Aircraft British Airways Boeing 747-400
Route London Heathrow LHR to New York JFK
Class Economy class, seat 46c
Seat pitch and seat width 31½ inches and 17½ inches seat width
Seat configuration Three-four-three
Luggage allowance One bag no more than 23kg checked in luggage and one piece of hand luggage also no more than 23kg plus a laptop bag or briefcase
Airport and lounge access Terminal 5 is the new British Airways dedicated terminal at London Heathrow so there is a lounge, however, unless you’re flying business class or first class or are a One World silver or gold card holder, this is inaccessible.
Sadly Heathrow Terminal 5 doesn’t offer free Wi-Fi outside of any airline lounge and the cheapest deal you can get is £9.95 for 24-hours access, which seems a little ridiculous.
Scheduled flight time 7 hours 50 minutes
Punctuality The aircraft was more or less on time leaving London LHR and we made up a little time, about 20 minutes or so, arriving into New York.
Condition of the aircraft Some of the adjustable headrest corners were clinging to their seats for dear life by a single thread and many of the primitive-looking air-conditioning vents had the plastic covers missing or were broken or cracked. But for the most part, considering how old this aircraft probably was, it wasn’t too bad.
Despite the toilets being in a pretty bad state almost straight after take-off, they actually seemed to improve during the flight.
In-flight entertainment The controller was situated in the right-hand arm rest and couldn’t be removed, which meant anyone on the left-hand side of the aircraft in an aisle seat would need to have their elbows out and risked being struck by an on-coming service trolley.
However, the small 6.3-inch display actually had touch-screen functionality so thankfully it wasn’t necessary to use the remote control that much. The headphone port is located on the inside of the armrest, so if you decide to use your own superior headphones and the 3.5mm jack sticks out straight – not bending at right angles like some do – then you run a risk of damaging it by bending it when you move your legs. So caution is advised here.
There was a good selection of movies, including Captain America, Thor and classics like An American Werewolf in London and some pretty good TV like a few episodes of The IT Crowd, Modern Family, Futurama and The Simpsons. But the screen was quite small and it was a little difficult to watch any movie and enjoy it thoroughly.
The white text on the light pink background of the user interface was a little tricky to read, but the display did feature a little clock indicating how much flight time was remaining, which was a nice touch.
Comfort When the seatback in front was reclined it was extremely difficult to use a laptop on the fold-down tray table as the space for the display was dramatically reduced. Thankfully, the display did angle up enough so that it was still possible to watch the IFE in relative comfort.
The legroom wasn’t too bad considering and the seat width was about average, but there were no powerpoints anywhere, so laptops couldn’t be charged in-flight.
A token toothbrush was included in the sealed bag that the standard-issue headphones came in, so if you might not see that it was there if you didn’t use these. Cushions and pillows were provided on the seats but ear plugs and eye shades were no where to be found.
The headrests that weren’t desperately clinging onto life angled forward, which gave greater head support when trying to sleep, which was nice.
Service This was a full flight, so clearly the cabin crew had their hands full. The service was polite as you’d expect, but brief. Even the sandwiches that were distributed about 90 minutes before we landed seemed to take an eternity. The choice here was cheese and chicken – if there was any left. Still feeling a little hungry, I asked for another if there was any left and the stewardess seemed to forget. But a few minutes later she returned, bless her little cotton socks. Although now having tried both the cheese and the chicken, the latter was vastly superior.
When the accompanying drinks trolley came around, Peter, the steward, brought a welcome round of light-hearted humour with him and practically forced me to have two bottles of wine. So, we liked him.
Food and beverages No menu was handed out, nor was there one in the seat backs, so it was necessary to wait until the trolley service to learn of the choice between steak and eggs or the vegetarian breakfast. The specially requested meals seemed to take an age to be served so it took a while for the trolley to make its rounds. But, on the whole, the food was pretty good. The coffee was, without a doubt fresh, so that went a very long way.
Flight frequency BA flies six times daily in both directions – 10 times if you take into account code-sharing flights with American Airlines
Cost of ticket £376 return from London to New York JFK
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