British Airways First Class Flight 114 New York JFK – London Heathrow – Review

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SEAT COMFORT

First Class suites aboard this Boeing 747-400 were in a 1-2-1 herringbone configuration. Each suite is 31 inches wide when the six-foot, six-inch bed is fully flat, 12 inches wider than the previous-generation suite. Window-seat passengers have their own electronic window blinds so that they can control the amount of light coming into their suites. All suites have direct aisle access and those that adjoin others have privacy screens.

I hung my coat in my suite’s exterior wall closet, and noticed that sleep suits, slippers, and amenity kits had been placed on the ottomans that the seats extend to in order to make the flat bed.

IN-FLIGHT SERVICE

Shortly after takeoff, drinks and warm nuts were served. When one of the very pleasant flight attendants noticed that I was eating only the almonds, he offered to get me an entire bowl of almonds. I happily accepted it and thanked him for his consideration.

For dinner, I chose a starter of poached lobster with fennel and celery root salad, and mustard dressing, and a main course of seared halibut with New England chowder sauce, blanched escarole, leek fondue, and red bliss potatoes. Both were as good as any I’ve had in a fine dining restaurant.

Other entree choices included petite rack of veal, four-cheese pasta, and roasted chicken breast salad. Dessert selections were New York cheesecake, ice cream sundae, and hot chocolate with warm chocolate chip cookies. Passengers were also offered a selection of fruit and cheese.

The entertainment system, complete with noise-canceling headphones, 15-inch TV screen, USB charging point, and RCA jack to allow passengers to view MP3 player content kept me occupied during dinner with films such as “Notes On a Scandal” and both American and British TV shows.

A flight attendant offered to make the bed for me when I was ready to sleep, putting the seat in its fully-flat position and outfitting it with a cotton mattress, a duvet, and a pillow. I slept soundly, feeling quite secure and comfortably ensconced in the suite, and woke just before landing, to the sounds of breakfast being served.

Breakfast starters included chilled fruit juice, yogurt, cereal, fresh fruit, a warm bacon roll, pastries and rolls. Main course choices were traditional English breakfast including scrambled eggs, pork sausage, bacon and mushrooms; organic egg frittata with creamed spinach, tomato confit, and roasted potatoes; and buttermilk pancakes with berry compote.

Although I didn’t care for the bacon roll, the yogurt, cereal, and fresh fruit made for a substantial breakfast. (If passengers wished to maximize sleep time, they could also order a quick Continental breakfast.)

ARRIVAL

We arrived on time at Heathrow. Customs and immigration were painless, and my bag was waiting for me on the luggage carousel. (Had I been headed directly to a meeting following my flight, I could have freshened up at one of the 94 shower rooms at the Arrivals lounge, while BA pressed my suit for me.)

BOTTOM LINE

British Airways’ premium amenities, such as dedicated First check in and securit, and the posh Concorde Room, set the tone for the premium service one experiences throughout the flight. The First suites offer comfort, privacy, state-of-the-art entertainment systems and extensive dining options. These luxuries, and the cabin crew’s highly attuned attention to detail, such as the flight attendant noticing my preference for almonds, are the touches that set the BA First experience apart.

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