Trip Report: London – Calgary on British Airways BA103, B787 (August 2017)

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Previous components to this trip:
Singapore – London on Singapore Airlines, First Class

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Last year I went to Canada for the first time in many years. So what do I do this year? Go back again.

This time instead of flying to Vancouver direct, I decided to fly to Calgary first, and then make a drive of it across to British Columbia and then end up in Vancouver (you can see my previous trip report to Vancouver on BA85 here)

After my First Class flight on Singapore Airlines to London (SQ318) this was always going to be let down. Not only was I flying Business Class, I was also flying on British Airways. Double Downer! Rich world problems eh?

Again, I got driven to the airport, but this time, it was in a bus which dropped me off at the Central Bus Station of Heathrow.

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From here, I took the lifts (because I’m a lazy sod) and to the Heathrow Express which is free when you move between the Central Bus Station at Terminal 5. Just make sure you get on the right platform as you might end up going into London… and then charged a penalty fare!

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I was a bit surprised when I got to Terminal 5 and and found most of the kiosks were now bag drop only, and you have to check in using the machines.

Apparently there is a business class check in somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. I did walk up a bit, but in the end just walked up to the nearest idle kiosk and got through the process pretty quickly.

The only problem was that I lost my luggage receipts somewhere between the bag drop and security. Fortunately it wouldn’t haunt me later.

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I scooted through Security North, which was almost empty, and was then through into the air-side in no time. As usual, the staff paid almost no attention to me and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t set the sirens off.

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After making it though security, it was time to hit the business class lounge. My experience in the Private Room on the outbound leg to London was completely different. Instead of being one of only a couple of people, almost the entire lounge full.

It must have been school holidays or something as there were a lot of kids … Shouldn’t they be doing holiday work? I always remember being given holiday work from my school… or maybe that was because I need to do remedial work…

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There was some wine available and other soft drinks. There were a lot of people drinking their merry way through the bottles of vino. Not me. I stuck to the water, and some juice.

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…. and some really delicious cake.

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I managed to find a seat right at the back, which gave me quite a good view of the air side waiting area.

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After an hour or so at the lounge, it was time to head to the gate.

London – Calgary
Airline: British Airways
Plane Type: B787
Flight Number: BA103
Class: Business
Scheduled Departure: 18:40
Actual Departure: 18:45
Scheduled Arrival: 20:25
Actual Arrival: 20:04
Estimated duration: 9hr 5mins
Actual duration: 8hr 10mins
Plane registration: G-ZBJF

I couldn’t find gate A10 to begin with, but when the directions sent me down an escalator, I realised it was a bus service… and sure enough there it was.

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I didn’t get on the first bus, as I didn’t want to queue up at the priority queue. Instead I looked for a seat and enjoyed a little respite from the standing. However, I managed to be one of the first on the second bus by going to the, by now, empty priority queue and moved right to the front for my journey to the plane.

It was quite a trek to get out to the plane, but in the end we rolled up to the stairs. And although I do have a European (and completely unscientific) preference for Airbus products, one can admire the look of the 787 dreamliner.

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Once I had managed to climb the stairs, which is quite a palaver, I was directed (or more accurately nodded) to the Club World cabin. No one ever said that BA would win in the charm stakes, but their service really does suck sometimes. Not even pointing to the right cabin, just nodding.

After put my cabin luggage into the overhead bin, I then settled into the seat…. which BA laughingly asks us to “Imagine your favourite armchair, your bed, your dining table and your office integrated into one.

If that’s my favourite armchair, then I’ve got a real problem. My favourite armchair would certainly not be this cramped. Am I the only person who thinks that the seat is incredibly narrow? Even for a skinny guy!

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There are almost no practical cubbyholes anywhere. If you want to charge your phone, you have to try and perch it on the right hand armrest, which means it could slip down into the abyss and be lost under the seat.

The seat becomes a bed, which you have to put down the foot rest (below). It seems such a flimsy footrest.

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The seating position of the chair is nothing to write home about. In fact, the only good position is the sleeping position, so you can forget that you are in such a cramped and uncomfortable business class chair. Fortunately I’m a bit of a shorty so fit just nicely into the bed.

The crew handed around the amenity kit; and I’m sorry it is not luxury!! You be the judge…..

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Meal time!!!!

In the morning you can enjoy a delicious breakfast, a great way to start the day.

Afternoon flights include a savoury snack or afternoon tea, quintessentially English with tea supplied by Twinings accompanied by savouries and warm scones.

If you’re an Executive Club Member, you can update your meal preferences in your account.

Here was the menu for the flight

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And so the three course menu began with salmon which I must say was quite tasty. What I don’t like is that way they serve virtually all the courses in one tray – you can see the cheese and the cake… bizarre.

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Curry chicken was pretty tasty as well but the dish is quite shallow so wasn’t as much as I was hoping for.

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Once the meal service was over, I went to sleep for a few hours, to escape the horrors of the BA business class seat, and shortly before landing, they served us a delicious “meal” ….

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Arrival in Calgary was smooth and after a brief stop at immigration it was time to collect my luggage from carousel number 1!

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But to get to my hotel, instead of taking the C$20 cab, I decided to C$10 bus ride…. I bought the ticket for the 300 which goes into town at the convenience store and went to door 1….

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which counter-intuitively is opposite bus stop number 7…. The bus runs every hour so I must have missed one and had to wait another 40 minutes before the next one rocked up.

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Unfortunately it was absolutely freezing, probably the coldest during my entire 2 week Canada trip and I was wearing just a t-shirt!

Anyway, once the bus turned up, I quickly got on board and off I was into the city…

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