BA295 London Heathrow Terminal 5 – Chicago O’Hare Terminal 5 (CLUB WORLD)
Back in the Groove
BA925 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare
British Airways BA295
Seat 59D, Club World (Booked as World Traveller, Paid Upgrade to Word Traveller Plus, Battlefield upgrade to Club World).
3953 miles flown, 90 Tier points earned, 5,930 Avios Earned (World Traveller Plus earning).
Once I had descended the stairs, it was time to pick an entrance.
There were three jetbridges attached – one for First Class, one for the upper deck and one for the lower deck. As I was on the upper deck, I headed through Door B and began the gentle walk and climb upwards.
That’s a new sensation.
Arriving at the door, I tapped the body side and went aboard. Yes. I suppose it’s an odd habit – I tap the bodyside for luck when boarding an aircraft.
I was directed into the cabin and ran into my first problem – finding where the seat numbers were. There are placards, but they are small and high on the ceiling – which doesn’t help too much.
And yes, that is a BMI Diamond Club tag on my bag.
The seat I had was a forward-facing seat in Club World, next to the aisle – this meant there would be a lot of foot traffic when boarding, but at least I could dive out of the toilet without disturbing anyone. At the seat were a duvet set, pillow, amenity kit and headrest.
Those placards are way too high.
Boarding took its time, as the crew settled the passengers in. Of course, there was one passenger who was demanding where their luggage space was.
I pointed out that was plenty of space in the bins near her, and they relented at least.
Pre-departure beverages were served, along with the menu for this flight.
Well, there was only one real choice, wasn’t there?
Boarding was completed quickly enough, and by 12:30 we were ready to push back. Once pushed back a new issue occurred with the load sheets, which needed to be resolved before we went anywhere else.
This was a perfect time for a pre-departure snooze after the safety demonstration. This was a manual demonstration. It seems the days of the safety video have been put to bed – for now.
Eventually, the A380 taxied away and headed off to the North Runway for its departure run to Chicago.
With a roar, the four Trent 900 engines roared into life, propelling the Whale of the Skies into the air.
Now, I’ve tried something new here – as I could kind of see what going on – Cinematic mode. Let us see how that came out.
Hmm. My focus and positioning need a little work with this iPhone, but it appears to be passable.
With the Airbus A380 in the air, and settling into the cruise portion of the flight, it was time to explore the IFE System.
This is an older Thales IFE System, so it was more than a little of a pain to navigate – requiring the use of the remote control more often than not (and the right-hand side was very resistant to touch control).
The selection was … pretty weak to be honest, with the content paired back to previous adventures. However, there was a lot of Star Trek loaded on board thanks to the partnership with Paramount Plus.
Unfortunately, Airline Accountant methodology had taken over, offering on the first three episodes of Discovery (Seasons 1 to 4), Strange New Worlds and Prodigy. Enough to keep me amused – but loading an entire season on would have been much more preferable.
With Discovery on the Screen (second season), I decided my next point of call would be inflight connectivity. The A380 is Wi-Fi equipped, with Intelsat (formally Gogo Commerical) providing connectivity with 2Ku over the Atlantic. This was offered at three reasonable price points
Not the idiot $35 that American Airlines charges – something that urgently needs to be addressed.
Speed testing was an interesting experience, as the Speedtest application could not do an upload test. Running download tests using Fast.com and Speedtest.net via a browser showed there was plenty of downward bandwidth.
At this time, a member of the crew asked what I would like for lunch.
As well as a welcome aperitif. Yes. It contains Gin. Yes. I’m getting old. No further questions will be accepted in this matter.
I chose the salmon starter (because smoked salmon is always nice at 35,000ft) and the braised lamb as my main.
So, what turned up?
A tray arrived, with the smoked salmon on it, along with bread, salad and butter. The salmon tasted smoky and fresh, without the smell of fishiness that can sometimes be associated with salmon.
The salad, whilst small, packed some interesting flavours.
As for the bread. Hmm, This is an interesting beast, with it was lovely and soft for around 10 minutes, before hardening rapidly. It’s also interesting how they combined three different bread styles into one “loaf”.
Let us move on to the main – for this flight, I chose the lamb. This was presented in a circular form (rather than on the bone or as a cut), with the potato gratin in a similar way. This was presented with green beans. The lamb was well done and quite tasty.
Finally onto dessert, which was a Do&Co Banana Chocolate Moose to finish off.
With the service done and dusted, I settled in and put the seat into an elevated bed mode and went into the Strange New Worlds of Star Trek.
That’s the after-dark blog.
I think that I’ve been too used to Lower Decks, but Strange New World is a welcome return to Episodic Television for the franchise. Whilst I do love the season-long stories, the “one and done” story has a lot of things going for it – allowing people to dip in and out.
I eventually got a few hours of sleep on the bed. The Club World seat is… dated, granted, but I found that even with a pretty exposed aisle seat, I got a reasonable amount of rest – especially with the privacy screen up, and legs resting on the ottoman.
Eventually, the call of nature came. It always does. I, therefore, headed forward to the small room.
Or in this case, the not-so-small room.
Allow me to explain – the main toilets for Club World are at the front area of the cabin – or the place that some airlines have struggled to fill the space up with. BA has chosen to put in oversized small rooms.
Considering we are in the age of toilets that are 31” wide are becoming more than an accepted thing, these are… excessive.
As the aircraft continued its journey, it was time for what Hugo Drax (the Bond Villan from Moonraker), would have described as
“You have arrived at a propitious moment, coincident with your country’s one indisputable contribution to Western Civilization: Afternoon tea.”
A choice of sandwiches was offered – vegetarian or meat. I went for the meat sandwiches.
And well. Ummm. If you can spot them, you’re doing a better job than me. Those were tiny little sandwiches.
On the plus side, at least a warm scone was offered, with jam and cream. Whilst I could choose to offend either Devon or Cornwall on how to dress my scones in which order the jam and cream should go on… I’ll annoy both sides and say I just like cream on mine.
See. I can do controversial. There was also a macaroon and something I haven’t been able to identify – but it was edible at least.
Yes. The thing on the left was a macaroon. The thing on the right? Only a deity knows.
And yes, there was coffee.
I may or may not have got a load of these mugs at home during the BA Fire sale in 2020. They’re good for the stuff that a classic Nespresso machine kicks out.s
With the service cleared down, we were fast closing in Chicago. It was also a point where I had FlightRadar24 on my phone, fully alive and kicking.
With our aircraft a good hour down, I was concerned about the immigration queue. Yes. That pain up the whatsit at O’Hare only goes from passable to bad to OMFG.
I did a little math and zoomed around, finding there were at least two United aircraft in front of us, along with Qatar Airways and a Royal Jordanian not far away.
I was doing a few numbers in my head, with between 200 and 300 passengers a plane aboard them. Depending on how fast Immigration was clearing, this was not good.
I would need to be light on my feet on arrival.
The aircraft made an approach to O’hHre over Lake Michigan and North Chicago for an approach into O’Hare – which I just about made out the landing.
With the aircraft taxiing off the runway, there was a chance to get some rather unique pictures as it taxied back to Terminal 5
United Wide-bodies at Terminal 1
Meanwhile, at Terminal 3
If there’s a Shamrock, we’re near O’Hare T5. Or Dubin Airport.
The aircraft made a sharp turn and headed for its temporary home at O’Hare.
With that, it brought my premium experience to an end – as passengers started rushing forward to try and make connections (and if they even knew what was waiting for the in the immigration queue – they would be finding they would be having a long wait.
I retrieved my bags and moved forward when the queues surged forward to the exit
I thanked the crew and headed into the land of the free.
there’s one thing I haven’t mentioned much of – and that’s the crew. And how warm they were to all their passengers – as well as your writer. That’s a big thing for passenger experience – whilst there can be failings sometimes, how a crew reacts to requests and recovers is important.
And this crew were friendly. Which is such a wonderful thing to see. As I’ve said before a good crew can make or break a flight.
Whilst this variant of the Club World product is ageing (compared to the Club Suite rolling out), with notable deficiencies in privacy if you’re on the aisle seat and a small IFE screen, it is still more than a passable product – especially if you’re being upgraded from Premium Economy.
Certainly, I would have preferred a window seat and if I was on a paid ticket, I would have done as much as possible to get one (least of all – on the upper decks, there is additional storage).
But for a daytime flight where I needed to do a little work, as well as relax before a busy day – it was great. It’s a shame the timing was thrown off by delays at Heathrow.
Next: Into the USA and the Crowne Plaza O’Hare.
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