On the Ground: British Airways check-in at Newark is located on the bottom level, near baggage claim. It was a bit difficult to find, as it is far removed from most check-in counters, but the process was quick. Security was a nightmare, which was not in any way British Airways’ fault, and as soon as I was behind the closed doors of the dedicated lounge, all the chaos from outside was soon forgotten. I had a drink, checked some emails (with free WiFi) and made my way to the gate for boarding. (28/30)
Pre-flight: BA has a unique configuration of 2-4-2. Starting left to right, the individual pods face opposite directions, except for the two middle seats, which sit side-by-side, facing the same direction. On this particular flight, I was on the outside of the middle, and with the privacy screen up I was in my own little world. (Unfortunately, on my return flight I was in one of the two middle seats — this offered less privacy and required crafty maneuvering and climbing to access the aisle and overhead bin when the aisle passenger seat was in the lie-flat position.) I was impressed by the lie-flat seats and was thrilled with all the storage space, including a drawer that perfectly fit my laptop, shoes and reading material. I settled in as flight attendants hung coats and passed out welcome beverages. Shortly after take-off, they distributed menus and amenity kits. (28/30)
In-flight: The power outlets, tray table and added storage space made doing work a cinch. The entertainment options included movies, TV programming, games and music. Throughout the flight, passengers can help themselves to snacks at a station in the galley, which is a nice feature. I chose the Indian dining option on the outbound leg and found myself picking at it with disinterest. The food on my return flight was much better: chicken breast with vegetables and potatoes, followed by a second meal service of traditional English tea — scones and clotted cream included. The breakfast service, served shortly before landing, was plentiful, with fruit, yogurt, pastries and breakfast sandwiches. (39/40)
The Experience: The premium service does not end when passengers disembark at Heathrow. I received a pass to access the fast lane at customs, a fantastic service that helped me navigate the process in mere minutes. In addition, I was invited to freshen up in the Arrivals Lounge. Time constraints prevented me from taking advantage of that perk, but it’s a nice thought. I was quite pleased with my experience on British Airways. If I had been able to combine my seat to London with the cuisine I enjoyed on the return trip, I would have been hard-pressed to find a single complaint.
Total Score: 95/100
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