BA operate two daily flights from Heathrow to Miami, and they seem to change between the A380 and the B777. I believe this may be to do with cruise departures from Miami.
Originally, the flight I booked was due to leave Heathrow at 14:10 on the A380. However, for various reasons (which I can no longer remember) the flight was re-booked to the 9:35 on the B777.
It’s been a little while since I last flew to the East Coast – and I think I may have been happier on the 14:10, as it was a 5:30am start for me to get the 9:35!
There were a couple of interesting things about this flight. Firstly, the flight was long at 9:26 (usually it’s around 8:30 to Miami)! This was due to some very strong headwinds coming from the west.
Secondly, we took a very southerly routing, which is unusual. Generally, flights to the US will track over Bristol or Manchester and heading over the Atlantic that way, and track over or down the east coast. This flight was very south – we almost tracked down to Portugal and then up over Cuba.
Thirdly, we had a very low altitude, at 30,000ft (FL30). Usually, we’d be at around 38,000ft (FL38).
All of this was possibly a preamble to Storm Eunice which battered the UK around a week later.
As I’ll explain in my return trip, this will be the last time I fly with British Airways for a while.
As usual, I used the First Wing Check In, at Terminal 5, which leads to the First Lounge. I was glad I did, as even at 6:30am the queues were huge at the Club World desks!
I’d used VeriFly, and checked before leaving for the airport that all my documents were in order. Despite this, the lady at the desk asked “where is your Form”, I explained that I had completed everything online and via VeriFly. The lady proceeded to tell me I needed “a form” and that my paperwork was not in order, so she couldn’t check me in.
The lady then told me “sit over there and complete your missing paperwork” (the lounge area in the First Wing). But as far as I knew I didn’t have any missing paperwork – and this lady seemed incapable of telling me what I was actually missing. When I then got my phone out and showed her I’d used VeriFly – she then said all was in order – despite the fact I’d already explained I had used VeriFly.
This was a slightly alarming experience, given that she didn’t ever explain what she thought the missing form was! It may be that VeriFly doesn’t actually link to your booking – so when using your Booking Reference (or Record Locator), it doesn’t show up that you’ve used VeriFly, and your documents are therefore approved?
This is not an experience that was particularly great; it was poor customer service, I’ve really no idea why people demand paperwork when they don’t actually say WHAT it is they need! In the post-Covid world, you ever know what changes there are to paperwork requirements! It could also be very worrying for lesser experienced travelers, especially if you don’t stand your ground that your paperwork is in order!
Misunderstanding (or whatever it was) aside, once checked in, I quickly moved through Security – and was through to the Lounge in less than 3 minutes! This is why the First Wing is truly great.
I’ve kept the First Lounge as a separate review (see here) – but there were some noticeable improvements! The Wine Bar was back (just what you need at 7am!). I will re-review the First Lounge in its new status in due course, so keep an eye out!
Unfortunately, these improvements didn’t go to the extent of improving the menu!
After a while, bored with the First Lounge, I decided to do something I’d not done before. I used the underground walkways to head to B Gates, and used the Galleries Lounge there. I very much enjoyed the experience and may continue to do so!
I’ll review this great little lounge at some point too!
Slightly annoyingly, as always seems to be the way, the flight was departing from C Gates – so after a quick drink and snack in Terminal B, it was down the walkway to C Gates!
This was BA’s Boeing 777-200ER, G-YMMD, the 777 is a huge workhorse for BA’s international routes (they currently have 43 of these). Interestingly, the last time I flew on this specific plane was when it was on Gatwick’s fleet, and I was heading to Mauritius in December 2019 – in old Club World!
Seemingly, this has been upgraded with new Club Suite, and was now in Heathrow’s fleet. The configuration is now 32 x Club Suite, 48 x World Traveler Plus and 252 x World Traveler – there is no First!
I’ve written fairly extensively about the BA’s Club Suite, on my trips to Dubai and Male.
Suffice to say there was nothing different at all. I was still slightly frustrated at the fact I needed to get back up once airborne to get my laptop out (nowhere to store pre-takeoff).
The Suite doors appeared to be giving the Cabin Crew issues with the locking/unlocking – but other than that it was pretty good!
Because I’ve been so busy with work, I turned my Club Suite into my office for 9hrs – and it worked out pretty well!
One thing about seat 7A is that it has an interesting view out of the window whilst boarding, due to the door being open! However as is customary with most flights, the door is closed before takeoff!
I’ve covered these wash bags a million times! Nothing has changed in them at all, in the last 4 years at least!
Tooth Brush & Toothpaste
It would be nice if BA would upgrade these a little! I find on American Airlines, you get different wash bags, whether in colour, size/type or contents – variety is the spice of life!
Food and Drink
As always, champagne or water was offered pre-takeoff. As always, no refills were offered. As always, I’ve no idea what happened to the orange juice!
My food order was taken early into the flight, as well as my drinks order.
I took a Brew Dog. This was my one and only chance for a beer – as I was picking up a car in Miami!
Lunch was a single tray service, options were;
Slow roasted beef rib of British beef (with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and veggies)
Chicken, leek and mushroom pie
Honey glazed onion quash
Deserts were chocolate mousse crumble and a cheese board.
I was tempted between the beef and the chicken pie – however the chicken pie didn’t actually say what ‘accessories’ it came with – and the Cabin Crew didn’t seem to know. So I went with the beef!
I also had a glass of Pino Noir, which I’ve found to be a nice selection of wine.
Now, if you’ve read my description above and look at the picture above, you’ll notice something very important! There was no Yorkshire pudding! This wasn’t because the Cabin Crew forgot to put them on – it was because despite printing these menus, BA’s catering company Do&Co had seemingly loaded the wrong meals!
Otherwise, the meal really wasn’t all that good. The ‘starter’ was this bloody horrible cauliflower thing, the potatoes were very dry – there wasn’t enough gravy, ‘cheese board’ too small and the same old. I did enjoy the mousse however!
For the ‘light snack’, it was the dreaded ‘Afternoon Tea’ – served 90 minutes before landing. As I’ve said many, many times, I much prefer American’s mini pies offering – but I was stuck with BA. This is a poor offering – it was bad enough pre-Covid, but it’s got progressively worse, dinner aside.
As has been customary for every long-haul flight I’ve been on in the last 3 months with BA (this was flight number 7), the flight ran out of Coke Zero early into the flight – so I had Diet with my ‘Afternoon Tea’. Does it matter? Not for me. Does it show a frustration that this issue isn’t a one-off? Very much so!
There were also galley snacks – I won’t glorify it by calling it Club Kitchen, as BA do. It’s a basket of crisps, a few biscuits, some Lindt truffles and mini cans of drinks – and plastic cups. If you’re lucky, you may find some ice to go with the warm cans of drink.
As I’ve said above, this was long-haul flight #7 for me with BA in 3 months. The entertainment hasn’t changed at all! Very disappointing!
Pre-Covid, BA used to pride itself on refreshing the entertainment monthly. However, there has been no change whatsoever, for months. So……I didn’t bother with it!
If you’re wondering what entertainment there is, there is no change since my flight to Male in November!
Unfortunately, this wasn’t anything to write home about either! Often it can be quite good, but not this time.
The full flight Wifi cost was £17.99. I was working in Google Docs and referencing things on the internet.
Could I get the bloody thing to work? No! It started very slow, and then around an hour later stopped completely.
I did ask a member of the Cabin Crew if they could reset it – but he said that unfortunately they couldn’t. He also explained to me that BA’s Wifi wasn’t so good when flying over water – in fact it could be rather unreliable, apparently. Rather unfortunate for an international airline based on an island….
Fortunately, I was able to request a refund, and a couple of days later I was refunded – so fair play to BA on that – actual quick customer service! Despite the fact I am owed Tier Points since November, which I’ve complained about numerous times!
All the ‘hard issues’ aside, I will say that the Cabin Crew were very good – in fact they were excellent!
The Cabin Crew were friendly, attentive, and clearly experienced. As always, I threw a few curveball questions at them about landing and local things at the destination – and they instantly knew the answers!
Having decided to stay awake during the flight, I noticed that the Cabin Crew were walking the aisles every 10 minutes at least. Anyone who was awake was regularly asked if they wanted a drink or snack – the service was very good!
There was even a CSM on board to thank me for my loyalty being a Gold Member!
Landing in Miami
We landed in Miami, around 14:50 local time, at Terminal E. The Cabin Crew very quickly disembarked us row by row – and then there was then a train journey to the Main Terminal.
Once at the Main Terminal, it was a quick Homeland Security clearance – and bags came out with rapid speed. I waited no more than 3 minutes and they were out! Fairly play to Miami Airport for this!
I am afraid, whilst this flight was in some respects fairly run of the mill – having flown long-haul on BA regularly in the last few months, I am really starting to see the same old issues over and over again – and they’re not being proactively dealt with.
The food is becoming boring, one-tray service isn’t good enough. To run out of basic drinks isn’t good enough. To fail to update the entertainment in 3 months isn’t good enough. To have poor Wifi isn’t good enough.