British Airways First, London Heathrow – Chicago O’Hare, Airbus A380-800: Excellent in every respect

After a good hour in the Concorde Room, the exclusive lounge of the British airline, I go to gate C85 with the automatic shuttle that connects the different concourses of Heathrow terminal 5.

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As a reminder, here is the itinerary followed:

#TypeReview
1DiaryBack to school trips to Paris and the United States
2LoungeClub Aspire Lounge, London Heathrow T3
3FlightAir France Business, London Heathrow – Paris Charles-de-Gaulle
4HotelIntercontinental Paris Champs-Elysées
5LoungeAir France Business Lounge, Paris Charles-de-Gaulle 2E-K
6FlightAir France Business, Paris Charles-de-Gaulle – London Heathrow
7LoungeBritish Airways Concorde Room, London Heathrow T5
8FlightBritish Airways First, London Heathrow – Chicago O’Hare, Airbus A380-800
9HotelKimpton Grey Chicago
10HotelKimpton Monaco Chicago
11HotelIntercontinental Chicago
12LoungeAmerican Airlines Flagship Lounge, Chicago O’Hare T3
13FlightAmerican Airlines Domestic First, Chicago O’Hare – Charlotte, Boeing 737-800
14LoungeAmerican Airlines Admirals Club, Charlotte Concourse C
15FlightAmerican Airlines Domestic First, Charlotte – New-York La Guardia, Boeing 737-800
16HotelKimpton Muse, New-York
17HotelIntercontinental New-York Times Square
18LoungeBritish Airways Concorde Room, New-York JFK T7
19FlightBritish Airways First Suite, New-York JFK – London Heathrow, Boeing 777-300ER
Today’s itinerary

Boarding

I arrive at gate C85 as the flight to Chicago is about to board. After quickly scanning my boarding pass and checking my passport, I board my flight to Chicago.

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To accommodate the large passenger flow of an Airbus A380, 3 jetways are used: one serving the upper deck, the other two serving doors 1L and 2L.

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However, the jetway serving door 1L will be inoperative and all passengers on the lower deck will use the same jetway.

Cabin and welcome

I am greeted at the gate by a charming flight attendant who leads me to my seat 01A.

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Although the A380 configuration is getting old, this First Class cabin is quite comfortable, with 14 seats.

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The welcome is extremely warm and professional, and the flight attendant who will be looking after me will take care of me throughout the flight.

It all starts with a welcome drink, a Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle served in a beautiful flute and a hot oshibori served on a rack.

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The pyjamas and slippers are then distributed, as well as the toiletry kit, all well made. The contents of the toiletry kit are of high quality.

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With a refill of champagne, some nuts are handed out as well as the menu of the day.

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As always on BA, the menu is more Business+ than First.

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Service and catering

The service starts just after the seatbelt sign is turned off.

The aperitif is served to me, I will choose a Johnny Walker Blue Label, 24 years old, to accompany the canapés, which will be only moderately to my taste: I will eat the smoked salmon without the cucumber, I will leave out the stuffed pepper and enjoy the parma ham and its melon ball, while writing some reviews.

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After a few double doses, the set-up is done very elegantly.

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To accompany my meal, I will choose the Bordeaux, Grand Cru Classé 2011, which will be excellent.

The loaves will be very small. I will choose a bread with oregano and another white one.

The asparagus and morel soufflé will be excellent, I would eat two or three like that.

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The refills of bread and wine are constant, a bit too much…

The lamb cooked on the bone was exceptional, super tender and the accompaniments very tasty.

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The cheeses will be disappointing, let’s say you have to have a British taste.

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I’ll finish off the meal with some amazingly good crepes Suzette, accompanied by a mint tea and a double Baileys.

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The flight attendant advised me to accompany my dessert with a superb Sauternes, and I must admit that it was absolutely excellent.

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I will sleep a good 5 hours and wake up 45 minutes before the arrival.

After changing, the flight attendant will set up the afternoon tea service, even though I’m not very hungry. The Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle will be consumed in its entirety by the other passengers, and it is the Business Class champagne that will be served… I won’t drink two glasses for sure!

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Arrival and disembarkation

We arrived at the gate less than 30 minutes behind schedule, a great achievement after leaving over an hour late!

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Immigration will be busy, but the passage will be fast, less than 10 minutes to find myself landside.

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Bottom line

A very comfortable flight, and an attentive service… What more could you want?

Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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