British Airways, Club World – Boeing B 747-400: Kuwait to London and Amsterdam



The conference in Kuwait has gone well and our host, the Kuwaiti Directorate General of Civil Aviation has been very generous and hospitable. But now it is time for me to move on. I am not quite going home yet, but near enough. Today I am flying to Amsterdam via London’s Heathrow airport on British Airways, to attend a meeting in Amsterdam. On this occasion, British Airways offered the best schedule for my needs, mainly because they are one of the few airlines that depart Kuwait for Europe during the daylight hours of the morning and not at some ungodly hour, as for example KLM and Lufthansa do. Admittedly, the opportunity to get another flight on the mighty Boeing B 747-400 helped too.

Getting to the Airport

Transport: Complimentary hotel shuttle.
Journey time: Roughly 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

My flight leaves Kuwait at 08h45, so I have arranged to have a car collect me at the Hilton at 06h00, which should be enough time to make the journey to the airport. The traffic in Kuwait can be rather bad, despite the very good and wide roads.



Location: Check-in area 4 on the first floor.
Facilities: Online and web check-in are available.
Counters: There is one counter for First Class passengers, two counters for Business Class passengers and four counters for Economy Class.

The driver drops me off in front of check-in area 4, which apparently is where British Airways checks in, although from what I can tell there is no signage to enlighten you to the fact. The departure concourse is only accessible to passengers, although by the looks of it there is nobody checking to make sure that this policy is enforced.

The two Business Class counters are occupied when I arrive, so I am ushered to one of the free Economy Class counters instead. The agent labels my bags with a priority and short connection tag and then I am on my way.


Behind check-in the bad signage continues. There is a dedicated security check for First and Business Class passengers, but it takes me a moment to locate where the entrance is. I am not sure what the point of this check is, given that the alarm goes off as I pass through the gate and nobody in particular seems to care. In fact, the guy doing the check is not even looking at the screen as my hand luggage goes through. I am hoping there will be a more thorough check before the gate.

Behind security is immigration and then, finally I am airside.

The Lounge

Location: As you exit from immigration, turn left.
Type of Lounge:
Pearl contractor lounge.
Hot and cold buffet, toilets are available but not shower.
Free wifi is provided throughout the terminal.

The lounge is nothing special. It is large enough, but other than that the décor is rather bland and boring. The seats are covered is fake leather. There are a few waiters in the lounge, so you can either help yourself from the buffet or have them serve you at your table. Incidentally, the food in the lounge is absolutely atrocious.



About an hour before departure I have had enough of the boring lounge, and so I decide to head to the gate and hopefully take some pictures of the aircraft carrying me away to London. Kuwait airport has closed gates and I am happy to see that there is a proper security check at the entrance to the gate. The staff are polite but meticulous. There is a separate queue for Business Class and First Class passengers to enter the lounge.


It is only just gone eight in the morning when boarding for the flight already starts. I am still collecting my stuff after the security check. So I attempt to take a few decent pictures of the aircraft, which is not an easy task given the general grubbiness of the windows. And then I step aboard the mighty Boeing 747-400 and head for my seat on the upper deck.


The Cabin

Configuration: 2 + 2 on the upper deck, 2 + 4 + 2 on the main deck, there are 72 seats in total in Business Class.
Seat: 63J, aisle seat. The British Airways cabin configuration in Business Class has seats arranged in pairs, with the aisle seats on the upper deck facing forward and the window seats facing towards the rear. There is a privacy screen which can be raised after take-off, so you will not have to look at your seat companion’s face for the duration of the flight.

If you are seated by the window, keep in mind that you will have to climb over the person sitting on the aisle seat, which can be a tad awkward given that the space is really tight and you have to be quite agile to get a leg over. The nice thing about 63J, is that it is an emergency exit, which provides extra leg space and means you will not have a complete stranger clambering over you during the flight.

To be honest, the BA seat has never truly convinced me. Obviously the idea with this seat had been to recreate the feeling of being at home in your own comfortable armchair. And if that was the objective, then I think it is safe to say it was met. However, the seat is fairly low above the ground and there are quite a few elderly passengers on my flight who struggle getting in and out of the seat. It is also a bit inconvenient for eating in the seat.
Pitch: 72 inches.
Width: 20 inches.
Audio and Video: Audio and video on demand, touch screen.
Facilities: A 110 ac power outlet is available at every seat.


The Crew

There are two cabin crew serving the upper deck. The service begins with a choice of still water or orange juice.

After take-off, the crew distribute the menus, vanity kits and a flimsy scented hot towel. The vanity kit contains the usual creams by Elemis. There are also eyeshades, socks, a pen and a toothbrush with Colgate toothpaste.


The Meal

Welcome drink on the ground: Orange juice.
Hot towel before the meal: Yes.
Pre-meal drink:
There are two choices for the starter and four choices for the main course.
Trolley service.
Type of meal:

  1. Strawberry and mango smoothie.
  2. Seasonal fruit.
  3. Bircher Müsli with strawberries, kiwi and walnuts.
  4. Selection from the breadbasket.
  5. Omelette, turkey bacon, Swiss cheese, vegetables, Rösti, and oven roasted tomato.

The meal is delivered at a good tempo. There is no rush, but there are no long waits in between the courses either. Once everything has been cleared away, the lights go out and passengers are expected to pretend it is night time, despite the fact that the flight left Kuwait just before nine in the morning.

The Second Service

About fifty minutes out of Heathrow, the second service begins, which is a kind of slimmed down afternoon tea.
Choice: None.
Delivery: Trolley service.
Type of meal: Snack.

  1. Turkey pastrami with Dijon mustard and gherkin sandwich.
  2. Gherkin and roasted vegetables sandwich with cream cheese.
  3. A hot leek and potato twist.
  4. Trio of mango cheesecake, cherry Bakewell and chocolate and black cherry roulade.

Transfer in London Heathrow

Eventually the mighty Jumbo dips its nose and we start on our descent into Heathrow. We are running twenty minutes early, and no delays are foreseen for our arrival. We disembark at the C satellite of Terminal 5.


Transferring in Heathrow can be rather cumbersome. From the C satellite I head downstairs into the basement to catch the automated people mover to satellite B and the terminal. At the terminal you have to go through a passport check and then through security again. The process is very efficient. But with all the passengers currently using Terminal 5, it will still take you about fifteen minutes to get processed.

Once I am through security, I check the departure screen, only to find that my flight to Amsterdam will be departing from the B satellite. Which means I shall have to go down into the basement again to catch another train taking me back in the direction which I originally came from.

The Executive Club Lounge

Location: One floor up from the departures concourse, the stairs are near the Harrods store.
Type of Lounge:
British Airways Galleries lounge.
Hot and cold buffet with a large selection of food items, bar, toilets and showers, workstations, newspapers.
Wifi is available, the password is indicated on the screens.


I only have a short stay in the lounge before my flight shows up on the departure screen as ‘boarding’. It is going to be a full flight today. There are five rows of Business Class with a total of twenty seats, all of which are occupied.


I will spare you all the details of the flight to Amsterdam, and will limit myself to the meal service.

The Meal

Hot towel before the meal: Yes.
Trolley service.
Type of meal:
Afternoon tea.

  1. Selection of finger sandwiches: egg, cheddar and chicken.
  2. A selection of plain scones and lemon and date scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserve.
  3. Orange and hazelnut cake.
  4. Tea

I just love BA’s European afternoon tea service, honestly. It is just so refined, especially when you are enjoying it above the clouds. And I must say, I really am impressed that Ba will even offer such a service, given that the flight time today is only 45 minutes.


Eventually we land at 16h39 and my long journey comes to an end, at least for the time being.


British Airways is an airline I tend to forget about. I suspect a lot of that has to do with their hub at Heathrow airport. Heathrow is always fun and impressive to see, but the number of passengers moving through Terminal 5 is just too much. The facility is crowded, and moving from the main concourse to the satellites takes seemingly forever.

But apart from all that, the on board experience was rather nice. The food on both flights was very good and the crews were very professional. The only thing I think I really will never get used to, is the Business Class seat.

British Airways, Club Class – A 319: Basel to London and beyond…



I spent all of last week commuting to the office by train. Every day, the same routine. Actually I thought it was quite exotic for a change. But today I’m back to the old routine. Exactly one week and one day after I return from London, I’m off again. This time, I’m heading for…eh…London again. In my defence, I shall only be changing planes in Heathrow this time. What’s more, at least I had the decency of picking another flight for the outbound than I did last time.

Getting to the Airport

Transport: BVB bus line 50
Departs from: Basel SBB railway station, by the main exit
Frequency: Every 8 to 10 minutes
Journey time: 16 minutes
Fare: CHF4.20, one-way
Link: Basler Verkehrsbetriebe – BVB


To look at the amount of luggage I’m carting with me on this trip, you’d easily be mislead to think I’m emigrating to Australia. Not this time. But I will be gone for two weeks, and it is a business trip after all.

I catch the 05:35 bus. The passengers are mostly travellers with small carry-ons, gazing absentmindedly into their iPhones through tired eyes. Right opposite of me is a young couple. They look so sweet. I have no idea where they’re heading, but he is obviously very excited about the journey they are about to embark on. While she tenderly strokes his hand, quite obviously finding pleasure in relishing in his excitement.


Location: Departures level on the first floor, Swiss side
Facilities: Self-service check-in machines and baggage drop counters
Counters: Dedicated British Airways counters


I enter the terminal and head straight for the British Airways counters. Somewhere in the back of the building I can hear a man laughing. But it’s not a normal kind of laugh. More like the insane, evil laugh of the Über-villain in a James Bond movie. And he won’t stop either. The check-in agent simply rolls her eyes and explains that he’s a regular. Charming!

Incidentally, the check-in agent is a competent young lady with excellent manners. She’s French and speaks very good English. She checks my suitcase through to my final destination, gives me instructions to the lounge and sends me on my way wishing me a pleasant flight.

There’s quite a queue for security this morning, but fortunately for me the priority lane is open and empty.


The Skyview Lounge

Location: Airside on the second floor, in the Schengen sector
Type of Lounge: Skyview contractor lounge operated by Swissport
Facilities: Washrooms, showers, public computers
Internet: Free, unlimited WiFi; no password required


There are two young American gentlemen ahead of me as I enter the lounge. Apparently they’re travelling on the KLM service to Amsterdam. One young man is granted access to the lounge while the other is informed that he will not be allowed to enter without a status card. The two young men deliberate what to do next, seemingly oblivious to me, waiting behind them. Eventually the guy who has access to the lounge simply says: ‘Okay buddy, I’ll just grab a bite to eat here and I’ll be outside in about 25 minutes. See you at the gate. Bye’. Well that’s not very nice.

I only have a cappuccino in the lounge, in anticipation of another one of those delectable British Airways breakfasts.



Separate queue for status and Business Class passengers


Boarding starts exactly on time. I exit the lounge, turn left to the non-Schengen gates and passport control. I don’t know how British Airways does it, honestly. The cabin divider is pushed all the way back to the row behind the emergency exit, which makes ten rows of Business Class with a total of forty seats. And from what I can tell, there are no empties this morning.

There’s a bit of a hold up for departure. It’s quite misty this morning so arrivals and departures have had to be slowed down.

The Cabin

Configuration: 2 + 2
Seat: Standard European Economy Class seat with the middle seat left empty
Pitch: 34 inches
Width: 19 inches
Facilities: Overhead video screens, no audio outlet


I’m becoming rather fond of these BA seats, I must say. So much better than those horribly thin seats most carriers seem to have on short-haul these days, that have your back aching and your butt going numb within minutes of sitting down. I still don’t know how I managed to fly all the way from Vienna to Larnaca in one of those. Yes, this is definitely so much better.

The Crew

There are two cabin crew working the Business Class cabin this morning – the male Customer Service Manager and a young lady. Initially I don’t much like the CSM because his smile looks kind of put on. Later on though I realise I must revise my impression of him. It’s just the way he smiles and he seems in fact genuinely friendly and very customer oriented.

The Meal

Hot Towels Before the Meal: Yes, slightly scented
Choice: English breakfast or a plate of cold cuts
Delivery: Tray service from trolley
Appearance: Metal cutlery, crockery and glassware, hot meal served in tinfoil
Type of Meal: Breakfast, hot meal
Menu: No menu distributed

  1. Scrambled eggs
  2. Cumberland sausage
  3. Grilled tomato
  4. Bacon
  5. Mushrooms
  6. Bread and butter, marmalade
  7. Cereal bar with cherries
  8. Tea or coffee, a selection of juices and soft drinks

British Airways recently revamped their catering concept and there now appears to be a choice of two different dishes for every meal service. Of course I go with the English breakfast, which hits the spot nicely. The scrambled eggs in particular are really excellent, with a rich, creamy texture and a sinful buttery taste. The coffee is still an abomination though…

Outside it’s a beautiful day for flying. Just as we reach the French coast the trays are removed and we begin our descent into Heathrow. Time to sit back and contemplate…


Terminal: 5A, British Airways terminal – this is where most European flights arrive and depart

We’re treated to a beautiful approach into London this morning. We reach the city from the south east and then to a sharp left turn. As we come out of the turn I can clearly see the illuminated billboard on Piccadilly Circus. We then to another left turn to point us in a southwesterly direction, passing due south of Heathrow. We then execute a series of very gentle right turn until eventually we are lined up for a 09Left arrival.

As we touch down I spot three Cathay Pacific Airways Boeing B 777-300s. One of them is wearing the infamous and absolutely stunning Asia’s World City livery. Could this perhaps mean…hush my heart…hush…hush….


What a babe…


British Airways, Club Class – A 319: Basel to Oxford via Heathrow T5



Him again! Yes, me. Perhaps I ought to warn you, I think you better brace yourself to have quite a few trip reports of mine coming your way over the next few weeks. Sometime towards the end of the last year I had the brilliant idea – a kind of preempted New Year’s Resolution if you will – to write a trip report of at least one flight of every trip I make in 2014. I’ve made a further resolution to travel less in 2014. So theoretically this is going to be a walk in the park. Or so I thought… but it’s still early days and who knows, things may calm down or I may simply give up trying to keep track of myself at some point.

And one more thing. As the camera I’m using the iPhone 5 because it’s s0 much more convenient.

So yes, three days after I return from Nicosia, I find myself heading for the airport again – this time, to catch a plane to London. I’m giving a course in Oxford.

Getting to the Airport

Well at least I’m flying from Basel airport. The journey time from the main station to the airport takes 16 minutes to complete with the bus line 50. A ticket to the airport should cost you around CHF 5. The bus is not really full.


Two rows in front of me there’s a guy sitting with tattoos and piercings all over his face. I can’t help wonder what the metal detector at security will do when he tries to pass. He also reeks of stale cigarettes and alcohol. I certainly don’t envy the poor bastard who’s going to have to sit next to him. Luckily, it’s not me!



I checked in using the BA app on my iPhone yesterday evening. The app saves the boarding pass for you in the Passbook app. The reliability of Passbook has improved considerably recently, and so I wake up this morning to find my boarding pass already displayed on the lock screen. Ready for me to swipe.


The Skyview Lounge

Somehow it seems strange to think that I was in this lounge on a KLM ticket only three weeks ago on my way to Japan. Twelve flights later and I’m back in the same place again.


The selection of food and drinks really isn’t bad in this lounge. There are breads with cheese, butter and jams and there is also quite an interesting selection of hot items, such as scrambled eggs, baked beans and sausages.


Wifi is free in the lounge. In addition, they’ve recently also added an al fresco smoking area on the balcony of the lounge. But somehow it’s just a bit too cold for that for me today.


Boarding for our 11:30 departure starts at 10:50, which is rather early. I exit the lounge and head through passport control to gate 30, from where my flight will be leaving. Most passengers already appear to have boarded by the time I arrive.


The Cabin

There are six rows of Business Class in a 2 + 2 configuration. The on right-hand side of the aircraft, the middle seat in the row of three is kept empty. On the left-hand side however, the row of two is created by pushing the middle seat together. So in actual fact there is slightly less space on the left rows.


The Crew

I must say, yet again I am impressed by the British Airways cabin crew. What strikes me upon boarding the plane is how dapper they look in their pin strip uniforms. It’s quite a contrast from the frumpy Austrian Airlines crew and their god-awful red uniforms.

Announcements are made by Cabin Service Manager, whose English and French are flawless and accent free. Moreover, there are recorded announcements in German. Funnily enough, the voice used in the recordings has a very strong Swiss German accent, which is a nice local touch I find.

The CSM also points out that although it doesn’t say so in the safety video yet, British Airways has changed its policy and now allows you to leave your mobiles on during the flight as long as they’re in flight mode.

We take off from runway 16. We execute a gentle right turn to point us in the direction of London.


Once the seatbelt sign is turned off, service begins with the distribution of scented hot towels.


The Meal

There are two options on today’s flight. One is a plate of cold meats and salad, the other, which I choose, is a warm croissant with ham and cheese in it. There is also a small plate with fruit. A bred basket is also available. To drink I have a coffee, which is an abomination, and a glass of still water with ice and lemon.



We’re running 35 minutes ahead of schedule. We do one circuit in a holding before eventually turning onto the approach for runway 27Right.


We come in straight over the West End. And even with partially cloudy skies, ground visibility is good and I manage to get a glimpse of St. Paul’s and Westminster.


Getting to Oxford

There are direct buses from Heathrow’s T5 to Oxford by National Express. The journey takes approximately ninety minutes, with buses leaving every thirty minutes or so. A single ticket will cost you £24.

In Oxford I am staying at the Remont, which is in fact a B&B but offers a standard of comfort and service that is more like a hotel.


I can highly recommend the Remont. It may perhaps be a bit far from the city centre, but there is a bus stop conveniently located about one minute away from the hotel. Take any line 2 bus and it will bring you to the centre in about ten minutes or so.

British Airways, Business Class – A 319: Basel to London and Windsor


The evening before I am scheduled to embark on my journey I call my mum to remind her that I’ll be gone in the morning and won’t be back for another two weeks. The conversation runs smoothly, right up to the moment when my mother makes the mistake of asking – ‘So remind me, where is it again you’re off to this time?’ – and I make the evening bigger mistake of telling her, in all detail and glorious Technicolor, exactly where I’m going. All thirteen flights.

And then there is silence. In real time it probably lasts no more than a split second, but the silence is so heavily laden with my mother’s disapproval that it feels like an eternity. Until eventually the silence is broken by her stoic proclamation: ‘You’re nuts!’

Well admittedly, the whole thing is perhaps a tad over the top, even by my standards – thirteen flights in fourteen days. But I can explain everything and in all honesty, when I started planning my vacation, I never intended it to grow into such a monumental excursion. I just wanted to get away from it all. As far as way as I could possibly go. It’s just that somehow, somewhere along the line things got out of hand and I got a slightly carried away.



But we will come to all that in due course. My first flight is with British Airways from Basel to London Heathrow. It’s the morning flight, my favourite because of the lovely English breakfast they serve you on BA.

Airline: British Airways
Airbus A 319
From: Basel
To: London Heathrow
Cabin: Business Class
Seat: 1A
Date: 13 August 2013
Arrival: 08:05


Getting to the Airport

Tuesday morning. It’s just a bit over a week since our team excursion to London and the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and I’m on my way to the airport again. The bus line 50 is nearly empty today, now that the school holidays are over. There are just a handful of passengers with blank looking faces heading for work.


Ah yes, check-in. Not one of BA’s finest moments for sure. It takes repeated attempts for me to check-in for the flight to London before eventually my inbox rears its ugly head to inform me that I’ve got mail. But alas, all I receive is the boarding pass for the flight to London. So I’m not really sure if I’m actually checked in for my onward connection. But never mind, like this I have a good excuse to check out BA’s First Class check-in area when I arrive in London.

The Skyview Lounge

What can I say? It’s the same one that Swiss uses. I suspect I may have singlehandedly succeeded in making it Europe’s most photographed airport lounge. Well probably not quite, but you get my point. So I’ll spare you the details and the pictures.


When eventually my flight shows up as ‘boarding’ I exit the lounge and go through passport control. The young officer is obviously eager to not let any unsavoury looking characters get away. But eventually he decides I’m okay and lets me through.


Much to my surprise the gate area is already empty when I arrive and I am the second last passenger to board.

Behind the gate there is a mobile newspaper rack for passengers to help themselves as they board the aircraft.


The Cabin

All in all I rather like the BA cabin. In particular I like the little trays they have protruding from the armrests in the Business Class section. The seat also makes a welcome change from those flimsy Recaro seats most airlines have these days, which are tremendously tough on the backside.


The Crew

This is where BA really shines on this flight. Service in the Business Class cabin in done by a middle-aged gentleman and he is truly outstanding. Very friendly and accommodating. Nothing seems too much for him and throughout the flight he keeps coming back to check the passengers are all right and have everything they need.

Departure is on time. As we push back the Cabin Service Manager – such a fantastic word – passes hot scented towels to all passengers.


We take-off towards the south on runway 15 and shortly after take-off we do a sharp right turn to point us initially towards Paris and London beyond. But it’s hazy today and so the beautiful Alps remain hidden from view behind a veil of grey and white cloud.


The Meal

The highlight. I just love BA’s hot English breakfast. It certainly beats Swiss’s offering on the flight to London City. The breakfast includes a cheese omelette, Cumberland sausage, bacon, grilled tomato and button mushrooms. There is a huge selection of breads, buns and croissants from the breadbasket to choose from. With that there is a choice of either marmalade or strawberry jam and butter.


To drink I have a coffee and a glass of still water. Although there is a cream already on the tray, the CSM asks me if I’d prefer some fresh milk instead, which I gladly accept.



As soon as I finish the meal, the CSM whisks away my tray and asks me if there’s anything else I’d like. So I order a glass of sparkling mineral water and start writing the first chapter of this epic trip report.


Just a short while later though, old Blighty comes into view and we begin the descent. As we make our way towards Heathrow I suddenly notice Gatwick appearing on our left.


As we turn off the runway I look back to see if there’s anything coming in behind…


We arrive at T5 on time and I get the chance to try out my new biometric passport.


I still have a few hours before my onward connection, so I figure I might as well drop my suitcase in one of the lockers at T5 and head to Windsor to get me in the holiday spirit. There are two bus lines that run from T5 to Windsor. The 71 takes about 10 minutes longer but runs along a more scenic route. The 77 is 10 minutes faster and takes 35 minutes to make the journey from the airport to Windsor.

Windsor looks like a nice little place, even though it’s crawling with tourists!



One down, twelve to go. I thoroughly enjoyed this short flight with BA. Of course it helped that the flight was not full, with only sixty nine passengers in total and only seven in Business Class. The meal may not look as pretty as the one served on Swiss on this route, but it’s certainly more substantial. Moreover, the crew on this flight were simply excellent.

British Airways, Business Class – A 319: Basel to Heathrow and beyond…


My very first long-haul trip ever was in 1994, in the gap year before I started university. I flew from Zürich to Hong Kong in Economy Class aboard a Cathay Pacific B 747-400. Back in those days Cathay Pacific had a flight that operated from Manchester via Zürich to Hong Kong. Later on the service was downgraded to an A 340 until eventually it was abandoned altogether. I had always wanted to go to Hong Kong and I suspect much of that had to do with my fascination for aviation and the wish to do the famous checkerboard approach at least once in my life.

At the time I was mightily impressed by Cathay Pacific – even in Economy Class – and ever since I took that flight, I’ve been meaning to try them again. And now, finally, 18 years later I’m sitting in the lounge at Basel airport waiting to catch a flight to London with British Airways, from where I will continue my journey via Hong Kong to Bangkok with Cathay Pacific Airways.

So you see, this trip report is long overdue!


Date: 26 November 2012
From: Basel
To: London Heathrow
Airline: British Airways
Aircraft: A 319
Cabin Class: Business Class
Seat: 1A

Getting to the Airport

It’s always the same routine really. I leave my flat at 10h00 and head across the square to the railway station to purchase some Thai Baht. And then I catch the bus line 50, which stops right outside the main entrance of the station. It’s a dark and dreary day today. It started raining yesterday evening and it hasn’t stopped since.

Christmas decorations in the station's main hall.
Christmas decorations in the station’s main hall.
Waiting at the bus stop outside the station.
Waiting at the bus stop outside the station.

Eventually the bus leaves for the airport with only a handful of passengers on it. Most of them get off again at one of the four stops before we reach the airport. The journey takes about 15 minutes to complete.



The airport is quiet too. There are a few flights leaving but even so, the place is deserted. I walk up to the BA check-in counter, where I am attended to immediately. The check-in agent informs me that she can only issue my boarding pass for the first leg and that I will have to contact Cathay Pacific once I get to Heathrow to get the boarding passes for my onward connections.


The Skyview Lounge

Security does not take long to complete and once I am airside, I head straight for the lounge. And I must say, I am rather pleasantly surprised. This is the first time I’ve been to the lounge since Swiss International Air Lines gave it up and Swissport turned it into the Skyview lounge. It’s a vast improvement me thinks. First of all the wifi no longer requires a password, I also think the connection is faster. And secondly they’ve improved the food offerings in the lounge, which now also include a hot buffet. So I help myself to some scrambled eggs, sausage and beans, get myself a coffee and settle down by the window.

The only picture of the lounge.
The only picture of the lounge.

When the time comes, I leave the lounge and head through passport control to reach my gate in the non-Schengen part of the terminal. From the number of people waiting at the gate I would say there are probably only about seventy to eighty people on the flight.


There are seven rows of Business class, which makes for a total of 28 seats. It turns out that luck is on my side and by the looks of it I am the only passenger with a whole row of seats to himself.

The Cabin

Until BMI was taken over by BA, both carriers used to operate to Basel with the A 319. As a result, since the take over Basel has seen a mix of ex-BMI and BA birds operating to Heathrow. But this is clearly a BA bird. The aircraft looks quite old-fashioned and still has the old style overhead bins and panels. But apart from that it looks quite as though BA has taken good care of the aircraft.

The bulkhead.
The bulkhead.
The empty middle seat.
The empty middle seat.

Take-off is towards the south and the city of Basel. Once we’re airborne we bank right to the west towards France and then a short while later we bank right again to point us in the direction of Paris and the Channel beyond.


As soon as the seatbelt sign goes off, the cabin crew begin their service with the distribution of warm towels. It’s a nice touch but they’re not scented. In fact they have rather a strange smell of chemicals and chlorine about them.

And after that the meal is served.


The Meal

The meal consists of a light salad served with three slices of chorizo sausage with a soft goat’s cheese on a bed of green leaves, beetroot and grilled bell peppers. It’s not bad actually. With that there is a selection of warm buns from the breadbasket. I am also delighted to see that BA has finally decided to introduce dessert. And what an excellent job they make of it: it’s a triple layered chocolate mouse made by the infamous do&co and it is absolutely divine! The top layer is a really thick and rich dark chocolate fondant. Beneath that is a layer of velvety milk chocolate mouse and under that is another layer with a darker chocolate with small, crunchy chunks of chocolate in it.

The whole tray.
The whole tray.
Close up of the main.
Close up of the main.
The sin - I.
The sin – I.
The sin - II.
The sin – II.

To drink I have a diet coke – I know, how imaginative – and then later on a cup of coffee.



We reach the greater London area way too early and as a result we’re sent into a holding pattern for about 10 minutes.


Eventually we land at Heathrow a full 20 minutes ahead of schedule. But by the time the previous aircraft vacates our gate and we are able to disembark, we’re bang on time again.


I leave you in this first part with a few pictures I took in Heathrow as we taxied in. In the next part I fly to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific on the mighty triple seven.