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LGW-SJO BA2237, Club World

LGW-SJO BA2237, Club World

Old Sep 10, 16, 5:24 am
  #1  
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LGW-SJO BA2237, Club World

LGW-SJO, August 13th, 2016
Club World
BA2237

This summer’s adventures were taking the Swiss family to Costa Rica and Florida. The new, nonstop BA flight from Gatwick to San Jose made the trip far more viable, and we were also fortunate to find that Jet Blue ran a daily service from San Jose up to Orlando.

The flight was scheduled to leave at 11.20am – we live a couple of hours from Gatwick and given the vagaries of traffic, we elected to pick up a rental car, drive down the night before and then I used up some orphan AeroMexico points to book a couple of rooms at the Hilton by the South Terminal.

Hilton did the job and we got a superb buffet breakfast with the most upbeat team of staff you could wish for on the Saturday morning. As BA’s lounge situation is currently a mess at Gatwick, we left the room about 9.45am, took the shuttle over to the North terminal and had a short wait at the club class check in desk. We didn’t need to leave bags, but BA have to conduct a visa check and given the agent had already been to San Jose, we had a quick chat with her about Costa Rica.

Security has all been redone at Gatwick since the last time I went through but there was no wait at all for the premium line. One of the kids’ bags got pulled but again this was dealt with immediately and politely – Heathrow Terminal 5 this isn’t! By now it was gone 10.30am, so after a quick browse in the book shop and a trip to Boots to pick up a new razor (packing oversight) we wandered down to the gate. On the way we could see into the contract lounge BA are using until the end of 2016 – it looked busy and I don’t feel we missed out on much!

Arriving at the gate around 11am, boarding hadn’t started but it wasn’t much of a delay – the arrangement of gate 53 (I think) is strange – you have boarding passes and passports checked at the entrance to the lounge, but once they announce boarding (by row & status etc) it’s all done on trust – there’s no second check going down to the jetbridge. Being in Club World, we had positioned ourselves near the entrance so nipped down as soon as boarding started and were on the plane by 11.10am.

At the time I only had Bronze status and not feeling the urge to spend a further 340 on seat assignments on top of the 7,200 I’d already paid for the tickets, we couldn’t get seats allocated until 7 days out. The best combo I could find for 5 was 10GJK and 11JK. Aside form being served last, this worked pretty well, especially since there was no infant in the row 11 bassinette. (The front cabin wasn’t so lucky, and it was a screamer.)

Champagne was served before departure (OJ or water also offered but no refills) and despite the late boarding, push back was prompt enough. A short taxi over to runway 26L and with no wait for departure, we were soon hurtling westbound. The flight took us pretty much down to the tip of Cornwall before heading out over the Atlantic, seemingly for a notional point mid-way between the Azores and Bermuda. The first drinks round was OK as I had a can of Tribute pale ale but the second pass was a bit poor – no Tanqueray gin on the cart and Schweppes tonic, rather than the Fever Tree, which was a shame.

We had pre-ordered lunch and this was served without incident. BA were only offering one starter in August – mozzarella and tomato salad, which is something I like and some of the tomatoes had been char-grilled, which gave a lovely flavour. Yes the fact you get another salad isn’t great, but it certainly wasn’t a crisis. The wine flowed freely and I had the chicken over rice for my main – I always used to pick the beef, but I’m sorry BA I’ve given up with that now and I’m pleased I made the call I did. Mrs Swiss had the boot leather & wasn’t impressed.

All three kids had the child meal, which was OK. Lots of cut & peeled fresh fruit on offer, a baby-bel cheese, packet of raisins, carton of low sugar Ribena, a kit-kat, and the main was chicken nuggets with peas and mashed potatoes.

After lunch I got a few hours sleep – this is an 11hr flight with a 7hr time difference to contend with, so quite tough on the body clock – then eventually found myself in the club kitchen. This lasted pretty well, although again given the flight times it was in high enough demand that supplies were rather depleted by the 9 hour mark. There was a comedy moment when having drained all the white wine bottles, one other passenger opened a bottle of champagne, which made quite a mess – I assume there’s some special trick involved when doing this at 35,000ft!

BA now serve a second hot meal in club on long flights like this – the choices were pasta, chicken with vegetables, or a cheese & tomato chutney Panini. This meal can’t be pre-ordered and unfortunately they were out of pasta by the time service got back to row 11. I had the Panini – it did the job – and there was some very rich chocolate cake on the go, too.



Got a blinding view of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica but the cloud soon covered the view and the descent was a rather drawn out affair with several loops out to the West of San Jose before we finally landed in some heavy rain. After a very protracted taxi, it became apparent we would be parking at a remote stand – there was already an Iberia A340 parked up at the terminal so maybe they only have one stand for aircraft this big?

Seatbelt sign off, all the passengers jump up and start emptying the overheads, only to have the pilot come on with a rather bizarre message. We hadn’t got to the stand, there was no response on the ground frequency, but we would be towed into location. So everyone needs to sit down again. We get dragged 100m or so, parking up next to another Iberia A340 then six buses pull up – again this certainly isn’t Heathrow! Steps get pulled up to the plane and the door is opened, but the feet that secure the steps to the ground haven’t been deployed – and it’s wet. Those things are incredibly bouncy and I’ve only had that once before after I nearly missed a flight out of Tromso, but a major H&S infraction, I’d say!

Managed by luck to get onto the bus which became the first one to leave (second vehicle in line), putting us ahead of 300 fellow travellers when it came to immigration. Only 4 desks open for foreigners and the queue was already pretty long, which shows more poor planning – but I guess we were lucky. I turned around and the queue was literally out the door. Shuffling forward we were eventually called over to the resident desks (again 4 open with no one waiting….).

Finding a taxi was easy enough – the licensed drivers are in the terminal, although we needed both a short run as the hotel was just a few miles away and a big vehicle. This caused some confusion, but was resolved after a couple of minutes.

So in summary, BA did the job and I would say it’s difficult to find fault with the product on offer, especially at that price point. They’re certainly not best in the market (we flew back on American) but I’m happy enough and I think avoiding the lounge at Gatwick also left me with a better impression of this flight than might have otherwise been the case.

If you want to read about our domestic flight in Costa Rica, I’ve written that up in a separate report here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...ir-let410.html

Last edited by Swiss Tony; Sep 10, 16 at 5:29 am
Swiss Tony is offline  
Old Sep 10, 16, 11:22 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Posts: 865
Nice review.

No amenity kit?
Cleanliness of the cabin?
Any pics of the food?
icegirl is offline  
Old Sep 10, 16, 11:28 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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Are there any actual photos of the flights including meals, cabin, aircraft interior and exterior?
byromania is offline  

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