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British Airways Business Class

Published: 01/10/2014 - Filed under: Home » Archive » 2014 » October 2014 » Tried and Tested »

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TESTED BY Ramsey Qubein

PLANE TYPE 787-800


SEAT PITCH 72 inches/183.3cm

SEAT WIDTH 20 inches/50.8cm

SEAT RECLINE Fully lie-flat

PRICE Internet rates for a round trip business class ticket between Philadelphia and London Heathrow in October started at $8,816


VERDICT In truth, there is no way one will not be tired upon landing in Heathrow, but this overnight flight was both pleasant and productive. Thanks to Dreamliner’s pleasant features and a friendly crew, I was able to work, dine and sleep, which was a lovely way to cross the pond. 

CHECK-IN I checked in online, which British Airways allows on its website as early as 36 hours before departure. Having only carry-on baggage with me, it made the airport experience a cinch.

THE LOUNGE British Airways now finds Philadelphia to be an important hub in its route network given new oneworld partner US Airways, which is a part of founding alliance member American Airlines. This means that there will be far more connecting passengers in the future. In light of this, British Airways has invested in a full Galleries lounge for both first and business class customers in Philadelphia. With two daily flights, the lounges are open during the evening hours and showcase the same style as the airline’s London lounges. Since my flight was a Sleeper Service (meaning it departs at a later hour with a limited inflight meal), there is a full dinner buffet available in the lounge. If you still feel peckish, there is a light meal offered immediately after takeoff. Don’t tell, but I indulged in both.

BOARDING The flight was completely full, but lounge staff assured us that we need not leave until boarding was underway. With a dedicated line, I was on board one of the world’s newest airplanes in no time. The cheery crew seemed aware that people would be marveling at the oversized windows, high ceilings and clever mood lighting. They eagerly showed off all of the snazzy features, and the captain gave a nod to the new plane in his welcome as well. 

THE SEAT The cabin is set up in a 2-3-2 configuration with a zigzag seat pattern, so that window seats face backward while aisles face forward. The seat unfolds into a full 180-degree bed. The tray table and medium-sized entertainment screen fold out from the divider creating a small office of sorts with plenty of space for my laptop. I especially liked that there were individual air vents, which many widebodies do not generously provide.

THE FLIGHT Since this is a Sleeper Service, most passengers have already dined in the lounge so they could rest. The inflight buffet included a cook-to-order stir fry area, and I jumped at the chance to have a Thai dish while on my way to Thailand. On my flight, however, it seemed everyone wanted to experience the onboard light dinner. Service began almost immediately with a glass of wine and prawn salad served within minutes of takeoff. Dessert and warm bread were on the tray, and it was collected shortly thereafter allowing me to sleep quickly. 

Dreamliner has a lower cabin pressure permitting a more humidified cabin. This is supposed to help reduce jetlag. I did not notice that myself, but many travelers have said they feel better after flying on the 787. My favorite feature is the large window at each seat which has an electrochromic dimmer in place of a traditional window shade. So even if you’re on an aisle seat and your seat partner decides to get some shuteye, you can still observe the scenery through the window since the shades are translucent. About an hour before landing, a breakfast of fresh fruit salad and bacon roll was served, but I opted to wait for breakfast in the lounge instead. 

ARRIVAL The arrivals lounge offers a more substantial buffet plus numerous shower rooms to refresh before a business meeting. I was traveling onward to Bangkok and headed straight to the lounge for my next flight.

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