December 30, 2016

Review: British Airways First Class 747-400 Denver to London

Planning & Booking
British Airways First Class 747-400 Denver to London
British Airways Concorde Room
British Airways First Class 747-400 London to Dubai
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa Dubai
Park Hyatt Dubai
Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class Lounge & Spa Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class 777-200LR Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles

British Airways BA 218
Denver to London (LHR)
November 20, 2016
Aircraft:  747-400
Seats:  5E/5F

In the fall/winter, the flight leaves at 5:45PM so we had a great day in Denver packing and getting ready our trip to Dubai.  We had lunch at Denver's Union Station before hopping on the RTD A-line train to the airport.

Train to DEN
We live about a mile from the station and it's such an improvement to be able to take the train vs. drive/park/Uber.  The train is relaxing in the way that a car ride isn't.  

We pulled into the airport station around 3:30PM and headed up to check-in for our flight.  We were carrying on so check-in took <5 minutes and we soon had boarding passes all the way to Dubai.

BA doesn't participate in pre-check (yet) so we used security in the A concourse and headed to the United Club in the B concourse to relax for a bit.  We were lucky enough to catch the sun setting over the Front Range as Lufthansa's 747 from Frankfurt pulled into the gate.  DEN doesn't see a ton of widebody service but it was cool to see an A330-300 and two 747-400's parked next to each other.

Lufthansa 747-400 inbound from FRA 
 T-45 and we went back to the A concourse to snap some pics of the 747.  I've had four 747 flights over the last 18 months and each time, I think it might just be my last.  I hope that's not the case but just in case...

Ride to London
Boarding was called and we headed down the jetway to find our seats in row 5.  We took this flight last year so we were both eager to see how things might be different.  From a soft product standpoint, things are identical.  Service was cordial but not overly friendly.  Amenity kits and pajamas the same.  The meal seemed very similar.  Somehow we were served the lower end Taittinger Champagne vs. the higher end Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle.  That continued for the entire flight.  Others were drinking the LPGS so perhaps they only service it when specifically requested.  Didn't matter - it was just funny.

The cabin is still gorgeous though.

British Airways 747-400
In terms of seats, I had selected 5E/5F in advance.  The last row in the cabin, these are the two center "honeymoon" seats.  While we enjoyed being so close together, I far prefer row 1 (which we sat in last year and would sit in on our way to Dubai) for a couple as you're close but not too close.  That said, the two other seats in row 5 went out empty so we had the row all to ourselves.  We pushed back a bit behind schedule and were up in the air by 6:30PM.  After takeoff, I changed into my pajamas and we ordered dinner.

Pajama time
Here are the menu pictures for those interested.

I started with the prawn and chorizo salad and then had the herb-roasted shrimp and a bit of cheese (cheddar) to finish things off.

Food was good but not memorable.  As is the norm, we ended the meal with a shot of JWB.

Seat storage
Seat 5K
After dinner, we asked the crew for turndown and they happy obliged.  We climbed into bed and  both started a movie (honestly can't remember what I watched) and drifted off to sleep for about 5 hours.  We knew that we'd get a great breakfast in the Concorde Room so we slept as long as possible before changing back into our street clothes.

Our ride at Heathrow
We had a long taxi and finally arrived at Terminal 3.  We bid adieu to the crew and prepared for a very long walk/hike to Terminal 5, the Concorde Room, and another ride in a 747 to Dubai.

Final Thoughts:

People say BA first class offers the world's best business class product and on this sector, that is accurate.  The seat is comfortable but not that innovative (anymore).  There's little storage and personal space/privacy.  The food is good but not great.  The crew attentive but not overly so.  But we were able to get 5 hours of sleep on the short hop across the pond and BA offers all the standard first class trimmings (pajamas, amenity kits, great Champagne).  Flying direct from Denver to Europe is a treat and we were both excited to wakeup in London.  For 153,000 BA miles (with the travel together ticket) this is one hell of a deal and I plan on working on another TTT in 2017.

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