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LHR to LAS and return, on British Airways

LHR to LAS and return, on British Airways

Old Mar 18, 10, 5:40 pm
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LHR to LAS and return, on British Airways

Slightly belated account account of our trip to spend 5 days in Vegas (about 3 weeks ago). We flew outbound leg in WT+ and used MFU to return in CW.

Part 1: LHR to LAS (World Traveller Plus)

Managed to nab our preferred WT+ bulkhead seats (12JK) shortly after T-72. Did OLCI (but not PYOBP) - WT was showing all sold, so harboured slight hopes of being shifted forward, but was not to be.

Printed boarding passes at SSCI, then to bag drop (wait was barely a couple of minutes). Security (south) was pretty quiet - flashed Silver Card as we breezed through fast track, but in reality there was little point.

Took a few minutes getting currency (at Travelex - yes, I know it's poor value but I'm a sucker for the BA miles!) and allowing Mrs LF a quick look in Duty Free, then into the lounge to grab some lunch (because it was 1pm, and because the food was likely to be more appetising than the onboard WT+ offerings). We chose Galleries North, and I was looking forward to some of the mini steak-and-ale pies I had enjoyed on another trip about a month earlier. Alas it was not to be - the only hot food was pasta with various sauces (I think this is normal?), and in place of the steak-and-ale pies there were some rolls stuffed with (I think) Tuna Curry. Tried the pasta with bolognese sauce (okay) but Mrs LF (who is not a fan of anything like that) limited herself to a few sandwiches. Very disappointed by the lack of steak-and-ale pies - please put them back on next time I'm going through the lounge! [But from another recent thread on the BA board, it looks like they may have been diverted to T3!]

Boarding was from the B gates (not surprisingly), so we went over there when indicated. Tried the lounge there also (my first time), but barely had time to get a glass of water before our flight was shown as 'boarding'. Anticipating extra hand baggage checks (on all flights to the U.S.) we decided not to hang about.

As we approached the gate area, there was a 'fast track' lane, which probably saved us about 5 minutes' queuing (although it filled up rapidly behind us). At first, the fast track lane seemed to be going nowhere fast, but then suddenly all the hand search positions became free, and pax in the fast track lane were called forward (en masse), ahead of the pax in the regular line.

Search was fairly quick (about 30 seconds). Since we were flying in WT+ (and therefore still subject to the temporary 'one carry on bag' limit) we had both put a smaller bag inside our main carry on shoulderbags. I don't think it would have mattered if we had had two (separate) bags as normal. We were being checked along with other pax flying in CW (and potentially two bags), and I don't think we would have been challenged as mere WT+ pax (but I could be wrong).

Once search was done, we moved quickly to board, and settled into the bulkhead seats. Pushback, taxi and takeoff were uneventful.

Service during the flight was uninspiring. The meal offering in WT+ (and WT) was a choice of Beef Stew or Chicken in Curry Sauce. We both chose the former, which was visually unappealing, but otherwise quite edible.

Following the normal drinks / meal / tea&coffee service, the flight attendants were noticable mostly by their absence from the WT+ cabin. In fact, there was NOT ONE juice run through our cabin, which on a flight lasting over 10 hours seems incredible. Juice and water were available on a tray in the rear galley, but this is not the kind of service I think we are entitled to expect on BA, and it is even more unacceptable when paying for WT+.

The second meal (before landing) comprised a sandwich and a muffin. We were both given the Coronation Chicken sandwich as default, but Mrs LF (who still hates any kind of curry) did manage to exchange this for the veggie alternative (Cheese and Onion) on request. Sadly, the size and quality of the 'afternoon tea' meal is now rather pathetic compared with what I recall enjoying (in Y) as little as 2 years ago.

Approach and landing were uneventful. Thankfully, there were no restrictions on moving out of our seats or accessing cabin baggage during the final hour of flight (as mooted in the immediate aftermath of the Christmas Day incident).

Arrivals procedure as LAS was fine. Seats in WT+ allowed us a swift exit from the plane, which paid dividends when we got to immigration control. The hall was empty when we got there, but rapidly filled up behind us (suspect there must have been another international flight arriving literally seconds after ours). Signs directing 'U.S' and 'Other' passport holders seemed fairly clear, but were ignored by quite a few of our fellow pax. British persons dashing to join the first available queue (for U.S. passport holders!) were given short shrift by the floor walker, who was clearly fed up with the same thing happening on every arriving flight.

We got fleeced by a rogue taxi driver (in the official pickup outside LAS T2). He must have clocked us a Brits, and gambled he would be able to get away with taking us to our hotel (Mirage) via the airport tunnel and freeway. I was suspicious about the route, but not confident enough to challenge him directly. Not until later (after googling "Las Vegas Taxi") did I come to realise this is a common scam, and that I should have asked for "Shortest route, no Freeway".

Next 5 days were great. After absorbing advice (much appreciated) from fellow FT-ers, we had decided to stay at the Mirage, and were very satisfied. We go to Vegas for the entertainment rather than the gambling, and managed to take in five shows this time: Phantom, Love, Lion King, Jay Leno, and the Jersey Boys.

-------

Part 2: LAS to LHR (Club World)

Our return got off to a good start - we instructed the cab driver taking us from the hotel to the airport to go be the "shortest route, no freeway". Despite this being an afternoon rushhour journey, the driver followed the instruction, and we were rewarded with a cab fare exactly half of what we paid on arrival 5 days earlier. One useful lesson learned!

We had already checked in on-line, but used the SSCI machines (I think there were about 4 available) to print our boarding passes. No queues at machines (but we were early, about 3 hrs before departure). Most pax seemed to be ignoring the SSCI machines and going straight to manned desks. There was a separate line for 'Club World Check-in assistance'. Also a separate line for 'Fast Bag Drop' that had no queue, but was slightly less than fast because the (helpful) agent there was offering to switch a party of 3 into better seats. Very kind of him, but against the spirit of OLCI, SSCI etc!

The 'VIP Lounge' (3rd party, not BA's of course) was quite pleasant, if somewhat old-fashioned (too much like a 'Gentleman's Club' according to Mrs LF). Self service hot drinks, a bar for cold drinks (no pressure to tip), and a few nibbles. Not really any food, as such.

Slightly worryingly for BA status pax travelling WT or WT+, admittance seems to be based solely on class of travel (stated as 'First' but in practice including BA's CW). There was initially a prominent sign at the lounge desk when we entered stating that 'airline cards' would not be accepted. But later the sign was apparently gone - suggesting that maybe they make an exception for BA pax (and remove the sign during relevant timeframe)?

Pax in the lounge were called when the flight was boarding. Our gate was adjacent to the lounge, and by turning sharp right as we exited we seemed to be funnelled to join the front of the queue for boarding.

On board we settled into CW seats 4EF. Advance seat selection had been complicated by uncertainty over the aircraft configuration. Initially, the seating plan was for the one remaining 3-class 777 with NCW seating (and no AVOD) - and this was indeed the aircraft that took us out to LAS in WT+. By the time we came to check-in for the return flight however, the aircraft was confirmed as one with NGCW (necessitating a move one row further back to ensure 'no-step') and AVOD.

We enjoyed a pre-flight glass of champagne, and watched slightly amused as the crew all greeted (effusively) the lady (flying alone) in 4G, who was clearly a regular on the route.

When the dinner menus came round, Mrs LF did not fancy any of the listed main courses so asked if she could have a sandwich instead. A very pleasant male FA then offered to fetch a selection from the Club Kitchen so she could take her pick. Meanwhile, I chose the mushroom-stuffed rigatoni as my main course. Was slightly surprised not to be asked to choose a starter (choice of Duck or Mozarella with Roast Pears), but figured I would be asked to choose when the meal tray arrived. Wrong. Was handed my tray with the Duck starter - in fact I would have been happy to try either choice, so didn't object, but in retrospect felt peeved that orders were being taken front to back in the cabin, and not in CIV order.

The meal itself was fine, although being asked to choose EITHER the sweet (mixed berry trifle torte) OR cheese felt like more evidence of penny-pinching. Worse was to come though - coffee was served, but no offer of a liqueur. I do enjoy a glass of Baileys with my after-dinner coffee, so I waited until the female FA had finished serving coffee to the row behind, then asked if could have a Baileys. Her body language as she trudged up to the galley suggested this was not a welcome request. She handed me the miniature bottle of Baileys (assuming I wanted it to pour into my coffee) then (seeing my expression) said "Oh, you want a glass do you?". "Yes please, and some ice" I replied, and she trudged back to the galley again to comply.

This all brought back unpleasant memories of a flight a good few years ago when I dared to ask for an after dinner liqueur in WT, not realising that had been deleted from the WT product several months earlier.

With dinner over, we settled down to sleep (I managed about 5 hours, and woke up feeling relatively refreshed).

Sadly, when breakfast arrived the service was again somewhat less than satisfactory. Mrs LF was offered the choice of Fresh Seasonal Fruit OR Cereals with Chilled Milk (as per the menu). I was handed a tray with the Fruit, and this time (since I really did want the Cereal option!) I spoke up. Initially I was told there was none left, but after some discussion between the 2 FAs working my side of the plane, they agreed to try and find me some, possibly from the crew meals (they warned it might be different from the normal offering). In the event, they provided some cereal that looked identical to that served to other pax.

So, good problem resolution, but again I was left wondering why I (BAEC Silver) missed out on the choice that had already been offered to Mrs LF (BAEC Blue).

Bacon rolls were then offered (by the CSD, who seemed relatively cheerful in his new role serving food to CW pax).

As we approached LHR, the captain warned we might need to wait for a landing slot. In the event, we stacked for no more than 10 minutes, and were soon on the ground. Being sat in the middle of the plane, I was thankful we did not circle for too long, as that is the one thing that can make me feel a little queasy. I like to be able to see outside (to get a visual reference) whenever the aircraft is banking.

Disembarkation was fine (crew holding back the WT+ pax while CW pax exited), and our bags were amongst the first on to the carousel (priority baggage worked, hooray!). With the LAS flight landing at about 2pm, no chance to use the arrivals lounge, so straight to the car park and drive home.

Last edited by larryflyer; Mar 19, 10 at 6:51 pm Reason: Prettifying, then typos & clarifications
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Old Mar 18, 10, 6:45 pm
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Great report. Do you think that the crews that you had were getting into a "strike mode" or do you just think you were dealt a bad hand both times?
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Old Mar 18, 10, 7:07 pm
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Originally Posted by ak333 View Post
Do you think that the crews that you had were getting into a "strike mode" or do you just think you were dealt a bad hand both times?
To be honest, I've felt a lack of friendliness/warmth from the cabin crew on several flights in the past year or so. 'Strike mode' may have exacerbated things this time, I suspect. Or maybe it's just me they don't like (I do try to lighten my tone of voice and smile occasionally, honest!).

Harder to comment on service standards in CW as I only fly in that cabin for overnight flights, and only recently (less than 2 years) My expectations of service standards are driven mainly by what I've read on FT, rather than long years of being pampered.
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Old Mar 18, 10, 7:12 pm
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On a slightly off topic point, I have had really good crews on the 777 but terrible crews on the upperdeck of the 747. Also, I think the seat is quite dated and they never update the entertainment system. In general, their product offering and service has quite seriously deteriorated.

As for the strike, I live in the UK, and don't even get me started on that topic! :-)

Safe travels to all.
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Old Mar 18, 10, 7:23 pm
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Fruit or Cereal? in CW? That's pretty poor form BA.
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Old Mar 19, 10, 5:40 am
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Interesting report. Thanks for posting.
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Old Mar 19, 10, 6:38 am
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Great report. Surprised you had such a good sleep in WT+ .
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Old Mar 19, 10, 8:38 am
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Originally Posted by Platinum A332 View Post
Fruit or Cereal? in CW? That's pretty poor form BA.
Not quite as bad as the dessert or cheese in CW. Also on BA of course.
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Old Mar 19, 10, 2:25 pm
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On trips to and from LAS in Club I have experienced the very friendly to the very rude - I dont think the strike has anything to do with it - just rude staff wanting to go on the lash.

Somehow the Virgin and BA staff to LAS have an air of superiority and arogance - not deserved quite frankly. I have had one good trip on many of the british carriers - BA CW LHR to LAS - c'est tous!

Regards

AKS120
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Old Mar 19, 10, 6:45 pm
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Originally Posted by sobore View Post
Great report. Surprised you had such a good sleep in WT+ .
I think you misunderstood. We did the outbound flight (daytime) in WT+, but return to UK (overnight) was in CW (MFU'd from WT+).

Glad you liked the report.
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Old Mar 20, 10, 11:04 am
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I don't know but if I were you and experienced that kind of attitude from the lady who was fetching your Bailey's, I would've sworn that my life got shorter by a day or two

Great TR, thanks for sharing.
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Old Mar 20, 10, 11:22 am
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Nice report! Thanks.

PS. Have you interrogated the missus as to how she knows what the inside of a gentleman's club looks like - or is that best left alone ?
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Old Mar 20, 10, 7:45 pm
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Enjoyed the report.
Thank you.
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Old Mar 21, 10, 12:14 pm
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thanks for sharing this nice TR
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Old Mar 21, 10, 1:00 pm
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Thanks for the report, be sure to come back to LAS!
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