Flight Review: British Airways Economy Class Boeing 777-300 (LHR-BGI)

I arrived at London Heathrow in my Uber at around 8:10. I headed to the Club World check-in section, as I was traveling with my family, who have Executive Club silver membership, which permits you to use the Club World check-in at all airports with British Airways flights. I was traveling in a large group of 7 onboard BAW255. The airport itself is modern and impressive, with high ceilings, large information boards, and is generally an impressive structure.

After a few minutes waiting, we headed to print out our boarding passes at the self-service machines, before heading to Check-in Area G, where there were several self-service bag drops. I find these machines at Heathrow to almost never work, and today was no different. We would scan the boarding passes, and an error notice would come up, telling us that “there is a problem checking in your bag” and to contact a BA staff member. There was a member of the staff team there, but only one, and with almost none of the machines working properly, she had an extremely stressful task. Eventually, she gave up attempting to get the machine to work, and manually checked in our bags. I suggest British Airways either fix their machines or ditch the system, as it simply doesn’t work for them at the moment. The Norwegian Air Shuttle machines at Oslo Airport work perfectly, and it’s infuriating that none of them ever work at Terminal 5.

Airside

We headed on through into South Security, which was incredibly busy. Fortunately, the Security staff held up none of our group, and we carried on through into the departure lounge. Terminal 5 is very well equipped, with many fantastic designer shops like Gucci, Prada, and Paul Smith, and cafes and restaurants for takeaway, such as Pret A Manger, Starbucks and Itsu. After a short while in the main airport area, we headed to the B Gates. The transit was busy but ended up being a quick and easy journey to a much quieter area of the airport.

Boarding and initial thoughts

B42, however was a very busy gate. After a short moment of confusion from some passengers over whether or not we were accidentally boarding a flight for San Francisco, California, we boarded our aircraft, G-STBE, a Boeing 777-300. The aircraft appeared rather old on the outside, and the recently renovated interior is rather uninspiring. We walked through the rather dated Club World cabin and newer-looking World Traveller Plus cabins and arrived in the World Traveller section.

The cabin is organized in a 3-3-3 configuration, meaning that, fortunately, the seats are relatively wide, and the cabin is not too cramped. The seats are dull, a sort of greyish blue, nowhere near as striking as Virgin Atlantic’s cabin, but that is not much of a concern of mine. I traveled over to my seat, 46K. The way the cabin is organized is slightly confusing, as the seats directly next to row 46HJK are in row 47. This is rather confusing at first boarding and can cause some inital problems, but these are solved quickly. I took my seat, where a pillow, blanket, and flimsy earphones were waiting for me.

Take-off and the start of the flight

The aircraft took off quickly, especially for a Heathrow departure, and I was pleasantly surprised as we headed over Berkshire and towards North America. The first free drinks service came around shortly after take-off, where I ordered an orange juice, and passengers were provided with a complimentary packet of Sour Cream and Chive pretzels, as always on long-haul British Airways flights. This flight was an incredibly turbulent one. I finished my meal, pre-bought at Heathrow before the inflight meal service came around. During the meal service, a sudden wave of turbulence began, which resulted in the engagement of the seat belt signs and the cabin crew definitely feeling the bumps.

Inflight

After the meal service, which, to be frank, didn’t look very appealing. The flight was uneventful, and very little took place. The vast Atlantic below didn’t provide much scenery, and even that was difficult to see, with a thick cloud layer obstructing our views. Unfortunately, my flight experience was slightly tainted by a young child in the row behind me, who was incredibly unhappy with something and proceeded to squeal at a very high pitch for most of the flight.

What do I think?

So, my opinion on the Boeing 777-300 of British Airways. The aircraft has been working long-haul routes from London Heathrow for a few years now, not quite as long as the Boeing 777-200 but considerably longer than the Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s that have recently joined the Speedbird family. I, unfortunately, have not had the opportunity to fly on either of these new aircraft yet, as the COVID-19 pandemic canceled a planned trip to Chile, which would have involved a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Therefore, I will have to compare the Boeing 777-300 to the aircraft I have seen online.

The BA A350 is regularly praised, and the 787, despite not having much acclaim, still appears to be viewed in a positive light.  Whilst the 777 is not in any way a bad aircraft to fly on, it appears that the newer aircraft are simply better. The 777 is, firstly, an incredibly loud aircraft. I flew this aircraft once before, in April of 2022, from London to Malé and back, and thought something similiar. Especially for passengers in the window seat area, not only is there an incredibly Loud engine noise that penetrates the cabin, the windows themselves rattle constantly. Additionally, the entertainment system. It is incredibly outdated now, and I’m extremely glad that the A350s have a much more updated version.

When you switch on your personal IFE system, you are provided with a clunky remote control or a very slow-to-react touchscreen system. The content is not bad, with new releases such as Bullet Train, Diego Maradona, Lightyear, and the brand new Minions movie being just some of the movies available on High Life. However, the system itself is what lets it down, with it being slow to load, and the inflight map being slow to the touch and occasionally difficult to use. I would hope that, eventually, British Airways will begin to withdraw the Boeing 777-300s from these leisure routes. Whilst it’s understandable that the other aircraft in their fleet are required for the illustrious route network the airline operates, the Boeing 787 would do a much better job, and on routes like this with stiff competition from Virgin Atlantic on their Boeing 787, would make them a much more appetizing option for customers traveling between the UK and the Caribbean.

I strongly believe in judging an airline by its economy product, as that is what most customers experience. However, my short walk through the Club World cabin while embarking the aircraft pointed out one or two issues. Firstly, the configuration is a problem. The arrangement of Club World is in a 2-2-2 layout, with the window seats not having direct aisle access, which causes a problem for them and their neighbor. Secondly, despite the larger screen provided in Club World, there appear to be similiar problems with the infotainment, as it is almost identical. Fortunately, the Airbus A350-1000s fixes both of these problems. On the A35K’s, British Airways have arranged the new Club Suite seats in a 1-2-1 layout, allowing every passenger direct aisle access. Furthermore, the aforementioned newer IFE screens will undoubtedly apply to the Club Suite section.

Approach and Landing

With around 1hr and 20mins to go before our landing in Barbados, the crew came around with a pre-landing snack and drink. The option was a pastry, similiar to a sausage roll, but with either a vegetable filling or a chicken and sweet pepper filling. I chose this option, but it simply wasn’t a particularly nice meal. Throughout the flight, there was an option of a drink at any time, water, juices, hot drinks, and more, but the main drink moments were at the very start of the flight, during the main meal, and at the very end. Slowly, we began to edge closer and closer to the Caribbean and our final destination of Bridgetown. As we touched down in a surprisingly smooth landing, we deboarded and met a very friendly welcome of traditional Barbadian music, before we entered the dim, highly organized, and technologically advanced immigration area. All in all, though, an unremarkable yet not unpleasant flight. 

I would probably advise people to opt for the Virgin Atlantic flight, as, whilst this is not unpleasant, Virgin Atlantic appears to receive much more positive reviews. Overall, I rate this flight as 6/10 stars!


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