A style and travel blog

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Flight: BA0073
Airline: British Airways
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 (Dreamliner)
Route: LHR to MCT via AUH
Departure: London Heathrow T5 @ 9.35AM
Arrival: Muscat Airport @ 8.05PM
Duration: 9hr 30 mins (1 stop at AUH)
Cabin: First Class
Date Flown: May 2016

In May i flew to Middle East from London after having spent a summer weekend in London's famous parks. I was excited to explore Oman and for that, I chose British Airways (BA) to take me there. It was also a golden opportunity for me to experience BA's First class on their dreamliner.

Flying First class on British Airways accorded me with several perks as follows:

  • Access to the exclusive Concorde Room prior to flight departure.  
  • Complimentary massage treatment at The Elemis Spa 
  • Fast lane at the airport 
  • Flexible dining time on-board. You may choose when you want to have your meal service anytime throughout the flight 
  • Premium cabin on-board 787 Dreamliner
It was a morning flight from Heathrow Terminal 5, so i checked in 3 hours prior to departure, in order to give myself ample time to use the lounge facilities.






The Concorde Room

According to BA's website, Concorde room is their most luxurious lounge, exclusive to London Heathrow Terminal 5 and New York JFK Terminal 7, with discreet booths, full waiter service, private cabanas*, and a state-of-the-art business suite. Facilities include more delicious dining options, showers and a clothes-pressing service.

(*note: private cabanas are only available at Heathrow) Click for more information here


The complimentary spa treatment sounds like a great deal, but apparently there is a catch. To enjoy it, passengers have to book a treatment slot in advance. The spa opens daily from 7.30 am, so if you have a morning flight, you'll have little time there.


When i tried to place an early booking in March (my flight was in May), i was told that booking is only open within 28 days to flight departure. Time passed and when booking opened 1 month before my flight, i have completely forgotten about it. It was only 10 days before the flight that i remembered to book again. Much to my disappointment all slots were taken by then. As an alternative, I was offered a walk-in opportunity for any available electric massage chair.


Since all therapists were booked (there weren't many of them anyways - p/s: make sure to place your booking as soon as the booking window opens), i booked a slot for a massage chair (yes i had to queue for this one too). After booking, they handed me a call device that would beep when my turn came. While waiting, i availed myself to the services in the Concorde room.

British Airways boasts their exclusive offering of fine dining experience at the Concorde room. The dining option is ala carte. As my time at the lounge was very limited, i figured a normal buffet would have worked for me as meal orders would take some time to be prepared. I mean, fine dining is awesome, but to have a buffet selection in the lounge on top of fine dining would be awesome-er. Anyways, i sampled breakfast option from the menu - it was alright.
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I ordered salmon and scrambled egg

egg benedict

Soon after, my call device went off. I finished my meal and headed back to the Elemis spa.

There i was ushered into a room. I saw a lot of spa products on a cart.

The terapist asked me to sit in a massage chair and she turned it on. The massage lasted for what i felt about 15 minutes.

The massage was alright. As a regular to massage center/spa, i am more used to human hands. Thus the experience felt somewhat pathetic (I couldn't help it).


After the massage chair treatment, i booked a bathroom. 
I needed to take a pre-flight shower because, why not?

I waited for what felt like 10 mins for the bathroom to be ready

The bathroom. I do appreciate the privilege to use their clean private bathroom.





The shower experience is worth writing home about. They have multiple water jet streams shooting water at you as you shower. I did take a video of myself enjoying the shower but, alas, it is not decent for public viewing. 😉

After shower i quickly made my way to the boarding gate as it was already 9 o'clock (flight departure time: 9.35AM). At this point i realized that i had to take a train to the gate and the train was not there yet. What was I thinking?! Why did i think that the gate was just downstairs? I hoped that i could make it to the plane on time!


When i got there, the boarding area was already empty. All passengers have boarded the plane. I felt slightly nervous even though i knew they wouldn't leave a First class passenger behind- not without any effort to call him onboard!



View of the Dreamliner from boarding area. I hurried to the gate.

As I made a dash for the plane, the gate bridge felt really long. At this point i started wishing for a walkalator.

one door after another

I finally got there. Dreamliner's 787-9 First class cabin. 
Impressive!


BA's First class seat is designed to look like that of a sports car. Nicest seat on a commercial plane, as far as design is concerned, in my opinion.

My seat 1K. Window seat, of course

It was raining outside. I am glad i had a sunny summer weekend in London.

Here enjoying my pre-flight drink

Safety briefing in arabic. Nice

storage compartment on my side


comfortable and sporty seat

mixed nuts and lemonade




Arabic coffee and dates with almond.
I fell in love with arabic coffee at first sip.


Take off video:


I got a nice PJ, a blanket, a pair of slippers and an amenity kit. The amenity kit contains shave gel, razor, comb, eyeshades, socks, moisturizer, lip balm, deodorant stick, and earplug. 

Noise-cancelling headphone


The FA recommended me to change into the PJ that she provided, and so i did.

This plane doesnt have a tarmac viewing camera for takeoff and landing


Each seat has a small hand-held device with its own display that works like a remote control. 


Seat control. Lovin the design

Just next to the seat where you would most likely rest your elbow, there is a compartment underneath that has all the ports like USB port and power point. There is a label that says "no stowage" but the compartment has enough space for you to put your small personal things.

The IFE selection was very current and very good. I watched the Danish girl. 




Once in a while i walked around to stretch my legs.
There were 3 other passengers in First class. All of them senior citizen.



Club World business class cabin

I am looking forward to trying their business class product in the future



I did not venture too far to economy class.

The Meal Service

In First class, meal service is provided based on demand. Passengers get to chose the time they feel like dining. I had no reason to postpone the experience though, as i started feeling hungry the moment i smelled food from the galley. 


arabian starters




pistachio cake

Main meal

dessert

Being a British airline, they served me afternoon tea. 
Here i had sandwich and scone with camomile tea.

light snack prior to landing. Canapes and lemon juice

The plane made a 1-hour stop at Abu Dhabi airport. 



Soon we landed at Muscat Airport. Much to my surprise they had no aerobridge. We had to walk on Tarmac to an awaiting bus. It might not really be a big deal but it wasn't the sort of experience i was expecting. I was the only passenger on the bus as it seemed that all the other passengers have gotten off  at Abu Dhabi airport earlier. 


The disappointment didn't stop there. MCT airport was terrible, like that of a third world country (despite being an oil-rich nation). At the arrival hall, the staffs didn't speak good English, and when i asked the information counter if i had a priority lane for immigration, i was to pointed wrong directions. Yes, one wrong direction after another by the airport staffs. I felt they were making fool of me. I was then redirected to a common immigration lane. There was no priority lane for me and i was told to queue behind a big group of immigrant workers from India. While it may not be a big deal if i was flying economy, it was a let down because i was flying First Class and the airport staffs just didn't seem to bother when i asked for help. It just ruined the experience. Hands down, it was the worst airport that i had been to. Nevertheless, i decided to learn my lesson because i always have a choice not to go there again. 




Summary

I had an enjoyable time on this flight and i would love to do it again. The cabin has perhaps the sportiest First class seats on a commercial plane. There were hiccups i.e. window shade malfunction and seat failure to fully recline which i didn't mention earlier, but they were solved quickly by efficient FA who offered me an alternative bed across the aisle.  For the sake of future passengers, I had sent a feedback to BA about these technical issues hoping that they would fix them immediately.

The meal service was awesome. The FAs were very accommodating - they were a good sport. In fact ,during the flight, one of them approached me for a chat and shared her holiday photos with me that she kept on her phone.

One thing for sure, if i had a chance to Fly BA's First class again, it would not be LHR-MCT route again. I would make sure that the destination airport has proper facilities to ensure seamless arrival.  
Reactions:

7 comments:

  1. Hii I want to cancel a online ticket but there is no option to cancel ticket. So can you please provide me British Airways Customer Care India number to solve this problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for the delay i assume you have got the number, which you can easily google for this information, by yourself. Here is the number just in case: +91 124 4120715 (international calls) Monday - Saturday 09:00-18:00

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