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BA WTP LHR-HKG-LHR May 2017 A380-841

BA WTP LHR-HKG-LHR May 2017 A380-841


Old Jun 12, 17, 5:15 am
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Kent
Programs: BAEC (Gold) ✈✈✈, Accor (Silver), Hilton (Silver), IHG (Platinum), Cunard (Diamond)
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BA WTP LHR-HKG-LHR May 2017 A380-841

Tuesday 16th May 2017
Flight Number BA0031
Departure 18:40 (Actual 19:02)
Arrival 13:40 (Actual 13:30)
Seat 62J (Premium Economy/World Traveller Plus)
Aircraft A380-841 G-XLEL

So on a Tuesday evening in May, I and a friend flew BA031 from LHR to HKG, a destination I had long wanted to visit. After a previously disappointing BA Premium Economy experience from MIA to LHR in a 747 back in January, I wanted to fly Club World, especially for such a long flight, however, my companion always fly’s Economy(?!*), so we reached a compromise of WTP. I have always favoured a window seat, however, after being trapped in my seat for seven hours by a rather rotund seat mate in January, I opted for an aisle seat and my friend scored the window seat. Never again, I missed all the action out of the window! A Silver Executive Club Member at the time (who dreamed unsuccessfully of an upgrade), we used the Terminal 5 Business Class check in and the queue was negligible. Instead, everyone at T5 had gathered on a long line for South fast track security with families and adults travelling who didn't seem to know the requirements of security checks, causing unnecessary delays whilst they were instructed to empty pockets, remove liquids and electronic devices from bags, remove belts etc. whilst standing in front of the trays! After wondering around the airside shops, we proceeded to the BA Lounge, initially Galleries South which was crowded. There were no seats available next to power sockets to re-charge our phones. We managed to get two bar stalls at a bar table overlooking the apron which offered good views. We participated in the hot food and I noted the plates were the size of saucers! I managed to procure a flute of champagne from a helpful kitchen porter who I saw wondering through the lounge. Little clearing away of used table wear was carried out (probably because people were asking for champagne) and we decided with the hustle and bustle and limited choice of decent beer to explore the shops again. Later we found ourselves near the North Galleries lounge which we found much quieter and relaxing. It was afternoon tea time and the cakes were nice. I managed another flute of champagne. I then experienced my first time walking the transit walkway to T5B and later T5C, with a stop in the Galleries Lounge in Terminal B. The walk was nice and it was interesting being mostly the only people down in the walkway in such a busy airport. T5B lounge was quieter still and I remember trying the Port and a whisky I hadn't tried before. I received a text asking about my lounge experience to which I replied rating it based on the South Galleries lounge experience.

We made our way to T5C and boarding was First and Club, followed by Gold, then Silver, then Bronze, then a free for all. It was strictly enforced with people turned back who did not meet the criteria called. The aircraft cabin was uncomfortably hot on boarding. I guess they were acclimatising us to Hong Kong's heat! Thank fully it started to cool, however, we noted there were no individual adjustable air vents overhead. The aircraft was clean. Being the first in WTP to board, we had no issue getting our bags in the overhead bins. I later realised the overhead bins appear pretty big in WTP in the A380 that the chances of not finding space nearby your seat would be remote. However, there is little space in the aisle for people to come past someone who is standing up placing items into the bins or taking out things required during flight, so that can be awkward. I was expecting large windows on the A380 but the outer window seemed to be similar size to other aircraft. The internal window may be bigger, but it telescopes down to the external surface at a much smaller size (this may be because of the thickness and curvature of the fuselage as we were on the upper deck).

We were offered a newspaper, printed menu and welcome drinks, sparking wine or water. We both chose the sparkling wine and I received a telephone call from a nice lady at BA thanking me for my feedback on the lounge and asking me for further information. She apologised and said she would personally go back to the lounge to see for herself and I was able to explain the improved experiences in the other lounges and that all the BA staff I had encountered had been very pleasant and helpful. She told me how nice the A380 was, quiet on take off etc.

So my thoughts on the 2-3-2 A380 WTP. You still need to be a contortionist to live here for a few hours (especially when the person in front reclines their seat, although the seats do recline a long way so it’s comfortable when you recline yours). After take-off, I spilt my G&T as I only opened my tray half-way and was juggling a plastic tumbler of fizzy water, G&T plastic tumbler, G&T bottle & can and a glass and bottle of wine. My seat mate who was amused by my misfortune, later had an accident with his bread roll, so ended up agreeing about the lack of space. Leg room was quite good (I’m 6ft 4”) and I could stretch my legs out. The seat pad, however, was terrible, we both had uncomfortably numb bottoms! I found I could raise my headrest to the full extent and it stayed there meaning the headrest was comfortable for me (unlike my previous experience on a 747 when the headrest kept falling back down again). A small amenity bag, headphones, pillow and blanket were waiting for us on the seat. There are ample side storage bins for the window passengers. We were offered a hot towel and a small pack of sour cream and chive pretzels – I always wish I could have more! There were USB and a normal plug socket available to power phones etc.

The Asian-style slaw (which appeared to consist of red cabbage and carrot) with soy dressing was fowl. I'm not one to leave food but neither of us could stomach it. A little too heavy on something, I'm thinking the ginger? My fried chicken in black pepper sauce with mushroom and bean curd in light oyster sauce and steamed rice was tasty, although I wouldn't have known it was pepper sauce - I actually thought it was black bean sauce until I re-read the menu whilst typing this! The bean curd was quite avoidable as was the mushy pok Choy. The Seared fillet of British Beef was ‘alright’ apparently. The buttered Savoy cabbage wasn't appreciated and was left. Dessert was delicious - a rich chocolate pot fix and the cheese and biscuits were very much appreciated. I could have eaten more but I was already full - and there wasn't more! I had two bottles of a rather tasty cava followed by a nice cup of tea (all be it served in a plastic beaker – DOH!).

At first I thought there was no soap in the toilet and the paper towels weren't immediately obvious. It seems the soap is a bottle on the wall which I mistook for moisturiser. Okay, so only Club World passengers get to keep their hands moist! Due to the sloping ceiling, I found it challenging to stand and use the toilet being 6ft 4" the same as other aircraft. I wondered why the toilets couldn’t be in the middle of the cabin for a change? I later found further backwards in economy they are and it was more user-friendly.

We found it inexcusable that there was no bottled water for WTP passengers (except a small bottle when dinner was served). Instead we were offered a small flimsy beaker which I was able to swallow in a few sips. No way was this going to keep me sufficiently hydrated. There wasn’t even a water fountain where we could refill the small bottle like on a Virgin flight I took last year. My friend managed to use the Club World Toilet throughout the flight and managed to procure a few bottle of water from here for us. Which brings me on to the ‘Toilet challenge!’ I successfully used the toilet in Club World once. On the second occasion, I was chased out by Cabin Crew telling me the Club World toilet is only for our Club passengers. I asked where I should go (knowing full well it should be economy) as there was no toilet in my cabin. The cabin crew said there is a toilet in my cabin, so I asked her to come and show me as there wasn’t – the curtains separate the toilets at the back of WTP into the Economy section. She declined so I went to queue up with others in the wait for toilets in WT.

The crew confined themselves to the galley after main service (I guess because this was a night flight), and I saw them 2-3 times passing through the cabin with a tray of water and juice. No snacks were on offer.

English breakfast (a Chinese breakfast was also available but did not sound appealing to me) consisted of a fruit juice pot, a dry and inedible Danish pastry and a hot breakfast of sausage, egg, bacon, mushroom and half a tomato. Plastic cutlery, paper napkin and a paper cup of coffee – no fine china and linen napkins in sight!

Little improvements could make this great – one of them being Wi-Fi which I understand may be coming eventually. Quite why BA like being years behind other airlines these days is lost on me. The pillow and blanket were essential although the pillow could have been made of sturdier stuff (like the Club World pillow!). A comprehensive selection of programmes were available on the entertainment system but why was there no camera for a nose wheel and tail view? That's just absolutely basic stuff which really enhances the experience. And an ongoing annoyance – offer me a bread roll but provide nowhere to place it – please, please, please provide a bread plate. It’s not difficult! I dislike plastic cutlery and paper cups and the dining experience could be improved using metal cutlery, crockery and linen throughout the flight. There was no welcome back on board or use of my name either. I guess WTP on BA is not for me and I should stick to Club World.

We waited a while for bags to arrive on the carousel and there were quite a few of them!

Friday 26th May 2017
Flight Number BA0032
Departure 23:10 (Actual 23:30)
Arrival 04:50 (Actual 04:46)
Seat 63B (Premium Economy/World Traveller Plus)
Aircraft A380-841 G-XLEI

So, after a wonderful nine nights in Hong Kong, we checked our luggage in at Hong Kong Central following a free hotel/airport bus transfer to Central Station/Airport Express. We then joined the Airport Express with only our hand luggage and made our way to the Airport. This is so much easier. Security was a breeze but a long slow queue for passport control. Plenty of shops available which were expensive, so I didn’t buy anything here. My friend brought cigarettes which were cheaper here than in Macau. He also loved the smoking lounge inside the terminal and kept disappearing there for a cigarette or two.

The Qantas lounge was great and the service like none I’ve experienced before in an Airport lounge. There was a manned bar and Mocktail/Cocktail of the day freely available on the bar. The usual self-pour areas were also available. Nice cakes, fresh fruit, salads and a selection of hot food provided. The icing on the cake was staff coming round the lounge with a drinks trolley offering drinks at your seat i.e. wine and beer and also appearing periodically offering snacks from ice cream, prawn wontons to chips etc. I used a non BA lounge in Miami in January too which is now my second favourite airport lounge, with Qantas HKG taking first place – they both put the BA lounges to shame.

When we arrived at the gate, which was conveniently below the lounge, boarding had already started, so we were able to board without queueing. We found that the side storage bin by the window seat could not be shut. The staff were disinterested, so we flagged down the Cabin Services Director when he was passing and he said it was just a failure which should be reported to engineering and we could either leave it open all flight and use the bin or they could tape it shut. So the bin remained open all flight. My mate cheekily asked to change seat or for an upgrade and was told the flight was full, however, after take-off he spotted unoccupied seats in both WTP and Club World so that wasn’t the case.

We had a nice view of the wing! Although we had to open the shade to see it as all shades were down prior to passengers boarding.

We were offered a newspaper, printed menu and a welcome drink which this time was a choice of water or orange juice. I asked for a sparkling wine and the cabin crew said I'd have to wait, which I said was fine and I saw her come from the Club World area with a sparkling wine which may have been the Club World champagne (thank you). No refreshing hot towel was provided. The aircraft was clean. I was alarmed to see on the menu a return of the Asian coleslaw, however, this one was described as ‘Asian coleslaw salad with smoked duck’ and was actually tasty (unlike the vial concoction served on the outbound. I opted for the Pan-seared fillet of halibut with crab sauce, braised fennel, steamed carrots and green pea risotto. Dessert was Apple butter cake with raspberry coulis. Dinner was better than the outbound, my friend had the Grilled fillet of New Zealand grass-fed beef with balsamic sauce, fondant potato and vegetable medley but wasn’t impressed. Only one hot drink post dinner offered and this was in a disposable cup.

Thankfully, this crew somehow managed to find some of the small bottles of water for a few hours after meal service and only later did I have to move over to the minuscule plastic tumbler.

You do notice how bright the individual reading lamps are when the cabin lighting is dimmed. I kept thinking the sun was up each time a passenger turned theirs on.

Unfortunately, the breakfast was absolutely ghastly. Consisting of soggy hash brown, gloopy scrambled egg, two mushrooms, half a soggy tomato and a rasher of bacon. No sausage this time. I appreciate it’s been stored for a long time, but we know our seat mates in Club World and First wouldn’t be presented with this. In place of the inedible pastry provided on the outbound, todays offering was a tiny sponge bun encased in a grease proof bun case which I couldn't prize away from it. I left the whole breakfast and we treated ourselves to a Costa Coffee and Bacon roll in the terminal upon landing. When the tray was cleared I said to the cabin crew it wasn’t very nice. She simply smiled and moved on!

Some of the bags were already moving around on the carousel when we arrived in the baggage hall so this was speedy unloading.

I guess once you take the taxes off the price of the return premium economy ticket it is value for money at £917 of which £452 was tax (Club World was selling for circa £3,000 at the time of booking which is hard to justify for what is offered) although my companion paid similar including a flight to and from the channel islands in Club Europe but he did have to pay £45 each way to select a seat next to me. BA WTP is just too economy for my liking and I had better service and experience travelling in economy on Virgin Atlantic (and paying for extra leg room) last year.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 1:04 am
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Originally Posted by Gary999 View Post
The crew confined themselves to the galley after main service (I guess because this was a night flight), and I saw them 2-3 times passing through the cabin with a tray of water and juice.
This is one of the main reasons we gave up flying WTP with BA and moved to using Virgin. At least now the food has improved for WTP and you aren't getting the economy food choices but it sounds like apart from that, nothing has changed in the 11 years we last flew WPT. We flew CW in 2014 and weren't impressed with the service at all there and I didn't like the ying-yang seating either although at least the leg room was better and you didn't need to be a contortionist to get in/out of your seat when someone reclined into your space.

Thanks for the TR though.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 4:44 pm
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I enjoyed reading your trip report. I do think the crew were correct to ask you not to use the CW toilets and also, I agree it was rather ambitious of your friend to suggest an upgrade based on the side locker in WT plus not closing!
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Old Jun 16, 17, 12:18 pm
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The extra space in WTP is a very welcome premium over WT, but WTP is definitely economy plus and not club minus.....
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Old Jun 16, 17, 1:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Jed View Post
.....I agree it was rather ambitious of your friend to suggest an upgrade based on the side locker in WT plus not closing!
You've got to try!

Thanks for sharing Gary999
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Old Jun 18, 17, 6:49 am
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Interesting report - I usually do WTP IAD-LHR (and vv) and mostly agree. Wouldn't never use Club toilets without reason (such a cart in the way), but agree about lack of tray space, and overall attitude of the crew. Definitely prefer MF crew. Also I very much dislike how service seems to almost totally revert to Y after the first meal. Has been interesting to see where costs have been cut, such as the horrific "amenity kit" packaging of late - Qatar have a much better one in Y. Thanks again for the report!
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Old Jun 18, 17, 7:43 am
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Thanks for the review.
I tried the WTP in 2015 to DXB. It was fine even if I won't spend a lot more for it.
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