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British Airways - London (LHR) to New York (JFK) – Flight BA115 - New First Class Cabins

Brand New BA Cabin - Narrow Aisles but Overall Quite Nice

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British Airways London Heathrow (LHR) to New York (JFK) – Flight BA115 : We were scheduled to go on an earlier flight from London to New York, but when we found out that there was a British Airways flight later in the day which had the new British Airways First Class cabin, we changed our flight so that we could try the new BA 1st Class cabin. (Click here to read our London hotel and restaurant reviews and click here to read our New York hotel and restaurant reviews.)

Now, this meant we had to spend almost an additional five hours at London Heathrow, but we figured we had better take this opportunity to experience British Airways new First Class cabin while we could. There was no telling when we would be able to try it again.

Check-In: Our check-in for this British Airways flight was about as hassle free as any first class flight check-in I have ever had. The BA ground crew was welcoming and really went the extra mile in helping us change our flight to their later flight later that had the new BA First Class Cabin.

The Lounge: Read our review of British Airways First Class lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 5.

First Impressions: We had heard a lot about the British Airways’ new first class cabin, but one thing everyone left out was just how narrow the aisles were. Boarding was actually quite chaotic as there was no room to squeeze by fellow passengers in the aisle. Luckily the flight crew was quick to jump in and help as much as they could. First impression of the new British Airways’ first class cabin, thumbs down for aisle width, thumbs up for the BA Cabin Crew.

The Cabin: The refurbished 747-400 was decked out with navy carpet, gray walls and accented in hues of blue and gray, very stylish, very rich and very first class. There were 14 seats, five along each window and two rows with two seats each in the middle. The window seats provide the most privacy. However, if you are traveling with someone and want to talk with them during the flight, you will want one the four middle seats, however that leaves your full aisle side exposed.

Each seat has its own closet, but the hanger is attached with a wire which makes it impossible to take the hanger out and makes it difficult to hang your clothes. While the closet is a nice option, I found it to be really too small and not very user friendly. I would much rather have had a flight attendant hang my clothes in the main closet.

Each seat also has a large screen retractable TV that for once was very easy to use. The seat also lays flat and can be made up into a bed by the flight crew upon request.

The window seats are next to new, larger windows and have electronic blinds that are located between the two window panes of glass and are controlled automatically. I found the blinds to be one of the neater features of this new British Airways First Class cabin.

The Flight (Service/Food/Drink): Once we were settled into our seats, the flight attendants came around to get out pre-flight drink orders, offered us magazines and newspapers, brought us our amenity bags (designed by Anya Hindmarch) filled with D.R. Harris & Co. products, and delivered our pajamas and First Class dinner and wine menus.

We switched into our pajamas, sat back with our recently delivered pre-flight glass of Champagne and chatted about the upcoming flight and our next few days in New York reviewing hotels and restaurants. (Click here to read our luxury hotel and restaurant reviews for New York.

Our British Airways flight from London to New York took off over an hour and a half late. Once we finally after we took off and the plane leveled out, the cabin crew leapt into action, bringing us our after take-off glass of Champagne and a small bowl of warm cashews, and they began preparing for dinner. We finally got around to looking at the menu and were both impressed and a bit overwhelmed with all British Airways had to offer.

British Airways First Class Dinner and Wine Menus:
Starters:
• Mushroom and quail egg croustade with Hollandaise sauce
• Smooth chicken liver parfait with West Country apple brandy
• Cream of leek and potato soup
• Fresh spring salad with balsamic or blue cheese dressing.

Main Dishes:
• British beef trio of filet mignon, Rossini with potato rosti, mini cottage pie and braised short rib of beef with spring vegetables
• Wild turbot with cauliflower puree, buttered samphire and British cockle vinaigrette
• Free-range corn-fed duo of spring chicken with potatoes fondants and a spring vegetable parcel
• Italian-style panzanella salad with petite Nicoise olives
• Roast pork belly with apple cream sauce and broccoli
• Warm salted beef and Swiss cheese with pickled cucumber and English mustard dressing on Manoucher bread

Desert
• Caramelized apples with vanilla parfait
• Tiramisu with coffee and chocolate sauces and a spoon tuile

Cheese Plate
• Rougette
• Cropwell Bishop Shropshire Blue
• Banon
• Quickes Farmhouse Cheddar

Wine Menu:
Champagne
• Lanson Noble cuvee Brut 1999

White Wine:
• Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Les Cortons 2007, Roux Pere et Fils, Burgundy, France
• Hawksburn Terrace pinot Gris 2008, Central Otago, New Zealand
• Fog Head San Bernabe Chardonnay 2007, California, USA

Red Wine
• Chateau du Tertre 2002, 5eme Grand Cru Classe Margaux, Bordeaux, France
• Newton Jonson Estate Elgin Pinot Noir 2008, Walker Bay, South Africa
• Chinon Clos de l’Echo 2006, Couly-Dutheil, Loire, France

Dessert
• Chateau Petit Vedrines 2006, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
• Warre’s 1992 Colheita Tawny Port

Spirits, Digestifs and Liqueurs:
• Gonzalez Byass Sherries
• Smirnoff Black Label Vodka
• Tanqueray No. Ten Gin3
• Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch Whiskey
• The Glenlivet 18-year-old Single Malt Whiskey
• Woodford Reserve Kentucky Whiskey
• Otard XO Cognac.

After much contemplation, we placed our dinner orders, both starting with the Cream of leek and potato soup and continuing with the main dish of British beef trio of filet mignon, Rossini with potato rosti, mini cottage pie and braised short rib of beef with spring vegetables.

As we finished our drinks and nuts, we had our flight attendant set up our table at my partner’s middle row seat, so that we could dine together (one person in the seat, the other sitting on the foot stool). We had already discovered the foot stool seat next to the window was too narrow to sit in it for any length of time without becoming completely uncomfortable. We found out later, that the middle row foot stool seat was not much better!

Our starter of cream of leek and potato soup was a hit from the first spoonful. Deliciously creamy and packed with flavor it was an excellent start to our first class dinner. Our main course of beef was far from impressive. What a letdown after that gorgeous soup! The beef simply lacked flavor and was just too dry.

With dinner, I had the Pinot which matched well with the soup, but was not a great match for the beef. My partner had the Bordeaux which was powerful and flavorful, and would have been a good fit for the beef had the beef been better. None-the-less, at 30,000 feet, a nice glass of wine is always a bonus.

We took a short break and then ordered dessert. We decided to try both of the desserts, the caramelized apples and the tiramisu along with a glass of Sauternes dessert wine. I am not sure if it was because we were flying high in the sky or if the desserts were really as good as they tasted. At that point it really didn’t matter; they hit the spot and were a great end to a fun and enjoyable dinner.

After dinner, we had a flight attendant turn our seats down into beds. He put a quilted mattress on the lay-flat seat and covered with with a plush cotton duvet and a pillow, and my bed was ready. I crawled in bed, turned on the TV and surfed the 100+ channels. I was impressed at how easy the controls were to use and the sheer number of movies, TV shows and music offerings. After surfing the channels as long as I could, I turned of the TV and drifted off to a sound sleep.

About an hour before landing, I awoke to the smell of fresh coffee and the clattering of food trays. I had had plenty to eat with dinner but was ready for water, a lot it, and the flight attendant was more than happy to bring me all that I wanted.

The past 8 hours had flown by and we would be on the ground shortly. I switched back out of my pajamas and got myself ready to land in New York.

Arrival: We arrived in New York almost two hours later than scheduled, but at least the array of food and great wine made for a true first class flight experience and the lay-flat beds allowed for a sound sleep. Our bags unfortunately were not with the first batch of bags to arrive on the luggage carousal. Sometimes I wonder why the airlines even bother to put the first class tags on the luggage.

Overall Impression Our first class flight from London to New York on British Airways was an overall bombastic experience. Each step of the process, from check-in to the lounge, thru the boarding process and on the airplane, we were treated like valued customers and shown nothing but first class service. All of this plus the new British Airways First Class cabin gives British Airways an airline flight review rating of bombastic!

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Additional Information:
Flight Time: 8 Hours, 15 Minutes

Airline Partners:: Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, BMI, Egyptair, Lot Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, South African Airways, Spainair, Swiss Air, TAP Portugal, Thai Air, Turkish Airlines, United, US Airways, Air China, Shanghai Airlines. Other Airline Partners: Delta, Mexicana, SilkAir, Virgin

Airport Codes:
London Heathrow - LHR
New York JFK - JFK


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