Airline: British Airways
Aircraft: Boeing 777
Class: Business / Club World
Route: Milan - London Heathrow - New York / Newark
Date: November 2010
Saturday morning, 4:30: my mobile is ringing. Wake up call. How could I be so stupid? After 2 minutes I remember: Getting up 3 hours earlier saved me more than 700 Euros. This makes appr. EUR 240.00 per hour of sleep. Good deal.
After some coffees I went to a small train station near my house, took a regional train to Cologne and from there the Intercity Express within to Frankfurt Airport (took 57 mins). Total distance for 57 mins: 205 kms (appr. 125 miles). The price for a First Class return ticket was appr. 120 EUR. Same for the next connecting flight, so total savings compared to a flight from DUS were (incl. the not needed parking ticket) in total 600 EUR. Still good enough.
I arrived in Frankfurt in time, rushed to gate A 34 and took my slightly delayed flight with Lufthansa to Milan / Linate. When I arrived there, I saw that between my arrival and my scheduled connecting flight to London Heathrow there was another BA flight. I thought that it would be better to wait in London instead of Linate and asked if my (non flexible) ticket could be rebooked to the earlier flight. Otherwise I would have only 1 h 5 min transfer time in London which could be a little bit too short. After a short phone call BA told me that the rebooking was ok, however I could not expect a meal onboard, because it was 55 mins before departure.
No problem. I took my boarding pass, went to the BA lounge and after a cup of coffee my flight to London was ready for boarding. The flight to London was uneventful. Of course there was food enough, also for me. We landed in time and after some smokes I went to the Galleries Lounge North. The food there might not have changed since the first time I flew Britsh Airways, however, it is not bad, and you don't stay hungry. Boarding was announced for gate A10, door D. Everyone who knows LHR knows what this means. Bus gate!
This flight needed four buses to board everybody. I arrived at my seat in the first row of Business Class 10 K (facing backward). At seatguru.com there is a warning about this seat because of a misaligned window. That's nonsense. One window on this side is indeed missing, but it's a bit behind of that seat, so 10 K has a window. I changed clothes directly before departure and made myself comfortable in this private little cabin which I really love.
Shortly after departure the regular service started. Drinks were served (I do not consume alcoholic beverages when flying) and lunch a little later. The salad was fresh (sorry, no pics) and I chose the duck confit as main course. It was perfectly cooked. Delicous. One of the best airline meals I have ever had. And definitely the best I've ever had onboard British Airways.
IFE is still old fashioned. No video on demand, but 12 channels per language instead (so some more if you take the different language options into consideration) where all movies start at the same time. This is not state of the art anymore but it didn't really bother me. Normally I watch one movie during a flight and after sevice I
try to sleep. So I did this time as well. Seat down, fully flat and I had a good 4 hrs. sleep. When I woke up we had a bit more than 90 mins remaining flight time to EWR and the crew started another snack service. Nothing special. They came with assorted breads similar to the servings at English tea time. Simple, but good.
We landed at EWR in time and the only small delay we had was waiting for a truck to push us to the gate. After First Class had left, Business Class also left the plan and the usual rush to immigration started. We had only a very short way because we docked at the first gate and there was the next surprise. NOBODY there. I went to a waiting immigration officer and because I travelled with hand luggage only I was outside
for my first smoke exactly 10 minutes after the door opened. This might be my personal record for US immigration.
Overall: A bit difficult with the morning flights, but departing from Italy was so much cheaper than from Germany. Bus gates for long haul flights are nightmares. But the long flight itself was nice, smooth and exactly what I expect from British Airways.
After a smoke I went to Hertz. As a member of Hertz President Circle I usually expect upgrades, but this time I had reserved a car from the Green Line Collection (Toyota Camry hybrid or Nissan Altima hybrid), so there are actually no upgrades available for this car group. The bigger the surprise (and smile) when there
was a C 300 Mercedes waiting for me. Brand new, I was the first renter. But there's one thing I don't understand. How can somebody in the purchasing department from Hertz be so crazy to buy such a car in this terrible colour?!