Saturday, 10 October 2015

British Airways ~ One Is Not impressed

Please bear in mind that I only flew with them in one direction...and thankfully so I might add. Because you see, I was rather looking forward to flying with BA. I'd never flown with them before and I had kind of equated them to other long haul carriers like Virgin and Cathay Pacific (both of whom I have flown before). I don't know why I was expecting phenomenal service but I suppose I had to remember that I was flying economy and I had been living in Japan for two years. In terms of service, I have to say it but the Japanese do it better, but I suppose what I have to take into account as well is that this flight was also operated by another carrier - Japan Airlines, but more on them later.

Checking in was easy. The woman didn't waste much time on me but I suspect it was due to her limited English. It's not uncommon for some Japanese folk to become fiercely uncomfortable when they have to speak another language. Even the customs agents barely spoke to me. I wondered around the airport - Haneda was nice but a little small methinks - and waited until roughly an hour before my flight, went through customs and went straight to the gate. I boarded with ease and parked myself in my aisle seat while everyone around me tried to figure out how to get their suitcases into overhead compartments with little space remaining.

A man and his son found themselves next to me but neither one bothered me throughout the entire flight even though I knew they could speak English (they had to interact with the cabin crew on occasion). This was fine. It meant that whenever one had to get up, they bothered each other and I wasn't in the mood to socialise after only getting two hours sleep prior to my flight.
The plane took off but it took a long time for the plane to stabilise so the seat belt sign stayed on for the longest time and I really wanted to go to the bathroom. Then we ran into some turbulence... Now I have to say that I'm honestly not afraid of flying. And I've experienced turbulence before but not like that. I couldn't even focus on the movie in front of me. I felt so uncomfortable. Obviously a crash is always a possibility and obviously, I have no idea about flying and even trying to stabilise a plane at high winds but I don't ever want to experience that again.

The in-flight entertainment was passable but the touch-screen was absolute rubbish. I had to really press the screen for it to register and the dude behind me was also having a hard time because I could constantly feel him pressing into the screen behind me. (I swear it was like a pogo stick at the back of my head at times). I dunno if he just had no sense or fat fingers but it was a constant and annoyed me through the whole flight. The headphones were also rubbish. I had to press the earphones against my ear to hear certain movies while others were fine. I wondered if the business customers/first class folk were experiencing the same garbage we had to because I was not impressed.

The first meal was bacon and eggs but the eggs were a bit lacking (but what can I expect from plane food really though). The beef casserole was nice however. Like Cathay Pacific, most people paid no attention when the seat belt sign was switched on. And even after they were told to return to their seats instead of waiting for the bathroom, they continued to ignore it. (This was not the fault of the staff however). There was somebody else's hair on my blanket (they "wash" and repackage them, don't they?) but there was plausible leg room so I was able to kick off my shoes and stretch  bit. This was also the first flight I'd been on where there was no emergency demonstration. (Are we British just a little over-confident? I mean, most people don't pay attention but I think it's kind of necessary as you never know). I had an aisle seat and I was about four seats out from the bathroom so getting in and out was child's play and we arrived a little earlier than scheduled which was nice.

Overall though, compared to some of the other airlines I've flown with, I wasn't overly impressed with British Airways. I guess I can't completely blame the airline but the in-flight entertainment is kind of important to me. It kills time and occupies most of my journey when I'm not sleeping - so having it fail to function adequately killed the quality of the flight for me. I could have complained I guess but the flight was actually full to the brim  - or at least Business Class was when I'd walked through - so I couldn't see them moving me to another aisle seat. They might have given me some new headphones now that I think about it but I don't think the problem lied there.

I dunno. BA, sort it out. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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