The massage was a tad disappointing for me. The chair did most of the work, rather than the fair maiden who rubbed my shoulders a bit. And the chair hurt my back at times and I eventually had to ask for it to be turned off. Yes, I came away refreshed but not quite wowed. Chris on the other hand felt like his year of sleeping on a rag of a mattress at university had been completely rubbed away and he felt fantastic.
Cocktails on the terrace then overlooking, surprisingly enough, numerous British Airways planes.
We wandered over to the dining area where I made the surprise choice to start with soup. My usual outlook on soup is why would I want to eat a drink? Today I’d already been fed a lounge breakfast and cabin lunch. A lounge tea needed scaling back if I was to enjoy an evening meal in my first class suite.
Duck did the job. In fact it was terrifically cooked. Dessert and cheese that followed was pleasant but the duck stood out.
And then that was that. A shorter than expected Concorde Lounge experience was probably a good thing as a series of red wines and champagnes had built on the morning whisky and Baileys. I was quite merry.
The flight itself departed from terminal 5C. A monorail ride away. Worse still I discovered first class doesn’t entitle you to a a Star Trek style teleport to your seat and we had to board a bus to be taken to our 777. Not even an air bridge!
The bus passed an impressively large A380 aircraft. I’d have loved to have flown first class on that! Alas, availability for redeeming my Avios points on the dates I had didn’t spread beyond the older 777. Still on board we got.
My business class flights have been limited to an American Airlines A330 and the upper deck of a BA 747. The latter ideal for communicating with a travel companion. The AA service having a better seat layout for the individual traveller.
First class BA 777 beats both. It should, it costs a lot more. The personal space provided is a little larger. A home for iPad, book, phone etc was bigger and the seat control seems a little smarter. With a 1-2-1 seat layout we were in the middle two. My only criticism is that perhaps a sliding panel separating me from the aisle and thus buying more privacy would have been appropriate. But I was impressed.
A few years ago I’d have argued that premium seating was a waste of money. Maybe funding a family of five had something to do with that tight fisted view. These days anything further than the Canaries and I’m having a posh seat. And while business class is great first class is irrefutably better.
The on board service is a differentiator. The crew used my name. The were proactive in topping up my drink and although they selected my meal time for me it suited me. A relatively short flight (less than seven hours) and I wanted some sleep. Early food is good!
Then there’s the frills. £2,000 buys you a pair of pyjamas to wear on board and take away. Asda and Tesco for a tenner are my usual source of PJs and these outdo them. Agreed it’s not top tailoring but it’s good enough for this product of middle class suburbia.
The vanity kit included a range of toiletries, razor, shaving cream, toothbrush and toothpaste, eye mask, socks, comb and other goodies. I removed the eye mask thinking that would come in handy later after my dinner. Protection for my permanently sore right eye.
The champagne was proactively refilled. A red wine was swilled. This occasional drinker was just a little merry. And then the food arrived.
Amouse bouche. Some Mediterranean meats with an olive. Apparently regular first class flyers were in uproar when it was removed from the menu. It’s back. It’s classy looking. And it’s ok. Yes, just ok.
Next the Camembert starter. With a garlic bread. A little dry perhaps. Beautifully presented. But I should have accepted the offer of water beforehand. It became an effort to finish and that shouldn’t have been the case.
Then a main course selection of seared Aberdeen Angus fillet of beef. Good stuff, albeit not in the same class as the tenderloin served in the Lava restaurant in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. Alas, this defeated me. Unfinished as the excesses of the day began to take hold. Clearly my weight loss routine has reduced my stomach capacity considerably.
Always room for a Madagascan vanilla ice cream though. Two blocks of rock hard ice! What’s all that about? I was eventually successful in chiselling tiny bits off. The taste was exquisite. The effort a little less subtle.
Finally a cup of tea. Made in the pot. Proper English stuff where you get milk too. None of those strange concoctions I’ve been provided with around Europe. This might have been my last brew for a fortnight. It was excellent.
Then confusion. A box of Hotel Chocolat was placed in front of me. A grin on my face. All mine! I opened the lid and discovered half the chocs had gone. A little wave of sadness as I realised that I’m not meant to scoff the whole lot. Followed by a sense of relief as there’s no way I’d have managed to.
Would I pay £2,000 of my own money to fly a single leg of first class again? No, not if there’s a £1,400 business class option, or something much cheaper by starting in Dublin or similar. But in the unlikely event of accruing enough air miles again I’d definitely go for it. There is a premium and personal service. The BA staff in the air and on the ground are excellent. I just wish we’d had a few extra hours in the air to enjoy it even more.
Marvellous. Another one ticked off.
Oh, other than the flower the first class loo is exactly the same as cattle class get. It seems we are all the same.