British Airways First Class 777 Review Bottom Line
There’s nothing like the first time. No, I’m not talking about anything along those lines, but my first time flying international First Class. I always dreamed about writing up this trip report, but for a few years, I lost the SD card with all the photos. Most of them have since evolved, and I will try to note where they have changed. Comparative commentary will be inside [brackets]. I hope you enjoy this series!
British Airways blew my mind away. I had never experienced such a nice seat, copious amount of food and amenities, or the attentive crew. After a few years, I realize that some things were not to the standard of true First Class, but I will point out that the crew was truly the best British Airways.
The Good: (Looking back and comparing) The food was surprisingly good quality, and the crew was simply stellar. Best crew I have had on BA.
The Bad: (Looking back and comparing) The lack of wifi sucks, and to this day, this still applies to most of the BA fleet. Also, the seat is not the most private.
The Noteworthy: It was a BLAST. Nothing has hooked me on the travel bug since that day. Arguably, the only other #avgeek moment I can compare to this was watching the Concorde land at CDG way back in 2002 on my first trip to France.
After spending a while at the Newark Galleries Lounge, I walked over to the gate area where the flight would depart. My lounge experience was superb, and I couldn’t wait to see how British Airways would compare in-flight. [I had never been this excited to get on a plane]. Boarding was chaotic. [As I have come to expect at EWR,] there was a mess of people at the terminal and little order. There were multiple flights take off simultaneously, and the gate agents were not very diligent in queueing people up. By the time they lined up First Class, angry passengers were demanding to board the flight.
Airline: British Airways
Cabin: First Class
Flight Number: BA 184
Route: Newark EWR- London LHR
Once I boarded the cabin, I could not contain my excitement. I told the flight attendants that it was my first time flying first class, and they gave me the royal treatment. I was shown to my seat and asked what size of pajamas I wanted. The cabin was stunning. The contrasts of blue lights, navy fabric, and white/grey consoles screamed elegance to me.
The seats on BA’s 777-200s are arranged in a 1x2x1 configuration over 3 rows, plus an extra pair of window seats. There are a total of 14 open suites. (Looking back, 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.) The seat felt very wide and was considerably more padded than Club World seats. A pillow and a blanket were waiting for me at my seat.
Each seat has an ottoman that can be used as a buddy seat for partner dining and a large side console that doubles as a cocktail table. There is a closet/wardrobe to store your change of clothes at each seat.
Seat controls are on the side opposite the aisle. They are super intuitive. I find them to be one of the best controls to adjust your seat. The IFE controls and power ports, and USB outlets are found below the seat controls in a compartment. I don’t seem to have photographed them on this trip, but here is a photograph from the same setup on BA’s A380.
Each seat is equipped with a fancy-looking reading light, as well as electronic blinds that are hued blue at night.
As soon as I was settled in and had taken all the greatness, the purser came by and offered me the amenities for the flight. First was my pre-departure beverage. I had ordered a Coca Cola with ice. Following were the amenity kit and pajamas. (Both have since changed, they are now offered by the White Company and are of much better quality.) I was so excited I was getting pajamas; they were embroidered with the BA logo and the word “First.” (They were bad quality; by the fourth use, the pants were falling apart.)
The amenity kit contents were extensive, much more than what you would get in business class. My favorite item was the British Airways logo pen. (I still wish more airlines offered pens in their First class amenity kits.) The eye mask was high quality, and I used it afterward for a few international flights.
The headphones provided for the IFE were of deficient quality. They were flimsy, painful to wear, and provided dismal sound quality.
Departure and Take Off
By the time the captain came on the PA system, my entire aisle was empty. The other side of the aircraft had only 1 empty seat. I had lucked out! The captain’s announcement was routine; he announced our flying time, time of arrival and welcomed us on behalf of British Airways.
Soon after, we were pushing back and taxiing to the runway. After a swift take-off run, we were in the air!
Full disclaimer, I was starving by the time we were in the air. I wanted to try everything I could from the menu, and I did…
About 10 minutes after take-off, the captain turned off the seat belt sign, and the FA’s came by offering menus and asking for our choice of drinks. The menu read as follows.
I ordered another Coca-Cola, and the FA brought it with mixed nuts. British Airways has one of the best nut mixes out there with candied pecans.
The FAs quickly set up the table beautifully. I was so surprised at the sophistication of First-class that I was a bit overwhelmed. Immediately after, the FA came by with an amuse-bouche. It had caviar, a turnover, and a paté crisp. I was also a fan of the pink British Airways glasses [I don’t know if these are still flying].
I ordered the salmon and soup appetizers. The first one was the salmon salad. It was truly splendid. I wrote down on my notes that it felt like such a large appetizer. Then came the soup, which was accompanied by a small side salad. The soup was good, but the salad felt very underwhelming. I was impressed, however, by the dressings I requested being put on the side in their own little saucers.
As my entree, I ordered the chicken. It was good, but not wow. Even back then, I found the main course simple and not very flavorful.
By then, I was so full, I skipped on dessert (for the time being). I asked for some snacks in case I got hungry later, alongside a hot chocolate. The crew promptly brought both to my seat. The whole meal took about 75 minutes, and I was done an hour and a half since departure.
After sleeping for 2 hours, the excitement woke me up. I decided to order the dessert from the first meal. The chocolate opera cake was perfect. After that, I went to sleep again.
I was woken up 90 minutes before landing. For breakfast, I ordered tea because who doesn’t want to eat tea on BA?! The FAs again set up the table just like for dinner.
As a starter, I ordered the bircher muesli, which was less sweet than I remembered. [Since then, I have realized that it is, in fact, not meant to be sweet.] As a main, I ordered the English breakfast omelet. It was good, but not wow. I was just surprised at the amount of food available to First class passengers.
Seat Comfort and Sleep
The seat is quite wide when it is in lie-flat mode. The FAs made my bed after dinner. 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 BA logo was still lit up in blue.
The seat was quite comfortable to sleep in and for lounging.
Notes on Service
The crew was lovely. They were attentive, well-intentioned, and kind. The crew made sure I had a memorable first experience in First class. It made me very sad to leave the plane, knowing that I would likely never have a crew as good as they were on BA.
Landing and Arrival
About 40 minutes before arrival, we began our descent to London Heathrow. The crew came by to thank me, all three of the FAs that had taken care of me. Our approach to Heathrow was unimpressive since it was still dark outside. When we landed, we quickly taxied to our gate. I was ready for a weekend in London. And so ended my first experience with BA First. First Class was addictive, and I had caught the travel bug forever.
It truly was special to fly in BA First. Not just because it was my first time, but because the crew was fantastic. My experience since then with British Airways has not been as good. I have the fondest memories of that trip, and it truly did light a fire in me that has never, and never will, burn out.
Here is a list of all my flight reviews: The Millennial Traveler Flight Reviews
Here is a list of all my lounge reviews: The Millennial Traveler Lounge Reviews
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