Journey: London Heathrow to Singapore – British Airways – World Traveller Plus
PRE-BOARDING: I was flying on Christmas Day evening and while the chaos caused by drones at Gatwick pre-occupied the media, Heathrow T5 was full of festive spirit, decorations and cheery staff. Check-in was quick and easy.
THE SERVICE: The crew was warm and welcoming and were all entering into the spirit of the day with reindeer antlers or Santa hats and tinsel. Sparkling wine was offered promptly as a welcome, and festive food choices were advised on a special menu card. Drinks and pretzels were served within the hour with generous ‘well as it’s Christmas’ double G&Ts and two mini bottles of wine for with dinner. The crew were engaged and chatty: “These pretzels are so good, you’ll love them, they’re amazing’ (Penn State sour cream and chive flavour).
THE CATERING: Dinner was served within two hours with our ebullient stewardess admitting her trolley was ‘a bit like Santa’s sack – full of surprises’. There didn’t seem to be any chicken stir-fry as per menu but there was another chicken option, beef stroganoff or a Christmas dinner option. It was still Christmas Day – just – so I went for the turkey. It was good, plenty of thick slices of meat, roast potatoes, parsnips plenty of gravy a couple of sprouts and chestnut stuffing. All pretty good. Served with a huge warm roll offered from the basket, followed by mince pie and cream. The red cabbage salad and cheese and biscuits completed the offer.
THE SEAT: Seat 24E was an aisle seat in a row of four with rows of two on each window side. The seat recline was stiff and hard to operate but the recline was good and the foot rest/ leg space ample. The head rest support further aided comfort. The reclined seat in front of course depleted my space but the adjustable tilt on the screen ensured clear viewing.
I was given an excellent noise-cancelling headset and there was a good selection of inflight entertainment including BA recommendations and ‘Festive Cheer’ – eight seasonal favourites including Elf, the Grinch and The Holiday. The USB charger points were easily accessible below screen.
The seat was comfortable and a quiet cabin ensured some good rest was possible. The in arm tables mean the arm can’t be lifted which made it hard for middle passengers to get out. A small amenity kit included socks, toothbrush and eye mask. It was nothing fancy but provided the basics. There was a good fleece blanket and pillow provided.
THE VERDICT: The Premium Economy seat was comfortable and definitely felt roomy. The meal quality was good but the stand out feature was the staff. Great service from a crew that were upbeat and friendly and full of Christmas spirit without dropping their professionalism. On a day they might have been disgruntled to work they were in fact the highlight of the flight and made this long haul a cheery and painless experience.