24 Jul 2017 | LHR-BKK | British Airways | BA9

Duration: 11h 40m
Aircraft Type: Boeing 777-200
Class: Club World
Departure: 16:00 (on time)

Check in
My flight departed from Terminal 5 – BA’s base at Heathrow.  As this was the first Monday of the school summer holidays, the terminal was busier than usual.  The check in area is divided into zones – A, B, C.. etc.  The usual check in area for Club World is Zone H; passengers flying in First, or with BA Gold or oneworld Emerald status may use the dedicated First check in area at the far end of the terminal.  Here, the dedicated security lines rarely have more than a handful of passengers waiting.  These security lanes lead directly into the Galleries First lounge at the South end of the terminal, bypassing the usual retail areas.

I was able to check in using the British Airways app and select my preferred seat (1D) in advance before dropping off my bags in the First wing.

Airport
Terminal 5 is always fairly busy, but today seemed to be unusually so.  The retail area and lounges were more crowded than usual, and there was no obvious place to find a quiet place to sit.  Fortunately, I didn’t have long to wait before my flight so I opted to have a light lunch in the lounge before proceeding to the boarding area.

I also briefly visited the Elemis spa, also located in the lounge area, which is open to those flying long haul in Club World or First, or those travelling long haul with a British Airways Gold or oneworld Emerald card. Here, there was a good selection of products available for use, including most of the Elemis Men range of Elemis products; shower facilities are also available here, as well as toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste etc.

 

Most long haul flights depart from the satellite terminals – T5B and T5C – wheras most short haul flights will depart from the main terminal building – T5A.  My flight today departed from the T5B gates, which requires a short transit by train.  Allow up to 20 minutes for this, as there can be a short wait for the next transit to arrive.

Boarding was handled efficiently, and the plane was ready to push back on time.

On board
British Airways offers a good ‘soft product’ on their business class routes.  I enjoy the consistency of services in their Club World cabin, such as their pre-departure drinks – champagne, orange juice or water – as well as providing a decent selection of beers, wines and spirits on board.  Club World passengers can select their meals in advance of travel; for today’s flight, I chose the avocado and mozzarella salad for my starter, and the chicken with Thai vegetables and a sweet and sour chilli sauce for my main.

An amenity kit containing Elemis products, as well as the usual toothbrush, socks and ear plugs is provided for passengers travelling in Club World.

British Airways recently won the Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky award for their on board wine selection; I was happy to try two of the white wines and two of the champagnes; all were excellent.

I was flying on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft, which features the standard ‘ying-yang’ setup of seats.  For this reason, I prefer 1D when I want an aisle, or 11A/11K when I want a window, so that I neither have to step over another passenger or have another passenger step over me.  The E/F seats are good for couples, but note that none of the E/F seats have direct aisle access (i.e. you would have to step over another passenger to get out).  British Airways will be rolling out direct aisle access from late 2018, though it is not clear if this means that older aircraft will be retrofitted with the new design.  Note that (despite being a British airline!) the power supplied to seats in Club World on this aircraft type only work with US/European pins – an adaptor is required for U.K. plugs.

I was able to sleep relatively well on this flight, although I was occasionally woken by turbulence over central Asia.

Arrivals
Passengers flying in Club World are given ‘fast track’ immigration cards on board for use in Bangkok.  This saves a little time after landing, and makes the priority baggage tags a little more useful.  When flying the other way (BKK-LHR) I find the priority baggage service is a little redundant as it takes so long to get from T5B/T5C to the immigration hall and then through into Arrivals that most bags are already on the belt by the time passengers arrive anyway, regardless of whether their bags are tagged or not.

Summary
British Airways is a convenient option for direct flights between London and Bangkok; the aircraft used on this route is quite old, but the Club World service is generally as good as on other aircraft in the fleet.  If you are happy to stop over, airlines such as Qatar or Emirates would allow you to fly on newer aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, or the Airbus A380 jumbo jet but if you prefer the convenience of a direct service, British Airways is a good option.

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