My first flight in British Airways longhaul economy class was not as bad as I expected. In fact, BA even impressed me in one sense. Here’s what you can expect.
I missed my earlier United flight due to a forgotten passport and as a result booked this ticket about three hours prior to departure using Avios. As a result, most seats were already taken in economy class. My strategy was to find one row toward the back that had both an aisle seat and middle open, but window seat occupied. My hope was that the middle would remain empty and make the trip a bit more bearable.
Boarding was scheduled to commence about 40 minutes prior to takeoff, but for an unexplained reason was delayed until nearly departure time. Finally, boarding was called and I made my way down the rear jet bridge.
British Airways 268
Los Angeles (LAX) – London (LHR)
Friday, December 14
Depart: 9:05 PM
Arrive: 3:25 PM
Duration: 10hr, 20min
Seat: 39H (Economy Class)
Onboard, I passed through Club World (business class) and for a moment regretted not spending the $1395 to upgrade. But I quickly put aside that thought; today I’d try something new.
British Airways A380 Economy Class Seating
Economy Class is dense, with 10 seats across in a 3-4-3 layout and 31” of seat pitch. That’s tight. The cabin was already partially darkened upon boarding. A blanket and pillow were waiting at each seat. As I settled in, I noticed that my row of three included two power outlets between the seats. My gamble worked: the middle seat stayed open.
Front economy class cabin:
Seat pitch is tight. Just ask my German seatmate seated behind me.
> Read More: The Angry German On My British Airways Flight
A half decent-blanket and above-average economy class pillow was provided.
British Airways A380 Economy Class IFE + Wi-Fi
I was really looking forward to wireless internet on this flight. According to the BA website, the tail number that operated my A380 was one of the retrofitted tail numbers. Onboard, however, no network showed up. When I asked a FA about wi-fi he looked at me cluelessly. So that was a disappointment.
The IFE selection was fairly good, with 70+ movies, TV shows, games, and music. I watched a trendies movie called Unsane. I love Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown and she did a great job in this film as well. After the movie, I just put the moving map on.
Complimentary headsets are provided. I absolutely loved that my favorite Christmas carols from King’s College were available.
British Airways A380 Economy Class Dining
Dining was both a surprise and disappointment. I appreciated that the main course came on a large tray with crackers/cheese, salad, bread, a main course, and dessert. It was a “typical” economy class meal, but perfectly acceptable for the late hour. In fact, I found it more substantial than the economy class food I usually get on United. It is hard to screw up pasta and this was just simply pasta, cheese, and tomato sauce. I also appreciated the water bottle.
Between meals, FAs set up a small self-service station in the galley with candy bars, juice, soft drinks, and water.
After managing to get a bit of sleep (though I was constantly awakened), breakfast was served 90-minutes before landing. Here, I was expecting an English breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, and a baked tomato. Instead, I received a breakfast burrito with yogurt, fruit, and muffin. I’m not sure if that is a cost-cutting move, but the burrito was about the size of my middle finger. You can imagine that I was still hungry afterwards…
British Airways A380 Economy Class Service
Service was pleasant for the most part, with the exception of one grumpy FA. I was first in the rear economy cabin where I was seated and struck up a conversation with a FA after I had taken my pictures above. It was just small talk about why I was traveling, but it was a nice gesture. He initiated the conversation and that’s often not something a FA will do.
Another male FA seemed to be quite grumpy. He snapped at the kid in front of me for not placing his seat into the upright position during the dinner service. He barked again at the lady seated in my row because he could not understand what she chose for dinner. Maybe it was just his personality and he probably meant no harm, but I got the impression he had grown weary of his position.
BA has mixed fleet crews, but the FAs were all quite veteran on this flight.
Dinner service did not begin until after 11:00PM. Once it commenced, it was quick, but it took nearly an hour Into the flight for the meal service to begin.
British Airways A380 Economy Class Lavatory
Lavatories were compact, but clean. There were four just behind me in the rear of the first floor. There never appeared to be a wait to use them.
We were delayed in departing in departing, made up no time in the air, and were delayed again upon landing. Ultimately, the flight was over 90 minutes late, a foreshadow of the next 90-minute wait I would soon endure:
Is BA great in economy class? Nope. It’s got nothing on Singapore Airlines. But was it acceptable? Of course. It was just fine. Not great, not bad, just fine. The biggest complain was insufficient legroom, but 31” is fairly standard.