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BA175 London Heathrow (LHR) - New York John F. Kennedy (JFK)

Date: 13 June 2007
Departure (scheduled): 10:25
Arrival (scheduled): 12:55
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Cabin: Club World
Seat: 64K

I had moaned at the gate agents about my seat move and they were unable to do anything, so I decided to take it up with the Cabin Service Director when I boarded. Luckily I met her at the door to the aircraft. She initially put me in 19K but said she would check what was going on. Luckily about 5 mins later, she came back and told me that I could take 64K, which is as good as, if not better, than the seat I had pre-booked. I thanked her and moved upstairs to my home for the next 7 hours, with a slight feeling of guilt that another passenger may have been moved for a BA Gold!

This was my first experience of BA's newest generation of Club World seat. Initial impressions were favourable, the seat appeared roomy and comfortable - much more so than the previous seat. The misty glass panel divider was also a positive addition. The crew came round offering champagne and a wash bag and distributed the menus.

Push back was delayed by about 10 minutes and despite a short taxi we held on the taxi way for another 15 minutes or so, presumably awaiting clearance from the US authorities, although there was no word from the flight deck. Eventually we entered LHR's southerly runway and took off towards the west, which meant minimal turns were needed as we were already heading in the right direction. The climb was smooth and the seat belt signs were soon off.

The purser came and took my lunch order, from the menu which is below.

The starter of salmon was delicious as was the salad. I was glad to have opted for the haddock and prawn pie as this was also very tasty. Dessert was a simple affair of strawberries and cream, although again this was nice. I ended up sticking with the champagne throughout the meal service - it particularly suited the dessert!

Part of the new seat rollout is a new in flight entertainment system which is on-demand. This means you can start, stop, pause, rewind and fast forward your movies whenever you like. There was some initial confusion in that the films on the system were not the same as those listed in the magazine, so I had to re-choose, but I was happy as Last King of Scotland was there which I hadn't yet seen. I was merrily watching this about 1h 20m in when the system appeared to crash - this didn't affect only me, but most of the upper deck passengers too. I had heard the system was very unreliable so it wasn't surprising, but somewhat annoying. The rest of the system continued to work (the games, map and streaming TV channels), but the Interactive movies part was totally gone and remained so for the rest of the flight.

I then decided to get my laptop out and work on some of this report, however I noticed something which I had also picked up on during the meal. Unlike the old seat, the table only has one support at the fold-out side. It doesn't rest on anything the other side of the seat, which means that if you're typing or eating, or you have a glass of wine on the table during turbulence, the table actually bounces a bit and is not as solid as it might appear. Following this, I reclined my seat and had half an hour or so of sleep.

As we neared our destination afternoon tea was served, which consisted of sandwiches of mediocre quality, scones which were excellent and a lovely fruit cake. Instead of the traditional tea, I decided to have a cheeky further glass of champagne!

We were soon into the descent and landed in a disappointingly wet JFK. Despite a very long taxi, we made it to the gate at 12:05pm an amazing 50 minutes ahead of schedule.

So, what is my verdict on BA's new generation Club World seat? Despite the obvious reliability problems of the foot stools and the IFE, this is definitely an upgrade from the previous product. The higher walls and the excellent shutter blind mean that in a window seat you really have exceptional privacy. The bed was much more comfortable than the previous one, despite an annoying bounce effect when fully flat, as the top doesn't actually lock down in the flat position. However, overall a big to BA for this product innovation.


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