Airline: British Airways Flight #: BA762 Route: LHR – OSL Class: Euro Traveller Seat: 23A Date: Tuesday 19th November 2019
On a cold and foggy morning in November, I woke to a 4AM alarm at Heathrow Terminal 4’s Premier Inn. Despite staying near Terminal 4, I was flying with British Airways (BA) and so headed downstairs to get a bus round to BA’s home at Terminal 5. If you’re flying early in the day from Heathrow and planning on staying overnight, have a look at this Premier Inn, as at just £39 for the night, it was one of the cheapest options I’ve seen near the airport.
Having checked in on BA’s app and with a mobile boarding pass on my phone, I headed straight to security and, thanks to the quietness of the morning, was airside within 15 minutes of having boarded the bus at Terminal 4. Unfortunately, due to flying Economy with BA, I didn’t have access to the Galleries lounges, however, was able to access the Plaza Premium lounge with my DragonPass.
The lounge offered the standard range of hot and cold food items, as well as hot drinks and having a fully stocked bar available for those wanting to have something stronger at 5AM. There is plenty of seating available with most having a space to work at and access to a power socket. The advantage of using a generic airport lounge at BA’s home base is the lounge was fairly quiet, due to most frequent fliers having access to BA’s lounges upstairs.
After an important caffeine fix and a filling breakfast, I headed towards the gate, which thankfully was only a short walk from the lounge, and tried to enjoy the view over a very foggy apron. Despite being in boarding group 5 (i.e. last), I was able to board within about 5 minutes of boarding starting and was soon settled into my window seat towards the back of the aircraft. Pro tip here, if booking window seats on BA shorthaul aircraft, avoid the last row as the window seats here lack a window!
As boarding was completed, I was pleased find I had a row to myself, allowing me to spread out and enjoy a bit of additional leg room. As leg room goes, these streamlined refurbished seats on BA just about provide sufficient leg room for someone of my height (6ft) and are also fairly comfortable. The seats also have a small recline (small enough not to interfere with the angle of the tray table behind) and adjustable head rests.
We pushed back from Terminal 5 on time and started our taxi to the far end of the airport for our departure on runway 27R. Typically, I was on the wrong side of the aircraft for a view of the airport as we taxied, however during the 10 minute taxi the fog mostly lifted and I was rewarded with a stunning view of the airport as we departed westwards.
BA is a ‘legacy’ airline, meaning it has been around for a while (Over 100 years – see my BA Birthday Blog here), however prior to 2017 it would have been categorised as a ‘full-service’ airline. Unfortunately, as part of it’s strategy to reduce costs and better align itself to compete against low cost competition, BA now charges for food in Economy on short-haul flights.
With a range of food and drink supplied by Marks and Spencer, there is a reasonable choice for the two-hour flight to Oslo, however the lack of bacon rolls made me thankful for my visit to the lounge. Despite only one trolley working from front to back, I was able to make my purchase about 30 minutes after take off and opted for the ‘trio of treats’ and a coffee.
The ‘trio of treats’ included a small piece of fruit cake, a small piece of mincemeat crumble and a ‘festive’ scone alongside a small pot of brandy butter and came packed in a box stylised as a picnic hamper. Despite all of the trio being delicious, what grabbed my attention was the coffee, which was served in a bag! Thinking about it, this makes complete sense onboard aircraft as it means the crew don’t have to guess how much coffee to make and means every cup is fresh. If you’re interested in finding out more, BA’s supplier is Cru Kafe.
Despite having looked at the flight timings numerous times during the planning and booking of this trip, I was still surprised at how far Oslo was from London. In my mind it was ‘just across the North Sea’ and I had been thinking more of the distance between Scotland and western Norway than London and Oslo. Thankfully I had plenty to read and so settled down to enjoy my coffee and the rest of the flight.
After take-off from Heathrow’s runway 27R, we took a right turn and headed around London towards Essex, before turning towards the north-east and passing the coast over the Norfolk town of Great Yarmouth. We headed out over the North Sea until we were in line with Hull and then turned a bit more northwards, continuing in pretty much a straight line until Oslo. We crossed the Norwegian coast over Kristiansand and then undertook an aerial slalom around Drammen and Oslo city before landing on Gardermoen’s runway 01R.
All in all, the first economy flight with BA that I’ve reviewed was pretty much exactly inline with my expectations. The seat was comfortable, the food was nice but had to be purchased and I arrived exactly when I expected. I’m still disappointed that BA now charge in Economy and am looking forward to comparing this economy product to that of the German and Austrian national carriers in the next month or so. Both the lounge and empty row of seats we nice additions to the trip, however unfortunately I can’t give BA any bonus points for these as neither were due to their influence.
Lounge 0* Seat/Facilities 3* Food 3* Service 5* Punctuality 5* Overall Rating 16/25 (read about my rating system here!)