Recently I had the joys of flying on the new British Airways A380 and I truly enjoyed soaring through the skies in the world’s largest jumbo jet. On that trip, I flew from Los Angeles to London in premium economy and was really wowed by British Airways staff and new airplane. On my return trip, I flew the same route, but this time on a B747 in Premium Economy. I must say, my love for British Airways came to a screeching halt.
From the airplane to the level of service provided by flight attendants, I felt as though I received the old rusty plane and crew. Not to mention, for whatever reason, service offered on the 747 are not up to par as on the A380. Boarding was done in typical fashion, but unlike on the A380, once boarding was completed only juice or water was offered as a welcome drink to those sitting in the premium economy cabin. When I inquired about the champagne or sparkling wine, my cheeky flight attendant told me “If you wanted champagne you should have bought a ticket in Club World (business).” Later he came back and informed me that Premium Economy was only offering champagne on A380 flights – odd!
The rest of the services provided were typical, including a hot towel, meals, and drink service. I just noticed that this time the service seemed extra slow and spaced out. I will not go into a lot of detail as there was nothing special on this flight or different from my previous long haul flight from LAX on BA; although, what was different was the demeanor and attitude of the BA flight attendants. On my last flight, the FAs checked on the cabin several time, offering water and snacks. Yet on this flight, after dinner service was completed it seemed as though the flight attendants completely disappeared, not to be seen again until about 80 minutes before landing, aka breakfast time. Also, when dinner menus were distributed in premium economy, passengers received the wrong meal cards, creating confusion and even a few angry passengers at meal time. The menu cards were the same cards provided on the LAX-LHR flight.
Meal service: Meal service was served over a 1.5 hour period about 1 hour after takeoff from London. Passengers in Premium Economy were offered a hot towel, and then a beverage of their liking served in a plastic glass accompanied by baked pretzels. About 30 minutes after the initial beverage service, dinner service began. The galley was behind Premium Economy, in the economy class cabin, and FAs worked from that galley, pushing carts through the cabin, and then working their way back, serving passengers in a front to back fashion. It was clear the FA working my section of the cabin was new, as the FA on the opposite side of the cabin had completely served all his passengers before the FA serving my side completed half of his passengers. Since I had a special meal, I was provided with my meal before the rest of the cabin, but was then informed that wine or another beverage wouldn’t be served until later. This meant that my meal was almost completely finished before another beverage was offered to me.
My seafood meal – cod in butter sauce
My neighbors filet & picture of the dessert
Breakfast service was very quick and was similar to my flight from LAX. Breakfast was served in a box and there was only one option. Again, since I had a special meal I was served early, but for the first time on this long 11 hour flight I was actually sleeping. The FA instead placed my meal on my bag, between my seat and the fuselage and I found it before landing and quickly indulged on the extremely light lox sandwich and sweetbread.
There was no service between meals, but a small snack box was available in the galley. I noticed that the snack box was always empty when I stopped by and when I asked the FAs about snack options they were very bullish or reported that a new snack box would be replaced in x amount of time. It was very unusual and almost cheap of the airline. If I was to fly BA again on a long haul flight I would be sure to pack a snack pack. The inflight snacks offered in economy included chocolates, gummy bears, and other high fructose sweet options. Nothing of substance.
Seat & IFE: The 90s are calling and they want their inflight hard products back! The Premium Economy cabin is honestly a 90s style economy cabin in a 2x4x2 set up. Yes, the seats are slightly wider than the 3x4x3 seats in the rest of the economy cabin, but the seats are shabby and tired looking, the padding is worn thin, and the PTV is so small I felt like I was on an old Delta 767. The small TVS have washed out LCD screens that are slow to respond and difficult to use at time. The small 8 inch TVs have decent entertainment options, but nothing like the options on my A321 flight to/from Tel Aviv or the A380 flight. Also, the window seats have a about a foot gap between the seat and the window, making it impossible to lean against the fuselage while sleeping. BA really could have used this space on both sides to increase personal space in each seat instead of leaving a void between the seat and side of the plane.
Amenities: Pillow, over used blanket, or a tooth brush anyone? Like the plane, the amenities on the 747 are also worn. The pillows were similar to those on other flights, but instead seemed to have lost their plush factor. The temperature in the cabin throughout the flight was comfortable and the need for blanket was nil. A standard long haul amenity kit was provided that included a toothbrush and paste, ear plugs, eye mask, pen, and headphones. Each seat also offered worthless EmPower ports. Since I did not have an adaptor and expected AC ports, I was unable to charge my devices inflight.
Overall the trip did not make me love BA and reminded me of actually flying a major US carrier, not a premium airline out of Europe. The service was blasé and the plane was old and dated. If I am to ever fly BA again, I will be certainly avoid their B747 and not opt for premium economy on this jumbo jet either!