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BA A380 LHR-LAX - expected more

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Jan 2nd, 2014, 11:45 AM
  #1
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BA A380 LHR-LAX - expected more

I recently flew back to LAX from Heathrow on the A380 that British Airways had recently introduced for that route. I wasn't expecting it since my outbound flight had been on the old 747, but was excited as that was my first experience with the big double decker. I have to say, I was not impressed one bit. I had rear-facing window seat 56A on the upper deck, which was the middle business class cabin. My carry-on couldn't even fit in the overhead bin so I had to put it in the bin over the middle section seats. Not even my purse could fit in the small storage bins located along the side under the windows. The bins actually seemed smaller than the ones on the 747. There was only one restroom servicing that entire middle cabin and it was located on the right side of the plane, which meant I had to go through the crowded galley every time I needed to visit the restroom or pass through the forward business cabin to reach the restrooms at the very front of the plane. At least on the upper deck of the 747, there were only a few seats and two restrooms. The flight attendants were not pleasant, with one not cracking a smile even once during the entire flight. I asked for a "Mimosa" and was flat-out told I could have either an orange juice or a champagne--not both and she couldn't combine them. Never had a problem before with such a simple request. For the first meal, my choice was already not available, even though I was the first stop from the galley. When we landed, the attendants had forgotten about the coats that they had put away for passengers. If it hadn't been for the delay in the opening of the exit doors, I never would have remembered my winter coat hadn't been given back to me.

Not only were there no perks in this new plane, such as a bar or roomier seats, the basics weren't even as good as with the 747. My father relayed that he and my mother had flown on one of Pan Am's first 747s back int the day and the crew clearly hadn't gotten used to the new plane. But hasn't BA been flying the A380 elsewhere for some time? It seems they really did just squeeze more sardines into a bigger tin can.
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 12:21 PM
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Yup - that's the basic deal with the A380, more sardines in a bigger tin can. I've flown Lufthansa A380 a few times and I could not tell the difference in seats or amenities between that and other LH planes.

Some airlines may be offering better upper class amenities, but coach seems to be coach.
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 01:05 PM
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This was business class, but it was of a lower quality than the service I've routinely received flying on the upper deck of BA's 747 fleet. I don't fly that often, and only for personal reasons, so the flight is a part of my experience. I hate starting, or ending a trip with a poor flight experience. Where are those planes I keep hearing about that have bars in business class and other amenities that might actually make the modern flight experience tolerable?
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 05:30 PM
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Have never experienced a bar in B. class but it sounds pretty spiffy!!! Who has one?? BA seems to have had some customer relation problems of late and with the terrible tax tacked on for LHR I may not be using my FF miles soon., Although I have over 3 hundred thousands. It is very difficult to book/or look at options for rewards from their website. But who knows I may be doing it all wrong. At least their attendants, that I have seen, do not look like they are due for old age pensions soon.Delta's are nearly as old as I am and seemed terribly stressed out on several recent flights. Do we set the bar too high with our costly expectations??
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 07:14 PM
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BA seems to have had some customer relation problems of late and with the terrible tax tacked on for LHR I may not be using my FF miles soon.

While there IS a hefty UK departure tax (the Air Passenger Duty) the real pain with using FF miles on BA flights is the fuel surcharge BA adds to the taxes and fees. On a business class itinerary between, say, LAX and LHR, these "fuel fines" can add over $1200 to the out-of-pocket cost of the "free" flight, never mind reducing the value of the miles by half or more.

The fuel surcharge has nothing to do with additional fuel costs, it's pure and simple a profit that goes straight to BA out of the pockets of FF mile redeemers.

There's a class action suit pending in federal court over this practice; I wish the plaintiffs well.
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 09:04 PM
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Good to hear about the class action..Hope it goes in favor of the passengers..I knew about the fuel charges but lumped all charges into "terrible tax" comment.. It is outrageous!
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 11:29 PM
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amer_can: Emirates offers a bar for business class on the upper deck of their A380 to Hong Kong. And showers in first!

BA website is much better than it used to be for booking travel on partners to avoid LHR. I've recently booked award travel using BA.com from Rome to Bangkok on Qatar, from Bangkok to San Francisco on Cathay Pacific, from Bangkok to Vancouver on JAL, and from PDX to Rome on American, all in either business or first.
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 11:30 PM
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PS- I do think the A380 is highly overrated. Much prefer upper deck of 747 and will be very sad to see them go.
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Jan 3rd, 2014, 07:09 AM
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Virgin Atlantic do in their upper class which is equivalent to business class. As far as I know, it is not limited to an aircraft type, I've seen it on 747s and their Airbuses, even the smaller one.
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Jan 3rd, 2014, 08:14 AM
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Emirates and V. Amer. are not locally available airlines but have heard wonderful things about Emirates from DD..Will try to find one of their partners and try to get on to a connection with a a flying bar!!
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Jan 3rd, 2014, 08:34 AM
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Virgin Amer. is not the same as Virgin Atlantic and I'm not sure what is meant by EK and VS not being locally available airlines.
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Jan 3rd, 2014, 02:23 PM
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Virgin Australia also has a bar in business class. Kind of silly, IMO.

As for the OP's experience... BA biz is pedestrian. I still like the seats (when traveling alone) and the LHR lounges, but the service is middling, the cabins are crowded, the beverages just ok, and the food is poor to awful. As more and more carriers introduce flat bed seats that are the equal or better to the BA seat, I think there becomes less and less reason to fly with them.

Delta's are nearly as old as I am and seemed terribly stressed out on several recent flights. Do we set the bar too high with our costly expectations??

Not sure what the fascination is with some folks about the age of the FAs. And, yes, I think you have too-high expectations for business class.

FWIW, I find the service, beverage program, and food on Delta to easily outclass BA in biz. The seats are a bit of a toss-up, with the new A330 and 747 seats on Delta easily besting BA and the 767 seats to be a bit of YMMV, though I prefer BA. BA wins on lounges, but not for long - when DL co-locates with Virgin Atlantic at LHR, Delta will jump ahead on the lounge front for most routes.
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Jan 4th, 2014, 12:36 AM
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I'm a business traveller. I couldn't care less about a bar and would not be impressed. Fully flat bed, seat pitch and seat width impress me.
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Jan 4th, 2014, 02:45 AM
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All very interesting replies. Maybe I'll have to look into Virgin Atlantic.

Truthfully, a "bar" isn't on my must have list as I usually stick to sparkling water; it's just something extra that I thought a plane as large as the A380 might have for their business class. Like rock climbing walls and ice skating rinks on the super-sized cruise ships. The BA "menu," which was passed around before meal service, referred to a "Tea Room," and described all the wonderful assortment of teas one could have. I asked a flight attendant what that was about and if there was some sort of room or location where there were all these teas that could be prepared. It sounded so nice to have a little niche where passengers could mingle while they made a nice cup of tea. But, nope, the "tea room" referred to in the Menu was not a room as such but just an indication that you could order different types of teas. Meh.

As for seat width and pitch, there was absolutely nothing extra on this plane. When the aisle seat has their foot rest down, you still have to climb over it. I'll definitely look out for the 747, where I've always flown the upper deck and have never had issues about the seat or service.
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Jan 4th, 2014, 05:10 AM
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As for seat width and pitch, there was absolutely nothing extra on this plane. When the aisle seat has their foot rest down, you still have to climb over it.

Both Delta and Virgin Atlantic have direct aisle access for every business class passenger on flights to Heathrow. By late spring 2014, Delta will have direct aisle access for every business class passenger on all widebody long-haul international flights (they already have this on all trans-Pacific flights).
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Jan 4th, 2014, 08:29 AM
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Odin.. we can't fly on planes that do not land where we live therefore not locally available!!
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Jan 5th, 2014, 05:02 PM
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"Like rock climbing walls and ice skating rinks"

I think I'd be impressed if I saw one of those on a plane.
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Jan 7th, 2014, 09:12 PM
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My last flights were on BA, LAX-LHR-JNB (Johannesburg SA). In Economy Plus. That rude experience plus the continuing airport hassles have exhausted my desire and patience to fly, anywhere, ever, again. I simply don't need it.

regards - tom
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Jan 9th, 2014, 08:33 PM
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Delta's planes are all lie flat beds in BE particularly to the UK!American's planes to the UK still have the old BE seats instead of flat beds.
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Jan 27th, 2014, 12:48 PM
  #20
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Just had to update my post with my father's own experience on the A380 from LHR to LAX. Although he flew coach (upper deck and one of the two-seat rows in the rear of the plane), his experience mirrored my own negative one. Dad agreed that everything was narrower and smaller, including the bins and trays, the food was almost inedible, and the staff were overwhelmed with having to handle too many passengers. Sorry, BA, but we're both looking into Lufthansa or KLM for our flights to Oslo from now on.
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