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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - our 17 hour day with BA

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - our 17 hour day with BA

Old Sep 24, 20, 11:11 pm
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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - our 17 hour day with BA

My love/hate BA relationship continues.

After a wonderful week in Croatia, it's time to head home to Southern California. Today from Split, BA was the only option that didn't involve a 4am wake-up call. So 17 hours with BA it is.
Online check was not available, so we checked in at the generic all airline counters. Just inside security are stairs to the Business Lounge.

Which BA Business Class passengers can access.

Lounge is pretty basic, located before passport control for international flights.

Split SPU to London LHR
BA 527
11:30a-1:10p (sked)
11:30a-12:50p (actual)
Seats 1DF

Boarding was announced at around T-25 and we headed down the stairs to the tarmac.

At the top of the stairs, we were greeted by two crew members including our wonderful Customer Service Manager/Flight Attendant Lewis. Then to our row 1 seats, the best of a bad lot of Economy seats that BA and most other European airlines pass off as Business Class.

OK, well that doesn't look like it was COVID-cleaned before we boarded.

This is our first experience with BA's COVID cuisine in which BA has eliminated plated meals, glasses and real cutlery for passengers to save money, shamelessly blaming it on COVID health rules. Those rules apparently only apply to paying passengers as cabin crew continues to enjoy plated meals, with real glasses and cutlery. Apparently it is impossible to transmit COVID to crew members. LOL. Today's lunch. We had a choice of chicken caesar sandwich or the ominous sounding cheese and carmelized onion sandwich.

We both chose the chicken caesar which didn't taste very caesar-y. Indeed, it didn't have much taste of anything.

I had been forewarned about what to expect on board, so I came prepared with my own DIY package including napkins, plastic whiskey tumbler, disposable plates and cutlery. Didn't taste any better, but it definitely looked better after I plated it.

The Do&Co chocolate mousse was tasty... with another G&T.

All in all, a pleasant flight primarily due to the outstanding and personable service from our CSM/FA Lewis. Fortunately, our T5 arrival gate was close to the T5 Flight Connections lane, where we followed Fast Track.

And our first miserable-BA-employee encounter of the day. She admonished passengers for not using the electronic gates with a not so friendly "don't stand in line, go use the electronic gates". Of course, the electronic gates weren't working so we all got a "Please see BA Agent" message, which only made her even more of rhymes-with-witchy. She barked at a few more people before escorting some unlucky passenger to parts unknown. Fortunately, her colleague was more pleasant, checked our reservation and re-issued our Split Airport boarding passes on BA stock.

Not much traffic on the way to security.

And naturally, more than half the carry-ons, including mine were being kicked out for futher inspection.

Fifteen minutes later, we were good to go. And then to the BA Lounges and the current temporary Concorde Room, the old Galleries First Terrace, which looked like this last summer.

OK, much better this summer.

With lots of beverages displayed.

... including the good stuff. But don't even think about touching or trying to pour a drink for yourself lest you get your wrist slapped.

The Concorde Terrace is OK in concept but apparently someone forgot that it gets warm out here, and very warm when the sun shines. I would estimate the terrace temp in the sun was pushing 30C, certainly north of 25C even in the shade. Contrast that with a pleasant 21/22 inside. Then there was power outlet situation. LOL. These were the only two outlets on the entire terrace. I borrowed a charger for my phone but had to leave my laptop inside to charge. More great BA planning.

Food options... presumably the same as inside.

On the other hand, Mrs. SFO777 must have liked the Loaded Nachos with chili as she ate the entire bowl, and was so full that she hardly ate anything on the 11 hour flight to LAX.

All in all, The Concorde Terrace was fine, except for the warm temps and lack of power outlets. Nice to see BA didn't cut back the liquor offerings as LPGS and Johnny Blue were readily available. And unlike with Lufthansa at FRA, at least there was a First Class Lounge for First Class passengers to use. At around T-60, we headed out for our far distance B42. Planning for the worst with no idea what we'd be served on board, we stopped at Gordon Ramsay Plane Food... just in case.

London LHR to Los Angeles LAX
British Airways BA269
September 19, 2020
Seats 1K and 2K

After the train ride, the elevator and the long trek to B42, the furthest possible gate location in the B concourse, we boarded. Gate agent was a comedian saying 'just head down the esclator and from there, it's only a mile or so walk ". LOL. And not that far wrong.

On board, nice enough... if one is flying Business Class. Not very First Class though.

Unlike our excellent and personable CSM/FA Lewis on SPU-LHR, our two cabin crew members today were just going thru the motions. No personality, warmth or interest.

How about a pre departure beverage? Would you like water or water? LOL. Handed out with no offer of anything else.

A far cry from real First Class and last week's Lufthansa First COVID service on LAX-FRA.

Lufthansa First Class pre-departure beverage set-up.

... and service.

Once in the air, world famous BA COVID First Class service begins. LOL. I asked for a Gin & Tonic and got a Gin & Light Tonic, because they are just the same anyway right? And it was poured in the galley, apparently against BA COVID service protocol.

Just like Lufthansa First. LOL.

At this point, I went to my DIY kit and at least tried to make BA First look at least Premium Economy. I asked for more nuts which seemed to be a burden as our FA mumbled something about going back to the other cabins to see if she could find more.

More of the same on round two although our FA make sure to bring a proper G&T. And also, a bottle of BA's finest First Class champagne with lovely BA crystal flute, again poured in the galley.

Showtime, BA First COVID style.

The BA First Class Meal Box...

Uh-huh. Nicely organized and packaged though. LOL.

And of course, just like Lufthansa First Class COVID meal service. Amazing that German cabin crews are immune to COVID while preparing and delivering meals.

Back to reality and BA, I brought out my DIY kit to at least make the box meal a little more attractive and palatable.

The Do&Co salad was fresh and tasty.

And the tuna tartare was good.

For the hot main, we had a choice of chicken curry or pasta, staples of pre-COVID BA Economy or Premium Economy meal service.

Looked better on my DIY plates. I like curry but not only is this dish not very First Class, it's not even Business Class.

Meanwhile over in proper First Class on a real airline...

Shocking that Germans can also pour real wine at your seat without contracting COVID.

Back on BA, a surprising Do&Co cheese and dessert trio.

My second Do&Co mousse of the day... with another G&T.

Meanwhile over in Lufthansa First...

And back on BA, our Gordon Ramsay Buffalo Fried Chicken sandwich which wound up being the culinary highlight of the flight.

On positive notes, our beds were comfortable and we both slept for a good 6 hours prior to landing, disturbed only by periodic AA-like cabin crew yapping in the galley. We landed on time and at least I wasn't threatened with arrest this time.

Even pre-COVID, BA ranked near the bottom of international First Class products. Today's COVID-era BA First Class service is pathetic and should be an embarrassment to someone at BA. As Lufthansa and other airlines have demonstrated, BA COVID cut backs have nothing to do with COVID health rules, merely an excuse to cut costs.
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Last edited by SFO777; Sep 25, 20 at 7:16 am
SFO777 is offline  
Old Sep 24, 20, 11:20 pm
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Thanks for sharing your report!

But please put your grievances in writing to BA bout the poor food offering (and let us know what they say).
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Schwann is offline  
Old Sep 25, 20, 12:02 am
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Originally Posted by Schwann View Post

But please put your grievances in writing to BA bout the poor food offering (and let us know what they say).
One would easily predict immediately what BA would say... the much maligned and over-used "it's for our health and safety" nonsensical response.

Kudos, Lufthansa!
carrotjuice is online now  
Old Sep 25, 20, 12:21 am
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I do appreciate this review - I really do - but there is something exceptionally Alan Partridge about taking your own crockery onto an airplane.
hearingdouble is offline  
Old Sep 25, 20, 12:34 am
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Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
Today's COVID-era BA First Class service is pathetic and should be an embarrassment to someone at BA.
Heck, even I feel embarrassed just looking at the pictures.
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gengar is offline  
Old Sep 25, 20, 1:03 am
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Great trip report and perhaps you could put it in a pdf and send the whole thing to BA complaints as an attachment and ask them why LH can do and they cannot (yes, pointless excercise I am sure)

I don't miss flying but sort of miss eating a decent meal whilst watching the world go by
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Old Sep 25, 20, 1:32 am
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Originally Posted by Fly_IAD View Post
He also enjoys taking photos of non consenting women and putting it on his website. Such a blessing. Not.
Do women possess a reserved status when it comes to privacy issues?

Or maybe this is simply arcane gallantry.

My understanding is that no-one should expect privacy in a public place. But I have been wrong about many things before!
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IAN-UK is offline  
Old Sep 25, 20, 1:33 am
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Nice report, thanks.

Unbelievable scenes on Lufthansa on the way out: real glassware!!- I'm surprised they didn't just inject you directly with Covid and get it over with...
I suppose it just goes to show the lax German attitude to coronavirus, no wonder they have been so terrible in suppressing it.
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Old Sep 25, 20, 1:54 am
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I'm not sure it is a great report. It just repeats (again and again) all that we know from the COVID catering thread where I expect this belongs. It doesn't add to what we know, or indeed as the OP acknowledges, what he knew, before taking the trip and I can't help thinking some of this is on him.

By the third pic of Split's decidedly uninteresting airport terminal, I was begging for him to have taken the alternative 4am departure. All the faux shock-horrorr-lols is crying out for some therapy or a 16 year's old diary.
Dan72 is offline  
Old Sep 25, 20, 2:17 am
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That's First Class!!!! Perhaps they hope many people fly F now who never did before and they think it's the way it should be.....
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Old Sep 25, 20, 2:18 am
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Yes, BA's current onboard service is pathetic, and deserves all the criticism it gets.

But the OP knew very well what to expect, having participated extensively in discussions on this forum, and the apparent outrage at every step of the journey comes across as confected.
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Misco60 is offline  
Old Sep 25, 20, 2:34 am
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The entitlement is strong here. Bring your own plate? For real?
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Old Sep 25, 20, 2:36 am
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As usual a great trip report and I am even more happy that I have sold my IAG shares at 720p

I'll have a Club Europe to Palma next week but luckily I have 'paid' only 10k points w/ a companion voucher - I would not invest a penny in what they call 'Club', and as a German I am actually happy that we are not just able to engineer great cars but also can provide something like a service experience

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Old Sep 25, 20, 3:04 am
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Originally Posted by Misco60 View Post
Yes, BA's current onboard service is pathetic, and deserves all the criticism it gets.

But the OP knew very well what to expect, having participated extensively in discussions on this forum, and the apparent outrage at every step of the journey comes across as confected.
Indeed so. Thank you for articulating exactly what I was thinking. No one is forced to fly with any airline - if it is so bad, leave. As someone for whom I have lot of time at AA Forum says - Goodbye Cruel Airline.
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Old Sep 25, 20, 3:05 am
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Did you really take disposable plates and cutlery on a plane, to replate a crappy sandwich? DYKWIA, I don't eat like plebs.
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