01. Introduction: San Diego to London and Stockholm on British Airways
02. British Airways Club World (business class) San Diego to London
03. British Airways Club Europe (business class) London to Stockholm
04. A lazy day in Stockholm, Sweden
05. RadissonBlu SkyCity Arlanda Airport
06. British Airways Club Europe (business class) Stockholm to London
07. British Airways Club World (business class) London to San Diego
San Diego, CA (SAN) – London, England (LHR)
Saturday June 15 2013
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 4K (business)
Oh baby. Up until this moment of my life, the only long-haul international business class products I’ve experienced were ORD-MXP-ORD on Alitalia in 2003, and IAH-GRU-GIG-GRU-IAH on Continental in 2005. Those were totally comfortable flights, but business class standards have come a long way since then, and I was massively looking forward to my first Club World flight on British Airways.
British Airways operates out of Terminal 2 East at SAN, which is unfortunate considering that this portion of the airport is very old and outdated, hugely outclassed by the new Terminal 2 West Green Build where other airlines like United, Delta, and USAirways reside. Relegating a world-class like British Airways to T2 East is a sad, but necessary reality due to the location of customs and immigration facilities at the airport.
I arrived at SAN about two and a half hours before the flight, and being that it was a quiet Saturday afternoon in the airport, I was able to get through security in less than 10 minutes. With so much time on my hands, I thought about grabbing dinner somewhere – but I decided to hold off due to the fact that I knew that I’d be eating pretty well on the airplane. Instead, I decided to pass some time taking pictures:
Unfortunately, boarding was delayed about an hour due to late arrival of the aircraft from LHR so that meant lots of sitting around and waiting. In retrospect, I should have checked for flight time updates before leaving the house, but I wasn’t too upset – after all, I am a full-blown airline nerd, so hanging out at the airport has never been much of an inconvenience for me.
Boarding was finally called, with “World Club” passengers first. I got a chuckle out of that – and I watched to see if anyone would correct the gate agent who said it. Nobody did. I thought about whispering “it’s Club World” to her as I handed her my boarding pass, but refrained as soon as I realized how much like a total nerd that would have made me sound. I guess I was just wanted to make my first Club World experience as perfect as it could be, but in reality, I was as giddy as a school boy as I was walking down the jetway to that 777. Club world, World Club, Club Global – it doesn’t matter. I was flying business class! Gee…can you tell it’s my first time for this sort of thing?
My first impression of the Club World cabin was good. It seemed a bit more claustrophobic than I had originally imagined, as the seats were downright narrow. This was very apparent with the window seat that I had, with a low seating position high walls all around me. But overall, it was a very comfortable seat with an incredible amount of legroom.
Club World on British Airways is in a staggered layout with seats facing both forwards and backwards. I had a backwards-facing seat, which initially seemed a bit odd for me (especially on take-off). But once I got used to it, there wasn’t any awkwardness or disorientation due to looking towards the rear of the airplane.
The only other thing of note to mention about the seating layout is that it is extremely awkward for introverted people such as myself, due primarily to the fact that when the seat partition window in down (as required during boarding and takeoff), you are essentially looking straight at your seat mate with only a few feet between their face and yours. It’s awkward. Even more awkward is pressing the button to raise it – it almost has a sense of insult associated with it as it’s raised right in front of the other person’s face. “It’s not you, it’s me…” was all that I could think as it inched slowly skyward.
This was an overnight flight, so I put the seat in a full-flat position after dinner (which was delicious I might add – sorry, no menu) and slept like I never have before on an airplane. This was my first-ever lie-flat business class seat experience, and I must say: it was good. Now I know what all the fuss is about! Being able to sleep soundly for the entire length of an international long-haul flight is downright awesome. My only complaint about this particular flight was that the cabin temperature was really cold all the way to LHR. Even the thick blanket they provide wasn’t enough to keep me warm during the night.
I woke up perfectly rested about an hour before landing at LHR, just as breakfast was being served.
Landing at LHR was about an hour late, and I was beginning to have concerns about making my connection to ARN. These fears increased as we sat on the taxiway waiting for a gate to open up. 10 minutes went by. Then 20. Ugh. Luckily, I was one of the first passengers off the plane once docked, and it was a mad rush from there to make my connection.
One of the perks about flying business class is the complimentary Fast Pass – which is essentially a card that you can use to jump to the head of the queue at passport control. This little perk turned out to be a huge lifesaver for me, as the queue’s were depressingly long by the time I reached the arrivals hall. It felt so good to skip all that and jump to the front of the line! I may have missed my connecting flight otherwise.