Our experience on BA was actually pretty bad, given how great Qantas were for the rest of our journey. I’ll come to that in due course, but first, a few notes on how this was booked.
BA charge 50,000 miles for a one way Club fare between the North America and the UK. Redeeming for a shorter flight like NY to London isn’t such great value – a routing from the west coast to a non-London destination (Glasgow or Manchester) would be ‘worth’ more, and other completely different awards on BA on partners can have much more value again.
But, I had a bunch of BA miles I wanted to use, and an itinerary that needed them, so they were used. This redemption using BA miles was for myself.
I also redeemed 50,000 Qantas points for the same route for my partner and our daughter. The fact that Qantas don’t charge a points surcharge for an infant – only extra taxes – went in their favour. BA charge an extra 10% of points for adding an under 2 year old to the ticket. It also highlights BA’s pricier award chart for this city pair- Qantas miles are generally worth less on a point per point basis than BA miles, yet this itinerary costs the same amount.
BA178 was due to depart JFK at around 8am – we used a car service to get us to the airport, leaving midtown Manhattan around 5.30am. That was pretty killer, but I had hoped it would set us up to speedily stave off the jetlag – the early morning would shift our waking ours for us to have fuller day before landing in London at around 9pm. In the end it hurt too much – all I can say is never wake a sleeping baby. She didn’t like it.
Check-in and security were all pretty straightforward at this time of the day – we actually arrived too early and could have spent another 30-45 minutes in bed, but I didn’t want to underestimate the traffic on the way to JFK.
British Airways Terraces Lounge, T7 JFK
The Terraces Lounge lounge was nice enough, but nothing special, particularly in the early morning when food and drink are not a priority. There were only a few passengers, and a nice enough breakfast spread. It did us for the hour so we had to wait before boarding.
The flight itself was unfortunately, quite an ordeal. We had been allocated the bassinet seats at the back of the downstairs Club cabin. The BA bassinet was laughable – a detachable, picnic basket style unit with two straps that got in the way of lieing a baby down, and even when you did, it wasn’t big enough for a normal size 4 month old. Just bizarre.
The alternative option, a reclined seat (set up to sit on the same platform) was no better – trying to sleep a baby sitting up, on a plane, was a recipe for failure.
Unfortunately the rest of our cabin suffered from a testy daughter, and for that I apologise to the other passengers.
While we did everything we could to keep her calm, it was more than can be said for the BA staff’s attempts at servicing us – we were thoroughly ignored for most of the flight. I had to ask for every drink – none were offered – and requests to keep food back for one of us while we looked after Zoe were met with disdain and almost ridicule. It was very odd.
BA178 Menu & Wine List
This was a pretty poor experience from British Airways across the board.
This particular 747 felt tired and dirty – there were crumbs and marks all over the seats, and combining that with the service, food quality problems, bassinet issues and lack of service meant for a few hours where we just wished we were on the ground.
To BA’s credit, I complained via their Customer Service centre on my return and received a mileage credit of 10,000 miles as way of an apology. This was acceptable, but doesn’t remove the bad taste of the experience from my mouth.
I’d hesitate to fly in Club World again solo, and would definitely avoid it if travelling with an infant.