British Airways First Class delivers again!
I used 2 companion certificates from the BA Chase Visa card to fly my parents to Europe – 1st Class – for their 40th wedding anniversary. I feel very fortunate in my life to have the ability to provide my parents a travel experience they have never had in their lives. The most comfortable flying they’ve come close too was a domestic business class seat from IAH-HNL. Certainly nothing like international first class! 🙂
The downside to flying BA are of course their fuel surcharges. It’s ridiculous when you’re redeeming 200,000 BA points that you still have to pay $1300 per person in taxes & fees. But a 40th anniversary only comes around once, so it’s worth the money to me.
We arrived early at IAH and had some lunch before proceeding to the BA First Lounge. I did my best to search for the lounge hours online, and found the lounge opened at 12PM. However, that is not correct. The BA First Lounge at IAH opens at 2PM! It’s not much time for the 4PM flight that we were on, but certainly lots of lounge time for those taking the 8PM flight. Here are some pictures of the lounge:
The First Lounge at IAH is very nice. Furniture could use some updating as cushions are getting very worn, but the liquor selection was very good and they offered a number of snacks that were very tasty. The only one I couldn’t wrap my head around is why they would offer Chili before a 10hr flight to Europe in a pressurized cabin. Just doesn’t seem like that would be the best food choice on a long flight. 😉
Boarding was very quick, with First Class boarding first before everyone else. My parents and I quickly boarded and settled into our seats (2A, 2D, 2F). Parents were in the two middle seats while I was on the window – which is my favorite seat in BA First as the seat seems to offer more space, and I can control the cool window shades with the touch of a button. 😀
Once boarded, I let the purser know this was my parents first time in first class and they were celebrating their 40th anniversary, so they would know to be patient and take extra care of them. I couldn’t have asked for a better crew, who were all excited to have my parents onboard and make their experience extra special.
After welcoming us onboard, the crews first question was what drink we’d like to have for pre-boarding. Which was brought very quickly. And that was followed by pajamas. Here are some pictures of our BA194 flight from IAH-LHR:
I always enjoy the extra long legroom to spread out with these window seats, the USB and 110V plugs they offer to keep all of my technology charged upon landing. Once changed into pajamas, and the crew offering to hang my clothes in the crew closet so wouldn’t be cramped and wrinkled in the small closet at my seat, the crew then distributed menus and began asking everyone what they’d like to eat. While the food on BA is never anything to write home about, having a table cloth, silverware, salt & pepper shakers and the ability to press a call button and ask for anything I want.Nothing like coach were flight attendants snarl at you for pushing the button, which they make seem like should only be for emergencies only. BA service in First Class, on all of my experiences, has always been very attentive during meal service. If you’re not in the mood to get out of your seat and stretch your legs in the galley, then you’ll need to press the button usually to get something quickly. But the flight attendants have always been quick and friendly when I’ve requested something mid-flight.
The flight itself was pretty uneventful. After a few hours of sleep, and catching up on some movies on their entertainment system, breakfast was served before landing. I chose the pancakes, which were a little on the dry side but the chocolate sauce made up for it!
Right before landing, the purser and head flight attendant came over to my seat and asked if it would be ok to give a gift to me on behalf of my parents anniversary. They offered a full bottle of champagne and the bottle of red wine we were drinking. A very thoughtful and generous gesture on behalf of the crew. My parents were super grateful. Thank you to the BA staff for making such a memorable flight experience for my parents anniversary celebration.