British Airways First Class A380 Review Bottom Line
This was my first time on an A380. I could not believe I was riding up in First. However, it did bum me out that British Airways has their First class on the lower deck of their A380. The flight was good but nowhere near as great as the flight in from Newark.
The Good: Comfortable seat and good IFE options.
The Bad: Food was sorely limited. I ended up having to order something from the Club World menu because they ran out of appetizers.
The Noteworthy: Here started my love for the behemoth known as the A380.
After spending a short time in the Concorde Room (my Tube Ride from the city took longer than I expected), I walked over to the gate. I was surprised that BA does not offer special ground services for their First Class passengers, but I did not mind much. By the time I made it to concourse C, a few passengers were lining up in the First Class line for the flight. The A380 is a massive jet, and, with so many people trying to board quickly, a mess ensued. By the time they called boarding, there were people in lines they were not supposed to be in. The agents sorted through the First class and OW Emerald passengers and redirected a few Club World passengers in the wrong line. I was the third person to enter the First Class cabin.
Airline: British Airways
Cabin: First Class
Flight Number: BA 283
Route: LHR – Los Angeles LAX
The cabin on the A380 is almost identical to the cabin on the 777. The seats on BA’s A380s are arranged in a 1x2x1 configuration over 3 rows, plus an extra pair of window seats. There are a total of 14 open suites. The seats are superbly comfortable; however, they do not meet the current standards for First class seats. I agree with the sentiment that British Airways First Class is the best business class in the sky. During daytime flights, there is no mood lighting, and the cabin looks more sterile.
The seat is identical to the 777 first-class seats, although a bit wider. A blanket and pillow were waiting on the ottoman. The ottoman doubles as a buddy seat if you want to dine with someone. Each seat has a small wardrobe. The IFE screen is quite large and high resolution, but it is not a touch screen. Seat and IFE controls are on the opposite side of the aisle. The windows are electronically dimmable, and you can play around with the settings.
The amenities were the same as on my Newark flight. The amenity kit (which has since changed) was well stocked with Refinery products. The pajamas (which have also since changed) were not of the highest quality. I ordered an orange juice as a pre-departure beverage, and it was promptly delivered to me, although with less enthusiasm as on my inbound flight.
Departure and Take Off
When the captain came on the PA system to introduce himself and the crew, Passengers took every seat on the aircraft. First was full, with two last-minute passengers boarding. (I believe they were BA management based on how the crew treated them). Once we began our taxi to the runway, I saw the usual mix of aircraft at LHR. It’s always a treat to see the Concorde sitting close to the runway. The mammoth A380 took off so gently you could almost not notice. It was awe-inspiring to fly on one for the first time.
Soon after takeoff, the flight attendants came by to take my order for lunch. The menu read as follows:
Lunch began with a choice of drinks and mixed nuts. I am a big fan of BA’s candied pecans.
Then, The crew set the table, and an amuse-bouche of Atlantic Salmon was brought out. For my appetizer, I ordered the crab dish. I was seat 2K, and they had “run out.” I was quite upset, but I ordered the chicken consomme. It was okay, and I was truly underwhelmed. When the FAs noticed how unimpressed I was, they “found” an extra crab appetizer. The salad that followed was bland but fresh.
For my entree, I ordered the Aberdeen beef. It was surprisingly good. It was well cooked, and the sauce complimented it well. By then, I was tired, so I did not order any dessert.
I was woken up for the afternoon tea service. (This has since changed to a full meal on longer flights, namely LAX, SEA, SFO, SJC, SAN, etc.) I wasn’t too hungry, but I couldn’t help but try out the finger sandwiches. The FAs set up the table, and they brought out a selection of pastries.
This was followed by four TINY sandwiches and a small plate of cakes and biscuits. I was surprised by the small amount of food. This was a stark comparison to the copious amount available on my flight to London.
Seat Comfort and Sleeping
The FAs made my bed after lunch. They put a mattress pad above the seat and a thicker blanket above it. The pillow for sleeping was plusher than the one for lounging. Soon after, The crew turned off the cabin lights to allow passengers to sleep.
The seat was quite comfortable to sleep in and for lounging. It is quite wide when it is in lie-flat mode.
Wandering Around the Plane
From the moment I boarded the plane, I was wandering around trying to take in the sheer size of the A380. I saw the crew rest and got to speak with the captain and senior first officer.
Later in the flight, I went upstairs to the upper deck. Going upstairs on an aircraft is something that will never lose its charm on me.
Club World bathrooms were much larger than the First Class bathrooms on the main deck. I went all the way to the back of the plane and went down the back stairs. I did two full laps throughout the flight.
Notes on Service
I was not impressed by the service on this flight. The crew was robotic, if not nervous, because of the two gentlemen seating in behind me. They were not very attentive and came around the cabin once every 45 minutes or so. I often had to use the call button to get their attention.
Landing and Arrival
Soon enough, we were preparing for arrival. The crew thanked us for flying British Airways and let us know our arrival gate information. Just as gracefully as the A380 took off, it landed at LAX. Thanks to Global Entry, I was back past security some 30 minutes after our arrival at the gate.
I was not impressed by my second flight on BA First. Nothing, besides the A380 itself, stood out. It felt a lot like business class service, with a few more amenities. This flight embodies the notion that BA offers the best business class in its First Class. I even dispute that when comparing them to Qatar Airways and their QSuites. I did enjoy the flight overall, but I would have liked BA to offer wifi on board.