NYC –> London Heathrow on British Airways

In Flight Reviews, Flung writers provide key information about flights they take in order to leave the flying public better informed in an age of frustration, obfuscation and increasingly unfriendly skies.

 

JFK –> LHR on BA Flight 0114

Flight: British Airways Flight 0114 from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to London’s Heathrow Airport. Codeshare with Iberia 4612, Finnair 5514, American Airlines 6135, US Airways 7153.

Terminal: JFK’s Terminal 7 is a disappointment I have experienced many times over the past five years. They do try by providing what appear to be higher quality food options like Todd English’s Bonfire Restaurant (of the absurd prices), Wolfgang Puck Express (only takes three tries to get your order right), Balducci’s Food Lovers Market (the soggy sandwich lover’s paradise), and Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill (what’s you’re hurry? we’ll serve you tomorrow). I settled on a bagel with lox from Balducci’s which I finished only because I had paid $10.88 for it and then drowned my sorrows at the Bonfire Bar. Thirty minutes of free wi-fi required downloading the Amazon App. When that failed, and it always does, I was redirected to a video of people drinking blended crickets. A wildly appropriate choice for a terminal that mostly services Asian destinations.

(Heathrow’s Terminal 5 Arrivals can be a bit of a slog. The walk from the arrival gates is absurdly long as is the wait at passport control and the baggage claim. I only had a carry-on but the whole process took over an hour. Past customs, there’s an M&S grocery, a bookshop and a cafe right in front of the entrance to the tube. I often pop into the M&S to lightly restock my fridge and grab a magazine and a coffee to keep me sane on the two hour tube ride home.)

Date and Time of Flight: August 19, 2015. Takeoff at 9:50 pm.

Boarding: As I was not checking any luggage, upon arrival I was instructed to proceed straight through to security and present my passport and boarding pass at the gate an hour before departure, well before boarding. Security was fast even though the whole thing appears rather makeshift. Boarding itself was uneventful–priority followed by general, as usual–starting from the back rows. Departure was delayed by 35 minutes even though the flight continued to be listed as on time.

Seats: I had a window seat in standard Economy with average width and leg room. I usually experience severe discomfort on long hauls flights due to lower back problems but found the shape of these seats more comfortable than most and did not feel the need to recline, which I normally do. BA charges a fee for choosing a seat before online check-in is open. I was able to change my seat for free after checking in online although the options were limited.

Entertainment: The touch screens were of the ancient variety, small and grainy, and operable from the armrest. However, it was possible to connect my personal earbuds to this relic. Movie and audio selections were minimal. I was surprised to find Nabokov’s “The Eye” as an audiobook in the in-flight entertainment menu and then slept through most of it. Fantastic Mr. Fox entertained me over breakfast.

Food and Drink: The usual complimentary long haul food and beverage service, including beer and wine. The larger meal was provided on takeoff and a smaller meal before landing. As the food was served two hours into a red-eye flight, I opted out of the larger meal and slept instead. Breakfast consisted of a stale croissant with jam, a granola bar and coffee/tea/juice served two hours before landing.

Staff: I didn’t have any complaints. I was somewhat grudgingly lent a pen to fill out my landing card.

Bathrooms: Two serving the middle section and four at the back. They were small, including the slightly larger accessible toilet. I couldn’t wash my hands without the faucet spraying water on every surface.

Arrival: We landed 10 minutes ahead of schedule due to a strong tail wind (also read as terrible turbulence).

Misc: Flight time was approximately 6.5 hours. Complimentary pillow, blanket, headphones, and a small toiletry kit were provided.

The author’s ticket was purchased 36 hours before departure using Avios miles, plus $95 in taxes and $500 to cover a miles deficit. A total of 33,000 miles were necessary for a return ticket but only 26,000 miles were available at the time of purchase. The author does not qualify for elite status with this airline.

-by Anya Khait

 

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Anya Khait is a freelance interior designer, writer and photographer residing in London. She always packs a headlamp and takes the long way home. A native of Moscow, she has also lived in New York and Hong Kong.