I left work about 3 hours before the flight and the trip to the airport was fairly unremarkable, as was check-in at the Club World counter and security. After a quick shop at the World Duty Free store for some 1988 Warre's Port , I headed for the Terraces lounge.
I decided to take a shower before the flight and was again impressed by the shower suites, which I had used first back in December before my flight to Cape Town. Feeling refreshed and somewhat hungry after my shower, I had some sandwiches and a couple of glasses of lovely wine from the World Wine Bar.
Boarding was from one of the furthest gates from the lounge and it was a good 10 minute walk down to the other end of the terminal. But this meant that at least I missed the queues and was able to walk straight on the aircraft. The Club World cabin was fairly full for this weekday evening flight across the Pond and seemed to be mostly full of businessmen, as you would expect. I also noticed that this 777 had been fitted with the upgraded softer seat upholstery and dark blue fan dividers.
Menus were handed out for the flight and I was offered and took a glass of pre-take off champagne - a recent enhancement to the BA service.
I was seated at the window and, as with all window seats on BA's 777 (and 747) it was facing backwards. The only time I had flown backwards before was on my way back from Dubai last year and I remember it feeling slightly strange, especially on take-off. So it would be interesting to experience the sensation again. And indeed, when we got rolling down the runway and rotated, it was a strange feeling of almost being tipped out of your seat. I don't know whether this was the reason that the take-off felt very powerful indeed.
We climbed through the low cloud and headed
out over the west of England and Wales. Another round of drinks were
offered and I took a glass of Kir Royale, as well as giving my dinner
order. The menu for tonight's flight was as follows:
From this assortment I took the salmon to start with, which was lovely. For my main course, I decided to have the prawn masala, having tried the steak on a few previous occasions. It was again delicious.
The service so far had been distinctly perfunctory. Nothing bad, but it just seemed that the crew were just going through the motions, rather than making any effort to make the customers feel particularly welcome. I don't know if this is a feature of the hour and route of this flight, but I was slightly underwhelmed to say the least. I know this has been mentioned a number of times on Flyertalk and is often referred to as "one of those crews" .
I watched the latest Blade film on the IFE, but the quality was quite poor and my seat, right next to the engine, was quite noisy. The film is quite dark and the contrast on the IFE screens (and these were the larger screens available on BA 777's) made it difficult to see what was happening.
The rest of the flight passed off well and I was able to get some sleep in the new comfy softer bed that had been installed on this aircraft . Although as I said before, the position of my seat was quite noisy - I noticed this in particular when coming back from the forward galley which was much quieter. Shortly before arrival in Washington, we were served some sandwiches, which were OK, but nothing special and the presentation left something to be desired.
There was little delay to get into IAD for an on-time arrival of 22:30. The ride on the mobile lounge was interesting, and I even utilised a little trick I had picked up on Flyertalk to get to the front of the immigration queue (thanks Fraser!).
This was my first flight in Club World for over a year, but I was left wondering whether it was worth all those pounds and miles when I would have been quite happy in the back (or at least World Traveller Plus). I know this may sound sacrilege, but when you have such disinterested service from the crew and you're sitting in a relatively noisy seat in a packed, impersonal cabin (which is the unfortunate result of BA's seating plan on the 777) and the IFE is nothing special, it does make you wonder! However, the food and drink were very nice indeed .
I hope I'm not sounding too downbeat - I do have high expectations of Club World (and I make no apologies for that), and they were not met on this trip. I hoped the return leg would be different (and it was - markedly!)
Flight 1 photos
I had to get up at about 4.30am, but this easy as I had been keeping on UK time for my short visit (i.e. going to bed at about 8pm and getting up at about 6am). Getting to Dulles airport was easy as I had booked a taxi from the hotel, although Dulles is situated a long way out of Washington city centre.
Check-in was quick as there was no queue and at this early hour the queue for security was also fairly short. Another ride on the mobile lounges followed, to get out to the satellite terminal. This was a little more interesting than the outbound flight due to being in daylight.
I decided to visit the BA lounge, which is being renovated in Dulles and therefore Club World passengers get access to what I think is normally the First class lounge. It was very tight - I guess when the new Terraces opens, there will be greater capacity. But the breakfast options on offer were nice (bagels, croissants, OJ etc.), just what was in order, as it was only about 6:30am when I got to the lounge.
Boarding was called and I was able to walk straight on thanks to a priority queue. It was to turn out that the cabin was very empty for this flight - only about 15 passengers with 48 seats between us! Therefore I moved from my original seat of 10B to a window seat further back, 14A.
Take-off was the same powerful experience as
on the outbound, still a little strange, although I'm getting more used
to it now. Soon order were taken for breakfast, or "Brunch" as it was
described in the menu:
I took the starters and Salmon, which was delicious. I naturally took the full English as my Main, which was nice, but by that time I was starting to get rather full having had a bagel and croissant in the lounge, so I didn't finish it all. The Key lime pie was also delicious for dessert.
I watched a selection of various programmes on the IFE as we made our way steadily over the Atlantic. I noticed immediately that the seat was much quieter (being over the wing) than row 11 where I had been before, which is right next to the engine. Mental note: sit towards the rear of the cabin if ever again on the 777 in Club World).
The rest of the journey passed off without much happening. We were again served sandwiches about an hour out of London, which felt like lunch, but was actually dinner! Unfortunately my choice (crab salad) had gone and I had to have the roast beef option instead.
The crew on this flight were marvellous. Chirpy, chatty, happy and continually joking. I couldn't have asked for better service. I don't know whether this was a virtue of less people in the cabin, or being on the more desirable day flight rather than the night flights, but they certainly seemed to be very welcoming and a complete contrast with the outbound crew.
We had no delays into LHR (which was nice for a change!) and with no baggage to collect, I was soon on the Heathrow Express back into Central London after a lovely flight which went a long way to restoring my confidence in the BA business class offering.