BA from SFO to LHR "What a let down"

Discussion in 'British Airways | Executive Club' started by FirstClassQueen, Apr 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. FirstClassQueen
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    FirstClassQueen Silver Member

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    At the end of March my partner and I flew to London for a weekend get away in BA First. This would be our 1st trip on BA. After we received our Guide to First email two week before our trip the anticipation was almost overwhelming. That is until we got to the First class lounge in SFO it was the size of a small kids bedroom and overfilled with people. Thinking that once we got into our newly redone first suite thing would be fine Wrong. Old first class seat, the food was just OK but I have to give it to the flight attendants they were great.The way back was more of the same The Concorde Room was let down so was the Spa. On top of all that we had to walk passed the newly redone business class to get to the old none suite first class seats and the food was uneatable.This was a big time waste of our miles .

    I hope that BS Steps it up to be more like Lufthansa. With a Its own First class terminal and car service to and from the plane, and world class food. Because I would love to try BA again.

    Has anyone else felt like this on BA or was it just that we flew on a off weekend?
    Thanks


     
  2. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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  3. FirstClassQueen
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    thanks( Viguera ) I have read it and in all cases I will always fly First I just feel I did not get what was offered ...........ie........ the new suite
     
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  4. ukgooner
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    ukgooner Silver Member

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    I think they make it clear that New First is being rolled out, and will not be available on all flights. Its common industry practice to promote a product even if not 100% available. I recently flew Swiss F twice, and of course their new F seat is so much better that the tired old set up found on the A340. However, while Swiss have no intention of upgrading the A340, BA are mid way through a full implementation. With 60 aircraft to fit, it is clearly going to take some time.

    I am a bit surprised that you (ie a contributor to a forum such as this) should be upset at this situation; phased implementation is not 'new news'!

    As to your points:
    SFO 1st lounge is indeed a small annex to the main lounge. It can get busy as top tier FF use it too! The rest of the lounge is pretty good though. You mention LH as a benchmark - they dont have HON lounges (those for 1st class only) outside of Germany, and their Senator lounges, particularly outside Germany, are often inferior to the standard BA lounge, let alone the First examples. I think you have to be realistic of what to expect lounge-wise outside the airlines hubs where space is sometimes a problem, and of course general utilisation. in USA, BA have excellent lounges for example in in JFK and IAD, more functional in SFO, IAH etc and rubbish in MIA (these are the ones I've experienced). I think the jury is out on shared lounges at LAX and DEN.

    Old First seat: I agree, starting to show its age, but its not a massive difference in seat comfort to new F. You would have enjoyed slightly more space, nicer environment, better more solid table and better IFE screen (though the IFE is the same).

    Food: I don't think it is "uneatable" or indeed, inedible, but it is not a 'luxury dining experience' for sure. I think its more akin to good bistro than fine dining. Others do the 'show ingredients' better (ie lobster, Caviar etc) if that is what you are looking for.

    Concorde room: Im surprised you think this. Its not as good as the First Terminal judging by the feedback and countless threats I've read, but from personal experience and preference its better than the Swiss equivalent in ZRH and way better than any AA flagship lounge. I cant comment on the equivalents offered by CX and SQ, which Im sure are good too. I'd be interested to know what you expected for it o be such a let down?

    "we had to walk passed the newly redone business class to get to the old none suite first class seats": Dreadful, darling.

    Overall I can understand your comments about the food. It isn't that special. But a big waste of miles? I think the space and service you enjoy make it what it is. But you wont be the first to say its no longer worth the extra on top of new club world either in milage or, heaven forbid, cash.
     
  5. FirstClassQueen
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    FirstClassQueen Silver Member

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    But you wont be the first to say its no longer worth the extra on top of new club world either in milage or, heaven forbid, cash.[/quote]

    If had Paid with my hard earned cash i would have been even more pissed off. t was and still is just a big let Down. Cash or miles. Darling
     
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  6. EZEIZA
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    EZEIZA Silver Member

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    I have a feeling your expectations were set far too high.

    Outstation lounges can often be a disappointment....all airlines suffer from this. Don't forget there are only two flights a day so it's really not worth their while having a super lounge. Old F is still pretty good compared to other airlines F class products. Food can be great or poor as can the cabin crew unfortunately. Really surprised to hear you didn't like the CCR....that is a strange one. I've been in the LH FCT as well and given a choice much prefer the ambience of the CCR.
    I personally wouldn't spend money on a BA F ticket preferring the cheaper CW product instead. However it is still worth spending miles on.
     
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  7. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    Except BA is being paid by other OW airlines to serve as their own departure lounges @ SFO (i.e., CX and LA). The BA main lounge is a pleasant space, but with inferior offerings, at least during the non-BA hours (as I've never departed on BA, or near BA flight time). The F section - I've never officially been in, but the room is completely open for cleaning after CX departs) is tiny and unappealing.
     
  8. Tivoboy
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    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

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    Well, I can concur on some items but somewhat not on others.

    As for the SFO lounge. I wouldn't consider it the size of a small childs bedroom (unless on lives in Atherton or something. :)

    While it is small compared to regular lounges, it is fairly good size for the expected volume of limited F passengers and absolute top tier fliers (although, I don't see ANY controls for keeping other C lounges passengers out - one can simply head to the lavatory from the regular lounge and then take a right and boom, enter the F lounger)

    I found the food and WINE and LIQUOR choices quite good the last time we were there. It there were say more than 15 people in the lounge - which would be a full F cabin plus a few, it might get a bit cozy. :)

    I too find it irresponsible that BA ONLY advertizes their NEW F product on the website and in publications, when in REALITY there is more OLD F than NEW F in the fleet. It one were a BUYER indeed, this would be a complete let down not only missing many of the highly notable items from the website, but the OLD F is indeed getting very long in the tooth, dated and WORN OUT in many places. Of course other than simple cleaning there is no upkeep on these cabins as they are scheduled for complete retirement over the next 12 months. But still, if one gets a particularly worn cabin it can be dissapointing. that said,

    the CABIN CREW of course make it an experience. I really find many of these FA's and purser to be some of the best I've experienced in 30+ years of premium travel. They CAN'T of course make bad food better, but they CAN make the experience more of the focus. Our last outbound from SFO to LHR I had some of the best food, the cheese plate was excellent, we had the full boat (not selections) tea service, wonderful Paullac and St. Emllion wines, of course I like the JWB :)

    The OLD F seat is too short for me, and while the NEW F has more room and shoulder area, I find the TV A big in the way and don't like the fact that the leg rest doesn't raise up without putting the entire seat in BED mode.

    compared to NEW C, the OLD F seat and ammenenities can indeed seem sub par. The sad reality is that getting the C seat for miles might NOT have been possible for your trip. That allocated space seems to be either more limited or in much higher demand. That said, to spend all that time in the C cabin is NOT going to be the quite, calm, low environmental stimulation experience that being the F cabin would be - regardless of which aircraft configuration one gets (upper deck in C would be similar of course though)

    I'm actually surprised that leaving from SFO, and the F/C lounge that you didn't get the direct access gangway to the F cabin, totally bypassing the C cabin - but that 30-60 seconds through the masses must have indeed been frightful (okay, I just had to be a little nit. :) . Did at least a FA upon seeing your F boarding card instruct one of their peers to escort you to your seat in F?

    The Concorde lounge last time we were there, was quit quite. We had a cabanna reserved, had great meals prepared for us and enjoyed the space and ambiance. I think there are certainly times when it COULD get very crowded, but in five visits there I haven't seen it as such.

    What is your normal airline and travel category of choice?
     
  9. Petrus
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    Petrus Silver Member

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    I very much like the Concorde Room. Surprised to hear it was disappointing.
     
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  10. What a shame. However your experience is your experience and clearly this is your opinion. I know the Lounge of which you speak and whilst it is an annexe of the main lounge I would have been delighted with a bedroom that size as a child (yes I can still remember back that far!) and frankly that sort of exaggeration does rather cloud the rest of your report. I am unsure of the product offerings from United and Virgin who do the non-stop flight but as we are constantly full in F on that route not everything can be quite as dreadful. BA will never be offering separate buildings or limos to cars. You may have noticed but Heathrow is a bit congested and whilst it is a lovely idea - it is not going to happen.

    Whilst I am delighted to read that the crew were the shining beacon in all this mediocrity, I do have to say that the cost cutting with the food as gone quite far enough - so a certain sympathy with your experience but I suspect that most people would have swapped with you in a heart beat.
     
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  11. Globaliser
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    It wasn't that long ago, darling!
     
  12. Genius1
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    Disappointing to hear of such an experience, and sadly not a one off. Since my HKG trip I've sort of moved into the 'make do with J on BA' school of thought, although I most certainly will still splash out for QF and (hopefully soon) CX F.
     
  13. vla
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    vla Silver Member

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    PUCCI as usual speaks a lot of sense. I am a frequent traveller through SFO and quite enjoy the lounge, including the F side, mostly for a glass or two of champagne (although I often ask if anyone would mind if I turned down the CNN a bit -- to date, nobody has objected). You must also have noticed that boarding is direct from the lounge, which is quite a plus. On arrival at LHR, I also find the CCR to be one of the best lounges I've visited anywhere, although I would agree the spa is a bit of a joke.
     
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  14. Tivoboy
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    technically, it boards from the regular lounge, with all the other passengers in C and status holders, so it can get a bit crowded on some flights.
     
  15. vla
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    vla Silver Member

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    But in my experience, the First Class section is usually called first.
     
  16. jimc

    jimc Silver Member

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    The F lounge at SFO does seem too small for the number of people. It gets especially congested if passengers for the second SFO-LHR flight happen to check in early. I also agree that the food offerings there (and on the flight) are pretty poor. I can't imagine anyone being disappointed with the Concorde Lounge.
     
  17. lhrsfo
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    lhrsfo Silver Member

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    I can't speak for VS, but I would imagine you had a better experience than you would have had if you had flown UA First. UA has a much lower %age of its flights with its new F and its old F is really showing its age - you have to mess around with tape players for video. Likewise the FAs are also really showing their age and about the most flattering thing you can say about them is that they are very variable - you don't always get ones who are downright rude. Finally, the food and wines are shockers: the food is business class food plus some soup and the wine is very pedestrian.

    I suspect BA is very well aware of this (if F is usually full as Pucci Galore suggests) and therefore puts less emphasis on the SFO run.
     
  18. tommy777
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    Lufthansa has a First Class lounge at JFK and the Senator lounge at IAD is very nice. They also have nice Senator lounges in more cities around the US including Detroit and Atlanta.

    You also get access to United's international First lounges that are never crowded as United don't allow anyone but First passengers in to their First lounges. (AA EXP on an international ticket is enough to get in to the BA First lounges.)
     
  19. jason8612
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    I agree - IAD LH lounge is quite nice and if I have a longer layover on UA I will usually head there instead of the RCC.
    UA F lounges are empty as it is F only. But I don't find them anywhere near BA GF lounges. I would compare them more to LH SEN lounges.

    My last flight on BA back in Jan was just fine. I did notice a decrease in service over the years with BA, but that is not any different than what I saw on UA either. I do hope BA does step up their game as they are not the only carrier with flat beds anymore USA-Europe
     
  20. Rejuvenated
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    I have been able to board directly from the lounge on some of my CX flights ex-SFO (when a/c parked at lounge accessible gates such as A4). I would assume the frequency of BA flights being parked at these gates are much higher. Right? (Never flew BA ex-SFO so can't confirm myself). But I agree in terms of the lounge, nothing spectacular. Food offerings prior to CX departures are also weak!
    In my few visits to CCR, I have had nothing but positive experiences. While IMO it is not as good as the FRA FCT nor the LX lounges in ZRH, they've been more than adequate for my needs (i.e. I personally don't need the car transfer to the a/c).

    But in terms of food quality and onboard service, I find BA F much superior to LH F, but somewhat inferior to LX F. But whenever I fly BA F, my expectations are never "super" high thus I have never been disappointed. :p
     
  21. Blumie
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    Blumie Silver Member

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    I recognize that this is a two-year-old thread, but I'm sitting in the BA F lounge at SFO right now waiting to board a flight to LHR, and I have to say that we really are a sorry lot if this is not more than adequate for our needs. Sure it doesn't compare to BA lounges at LHR or CX lounges at HKG (where passengers might visit for several hours while connecting from one flight to another), but it's perfectly adequate for its purposes. I am pretty certain that all of the world's top airlines have lounges no better than this at secondary stations. Ever been to the CX lounge in SIN? The BA lounge in SIN (if I'm remembering my lounges correctly) kicks it's butt! Bottom line: it's ridiculous for us to expect that any airline is going to have Concorde- or Wing-quality lounges at every location. (BTW, BA F lounges generally have the makings of my favorite summer drink: Tanqueray No. 10 gin, grapefruit juice, and a splash of campari. It's called No. 9's No. 10, served at No. 9 Park in Boston.)

    As to BA's F product, I too will be greatly disappointed if I board this flight and find the old F -- pretty certain it's a 70 J-seat 744, so I should be fine -- but still the old F was a fine product, even if not as good as new F. As for the quality of the food, between my hearty breakfast at the Four Seasons Palo Alto this morning and what I've just consumed here in the lounge, I think I'll survive just fine if the in flight food is not to my liking. (I don't mean to be making excuses for BA to be serving poor food in F, but I personally don't get excited about food on any airline in any class. Though I never turn down the caviar on CX!)
     
  22. Boraxo

    Boraxo Silver Member

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    If you want a decent lounge at SFO check out the UA F lounge. While UA and *A lounges are for the most part mediocre, this one is pretty nice and has a great food and bev selection. The Emirates lounge (business class) is also spacious and has a good selection of food items.

    That being said, the BA business class lounge is far superior to UA's Club/biz lounge. And BA's F product onboard is for the most part much nicer than UA's product - even if you get the old config.
     
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  23. EZEIZA
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    EZEIZA Silver Member

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    I think we make far too much fuss about airline F lounges. For instance the UA F lounge at ORD was nowhere near the standard of all the other F lounges I've been in yet I actually enjoyed it.
     
  24. Bay Pisco Shark
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    A proper F lounge is something to be fussed over, and can be an integral part of the trip. From spa services to excellent dining and wine and spirit selections of the finest degree, I look forward to a fine F lounge in the rare, rare occasion I am able to visit.
     

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