Flight Review: British Airways, World Traveller (Economy Class)
BA 11 London Heathrow To Singapore
Since the hard products in the cabin are generally similar across the airlines, what actually makes a flight different is the way the cabin crew deliver their service. When you are on-board British Airways, do expect to see a laid-back culture in general. You may find them talking to you in a causal tone. This, however, does not necessarily means a bad service. If you have been flying with Asian/Middle East airlines all the while, you may probably find it odd initially.
When I was flying out of Singapore, the crew working in my cabin were lovely and friendly actually. However, on this flight when I was flying out of London, the service was the worst I have ever experienced. The attitude that the crew presented has irked me a lot. There were several occasion which I find them very rude.
BA 11, London Heathrow Airport - Singapore Changi Airport
STD: LHR 19:05
STA: SIN 15:55 (+1)
Total Duration: 13Hrs 05Mins
Aircraft type: Airbus A380
Seat: 82J (Upper Deck Economy)
Seat Configuration: 2-4-2
World Traveller Seat Product (Economy Class for longer international flights)
There are several variations for British Airways economy class. This seat product belongs to their newest economy class for longer international flight (World Traveller). It can be found on their Airbus A380, Boeing 787 and Boeing 777-300ER. In the meantime, they are progressively refitting their Boeing 777-200 and 767 to this seat product too.
Although it is the newest for British Airways, it is not the newest across the industry. Many other airlines have better and newer ones in terms of the seat product and in-flight entertainment system. Nevertheless, this seat product is still quite common. Qatar Airways Dreamliner (Boeing 787) is also adopting this product.
If you have a short body like me (unfortunately), you probably would not like the headrest as I can't properly rest my neck on it. Also, I do not like the headrest as I find it too protruding for me.
Here is a warning, if you are choosing the upper deck window seat, think twice. I don't think it is a great idea to choose this seat. Although you get your own window and extra storage space (side compartment), the leg room is terrible. Having one entertainment box under the seat is worse enough. At British Airways, you will be awarded with two boxes.
For me, as I was seated on the aisle, the leg room was pretty decent. Thankfully (or maybe unfortunately), I have a short pair of legs.
PART II : The Flight
During Boarding - Where The Drama First Started
The boarding was quite dramatic. I was fortunate to be the first few passengers to board the plane. Not long after I settled down in my seat (second row from the back), the cabin was getting full. Many passengers were struggling to find space in the overhead compartment. (The upper deck overhead compartment is smaller than the usual ones. Correct me if I am wrong.)
There was a passenger who placed his items in the last compartment. Apparently, the crew saw that and said:
"You have to put it somewhere else, if not I will remove it away later."
After telling him off, she walked away. I was actually pretty shocked. The tone she used was horrible. Probably helping the passenger to find another space was a little too much to ask for, but at least she could have phrase it in a better way. I guess there were some medical equipment or some other stuff in the last compartment.
Probably 2 minutes later, I heard another crew yelling from the other aisle.
"Ma'am! What is wrong with you?! What did I do wrong?"
The crew was as though trying to pin the passenger down with her dead stare. The passenger then got up from her seat, tried very hard to squeeze her red jacket in the overhead compartment and returned to her seat. Although I did not know what exactly happened between both of them, I was pretty disappointed with the crew. Frankly speaking, it was largely due to the fact that she was a Singaporean crew and I thought she would be nicer than the rest of the crew members in my cabin.
After The Take-Off
Moments after take-off, the cabin was lighten up and the crew started a pre-meal service after which. During the meantime, I continued the movie that I watched half-way when I was flying from Singapore. If you have not watch "SPY", you should probably try to catch it online or something. You will definitely love Melissa McCarthy for sure.
With regards to their in-flight entertainment system, there were quite a couple of movies that were not too outdated. Some were within a year from their debut. One thing worth mentioning is that you can use your own earpiece. You do not need to have a earpiece adapter. As for the amenity kit, earpiece and a dental kit was issued. Eyeshades and socks were available on request.
Similar to the previous flight from Singapore, they offered this pretzels snack for their pre-meal service. (If anyone knows where to get this in Singapore, please tell me. It is really tasty.)
Meal Service - Dinner
During the meal service, the crew started from the front to the back. As they were approaching nearer, I was trying to figure out what was on the menu. All I could hear was "Pasta and xxxx". When it came to my turn, I still could not catch what the second option was even though I asked the crew twice.
As I did not want him to repeat for the third time, I just said "the second choice,please". I did not want the Pasta as I hated Pasta soooo much. During my one week Italy tour, I had Pasta almost every day and I was already sick of it. I also knew that Pasta will never taste good on the flight.
To my horror...
"Did I not mention that I wanted the second choice?" I thought to myself. When I turned around, I saw the others were having the Thai Curry Chicken and it smelled so good. Oh, my god... I wanted to change my meal so badly at that point of time.
Before the meal service, I already noticed that the crew have never attended any call light, even if they walked past the row. Hence, I did not bother using the call light. I turned around to face the gallery and tried to catch the crew's attention. I was just one row away from the galley but I did not want to get up as it was too troublesome with the food in front of me. Unfortunately, I failed to catch anyone's attention as they were engrossed in their conversation. So, I decided to stick with my meal.
With no surprise, the pasta tasted so disgusting - overcooked, dry and tasteless. The salted caramel chocolate mousse was way too sweet. Nevertheless, the appetizer was good. I also appreciate that they issued a bottled water for everyone.
During The Flight
After the meal, I went for a quick wash up. I guess another setback for choosing BA upper deck is that the lavatory tends to get crowded as both economy class cabins share 2 lavatory. With regards to the amenities in the lavatory, it was kept to the most basic items.
During the journey, the main cabin lights were turned off for passengers to rest. Occasionally, the crew made their rounds in the cabin with some drinks. I believe there were snacks available in the galley although I did not make a single trip there on this flight. In the previous flight, they had in openly displayed openly in the galley and there were a variety of options. To name a few, there were big packets of Haribo, Chips, Chocolate bars and many more.
The flight got super bumpy when we were over the Bay of Bengal. The aircraft was swaying left and right vigorously and had a sudden drop too. The breakfast service was delayed as well. Having flown many times between Europe and Asia, I noticed that the chances of experiencing a bad turbulence over this area are very high.
(Bay of Bengal is between India and South-east Asia. If you have flown over this area before, I am interested to know if you have the same thought.)
Breakfast Service & During Landing
About one and a half hour before landing, the crew started off with the breakfast service. Similar to the previous meal service, they started from the front.
"Omelette or English Breakfast" , this was what I heard when they were a few rows away.
When it came to my turn, the crew just grab a meal and gave it to me. I thought it would be nicer if they could ask me for my choice instead of deciding on behalf of me, or rather she could have just told me that this is the only choice left. I couldn't be bothered to ask her what they gave me too since they seemed to be lazy. Oh well... I guess the one that I was having was the English Breakfast.
The meal tasted pretty normal. Nevertheless, it was much better than the Pasta I had for dinner earlier on.
Not long after the meal service, the flight entered into the landing phrase.There is one thing I am very curious about. During landing and take-off, I noticed that the crew did not bother to ensure that the window shades were raised up. Isn't it mandatory to have the window binds raised up during these critical phrases of the flight? During landing, only 2 or 3 window shades in my cabin were raised.
(If you are a flight crew, I would love to hear from you if this is a mandatory practice.)
Since the seats across the airlines are almost all the same, what actually makes a flight different is the way the cabin crew deliver their service. Unfortunately, the attitude that the crew presented has irked me a lot as I find them very disrespectful at times. This flight definitely defines the worst flight experience ever.
I would probably still fly with British Airways in future if I managed to find very reasonable price and that it fits my strategies in attaining miles and status points.
If you are flying with British Airways on SIN-LHR or LHR-SIN, British Airways operates the Airbus A380, Boeing 747 and Boeing 777 on this route. I think you should always choose the Airbus A380 first since the noise is significantly reduced in the cabin. The last choice would definitely be the Boeing 747 as they are still fitted with the old product. If you find the Airbus A380 too compact or crowded, I would suggest you to choose the last cabin on the upper deck (where I was in on this flight). This cabin only has 4 rows of seat. In future, I will do another flight review on British Airways A380 (SIN-LHR) where I was seated in one of the best seat in the economy class.
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