After one night in Miami, I caught an American Airlines internationally configured 767 to New York where I would catch the British Airways First Class flight to Longon. At the last minute the 767 changed from the new configuration 1-2-1 in business class to a dinosaur of a plane with a 2-2-2 configuration.
After a delay due to air traffic in New York we were off and the flight was uneventful. The delay was just long enough that I didn’t have time to meet up with Thad as we had originally planned. I got to meet a points and miles legend “The Points Guy” Brian Kelly while boarding the flight!
I took the sky train from terminal 8 over to terminal 7 where British Airways operates at JFK.
I already had my ticket on my phone, but I thought I’d check in at the British Airways First Class desk to see if they needed to check my passport. I’m glad I did, because the agent took me to the front of the security line saving me at least a half hour of waiting in line. Directly on the other side of security was the Concorde Room Lounge, which is exclusively for British Airways First Class passengers, but more on that later.
My unlucky streak with air travel this year continued when our departure time came and went without an update. A little later we were told that the jet bridge completely failed and wouldn’t hold the weight of any passengers. The only solution was to wait for another plane to leave and move our 747 over to the new gate. About 2 hours after our scheduled departure time I was finally on board.
The cabin was very stylish, but the seats didn’t seem any different than a normal long-haul business class seat. I was taken to my seat by a flight attendant and asked if I wanted champagne and a “sleeper suit”. I changed into the British Airways pajamas and took a look at the menu, even though it was now 10:30 PM.
I decided to go with the mushroom soup with truffle profiteroles, the truffled brioche-filled chicken breast with white asparagus, and skipped dessert. The flight crew did however bring a selection of chocolates out after I was finished with dinner. The food was good, but the chicken was a little dry.
The in flight entertainment system had a pretty good selection. Since this was a short overnight flight not very many people in the First cabin used their IFE systems, and I’m pretty sure I was the only one who ate. About an hour from London people were starting to wake up and the excellent First crew sprung in to action to try and get 14 people their breakfast. I made it easy on them and just ordered an orange juice and coffee. We landed and were promptly shuttled over to Heathrow’s terminal 5 where I sped through security and over to the London Concorde Room where I finally met up with Thad.
The British Airways First Class cabin on BA 107 from London to Dubai was exactly the same as my first flight, 14 seats on the lower deck in the nose of the aircraft.
This flight was almost the exact same distance as New York to London, however it left at 1 PM, so we were able to enjoy the service and IFE more than the first flight. Our flight attendant, Keely, brought us a glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle champagne and the lunch menu after showing us to our seat.
One of the cool features about the first class cabin is if you are traveling with someone, you can dine with them because the foot rest has a seat belt. I ordered shortly after take-off, but Thad was napping, so he didn’t get his first choice of meal. I started with the Meze Plate that came with a selection of middle eastern inspired starters. For my main course I had the Guinea Fowl Kiev, which was also a little dry, but very good nonetheless. Thad ended up choosing the asparagus to start and the beef stew for his main course. Even though it was his third choice, Thad said the Beef stew was yummy. We decided to try all of the desserts available on this flight and we were glad we did! Each one was delicious!
We landed in Dubai right on schedule and proceeded through customs, which was surprisingly easy in my opinion. We weren’t asked any questions about what we were bringing or how long we were staying. The looked at our passports, looked at us, stamped it and waved us through.
After reading some mixed reviews of British Airways First Class over at One Mile At A Time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Luckily we had great crews on both flights, so our experience with British Airways First was a positive one.
The difference between business and First class when using AAdvantage miles, as I did for my ticket is 45,000 miles going from the US to the Middle East, but only 40,000 if you go to Asia. If you are using British Airways Avios, like I did for Thad’s London to Dubai ticket, the difference is only 20,000 Avios. Now while I’d say its probably not worth it for a short overnight flight like New York to London since you will have a lay-flat seat in business class. I could definitely see the value for longer flights such as London to Singapore or Hong Kong.
The service we received was a large step above the service I have received flying in international business class in the past, and way in front of any US domestic first class service. For a flight longer than 9 hours, I’d say it is worth the mileage premium, less than that save your miles and get a business class seat.
British Airways 747s have a very nice reverse herringbone business class configuration, and you could choose a seat on the upper deck if you wanted to!