Review British Airways 747 First Class, London to Dallas
We know that traveling right now might not be in everyone’s cards, so we thought we’d hit you with some reviews of our favorite airlines and hotels, so that when we are all able to get back to it again, you’re ready to go!
Review British Airways 747 First Class, London to Dallas
Heathrow’s Terminal 5 is huge… so huge in fact that sometimes that you have to take a bus to get to one side of the terminal from the other. That bus can take, during peak times, up to 15 minutes. It’s just HUGE. But what I did not expect was to have to take a bus to get TO a 747, and then take stairs up into the plane.
Mind you, this is a two story plane that sits almost one story off the ground, so it’s kind of torture to send people from the terminal, to a bus, to stairs, up a story, and then ANOTHER flight of stairs if you’re sitting on the top deck. PHEW!
Luckily, the First Class section of British’s 747 is in the nose, so no heading upstairs for us!
Once we headed into the plane and turned left, we were directed to our seat personally by a flight attendant who immediately jumped into action. She welcomed us on to the flight, offered to help with luggage, got us situated in our seats, and immediately (within 10 seconds) offered us a pre departure drink of champagne or orange juice.
The entire cabin is set in a low light of blue that reflects off of every suface.
Waiting for us in our seats were two pillows. One for sleeping and one for… pillowing? I have no idea, but I used it for an extra lumbar support.
How we upgraded
Before I get too into the weeds with the seats and the experience, I wanted to talk about how we booked our flights. We used the AARP discount that is available to all those who are members of AARP like us (you are too, right?). It’s not just for retired persons anymore. We paid around $1400 each for round trip business class flights to Portugal and back.
Before we booked, we made sure that the flights we were taking were available to upgrade using our miles. You can read all about how to do that here, but the short version is just using the BA website to see if there is first class room on your flight.
Once you have confirmed that and booked your cash ticket, you can call BA to upgrade and pay avios. The amount you’re charged is the difference in cost for a first class and business class ticket (in avios).
We paid only 25,000 avios each to upgrade to first. I would consider this to be one of the best ways to use your Avios considering the cost would have been around $5000 more to move into that cabin, a ridiculous amount.
The Best Seats
Everyone always wants to know what the best seats in the plane are, and on the 747 for me, without a doubt, it’s got to be row 1. Yes, you’re not sitting next to your seatmate, but it isn’t impossible to have a conversation. What is nice about these seats is that you are LITERALLY in the nose of the plane. They are quiet, secluded, and private. No better seat in my opinion.
We chose to sit in row 4 so that we could sit next to each other and have a decent conversation. Both row 4 and 5 are seats that are together if you’re a couple. Choosing these seats ahead of time is complimentary for First Class passengers.
Each seat has an ottoman that can be raised and lowered for your comfort. On your side there is a ledge that is the perfect size for a champagne glass predeparture. You’ll notice the curtain in the background. This can be closed if you want some privacy from your seat mate.
Indivudal seat controls are next, and are kind of wonky. If you want to move the seat up or down, just turn the seat clockwise or countre-clockwise to go up or down. Green means that you’re in your optimal seating position for take off and landing.
Over your shoulder are the controls for the video screen, although they are touch screen if you feel like doing that.
You’ll notice that there is a USB charger, which is fine, but if you’ve got a laptop the charging port is near your feet. While it’s great that its out of the way, it’s also easy to unplug if you kick it by accident.
British recently revamped their amenity kits in First Class, partnering with Liberty of London for two gorgeous designs. The men’s design is a black leather with a top zipper, upon opening you see a gorgeous floral design (which mirrors the women’s design on the outside. For the women, you’ll get that beautiful design on the outside and have a solid black on the interior.
They are both adorned with the “Exclusivly for First” with the British logo as well. There’s no doubt that these came from a BA flight.
Lunch Meal Service
The flight was departing around 11am, so the first meal service was lunch. To start you could choose between a soup or salad (I went with the soup and Ben the salad) which were both extremely tasty, shockingly.
There was also a small antipasto for a palate cleanser.
While the menu wasn’t that expansive, two options stuck out. Ben opted for the Salmon and risotto, while I went for the beef. To be honest, I’ve had nothing but horrible experiences with beef on airplanes. It’s usually hard as a rock, overcooked, and without any flavor. This beef was so full of flavor and juicy, I thought that I was eating a filet at a steakhouse on the ground.
Dessert was sticky pudding, ice cream, and a super sweet Muscat desert wine from Rutherglen in Australia.
At this rate we wanted to have a quick nap and watch a movie, so we asked to have the seat made into a bed. Since there were open seats in First, we asked if we could have the seats next to ours made up and the flight attendants were happy to oblige.
As someone who is 6’3” (1.92M) I can appreciate a seat with extra leg room. Both American’s and Delta’s seats have a really small cubby hole for your feet and I find extremely uncomfortable. Once fully extended, these seats had PLENTY of room for me to stretch out all the way and be comfortable.
British First customers can also order a cappuccino or any other espresso drink. No more “drip” coffee that tastes burnt, instead you can get a proper pulled shot with steamed milk; a really nice touch to have and served with a biscuit and a nice mug with great subtle design.
We drifted off to sleep after a movie for about 3 hours. The front part of the nose of the 747 was so quiet sleeping was easy. The engines are 2 dozen rows back and the service is so personalized you barely hear anything. The flight attendants know that people are trying to rest and relax so they take care not to make too much noise in the galley at all times.
Afternoon Tea Service
As we started watching another movie the flight attendant came over and asked if we’d like to have our afternoon tea service. Now, this isn’t afternoon tea like you may have read on our previous posts, even thought I would have loved to see a three tiered plated service with turbulence!!
The first course was finger sandwiches
The second a hot savory pie
And finally sweet pastries and scones with jam and clotted cream. The only fail here… no lemon curd. GRRRRR…
Being a good American, I took my tea with milk 🙂
At this point we were just about 45 minutes to landing in Dallas. Customs forms were distributed to those who needed them and we started our descent.
The 747 is so absolutely gorgeous and massive. Just look how big it is compared to the CRJ American Eagle plane that’s parked next to it at the gate.
Dallas customes was quick, and because of our global entry we were through to get our luggage in under 8 minutes. Now that’s what I call expedited screening!