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FRA-LHR-LAX and back on BA (NO pics)

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  • FRA-LHR-LAX and back on BA (NO pics)

    Hi all,

    just came back from vacation in California. Flight combination was:

    FRA-LHR BA0901 A319
    LHR-LAX BA0279 B744 Tail "NLA"

    LAX-LHR BA0268 B744 "OneWorld" ("IVC")
    LHR-FRA BA0912->914 A320

    all in Economy class.

    I had a similar flight combination last autumn but don't remember the tails anymore.

    Short version of experience..

    1) Food
    BA still serves some kind of sandwich on the flights FRA-LHR (<1,5h) and back. Drinks and coffee accompany the meal.

    On the long trip (~10 to 11,5h), you get some peanut-sized pretzel snacks shortly after takeoff, later on a warm meal with optional wine, later a "morning snack" with a sandwich. Meals were tasty (for an airliner meal) and you can pre-order vegetarian, kosher or else in advance online. Drinks, also alcoholic, are free.
    If you need more, you can bring a(nother) sandwich or else through security. Drink refills on-board are free, just fetch one from the next galley.

    2) Seating
    On the Euro-Busses, seating is pretty standard and not much different to LH, but if you're tall, the seat-backs or headrests are rather low. Legroom is sufficient for the short hop over the channel. Inflight entertainment is simply non-existing.

    On the 744, the eco seats offer not much more legroom, and I urge you not to take D or G seat (middle section-aisle seats) since there are PES boxes underneath, limiting the area under the seats substantially (had one of those last autumn). This time I was really lucky and had 29K (my wife had 29J) on the way to LAX, and on the way back 28 J+K (two-seat row!). This means LOTS of legroom, but no under-seat storage. Recline was okay, but you have armrests with fold-out tables and -monitors for the PES. No real outside view though, the 29K seat has a pleasant view on the wing, and 28K is in reality 28J. You'll have to stand up to look out of the exit door window. So forgive me for no descriptions on the outside world.
    All 747 seats have in-seat personal entertainment with movies, tv, audiobooks, music...
    One FA was kind enough to give us seats in BizClass shortly before landing because our connection was getting a close call. Well, simply great seats, but it's up to you to decide if it is worth the hefty price tag.

    3) Flights, connections, terminals...

    Flights were rather comfortable, not too many turbulences, friendly and helpful personnel. The 747 ride was as smooth as a baby's behind, the trip over the English Channel a little bumpy (as always), but I've experienced much worse on this route.

    FRA terminal D is still not finished, though the construction sites were more of the discrete type. Unfortunately, the "overnight" BA Airbus usually does not dock to a pax bridge, so expect being ferried out by Bus. Taxiing out to Rwy18 takes a quarter of total flight time.

    LHR T5 has improved, but if if you are connecting between LR/local flights, there are quite some corridors to walk/run and the sub train to use from T5A to T5B. On our way back, arrival was delayed too much (Thanks and a big middle finger gesture to Heathrow ground control... left us queued up somewhere on the apron for 30min after landing ), so we were re-booked on a later flight and given 5 GBP snack vouchers (sufficient for a sandwich and a coffee each), though it wasn't BA's fault. Baggage was successfully reassigned to our flight.

    LAX (Bradley Intl Terminal) was a different matter. A single center of incompetence, much worse than last year. Immigration took forever on SHORT queues, and luggage was on the belts long before we passed the control posts. LONG queues afterwards, passing customs. Took 2 hours just to get out. The "customer feedback" forms looked like a bad joke. On the way back, it still feels like a construction site. You check in your bags, but have to carry them yourself to one of the few FAA screening stations... pax screening was rather rudimental, and afterwards, the officer at the gate was totally unable to make clear announcements or get things (boarding) going properly. Even the BA staff was slightly pissed-off.

    4) Summary
    Would I do it again? Well, yes of course, given the current aircraft type to route assignments. But I would consider LH next time, it would spare me 3 hours per direction, and the chance of missing a connection again.


    Edit: What I forgot to mention, LAX Terminal is currently also under varying degrees of modification. And, last autumn immigration+customs tooks LESS than one hour on longer queues... bad day personnell-wise?

    I agree, rohank, LHR T5 is spacy and rather efficient with the exception of the security checkpoints. These areas are crowded and narrow, and there simply is insufficient space to put your belongings into the plastic screening boxes. Interim snack prices also are far better than at LAX, where a simple Sandwich will cost you more than 10 bucks.

    I would fly BA long-range without second thoughts anytime again.

  • #2
    Excellent flight review!

    Sorry to hear that you missed your connecting flight on the way back, thankfully BA handled the situation pretty well. Overall, I agree with most of your review, BA's legroom in economy is decent, but it could be a lot better. Having flown LH and BA internationally long-haul many times, I would say that I prefer BA. I agree with your assessment of Terminal 5, connecting there can be confusing, time consuming, and a little difficult. The flight connection process at Terminal 4 was far easier, IMO. Otherwise, Terminal 5 is excellent with nice spacious gate areas and plenty of good shops and restaurants.

    Look forward to reading more of your reviews