Honeymooning RTW in 21 Days: London to San Francisco: British Airways First Class

a couch with food on it


And now, for the not-so-epic finale to our honeymoon. It feels like there’s been a good amount of criticism lobbed at British Airways recently, so I don’t really feel the need to pile on too much for a couple of reasons.

The first is that this was my first ever flight on BA, and with only a singular data point the actuary in me won’t allow myself to draw any broad conclusions about the airline as a whole. The second is that I don’t function well on little to no sleep, and this being the last flight on the tail end of already ~30 hours in transit, I looked like an extra on the set of the Walking Dead as I was in a complete zombie-like trance for the majority of the flight (which explains the lack of pictures I took on this segment). So in that regard, I guess BA was lucky that only half my mind was functioning Invalid request error occurred.

But anyways, disclaimers now aside let’s get to it. We landed at Terminal 3 and began the trek over to Terminal 5. We found our way to the Terminal 3->5 bus, but got stuck behind some sort of truck that was only moving about 5mph, so the ride took upwards of 15-20 minutes. After arriving at the Terminal 5 security area, we were in line for at least 15 minutes, after which our bag was pulled out for a secondary search. There was only 1 worker searching all the bags that were getting pulled out, and we waited 30 minutes before we were cleared. So the 4 hours layover that we had already evaporated to less than 2 by the time we found the Concorde Room.

I had booked a Cabana which was a nice way to get away from some of the chaos inside. We ordered up a couple classic English breakfasts which arrived quickly and were quite good. The cabana itself was pretty clean, with the only drawback being a toilet that is right in the middle of the room with no privacy. I did take a couple laps around the lounge and found it to be fine although very crowded. We both also went in for 15-minute spa treatments at the Elemis Spa next door.

Cabana at the CCR
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Classic English breakfast
a plate of breakfast with sausage and beans

Around T-45 we headed to our gate for boarding, and it was extremely chaotic. We found our way to the Fast Track line, but were already behind a long queue of people, who were also behind a long queue of people waiting for pre-boarding. We finally got to the front, only to find the jet bridge was completely backed up as they were just using a single jet bridge to board an entire 747.

We finally made it on, and as I walked through the door and turned left, the excitement that I had for trying another F product was short lived as I realized my luck had finally ran out and would be getting the old F product today. I had even checked the day before and the schedule was showing the new F.

I went to my seat, and to add insult to injury there were a couple leftover almonds waiting for me on the seat. I brushed them off and sat down, at which point my wife looked over and said “well, we’re not on Emirates anymore”. I took a few minutes to play around with the seat which was definitely looking quite worn out, along with the worst IFE system I’ve come across in a while which had just terrible quality along with terrible selections. The whole first class cabin just looked so drab and dated, even compared to United.

During the boarding process amenity kits, slippers, and pajamas were distributed. I actually quite liked the pajamas that BA has, but struggled to change into them in the bathroom which was 1/10 the size of Emirates’.

After take-off the lunch service began, and while the service was very slow, the food was actually not bad. Overall, we felt that the service was just ok, and they definitely could have used more help as the first class cabin was full and we often times had to wait a long time before being served.

After eating, I requested turn down service and was one of the few passengers (maybe the only) that slept. I woke up just an hour before landing and had some tea and scones.

Again, for the reasons mentioned above I won’t pile on and draw too many conclusions about BA, but we were definitely not impressed. In fact, we both felt that our United flight was better than our BA flight in all respects (perhaps other than the amenity kit and pajamas). We do have a SFO-LHR RT in F booked for next summer, so it will be a good chance to see if our first flight on BA was just an anomaly, or sadly the norm.

Lunch menu
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Amuse bouche
a plate of food on a table

Lobster appetizer
a plate of food on a table

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Steak, not as overcooked as I was expecting
a plate of food on a table

Dessert buns
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Rhubarb crumble
a bowl of food on a table

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by to read about our honeymoon, and hopefully there was some useful information in here to those that are planning future trips. We thought that we were done traveling for a while, but we just planned a last-minute trip for New Years, so my next trip report will be coming up much sooner than previously expected Invalid request error occurred.

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