BRITISH AIRWAYS (London Heathrow International to Hong Kong International), PREMIUM ECONOMY CLASS, AIRBUS A380-800
British Airways is the national flag carrier of the United Kingdom, and operates full international and domestic scheduled air services for the carriage of passengers, freight and mail and the provision of ancillary services. British Airways operates to 183 destinations around the world with a fleet of 292 aircraft. British Airways are one of the world’s leading scheduled premium international airlines. Their main principal place of business is Heathrow, one of the world’s premier airport locations, which serves a large geographical area with a comparatively high proportion of point-to-point business. Operating one of the most extensive international scheduled airline route networks, together with our codeshare and franchise partners, British Airways flies to more than 300 destinations worldwide.
Route: LONDON HEATHROW (LHR) - HONG KONG (HKG)
Departure date and time of flight: June 2015, 18:30 local time (London)
Flight number: BA31 (ICAO callsign: “Speedbird 31 heavy”)
Flight duration: 11 Hours 45 minutes
Cabin: Premium Economy (World Traveller Plus)
Aircraft type: Airbus A380-841 (10 aircraft in service)
Aircraft registration: G-XLEG (First flight 24th April 2014)
Engines: Four x Rolls Royce Trent 970
Aircraft Serial Number: 161
Frequent flyer programme: Executive Club
Seat configuration for this aircraft:
First Class: 14 seats in a 1-1-1-1 configuration on the main deck
Club World (Business Class): 97 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration,
World Traveller Plus (Premier Economy Class): 55 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration
World Traveller Class (Economy Class): 303 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration
Punctuality of the flight:
The flight was on time, and landed in Hong Kong around ten minutes early. Having taken the route many times, I know it quite well.
Any baggage issues:
No issues- the bags arrived on time and in one piece. You click here to see British Airways’ requirements for baggage. Because I am an Executive Club member, therefore I was able to take two pieces of luggage of 32kg each.
Comments on the check-in:
Checked-in my three pieces of luggage at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, the base terminal for British Airways. There is no separate check-in for Premium Economy passengers, however, there are plenty of dedicated check-in counters for Economy Class passengers. The check-in process was very quick and smooth. From the moment I checked in my luggage to going through security took around 15-minutes.
Comments regarding the pre-meal service:
Choice of drinks (standard- tea, coffee, orange juice, apple juice, lemonade or coca cola), and a selection of wines and Scotch whiskeys were offered along with a packet of “sour cream and chive” flavour pretzel nuggets. I opted to take the gin and tonic with the pretzels.
Comments regarding the first meal:
Dinner was served around an hour after take-off (around 19:45 local time in London), and our plane was around 25 miles west of Paris heading towards German airspace. Dinner consisted of chicken tikka masala served with vegetables and basmati rice. This was accompanied with a soft bread along with a bowl of giant couscous and white rice with lemon dressing. There was also a Chinese option, too (egg-fried rice).
For dessert there was a generous helping of mango and strawberry sauce (another option was the dark chocolate mousse with butterscotch sauce). All meals were generously served with a bottle of “Gleneagles mineral water”. Not a bad dinner before going to sleep on this long-haul flight (not to mention the rather long queue to the toilets so everyone can brush their teeth etc. before saying goodnightJ).
Comments regarding the drinks service:
A second round of drinks was offered after the meal- this included the complimentary selection French and Australian red and white wine. I had to make the most of the food (OK, its only airline food), as I knew that this was perhaps the last British style food I would get for a long time. Western food in China is just not the same.
Comments regarding the in-flight snacks (if any):
For the overnight flight, passengers were able to help themselves to a selection of “Hobnob” chocolate biscuits and “Hotpot” noodles from the galley. There was also the selection of complimentary drinks on offer.
Comments regarding the second meal (if any):
Breakfast was served around an hour and half prior to landing at Hong Kong International. Our plane had just past Kunming in Yunnan Province and we were heading straight towards Guangdong. The flight took us over Guangzhou, then Zhongshan, Macau and then finally entering the Hong Kong Peninsula from the east to make a landing in from the south into runway 25L at Chep Lap Kok.
There was a choice of either a Western breakfast or a Chinese breakfast. I went for the former as I knew I would be eating a Chinese breakfast every day for the next few months! Nothing beats the feeling of eating microwave food at 37,000 feet (and yes, airline food is all heated an hour before serving- so it’s not fresh!). The sausages, bacon and scrambled eggs all tasted as if it was freshly cooked. I had ordered a special meal, so I got a fruit bowl (Dole). Breakfast was accompanied with hot tea, and coffee, as well as green tea.
Comments on the in-flight system (if any):
The in-flight system was working without any problems. This aircraft features AVOD (Audio Video on Demand) at every seat with 120 CD's and several radio programs, including the BBC. A USB and RCA interface is provided in each class, allowing passengers to play music or watch videos from their own entertainment device on their inflight television. Enhanced earphones are provided in First, Club World and World Traveller Plus. Headphones are also complimentary in World Traveller.
All seats have an 110V AC power port socket, which accept UK or US plugs. USB ports are also available at each seat.
Comments of professionalism of the cabin crew:
All 18 members of the cabin crew were very professional and polite. Just a normal flight, without any incidents.
Comments on the interior of the aircraft (including seat comfort):
The Economy Premium seat on British Airways has a pitch of 38 inches and a width of 18.5- this is similar to the old Business Class seat, which is still available on some airlines which have older aircraft. This seat is perfect for busy professionals who don’t want to spend around £3,000 for a Business Class seat, and want to a bit more comfort than an Economy Class seat. The seat is spacious enough so that someone of a height of around 6 feet can have a comfortable rest for a long-haul journey.
Premium Economy passengers are provided with the same style of amenity kit bag, but one that contains a pen, and a better quality socks and eyeshades! I was provided a Club World amenity kit as well.
British Airways logo and livery:
Based on the original logo, and design that featured on Concorde, the current British Airways logo was designed in 1997 by Newell & Sorrell. The colours are blue, and red. The additional colour is grey. All aircraft feature the word ‘BRITISH AIRWAYS’ in blue (British Airways uses its proprietary typefaces Mylius Sans and Mylius Serif, both designed by Rodney Mylius at Newell & Sorrell.), printed below the windows (and before the wing). On the 747 aircraft, the words appear above the main deck windows and just before the wing. Just before the cockpit windows and, at the front of the words, BRITISH AIRWAYS, there is a dash of the flag, which looks like an upside down tick. It starts with a navy blue, and the ‘flair’ of the logo is coloured in red.
The engines of all the aircraft are painted in a matching navy blue. The bellies of all British Airways aircraft are painted in royal navy blue. The tailfin consists of an elegant version of the national flag of the United Kingdom, The Union Jack. It gives the feeling of a flag flying on the tail. Overall, the British Airways logo portrays elegance, romance, flair, and a touch of true British patriotism. It’s easy to identify for passengers, and also Air Traffic Controllers.
Overall rating 1-10 (worst-best): 10
About Airline PR
This is a special section on Airline Branding, and Airline Public Relations written by me on all the flights I have been fortunate enough to have been on. These are not records taken from somewhere else, but are actual flights I have been on. Most of the flight trips are officially sponsored by the airline companies in order to promote their certain routes, and aircraft. Airline promotion and PR related work in the aviation industry is one of my expertise.
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