out, putting first, business, and economy class cabins on the main deck, and business class, premium economy, and economy on the upper deck. The lower deck business class cabin features 42 seats in 6 rows of a 2-4-2 configuration, with seats alternating between facing forward and backward (window and middle seats face backward, and aisle seats face forward). It’s absolutely a good idea to avoid the middle seats if you’re travelling alone, as you’d basically be rubbing shoulders with someone you don’t know (though you might not have any say in the matter, given BA’s seat selection policies). In a middle or window seat, one also has to step over the legs of the person in the aisle seat (if they are reclined) to access the aisle (though a small walkway to fix this issue is being added on BA’s A350’s).
However, the window seat is super private, provided you have the electric divider between seats raised (though the divider must be lowered for takeoff and landing).
As we waited to push back, pre-departure beverages (water, orange juice, or champagne) were passed out, as well as newspapers and amenity kit (which featured a toothbrush, toothpaste, various creams, and an eyemask). Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the contents of the bag.
We began our pushback at about 9:30, though I wasn’t able to photograph any aircraft we passed by, seeing as the A380 wing is perhaps the largest object currently in existence.
We taxied down to the eastern end of LAX’s runway 25R, then rocketed off into the California night, climbing out over the Pacific, making a u-turn and heading northeast for London.
About 15 minutes after departure, the cabin lights were brought up and menus were passed out. I decided against having dinner, seeing as BA’s dinner services (in my experience) end almost a couple of hours after takeoff and I wanted to sleep. The menu read as follows:
I reclined the seat into the fully flat position with the intention of getting some sleep. There is no ottoman or foot cubby built into these seats, though there is a somewhat large-fold down footrest. It’s a somewhat strange thing:
The footrest has several settings (which you have to adjust by manually moving it) and adds a good couple of feet to the length of your bed in the fully flat position.
The blanket was soft and comfortable, though the pillow was a little on the thin side.
I actually slept quite well, waking up about two hours before arrival into London, just as the breakfast service was beginning. I selected a chicken sandwich from the ‘Club Kitchen’ snack menu and fruit and a pastry from the breakfast menu.
The sandwich was warm and quite tasty (and it tasted better than it looked), and the fruit and pastry were nice and fresh. A perfectly good light breakfast.
In general, I’ve found service on BA to be friendly and attentive, and this flight was no exception. As with any airline, there are really friendly FA’s and there are less friendly ones, and I don’t think BA overall has worse service than other airlines flying transatlantic routes, as some say.
The flight attendants began preparing the cabin for landing as we began our descent into LHR. We overflew central London before landing on Heathrow’s northern runway.
Thanks to our forward position on the main deck, we were off the aircraft quickly, and the ride over to the main terminal building was quick as well. Courtesy of the Fast Track immigration services BA offers to premium class passengers and Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members, we avoided the lengthy Heathrow immigration line and made it out into the arrivals hall in record time.
In short, I think BA offers a good transatlantic business class product, though not the best. The hard product is good, offering flat beds (better than one what you’ll get on the older planes of BA’s partner American and competitor Air France), with some seats more private than others. It is strange to have to step over other people’s legs to access the aisle and the middle seats are pretty tight, though for the price we paid I can say that BA offers an incredible value. For those who paid full price, what you’re getting is a perfectly decent product with good service (most of the time), and the judgement on value is up to you.