British Airways 787-9 First Class LHR-LAX

For years the bloggers would post British Airlines First Class was the best Business Class in the skies. Well they certainly weren’t on this flight. British Airways 787 in First Class for this blogger any day.

BA281 Cover.jpg


I avoid LHR like the plaque. Why? Taxes, insane taxes out of LHR. Airline Passenger Tax (APD), which is a departure tax to leave England. Waived if transiting less than 24 hours. Brilliant idea for encouraging people to stay and spend some tourist money.

BA281 AP1.jpg

First Class customers on British Airways have a grand entrance at the south end of Terminal 5.

BA281 AP2.jpg
BA281 AP3.jpg

Upon exiting the walk of lights and advertisements I found myself in the Galleries lounge. This is a combined First and Business class lounge adjacent to the Concorde Room which is for First Class only.

BA281 LG1.jpg
BA281 LG2.jpg

After a quick walk around I headed to the Concorde Room.

BA281 LG6.jpg
BA281 LG7.jpg

Inside the Concord room I walked up to the Elemis counter. It was about this time I remembered I forgot to make my Elemis Spa appointment. I asked if they have any openings and was advised in Terminal 5B there was an opening. But my flight’s gate hadn’t posted so I didn’t want to venture over to B and have to come back to A, therefore I declined. My flight ended up being from B.

BA281 LC1.jpg

Hungry, I headed straight to the Dining Room.

BA281 LC2.jpg

I had an Egg Benedict and commented that my first Egg Benedict in England was not on an English Muffin, rather sourdough bread. While popular in Northern Europe for centuries, arguably sourdough was made famous in San Francisco. The waiter didn’t get it.

BA281 LC5.jpg
BA281 LC6.jpg

A redeeming factor of this lounge (as well as the Galleries) is plane spotting.

Once my flight was posted I ventured over to Terminal B and found a British airways 747 in retro Landor livery a few gates down from my gate.

BA281 Plane 1A.jpg
BA281 Plane 1B.jpg

Tried to catch the All Black New Zealand 777 from LAX landing, but just missed the shot.

After Landor and All Blacks, my 787 looks rather undistinguished.

BA281 Plane 3B.jpg


My guess is this cabin would have vaulted the 787 to the top in any overall comparison of the 3 aircraft.

BA281 Cabin 1.jpg
BA281 Cabin 2.jpg
BA281 Cabin 3.jpg
BA281 Cabin 6.jpg
BA281 Cabin 5.jpg
BA281 Cabin 4.jpg

This 787-9 has a typical Boeing small lavatory and it was not stocked with amenities like you might find on other first class carriers.

BA281 Cabin Lav.jpg

A quick look at Business Class. What a difference between First Class. Seven across, fully exposed on the aisle and look at me during take off and landing.

BA281 BC1.jpg
BA281 BC2.jpg
BA281 BC3.jpg
BA281 BC4.jpg

Much preferred, seat 2K.

BA281 Seat 1.jpg
BA281 Seat 2.jpg

One could opine that this First Class pod looks more like an oversized reverse herringbone J class seat and they would have a point. However the multi-position footrest can be moved forward enough to have a second seat for another person to visit or dine. The seat itself is very comfortable as this flight was 10 hours and I was not restless one bit. Being a day flight I didn’t try the bedding but extended the seat to a bed and could easily be comfortable sleeping. Of course my last airline sleeping point of reference was American’s Concept D, so my opinion could have been jaded.

BA281 Seat 3.jpg
BA281 Seat 4.jpg
BA281 Seat 5.jpg
BA281 Seat 6.jpg
BA281 Seat 7.jpg
BA281 Seat 8.jpg
BA281 Seat 9.jpg
BA281 Seat 10.jpg

There is a closet for your clothes and a door for privacy.

BA281 Seat 15.jpg
BA281 Seat 18.jpg

A full guide to the BA 787 First Class seat, apologies for the window glare.

Much fanfare has been made over British Airways safety Video featuring some of Britains famous stars. I found parts to be very funny, but overall the video tried too hard to be entertaining.

BA281 Safe 5.jpg

Another beautiful day in London, sorry to go.

BA218 Away they go.jpg

The Amenity kit is attractive but the contents were very basic, oops Washbag.

BA281 Amenity 1.jpg

Apparently these pajamas were part of the changes and they are really nice.

BA281 Amenity 2.jpg
BA281 Amenity 3.jpg
BA281 Amenity 4.jpg

My main FA was Kyle. He was great. I wouldn’t say he made the flight special but he sure was attentive. He started with an oshibori. British Airways went with all black glossy surfaces, even on the tray table.

BA281 Serv 1.jpg

A perfect time for Grand Siècle.

BA281 Serv 2.jpg
BA281 Serv 3.jpg

Instead of a small Amuse-bouche and salad offering, a 3 Canapé plate began lunch service.

BA281 Serv 4.jpg

Smoked salmon and caviar was probably my favorite of the trio.

BA281 Serv 5.jpg

Blue cheese with candied pecans was an interesting bite.

BA281 Serv 6.jpg

Salami with olives was my least favorite, but would enjoy it again.

BA281 Serv 7.jpg

The complete Beverage and Food menu.

Again I ordered beef. I know that the chances of success are slim but I continue to do it.

BA281 Serv 8.jpg

The goat cheese appetizer sparked my interest and it was a good choice. Nicely presented as well.

BA281 Serv 9.jpg
BA281 Serv 10.jpg

Champagne then Red Wine, like clockwork.

BA281 Serv 11.jpg

Perfect.

BA281 Serv 12.jpg

As was the beef. Okay, it more well done that I would ordered in a restaurant but at 40,000 feet job well done.

BA281 Serv 13.jpg
BA281 Serv 14.jpg

Like I needed more cheese. The quince jelly was delicious and so much better than a piece or two of dried fruit.

BA281 Serv 15.jpg
BA281 Serv 16.jpg

Then to the star, blueberry and nectarine charlotte. My only complaint is the bowl is big enough to fit a bigger charlotte.

BA281 Serv 17.jpg
BA281 Serv 18.jpg

While Anthony hated airline food, I think he would have been impressed with the food on this flight.

BA281 IFE 2.jpg

Mid-flight Kyle brought about some coffee and cookies.

BA281 Serv 19.jpg

Before arrival I decided to have Sliders from the anytime menu.

BA281 Serv 20.jpg
BA281 Serv 21.jpg
BA281 Serv 22.jpg
BA281 Serv 23.jpg

They were excellent but this stole the whole show. Rhubarb and Ginger timbale. I can’t describe….

BA281 Serv 24.jpg
BA281 Serv 25.jpg


In LAX I flew through customs and circled back upstairs to take a shower in the Qantas lounge. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to eat as I was off to a connecting flight. Opportunity missed.

BA218 LAX Lounge 1.jpg
BA281 Flight Path.jpg

Redemptions

I did not use conventional award ticketing for this trip. Instead I purchased the trip when British Airways had a First Class sale and used AMEX pay with points to settle the bill. I had to fly a round trip for this fare (return coming later this year) and the total points were about 230,000. But I’ll get back almost 30,000 Alaska points and I avoided the BA mandated surcharges with award tickets which would be around $400-$600 going west and close to $1000 returning.

You can book BA with American points (85,000) and Alaska points (70,000) each way on this route. And you can avoid the APD which is around $200 out of LHR if you have a positioning flight into London (like AMS-LHR-LAX) and stay less than 24 hours. My net will be around 200,000 points and no cash. A great way to fly BA if you can get the fare.


Carrier: British Airways
Date: April, 2019
Route: London Heathrow - Los Angeles
Flight #: 281
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 G-ZBKL
Configuration: F8/ C42 / W39 / Y127
Seat(s): 2K
On Time: Yes

Reward Flying Rating: 8.3 out of 10 ✈

Cabin:
✔︎The First Class cabin on a 787 in British Airways fleet is likely their best offering. Eight seats and you don’t feel cramped. I’ve not been in their 747 but can only imagine 14 seats in the nose of a 747 not being ideal. The seats are very good. The best? No, useful yes. Comfortable with storage space and decent privacy provided with a sliding door. Boxes checked.

Cabin/Seats Rating: 8 out of 10 ✈

Food/Amenities:
✔︎Amenities were good, with the washbag maybe below par for First Class. The new pajamas are great but I don’t have a reference to the prior ones. The food was equal to many first class flights I’ve had, most importantly it was good.

Amenity/Food rating: 8 out of 10 ✈

IFE:
✔︎ The monitors were great and content was as good.

IFE rating: 8 out of 10 ✈

Flight Attendants:
✔︎The crew was attentive and didn’t miss a beat. Are they as polished as say Singapore FA’s in First Class? No, but if you never flew SQ you’d give high marks to this crew on BA.

Flight Attendant rating: 8 out of 10 ✈

Aircraft:
✔︎Boeing 787-9. This almost 3 year old 787 was in excellent condition and is one of the few 787’s in the sky with a First Class cabin.

Aircraft rating: 9 out of 10 ✈


BA281 Rating.jpg