First First Experience

Old Jun 26, 22, 4:50 am
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First First Experience

Yesterday, my wife and I experienced our first First. Knowing BA, I had my expectations right (low).



Let me start that we are very grateful for this experience which would not have been possible without this community and its amazing members. Being away from BA for several months and having chased status with AY in the meantime, it was good to be back onboard for sure. Overall, I think the big difference is made by the lovely BA cabin crews. I understand their wish to strike and I hope the hard working crews in the industry get better working conditions soon. A big shout out to everybody in the industry.



A few thoughts now on our first First.


  • Checkin at ORD was extremely poor. We were handed the tags for our backpacks „to put it under the seat in front of us“. Yeh right. They landed straight in the bin.
  • Lounge at ORD was poor, too. No separate section for F. But the staff was proactive and friendly!
  • Boarding was OK, though the preboarding took quite a while before we could board (A380 was full)
  • We were welcomed onboard by the lovely cabin crew, escorted to our seats. We got top ups for our PDBs
  • We took off over an hour late and there was no AC on the ground, so the cabin got very warm. The crew was apologetic and there was nothing they could do until the engines were started.
  • We were never addressed by name (we were though in Club a few weeks ago) which I found a bit odd. It would have been a nice touch
  • Our SPMLs were loaded and they were very delicious, much better than the food we were served in Club a few weeks ago. The vegetarian special meal was the same as the vegetarian option on the F menu.
  • The cabin crew was proactive in topping our glasses up, offering a wine tasting, too, and was friendly throughout
  • Initially I got the M PJ and my wife the L one, though the other way around would have been better.
  • We really enjoyed the hard product, especially the privacy of 1A on the A380 as well as the ability to buddy dine and the quietness of the cabin
  • The bedding was very comfortable, I slept like a baby for a few hours.
  • There were a few details / hickups which I didn‘t like, especially given the fact we are talking about a First product, but those can easily be forgiven / forgotten and didn‘t impact our experience that much
  • My power socket was not working, but the USB did which was fine to charge my phone
  • The transfer experience at Heathrow was absolutely absysmally poor. It took 55min to connect from a C gate to the CCR with no flight connections fast track available. This really is unacceptable at a hub when flying in premium cabins and/or as frequent flyer elite and I will complain about this. We had to queue at security for at least 20 minutes which I would have rather spent in the CCR.


Overall a solid first experience onboard but the ground experience is mediocre at best.
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Old Jun 26, 22, 5:40 am
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If you can see a long queue at flight connections (last time I tried the queue was so long there were not letting people through the desks at the entry to flight connections), it's often quicker to exit landside, then re-enter through First Wing. This of course relies on you being eligible to enter the UK.
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Old Jun 26, 22, 5:53 am
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Indeed. The queues only formed past the flight connection boarding pass check, as we were sent to North Security. For some reason most bags went to secondary, causing a backlog at most security scanners. This was where we lost most of our time.

Again, there really should be a Fast Track.
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Old Jun 26, 22, 7:33 am
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Originally Posted by florens View Post
  • We took off over an hour late and there was no AC on the ground, so the cabin got very warm. The crew was apologetic and there was nothing they could do until the engines were started.

I thought that the APU or shore power could operate this? Any of those here more versed in the engineering shed any light on this?
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Old Jun 26, 22, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by lcylocal View Post

I thought that the APU or shore power could operate this? Any of those here more versed in the engineering shed any light on this?
Firing up the APU might have required getting permission from the tower. I know in one case on a flight our of ZRH on a hot day our crew had to ask for permission to fire up the APU, which they got. As for shore power, BA may have been to cheap to pony up for what it costs, or the aircraft might have already been disconnected from the gate.
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Old Jun 26, 22, 9:19 am
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Originally Posted by florens View Post
... For some reason most bags went to secondary, causing a backlog at most security scanners.....
I think the problem here is that many of the regs differ between airports - e.g. some connecting pax might have US TSA-PRE - so don't understand why they have to remove laptops, liquids, etc. anywhere else - resulting in secondary screening.
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Old Jun 26, 22, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by CKBA View Post
I think the problem here is that many of the regs differ between airports - e.g. some connecting pax might have US TSA-PRE - so don't understand why they have to remove laptops, liquids, etc. anywhere else - resulting in secondary screening.
Maybe, but LHR agents are constantly shouting out instructions on what should be removed from luggage.
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Old Jun 26, 22, 10:45 am
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Originally Posted by lcylocal View Post

I thought that the APU or shore power could operate this? Any of those here more versed in the engineering shed any light on this?
AFAIK the APU was INOP. I missed the beginning of the announcement though (I guess I was busy indulging in champagne).
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Old Jun 26, 22, 10:49 am
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I had an AF flight out of ORD that also did not have any aircon on the ground. This was in September. Uncomfortable for sure!
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Old Jun 26, 22, 8:43 pm
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BA ORD lounge is probably the worst lounge in the entire BA network
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Old Jun 27, 22, 5:07 am
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Originally Posted by florens View Post
Yesterday, my wife and I experienced our first First. Knowing BA, I had my expectations right (low).



Let me start that we are very grateful for this experience which would not have been possible without this community and its amazing members. Being away from BA for several months and having chased status with AY in the meantime, it was good to be back onboard for sure. Overall, I think the big difference is made by the lovely BA cabin crews. I understand their wish to strike and I hope the hard working crews in the industry get better working conditions soon. A big shout out to everybody in the industry.



A few thoughts now on our first First.
  • Checkin at ORD was extremely poor. We were handed the tags for our backpacks „to put it under the seat in front of us“. Yeh right. They landed straight in the bin.
  • Lounge at ORD was poor, too. No separate section for F. But the staff was proactive and friendly!
  • Boarding was OK, though the preboarding took quite a while before we could board (A380 was full)
  • We were welcomed onboard by the lovely cabin crew, escorted to our seats. We got top ups for our PDBs
  • We took off over an hour late and there was no AC on the ground, so the cabin got very warm. The crew was apologetic and there was nothing they could do until the engines were started.
  • We were never addressed by name (we were though in Club a few weeks ago) which I found a bit odd. It would have been a nice touch
  • Our SPMLs were loaded and they were very delicious, much better than the food we were served in Club a few weeks ago. The vegetarian special meal was the same as the vegetarian option on the F menu.
  • The cabin crew was proactive in topping our glasses up, offering a wine tasting, too, and was friendly throughout
  • Initially I got the M PJ and my wife the L one, though the other way around would have been better.
  • We really enjoyed the hard product, especially the privacy of 1A on the A380 as well as the ability to buddy dine and the quietness of the cabin
  • The bedding was very comfortable, I slept like a baby for a few hours.
  • There were a few details / hickups which I didn‘t like, especially given the fact we are talking about a First product, but those can easily be forgiven / forgotten and didn‘t impact our experience that much
  • My power socket was not working, but the USB did which was fine to charge my phone
  • The transfer experience at Heathrow was absolutely absysmally poor. It took 55min to connect from a C gate to the CCR with no flight connections fast track available. This really is unacceptable at a hub when flying in premium cabins and/or as frequent flyer elite and I will complain about this. We had to queue at security for at least 20 minutes which I would have rather spent in the CCR.


Overall a solid first experience onboard but the ground experience is mediocre at best.
Sounds like you did well. Hope you had a good trip.

a few points to note:

1/ Those bag tags are to prevent your bag from being checked into the hold if the flight is full. Potentially theoretical in First, but they are for your benefit
2/ Security, this has nothing to do with BA and is purely HAL.
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Old Jun 27, 22, 5:12 am
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I am surprised that you you didn’t mention any delay to get a stand at LHR, the last 3 A380 flights into LHR I have been on there has been a >1h delay between landing and getting on stand.

It must be a surprise to BA ramp agents that aircraft keep turning up.
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Old Jun 27, 22, 6:07 am
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Originally Posted by NA-Flyer View Post
BA ORD lounge is probably the worst lounge in the entire BA network
I did UA Polaris LHR-ORD and back for the first time a couple of weeks ago, the contrast in terms of lounge experience at ORD is completely ridiculous between BA and UA now, with the UA J experience streets ahead of BA F, let alone BA J. However, the onboard UA catering and service was poor enough to make it a bit of a wash, so the grass isn't always greener! Most of my colleagues seem to prefer UA for this route this days, so BA is definitely losing some business by not investing in ORD. Let's hope the bean counters have done the sums correctly.
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Old Jun 27, 22, 6:40 am
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Originally Posted by lost_in_translation View Post
I did UA Polaris LHR-ORD and back for the first time a couple of weeks ago, the contrast in terms of lounge experience at ORD is completely ridiculous between BA and UA now, with the UA J experience streets ahead of BA F, let alone BA J. However, the onboard UA catering and service was poor enough to make it a bit of a wash, so the grass isn't always greener! Most of my colleagues seem to prefer UA for this route this days, so BA is definitely losing some business by not investing in ORD. Let's hope the bean counters have done the sums correctly.
UA catering is the worst of all US TATL carriers right now. If you do the Polaris Lounge prior to the eastbound flight (and sleep on board), UA is a solid product and ahead of BA J, IMO. UA's LHR lounge is excellent, too.
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Old Jun 27, 22, 6:53 am
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ORD is such a left behind outstation for a lot of airlines that it almost doesn't matter if you have lounge access or not as it either just as good or better in the actual terminal. I dont know if that is due to the United strength there or what, but ORD and 'lounge' are not two words I really put together.

Hoping that all the ORD construction means that BA will eventually have access to the AA Flagship lounge (only just reopened a few months ago), which I think is the strategy BA are taking at other large AA hubs (like Dallas). Or at the very least a decent lounge in T5.

But at least your onboard experience sounds like it was worth it!
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