Which F from Europe- BA or LH?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by ducster, Feb 4, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    I'm returning from Barcelona soon, and I have the choice of award tickets between BA through LHR and LH through MUC to get me home to SFO. On the one hand, I've never flown BA first, and there's an excellent chance that I would get New F on that flight, with only a small chance of new F on the LH A346. The flight also gets me home 2 hours earlier, which is a bonus. On the other hand, I do like LH first, and transiting through MUC is so much better than LHR. Of course on the third hand, I could take LX C....

    Any thoughts from the cognoscenti?
     
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  2. TAHKUCT
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    TAHKUCT Gold Member

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    I have never been on BA, but would agree with you that transferring at MUC is a much better experience.
     
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  3. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I have done a fair amount of both. IMO there is simply no comparison. BA, which I am flying today, is poorer in every respect that LH, with the exception that LHR has a much better selection of scotch whisky than anything at MUC or FRA. The LH FCL/FCT are leagues ahead of most of BA. You could make an argument in favor of the Concorde room, but it does not have either the efficiency, cleanliness nor the service of the FCT on LH. On board LH is much more consistent, and I prefer any LH F to any BA F. YMMV, as others will be quick to mention.
     
  4. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Neither I'd go with Swiss International Airlines in F :p
     
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  5. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    I'd at least put that LH F segment on hold.... LH F award tixs have been tough lately to N.A. destinations.
     
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  6. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    After having a feast with FS? :p
     
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  7. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Agree that LH F segments to the US have been very hard to get for the last 6-9 months.
     
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  8. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    FS?
     
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  9. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    FriendlySkies
     
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  10. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Ah yes... best feast ever :p
     
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  11. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    Would that I could! Do you think they'll release me a seat if I ask nicely?

    Thanks everyone for the advice on taking the LH. I've had great consistency with them, both on the ground and in the air. As far as availability, I found a surprising amount of F availability, mostly to and from MUC, but also saw a couple of FRA to EWR (not on the 744). In fact, I just gave up 2 seats in LH F for tonight so we could go nonstop to BCN. CO seats opened up this morning and I snagged them.

    Also, speaking of inconsistency, I had a really nice flight in UA F recently from LHR-SFO. Senior mama FAs who did a great job, and were really pleasant and helpful.
     
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  12. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    BCN-EWR on CO BusinessFirst is nice, I'd have stuck with LH F though :p.

    LX is nice, gotta find availability though... by tonight did you mean 2/4 or 2/5?
     
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  13. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    2/4. I'm at the President's er... United Club right now.

    I know this is anathema to this board, but by getting in at 9AM instead of 1:15, I'm maximizing my experience at my destination, not the travel to get there. :)
     
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  14. Rejuvenated
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    Rejuvenated Gold Member

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    I've only flown the old F products of both so I can only provide comparisons of the old seats for both which I would give a slight edge to BA for comfort and design. But for catering quality and onboard service, I much prefer BA over LH. Yeah LH has caviar while I've never gotten any on BA, but the overall catering experience I had with my two LH F flights were awful and the services were also below average. Needless to say I was not impressed with my overall onboard LH F experiences at all.. But when the conversation is switched to the ground experience, the tables are definitely turned. Other than the fact I had food that tasted better in the CCR, the FCT experience outshines the CCR in every other aspects.
    +100. By far the best F experience I've had onboard any European carriers. I didn't find the ZRH F lounge to as good as the FCT nor the CCR. But onboard service and meals far outshines both BA F & LH F. But of course the OP isn't asking about LX F so I'll stop here before stretching things to OT. ;)
     
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  15. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    Yeah, LX F was a given!!
     
  16. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I'd save the miles and taxes and take the non-stop. LH F is nice, but it isn't that much nicer, particularly on such a short trip.
     
  17. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    Here is a little trip report; it clearly does not merit its own thread, since 1) I was asleep for most of it, 2) I didn't open my amenity kit; in fact, I left it on the plane, and 3) I still can't figure out the whole picture thing, aside from posting one that will screw everyone on a mobile device (sorry about that, really).

    As it worked out, I'm really glad I made the switch from LH because we had a great day in Barcelona. The nonstop got us in early, and we were able to check in to our apartment rental early, so it was a full day here. In fact, it was scheduled to arrive at 9:00 AM, and we were so early that we were on the Aerobus, halfway into town when 9:00 AM arrived. To make matters even better, the MNAC (museum of Catalan art), is free on the first Sunday of the month; even if you had to pay, the Romanesque section is well worth the price.

    More importantly for this venue, the flight itself was good. We started our experience in the Presidents, er... United club at 5:30, which was of course mobbed before the departure of all the Europe flights (Etude pinot is good, as is the Montelena Cab), and arrived at the gate right after elite, I mean premier, boarding had begun. The bed on the 752 was comfortable enough for me to get 5 hours of sleep, which is an unusually good airplane sleep for me. I slept through the dinner service, but I did get to experience the breakfast, which was just tragic. FAs were not top-notch; forgotten orders and the like, but they weren't mean to me, so that's a definite plus. They did call themselves United the whole time, unlike the SFO-EWR crew, which called themselves Continental with great emphasis. (On behalf of your Continental crew....)

    About 45 minutes out, the ISD informed us that there would be moderate turbulence all the way to arrival, so they had to secure the cabin. It turned out that we flew through about 5 or so minutes of continuous light to a couple of moderate shakes, and then it was smooth all the way to landing. We flew our approach, which I guess is the usual approach, over the north end of the city, out over the water, and turning toward the southeast to land. As it was a clear day, the city was laid out beautifully beneath us, and I was able to take some nice pictures with my iPhone, one of which is below. I included the winglet so that nobody would think that I cribbed a stock photo from Google in an attempt to dazzle with my photography skills. IMG_0246.jpg
     
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  18. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    So at the end of my 4 days in Barcelona, I decided to take one for the team and flew home on BA, which was what I had originally booked. It really was a coin flip up until the day I was leaving, but it didn't look like I would get new F from MUC-SFO on the A346, and the extra 2 hours I would spend flying through MUC meant that I would miss dinner with my family, so I took the flight that would get me home earlier. Ironically, right before I left for the airport, I checked the CO site, and incredibly enough, there was an LX F seat on the ZRH-SFO flight. I was all set to snag it, but I couldn't price the flight from BCN-SFO in F unless I did it as multiple segments. Given my time constraints, I didn't want to spend all sorts of time on the phone trying to get an agent to make it work, and I figured that it would be just fine to fly home on BA in their new F. I managed to get 1A, ensuring my arrival before everyone, including the pilots.

    Here is my return trip report. Since I couldn't get my boarding pass printed when I checked in online, I went to the kiosk at the airport, which didn't work. Nor did its brother next to it, so I went to a human-occupied checkin station. At BCN, BA doesn't seem to have a separate line (queue) for Club Europe passengers. There's a window that says it's for CE, but there's only one feeder line and that is for everyone. Not a big deal, but a little chaotic. Fortunately there weren't many people lined up.

    The lounge that both BA and CO use is the Miro lounge, which is quite comfortable, but very sparse in the food department. The wireless worked well, though. BA operates out of the D concourse, not too far from the lounge, so it was a short walk to my LHR flight. The flight from BCN to LHR was nice, very smooth, and the breakfast was a very good smoked salmon. We took off to the southwest, turned east over the sea, then turned back toward land to head north. It amazed me that we were barely to 10,000 feet, having just crossed back over the coastline, when the seatbelt sign went off. Having a row to myself was good, although the fixed armrests meant that I couldn't stretch out. I did get a cool picture of the shadows of crossing contrails (I'm pretty sure they weren't chemtrails). IMG_0469.jpg

    We arrived in London a little early, and I zoomed through to the Fast Track security, where I was held up for 25 minutes as the one person doing secondary checking unpacked everyone's bags. When she got to mine, she unloaded the entire contents of my bag until she found the jar with sugar in it that had aroused such suspicion. Of course, she ignored the contact lens solution that I had forgotten to put in the plastic bag. I do admire the BAA, though, for trying to outdo the TSA. The experience made me pine for the FCT.

    After my ordeal with security, I took the long walk to the Concorde Room, which is located in T5 South. As airport lounges go, this is a particularly nice one. I took advantage of the restaurant, which had pretty good food, certainly nowhere near the quality of the FCT in FRA, but not bad. The Bollinger Rose was quite tasty, though, and it looked like the wine list was of good quality. The lounge was fairly crowded, but what struck me was how unhappy most people looked. Unlike the FCT, there were no Italians pacing the lounge yelling into their cellphones, but nobody seemed particularly relaxed. I guess that's what you get on a Thursday morning.

    After eating, I walked over to the spa for a shower. The little room is good enough to freshen up in, but it is very small, and the shower seems to burp as the water drains from it. As I still had 15 minutes to kill before my spa treatment, I went to check out the Galleries First lounge. It's a nice lounge, and I liked the self-serve aspect of the champagne bar, where I sampled the Taittinger (not bad, but I preferred the Bolly).

    After a few minutes in the lounge, it was time for my 15 minute facial. As I am a woefully non-metrosexual man, I had never had a facial, but since this was the only treatment available that would allow me to still catch my plane (the goal, after all), I signed up for it. And I must say, it was quite delightful. Thoroughly relaxed now, I made my way out of the lounge area to catch the train to the B gates. Whereupon I stumbled into a scene of chaos. Only one train was running, and people were stuffed together trying to get on. I found a spot next to a delightful flight crew who were on their way to SEA, and we cheerfully badmouthed the BAA together. Eventually, the train came, I made it to the gate, and went through the priority boarding for F. So here, there is of course no comparison between FRA and LHR in the experience of getting from the lounge to the gate. I assume MUC is a heck of a lot better than LHR as well.

    The flight itself was an enjoyable experience. I still find it a thrill to ride in a 747, especially up in the nose. The three FAs were senior papas (as opposed to the UA senior mamas), and they were quite friendly and solicitous. As far as the soft product goes, the FAs were very good, the L-P Grand Siecle is a fine champagne, the food is incredibly mediocre, and the IFE selection is also pretty mediocre, although the screen is nice. Compared to our UA F flight a month earlier, while the wines were far better on BA, and the FAs marginally better, the food was not as good (shockingly enough), nor was the IFE. I also didn't like the IFE being turned off for takeoff and landing, if only because I enjoying watching the map. We flew LH F in December on the A330 from SEA, and LH had much better food, excellent wines, terrific FAs and terrible IFE.

    As far as the seat goes, I found BA>UA>LH old F for sleeping, and UA is better than BA as a seat (although I did like the 1/2 mile long tray table on BA), and has more storage. For sleeping, both UA and BA feel like a bed, while LH feels like a seat that goes flat. I'm sure the new F on LH is much better, but I wouldn't have gotten it (the following day, the A346 to SFO had it). BA was better for sleeping because they give you a mattress pad and a duvet, and the cabin is about 408 degrees Kelvin, which makes one sleepy. Even though it was a day flight, on which I hadn't intended to sleep more than an hour or two, the bed swallowed me up for 5 hours or so. Incredibly comfortable. Aside from some more pictures out the window, I only took one photo on the plane to prove that I was on BA. IMG_0500.jpg

    We arrived a little behind schedule, but we parked right by immigration, so it was a short walk to the Global Entry kiosk. I appreciated upon disembarking that the FAs held back the rabble in Club World while the F cabin got out. Since I didn't check bags, I went from the plane to my car in less than 10 minutes. All in all, a very good experience on BA, at least in the air. Next time though, I will connect through somewhere other than LHR.

    Oh, and Barcelona is an amazing city. A freaking amazing city, actually.
     

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