Mmmmm! BAcon! – Off to Denver and Beyond with Aer Lingus and British Airways
British Airways BA219 London Heathrow – Denver International Airport
BA219 London Heathrow T5 to Denver International Airport
British Airways, World Traveller, Boeing 777-200ER
4670 miles flown, 35 Tier points earned, 9380 Avios Earned
I was welcomed aboard, and directed down the back of the plane to the exit row. Yes, I had a slide for a friend, but there seemed to be more space than a BA777-300ER – which is nice.
Club World – not for me!
And my luggage bin – don’t you just love those mini luggage bins?
I had a seat-mate join me in the middle seat – and I was fast expecting the aisle seat to be filled (as I saw it had been selected at check in). As boarding continued, people filed past the isle seat, not taking it. Could we have both lucked out here?
It seemed so as the doors went to close.
During boarding, the CSD came by and introduced herself. She thanked me for my continuing loyal custom, confirmed that any first meal choice would be met, and offered a World Traveller Plus Amenity Kit with WT+ headphones – which offer better noise isolation than the standard headphones for both me and my seatmate.
It was a small gesture – but it made a whole lot of difference from that point onwards. The crew member at 3R took an interest in me, and introduced herself – and also addressed me as Mr Kevincm at all times (as did some of the other crew).
All that negativity with the omnishambles at Heathrow had been melted away in one swift move.
Boarding completed and the person who was in the middle shifted to the aisle seat, leaving a nice space for both of us to take advantage of. This as they say is a good thing.
As we were waiting for pushback, the member of crew opposite engaged me in conversation, and took an interest in why we were travelling and our plans – and I like this… it shows curiosity, but also shows an interest in the people they’re with today.
The safety video played as I tried to familiarise myself with the video arms that seem never to obey when you want them to. Still the video was performed and safety checks were verified (including if I was happy operating the emergency exit)
Pushback was late – and I mean late. We were 50 minutes down before reaching the runway threshold due to baggage that needed to be unloaded – as well as the high winds that were causing fun earlier.
Take off was a long drawn out part – not helped by the strong winds that seemed to veer the plane off the centre line with the pilots fighting to keep it dead centre. We made it into the air, and cleared the rough air extremely quickly, beginning our track over the pond and over to Denver.
Sadly, the person besides me who had spent a lot of the time chatting on a Samsung Galaxy tablet on the ground decided to close the windows – forcing me to lean forward to the emergency exit window. Oh well.
I fired up the IFE system to see what was on – and Top Gear was waiting for me. That’ll do nicely.
Top gear with World Traveller Plus headphones
Soon enough, the first bar run was complete. Being 1) a long haul flight 2) way into the afternoon) it was time for Vodka.
Diet Coke and Vodka. No I didn’t use both things of vodka… that would be stupid.
Crossing the Irish sea
Soon enough the trolleys whizzed up the isles again, indicating that the meal service was to be carried out. Choice was between a 4 cheese macaroni or Butter Chicken.
Both are equally risky for me, so I plonked for the butter chicken… and a couple of Lactaid to help along the way.
Butter Chicken Curry
Well – this isn’t a bad tray at all compared to some meals I’ve had across the pond. The roll was predictable, the pasta was nice and fresh, whilst the curry… wasn’t that bad actually. Nicely spiced and of a reasonable quantity… and with the Lactaid, I didn’t end up expelling the curry in a way that could be really embarrassing. I skipped the desert… maybe I’m getting less desert biased as I get older – and preferring savoury food.
Wine was offered… and it was made double without a prompt or asking.
Trays were cleared down in a reasonable time, and the lights dimmed. I grabbed a few shots before the blinds we pulled down.
Lets move onto the environment. Whilst the exit row lacked a window, it had a lot of room now there were only two people in the row. The seat itself was the old style World Traveller seat, which has a fair bit of padding in it – in other words nice and comfortable.
The crew passed by at regular intervals offering drinks – which is good to see on long haul flights where some crew hide down the back of the plane/bunks and don’t come out.
Interestingly, the bunks for the crew aren’t far away from where I was sitting.
Crew area behind here
As my plan to fall asleep had failed miserably, I got up for while and walked to the back of the plane, and saw the usual lovely ice-flows
Whilst down the back, I raided the tuck box for some nibbles and drinks from the crew which were issued happily.
Mid flight extras
Meanwhile, the flight continued in the darkness of the cabin, where I emptied the IFE system of content, actually venturing into the movies section. Whilst the IFE loaded wasn’t content rich compared to the Thales system used aboard the 777-300ER’s and some 777-200’s, it still represented quite a broad selection – from Red Dwarf to Ratatouille to Yes Prime Minister – to even last night’s news.
Not a bad mix – how it would sustain me for the flight home would be another question…
As time passed, the second service soon came about. This was presented in a snackbox
What delights lurked within I wondered? Only one way time find out!
Ah. A Cream tea.
What we have here is a Egg and Tomato sandwich, a scone, water, clotted cream, and buried in the bottom, some jam. How terribly civilised at 37,000ft.
With some coffee.
Whilst AA is seemly coming out on top for the Transatlantic Economy Class 2nd Service, this isn’t exactly bad. A shame there was no 2nd choice of sandwich though – although just having egg and tomato caters to near enough the entire plane on the cheap. The scone is just a very British touch – even if it’s pre-packed.
Now earlier, I said I got an upgraded amenity kit (a World Traveller Plus one). What’s in it compared to the standard World Traveller kit?
It’s nicely packed…
A rarity on a plane – a pen, toothpaste, toothbrush socks and eye mask
Lets compare this with the World Traveller kit (with other bits on request)
Just a slight difference methinks.
Soon enough though, the cabin was cleared down – with a warning of a bumpy decent. This prompted the mass rush for the toilets (as there seemingly no toilets at all in Denver Airport – or so the flying public thinks) before the seatbelt signs lit up.
Descent itself wasn’t exactly bumpy (compared to the battering we had on takeoff earlier), and soon enough the pilot planted the 777 firmly on the tarmac of Denver International Airport.
Again, whilst taxiing, the purser chatted to me and my seat-mate – and it was just nice as the she gave out tips in Denver, and a few things about life.
Soon enough, our plane docked at Gate A37, and it was time to depart the plane. I made the effort to thank the crew profusely, and then headed off to immigration
Overall: I’ve said this once, and I’ll say it again – crew can make or break a flight. What I had on this flight was one HELL of a great crew, who were responsive to customer needs, who delivered a good service with a smile and with human emotion. Yes, there are little things like the sandwich, but really – this is was a performance that almost made up for the omnishambles at Heathrow earlier that day. The crew made the flight, and are a real credit to British Airways Long Haul fleet.