Note: I took this flight in March 2017, before the new First class and Business class improvements were implemented. I am only publishing this report as a means to index my flight reviews. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane!
British Airways offers the better first class experience from London to Miami. Although they do not offer wifi, and a mediocre First Class product overall, BA has an improved product over AA First Class. If the airline plans on competing with other carriers, such as Air France and SWISS, they need to up their game.
The Good: Solid food options for the flight to Miami.
The Bad: Lackluster overall product, hefty fuel surcharges on award tickets.
The Noteworthy: There isn’t much to note, except that Miami flights depart from Terminal 3.
Arrival at Gate
British Airways uses a variety of gates at Terminal 3. This flight, alongside some of their 746 flights, depart from the very farthest gates from the main passenger area. It took me some 15 minutes to get there, walking at a brisk pace. Once there, there were two American Airlines flights finishing up boarding, one was heading to Miami. I had arrived about 20 minutes before boarding was scheduled to begin. At that point, there were still no gate agents at the desk, but there were already signs pointing how boarding would work.
About 10 minutes before boarding was scheduled to begin, agents arrived and prepared the gate. They were very efficient, as they were done by the time boarding was to start. They began lining up people in the economy lanes, as well as Club World Passengers. First class passengers were allowed their own boarding lane.
Airline: British Airways
Cabin: First Class
Flight Number: BA209
Since I have already explained much of the cabin and the design in my previous post off my flight from Johannesburg, I will be a bit concise here. The seats are lie flat, exposed suited. The seats themselves are comfortable and ample, and they offer a good amount of storage space. Each seat has a small locker, where you can store your carry-on bag, and hang your clothes.
The cabin has some very nice finishes and detailing, and it feels extremely elegant. The stairs leading up to the upper deck look very refined.
For another review of BA First Class, Cabin and Amenities see also British Airways First Class JNB-LHR Review.
Upon settling in, I was handed an amenity kit, headphones, slippers and PJs. The flight attendant also came by offering pre-departure beverages.
The amenity kit had the same amenities as the previous one, with Refinery products. The PJs were also the same, but did not say A380. I had gotten some a few years back when I flew from LHR to LAX on the A380.
Departure and Take Off
The flight was boarded fairly quickly, and the captain came on the PA to announce he expected an on time departure, and early arrival. We had a few nice views while prepared for departure. I was surprised to see that Virgin Atlantic calls itself Britain’s flag carrier. I’m not taking sides here, but it’s just weird the notion of flag carriers, when a company isn’t owned by the government. We took off after a longer than usual take-off roll, mainly because of how big the A380 is.
About 15 minutes after a smooth but gradual climb, the captain turned off the seat belt sign. At this point, the purser welcomed everyone on board and introduced herself. While she did that, the flight attendants in First began to take orders from the passengers. The menu read as follows:
Given a full load in First class, I was limited to one appetizer, something that isn’t an issue when I travel in business class on other airlines. I was upset, but didn’t really make a fuss about it. The meal began with warmed mixed nuts, which had sweetened nuts which I LOVE. They came with your choice of drinks.
The table was prepared very similarly to how it was on the previous flight from JNB. It is a very elegant spread, with salt and pepper grinders which I appreciated.
The salad was delivered with the soup, and came with its own dressing dispenser. BA also has pink colored water glasses, and I am a fan of them. The pumpkin soup was delicious and I really enjoyed that it was hot but not scorch-your-tongue hot.
For the main course I ordered the Chicken and leek pie. The crust was a bit dry, but the flavor was perfect, it was oh-so-British. I skipped the dessert because I was both full and dead tired.
Note on service: The crew was much more enthusiastic and willing to help out on this flight than on my JNB-LHR flight. They proactively refilled my glass, and asked if each individual course was to my liking.
At this point I decided to take a nap, and asked to have my bed made. It is wide and comfortable, but not private at all. I don’t mind the lack of privacy, but I know some readers do. Either way, I slept for about 4 and a half hours, and woke up about 1 hour before the afternoon tea meal was to be served.
The lavatories on the A380 are small. Remember that British Airways has their First Class cabin in the lower deck, which means that they only have 2 small bathrooms. They were kept spotless, however, and had Aromatherapy and Associates products.
Afternoon tea on British Airways is supposed to embody the British spirit of the airline. I understand that the meal is meant to be a small snack, but I was disappointed by the amount of food and the quality of the food as well.
The selection consisted of 4 mini sandwiches, some pastries and a cheese plate I ordered from the main course dessert list, as I was really hungry for a reason. After the sandwiches, they brought out three mini pastries, which were delicious! If only there had been more, or had been bigger 🙁 .
Of course, I ordered tea, as it wouldn’t be appropriate to have ordered coffee (and the tea tastes much better than their coffee). The teapot was cream white, and had very pretty finishes.
Landing and Arrival
About 35 minutes before arrival, the captain came on the PA to announce that we would be landing soon. He gave us updated arrival information, and thanked us for flying BA. The purser came by every First Class passenger to ask them how the flight was, and thank them for flying with them.
We landed on time, and arrived to our gate fairly quickly. The line at immigration was fairly short, so I was out of the airport in no time.
British Airways has a good soft product, especially when it comes to food quality. I do appreciate the fact that they have since improved their soft product even further. I just wish they updated their hard product as well. It is honestly not as good as the seats found on other airlines in business class. Service overall was good, attentive and well intentioned. I know BA has a mixed bag of crew, but this one was great. Would I fly them again? Sure, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.
What do you think? Have you ever flown British Airways First class? What was your experience like? Let us know!