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British Airways - New York (JFK) to London Heathrow (LHR) - First Class Flight BA178

Lacking in Service

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British Airways New York JFK to London LHR - Flight BA178: A disappointing experience to say the least. I had come to expect so much more from British Airways but after this experience, I believe they have started to cut service just to make a few extra dollars. (Click here to read our New York hotel and restaurant reviews and click here to read our London hotel and restaurant reviews.)

Check-In: I arrived at JFK with plenty of time to catch my 8:45 AM flight from New York JFK to London Heathrow. Upon arrival, even though I was flying First Class a BA agent directed to a kiosk rather than the First Class check-in counter.

After a few minutes of trying to get the check-in process to work at the kiosk (as the BA agent stood watching), she sent me to the counter only to later find out that First Class counter was another minute down the hall. The time I wasted standing in line and wasted trying to check-in at the kiosk would have been avoided had I only been directed to the correct counter to start with.

The Lounge: The British Airways lounge, formerly the BA Concord Lounge at JFK is nondescript and far from impressive. It does offer a quiet place to wait but other than that, it offers some mediocre snacks, drinks and coffee. It was obvious that the lounge is not prepared to pamper its guests but simply to provide the bare minimum that a First Class lounge must offer.

First Impressions: While the cabin is spacious it lacks overhead storage if you a center seat. In addition, compared to other First Class cabins the British Airways cabin is rather dull and boring. It does not have the wow factor as you find on Singapore or Qatar Airlines. It does however, have a good flight attendant to passenger ratio (1:6) so I felt that service on this flight would be good.

The Cabin: The First Class cabin seats twelve and offers the now 1st class, standard lie flat beds. The video on demand programming is limited compared to other airlines (namely Singapore and Lufthansa Airlines) but still offers a decent selection.

The Flight (Service/Food/Drink): As I mentioned earlier, with a 1:6 attendant to passenger ratio service was good. Again, compared to Singapore Airlines it has a lot of room for improvement, but still, it was decent. For your comfort, they supply slippers and pajamas however, little things like turn-down service, which is only done on request and not offered like it is on other five-star airlines, is what can make a flight bombastic or not. The dining on British Airways is again, decent but not to the level of some leading airlines. The Champagne selection is average; however, the wine list is quite nice. One thing I have noticed on British Airways is that their wine list has a desert wine but on a very small percentage of flights is it actually chilled and ready to be served. Having it on the menu looks impressive, however, not having it ready is another small thing that keeps BA from being a leader in luxury travel.

Arrival: Because of the late start from JFK we arrived late at London Heathrow. As we bolted off the plane to catch our connecting flights, the flight attendants told us to hurry, as the planes would not wait a long time for us. Once in the terminal, the agents told us that if we hurried we could still make our connections.

Sprinting through the airport after a 7-hour flight is not exactly the first thing you want to do but that is what I did. I ran clear to the other end of the terminal only to get to the gate two minutes after it pulled away from the gate.

I do not know if it was poor communication or no communication but telling us to hurry so we could make the flight or not holding the plane a few minutes so that I, as well as at least seven other passengers could make the connection is frustrating at best.

British Airways knew hours in advance we might be arriving late and could have arranged (carts) to get us to the plane faster or to have an agent at the gate waiting to tell us we did not make the connection and assist us with what we needed to do.

Overall Impression: British Airways has always been one of my favorite airlines but lately I find that they tend to be the most expensive yet at the same time their service and the experience of flying with them has continually declined. When I book future flights, British Airways is no longer my first choice.

Be sure to read our New York hotel and restaurant reviews and our London hotel and restaurant reviews.

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