Flying on British Airways

Jan 24th, 2003, 10:58 AM
  #1  
Linda Allen
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Flying on British Airways

We will be flying British Airways from Chicago to Heathrow in April, 2003. Any tips from previous flyers? I can only afford the "World Traveler" coach classs, but am hoping it is a little better than some of the US airlines as far as leg room, meals, etc.
What sort of food options do they have? Any snacks or just one meal on the trip?

How are the seats? Leg room? Entertainment?

I have gotten so much good information from the people replying to my posts, you are definitely making my trip much easier!
 
Jan 24th, 2003, 11:27 AM
  #2  
x_x_x
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http://www.airlinequality.com/Product/seat_intro.htm

This is a chart with information on airline seats..BA is included.
 
Jan 24th, 2003, 11:29 AM
  #3  
Ann
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BA's okay. It used to be my favorite carrier overseas, but has fallen way off over the past 5 years. They often really overheat the cabins, and don't often clean the toilets.

Leg room, food, and entertainment are pretty much the same as the US airlines. Nothing really stands out.

For food, on the way out, you'll get dinner, and then breakfast before you land.
 
Jan 24th, 2003, 11:30 AM
  #4  
AntiRegistrata
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I flew BA last week between Dulles and Heathrow, Boeing 747 and 777. Coach is coach is coach. Legroom, food, onboard service and amenities are very typical transatlantic. About 4 movies were offered. Full meal about 1.5 hour into flight; snack meal served about 1 hour before landing. Free beer and wine.
 
Jan 24th, 2003, 11:34 AM
  #5  
xxx
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Did the plane have the individual entertainment or just the overhead movies?
 
Jan 24th, 2003, 11:34 AM
  #6  
Dave
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Just returned from LHR to ORD in early January 2003. WT+ is a fine coach product, tho clearly not as nice as biz class......
The poster referring you to the airline quality website has a good idea, but you might also try seatguru.com, check out "United" if you're travelling 744 or either "American" or "United" if your flights are on 777.
You may find some information about "particular" seats that you can then translate to the BA seat map to help you choose wisely.
Also, you may want to check out flyertalk.com and look at the British forum for add'l info.
Best wishes for a great trip!
 
Jan 24th, 2003, 11:42 AM
  #7  
AntiRegistrata
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Both flights had individual seatback video.
 
Jan 24th, 2003, 11:45 AM
  #8  
Debbie
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I think I recall that in our heated discussions on Carryon luggage, that someone (Bill?) said BA has drastically reduced the WEIGHT allowed.

Be sure to check on this before you leave.
 
Jan 24th, 2003, 11:49 AM
  #9  
Julie
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I flew BA and thought they were fine. We always request special meals (low fat) and am always glad we do. We had individual entertainment viewers and they brought a "goody bag" with a nightmask, slippers and toothbrush and toothpaste, which was a nice touch. The only thing I didn't like was having to wait 4 hours for our connection flight in Heathrow--not one of my favorite airports, but otherwise, they were fine.

I think they did reduce carry-on, but I managed to get by with one carry-on and my purse, though my husband had his bag checked (he travelled with more stuff than I did.)
 
Jan 24th, 2003, 11:52 AM
  #10  
xxx
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I've always wondered does BA fly on the wrong side of the sky?
 
Jan 24th, 2003, 07:35 PM
  #11  
Keith
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If you are from US, you might not be able to understand some of the stewardesses. My travel mate from UK finally had to tell me what the gal was saying when she was asking what I wanted for meal.

Also, you might not be offered coffee, tea or milk. They will just say: "Here is your tea."
 
Jan 25th, 2003, 01:17 PM
  #12  
David White
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Linda,

I've found that, in recent years, my British Airways experience breaks down like this:

--the on-board staff is very helpful and relatively efficient

--the planes are about average, comfort-wise in coach, oops, "World Traveler", but well-maintained

--but the ticketing, reservations, and telephone customer service systems are pretty screwed up.

Meals onboard are acceptable airline fare...actually a little better than the now almost non-existent meals on domestic flights. Of course the food really depends upon the catering service used at the airport where your flight departs (all this stuff is contracted out).

If you already have your ticket in hand, you should be fine. IF you are attempting to get tickets, make changes, if your flight is delayed or cancelled, or if there is any problem with your tickets or reservations, be prepared to deal with those terrible BA systems.

It will be worth your while to join the BA "Executive Club" (frequent flier) to get credit for the long transatlantic flights.

Hope this is helpful

David White
http://www.KidsToLondon.com

 
Jan 25th, 2003, 10:04 PM
  #13  
xxx
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We flew BA way back in 1991 on the old 747's and the service was great in coach (aka cattle class) and they even served us snacks like crackers and fresh fruit! Because of the favorable experience we had then, we booked BA from SFO to Rome in 2001 and were pretty disappointed. They now use 767's or 777's I'm not sure which, but the leg room was tight and the seats have gotten narrower. To top it off, the food was not very good as it used to be. We flew on Lufthansa in 2002 from SFO to Paris and expected the worse judging from the many awful comments here at Fodor's, but we were pleasantly surprised. The airplanes were new and much more comfortable than the ones at BA.
 
Jan 26th, 2003, 10:25 AM
  #14  
fustrated
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I agree with D White above about BA reservations being screwed up. My wife and I always purchase a 3rd seat so that we can travel in comfort. BA wasn't able to accomodate this request without special arrangements which took 3-4 days! They really try hard but management needs to streamline the process.
 
Jan 26th, 2003, 10:43 AM
  #15  
susan
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I was on BA in coach class from Seattle/London/Amsterdam/Geneva/London/Seattle in July 2002.

I flew overnight on the Seattle to London leg and it was great! They had those little seatback TVs which were a lifesaver (I can't sleep on planes). They served both dinner and breakfast, free wine or cocktails, etc. The legroom is tight so my personal preference is an aisle seat. Maybe bring a bottle of water and a few small snacks so you won't be stranded between their service times.

Since you're only going from Chicago (slightly shorter flight) I'm not sure if your service will be identical to mine.
 
Jan 26th, 2003, 10:45 AM
  #16  
Robert
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ttt
 
Jan 26th, 2003, 10:54 AM
  #17  
XYZ
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Don't let anybody tell you differently...

They are a typical trans-Atlantic airline. They're all the same. You can get a good flight...you can get a bad flight depending on many different circumstances.

They do have the little screens on many of their plans now but none of the movies are usually very interesting. But then again, I just came back on VS and it was the same.

The most interesting thing on TV is the skymap which tracks where the plane is.

One difference is they still offer free booze in economy as does VS unlike the American airlines which now want $4 for a drink; of course you can argue that they are being good to your health by doing that. I still like a glass of wine every day for my heart as has been shown by current medical thinking, moderate drinking is good for the heart.

I did notice, however, that on Virgin which means probably on BA, there has been some deterioration in things such as the amenities they give you, VS now hands out most uncomfortable ear phones after the flight starts (I guess because people were stealing them) and instead of the individual little bottles of wine, they pour wine from a large bottle so you don't really know what kind of cheap wine you are getting.....

Again none of those are complaints just statements of observations.
 
Jan 26th, 2003, 11:19 AM
  #18  
Janell
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We flew BA in December and were happy with the flights. I suggest joining their Executive Club (it's free) so you can check in online 24 hours ahead of time. We did this and got to the airport early so we could request emergency exit row seats (more leg room). We got the seats which were great. Also, free alcoholic drinks were nice. However, they give you a larger serving of alcohol than juice or soda (ask for more). The care packs that they give you are nice. I thought the cabin was clean and comfortable compared to what I've read on these message boards. We thought AA flight attendents were friendlier but that's the luck or unluck of the draw. Turbulance was a nightmare both ways but the BA pilots got us through it so that is always good. Have a great trip!
 
Jan 26th, 2003, 11:46 AM
  #19  
Rita
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I flew BA with a Marriott Rewards certificate and agree with most of the posters--they were fine on board. However, I also agree about difficulties in making reservations. When I tried to make the reservation, I was told that those were block-out days (which they weren't, and I insisted they weren't), but when my husband called the next day, he had absolutely no trouble making the same reservation. I don't know if it was the luck of the draw or the fact that he's a man, but you might keep this in mind if you're a woman and are having a problem getting the reservation you desire.
 
Jan 26th, 2003, 12:17 PM
  #20  
ron
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We flew BA from Chicago to London just a week ago. They have 2 flights a day. The afternoon flight is on a 777 (with which we flew back), the evening flight is on a 747 (which took us to London). Both are comparable, but the 777 has your personal TV screen in front of you, which lets you chose one of the many movies/programs they have.

Food was ok, service was ok, and if you're not too tall you'll find the seats reasonable.

Don't put too much time and worry into the flight. You'll get there one way or another. If lucky, you'll have good, calm weather, quiet passengers (no screaming babies), no delays. Which is the same for ANY airline or ANY flight you'll take.
 

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