09 Mar REVIEW: BRITISH AIRWAYS 747 PREMIUM ECONOMY AND LHR T3 LOUNGES
British Airways is probably every blogger’s favorite airline to take jabs at and especially when you fly on its old 747 aircraft you can see why…I recently had the ‘pleasure’ of flying ‘premium’ economy (term used very loosely here) from Heathrow T3 to Miami. I was very limited in terms of timing that day so I was stuck with the morning flight which is usually served by an old 747 (supposedly they are being refurbished and many of the NYC routes have been already). In other words, I knew my fate…
Oddly enough, BA flights to Miami operate out of Terminal 3 at Heathrow and not Terminal 5. This is actually a very good thing if you have oneworld status as T3 is a lounge heaven and has a much better offering than T5. As a BA Gold (oneworld emerald) I was able to access both the Cathay Pacific first class lounge (there’s also a business class one) as well as the new Qantas business lounge, the latter being also available to business class/one world sapphire passengers. There are also American airlines and BA lounges in the terminal but I had tried those before and wasn’t particularly impressed.
Cathay Pacific First class
The lounge decor and color palette is the same as what you would find in CX’s famous Hong Kong lounges (The Pier and the Wing First are two of the most impressive lounges globally). It’s a really nicely done, intimate lounge and was practically empty when I visited around 8am that morning.
It also offers great views of the runway
There is an a la carte restaurant where I had an amazing breakfast! Service was also impeccable
The poached eggs with smoked salmon were excellent as was the coffee and the freshly squeezed orange juice!
There is a well-stocked bar
The toilets were spotless and had Aesop amenities
You will also find private shower rooms
Qantas business lounge
The Qantas lounge is a fairly new addition as it underwent an extensive renovation at the end of last year. It is an absolutely gorgeous and quite big lounge, split over two levels, that I, unfortunately, was only able to visit for a about 20-25′ before I had to catch my flight
There is a ton of seating space
Food-wise there is a buffet and an a la carte restaurant which unfortunately wasn’t open yet when I visited. If it’s anything like the other Qantas lounges I’ve visited, which are typically based on Neil Perry menus, then I’m sure it’ll be great!
As you walk up to the top floor you will find the impressive bar/cafe where I had a delicious flat white
There are also private shower rooms which looked very impressive
BA premium economy
After a good hour in the lounges, it was time to board my flight to Miami. As mentioned before, it was operated by an old 747 and seats were in a 2-4-2 configuration. The front row has a bit more legroom and obviously noone can recline into your seat. However, I wouldn’t be too bothered if I ended up in one of the other seats as the difference in legroom is pretty minimal. Also, bear in mind that the front row has bassinet seats so you could be sitting next to a baby 🙂
If you are on a refurbished 747 cabin then your premium economy map should look like the below, which unfortunately wasn’t the case on my flight!
The cabin on the old 7474 feels very, very dated…
The seats come with a small pillow, headphones (not noise cancelling) and a blanket
There is a footrest which adds a bit of comfort
The seat controls are on the side. The recline is not bad overall but this is premium economy after all so don’t expect to get a good night’s sleep if you are flying overnight
There’s also a small amenity kit
One of the worst parts of the experience is the IFE or lack of as there’s just one tiny, grainy screen to watch shows on
There’s a small menu with a couple of choices for entrees. A small snack is also served about an hour before arrival
The food actually wasn’t bad and the service was ok
I’ve flown the old BA 747 in every single class and maybe with the exception of the upstairs seats in business class and the first couple of rows in first class nothing else is a particularly nice experience! I mean, they just have to either let these ‘birds’ go or refurbish them pretty soon. Premium economy was not a very ‘premium’ experience and I would definitely avoid the BA 747s like the plague! The best thing in this particular instance was that the the flight left from Terminal 3 and I could access the amazing Cathay Pacific and Qantas lounges thanks to my status!