I recently flew on British Airways flight 190 in first class from Austin TX to London. I am an avgeek so it was great to fly the “Queen of the Skies” a Boeing 747-400. British Airways does not have their own lounge at Austin so we headed to the American Airlines Admirals Club.
I know that first class of British Airways ranks low but British Airways has recently done a refresh of their soft product with:
- New bedding with 400 thread count bedding and a foam fiber mattress topper,
- New amenity kits with updated Elemis products,
- New sleepware from Temperley London for both men and women (no more unisex issues),
- New glassware from Dartingon featuring stemware for champagne and wines and cut-glass tumbles for soft drinks and spirits,
- New plateware from William Edwards and cutlery from Studio William,
- Refreshed menus starting with a Canapes tray in place of the amuse bouche.
The hard product remains the dated, open-suite that clearly shows its age. Since the 747’s are on the retirement list, there will be no suite refurbishments for the Queens.
Boarding and Pre-flight Beverages
Tonight, I am flying on a 747-400 (tail# G-CIVA) that was originally delivered to British Airways in March of 1993.
After boarding and being shown to my seat by my flight attendant, Rene, it was a quick trip up the stairs to the flight deck to meet the crew for this flight.
Let’s check out the accommodations for seat 2A. It is the same dated open suite that British has used for years.
The service from the first class staff was attentive and well-timed. There are 14 first class seats on the 747 with three flight attendants: one for the left half, one for the right half and one for food preparation. Dinner service started about 30 minutes after take off.
Overall, the food quality, taste and service was remarkably good for British Airways. It is really a step up in the dinner menu with the Canape tray replacing the amuse bouche and offering the lobster tail as a starter. Rene was very attentive during the entire dinner service and her timing between courses was perfect. I am a wine drinker and the selection of wines on the first class menu was very good with three sparkling wines and two dessert wines. The meal was filling and if you are still hungry, the snack bar features Joe and Seph’s caramel and sea salt popcord, a selection of British Kettle Chips and season cut fruit.
While I visit the loo and change into my jammies, Rene makes my bed.
Rene wakes me up at the time I requested for breakfast. Breakfast services starts before we get to the Irish coastline.
Arrival at Heathrow
New this year, British Immigration allows Americans to use the “fast track” entry upon arrival in the UK. After passing through Immigration, it is off to the British Airways Arrivals lounge in Terminal 5 before we head to our hotel in London. The arrivals lounge has an Elemis spa, shower rooms, breakfast buffet and sit down waiter service at the Concorde Breakfast Room. The Concorde Breakfast Room is not the Concorde Dining Room that is upstairs in the first class departure lounge.
Aside from the old, well-dated seat and suite, this first class flight was actually really good. The first class suites in the 787-9 are much better but this flight gave me a chance to fly the “Queen of the Skies” one more time.