These days, it’s rare that I get to board a flight to Europe and actually not connect on to Asia or somewhere else. But that was exactly what I got to do last Sunday night, so that I could spend the week in beautiful London. Heading home tomorrow, but here is my review of BA 286 (Departing January 31, 2016 @ 8:20pm, Arriving February 2, 2016 @ 2:45pm).
Lounges in SFO suck in general, as we know, but after months of flying Asian and Middle Eastern carriers, the British Airways lounge in SFO was a particular disappointment. There wasn’t even any champagne (self serve or not!). Also, the lounge was overwhelmingly full – nearly every seat was taken. It was crowded enough I considered leaving the lounge just to find an area to sit outside of the gate, but the need to talk shop with a few colleagues on the same flight was strong enough to find and carve out a seat for the next hour or so. Thankfully, they do announce boarding for their flights from the lounge, so by the time I left and walked to the gate, I could walk right onboard.
I was seated in seat 11A and forgot to take the seat picture and the obligatory nut shot (sorry!). However, the seat was the standard British Airways business class seat (2 – 4 – 2 cabin configuration) and I was next to a window. One the separator is up it’s very private and almost like a private suite. The plane was an A380 and had a second level entirely devoted to business class. Sadly, I was on the main level so can’t attest to the enormous second level, but my seat was comfy enough for the trip. I slept fitfully for a about four or five hours and spent the rest of the time working and watching movies. The bathrooms were at the end of the cabin and had a line every time I wanted to go; they weren’t particularly clean either. They could stand to add more bathrooms for the bottom business class section.
I’m getting good at sleeping through breakfast. It happened again on this flight, but I did make it through dinner before passing out. I selected the mozzarella and tomato salad to start (it was good), a pretzel roll (too dry), and the risotto dotted with fava beans (surprisingly good). Dessert was a highlight with the chocolate salted caramel delice. When I cut into it, it it oozed caramel (yum). Wish they would bring back high tea to the skies like they had a few years ago.
The staff were friendly enough, but didn’t really come through the cabin much asking if we needed anything. It may be because it was an evening flight. Only one warm towel was passed out (after breakfast before landing). I would have appreciated one in the beginning of the flight.
I’d rate this flight a solid B. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of elegance that I’ve seen on Asian or Middle Eastern carriers, and the service was very, well, British. The seat was comfortable and food average to below average. But the plane felt newer and it was clean (except the bathrooms halfway through the flight). It was a quick way to cross the pond from San Francisco. I have yet to review Virgin Atlantic’s or United’s direct flights to London… maybe another time.
Have Kids, Will Work