Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: American Double 2014

Flight Log 9: BA226

Atlanta (ATL) - London Heathrow (LHR)

It may seem strange given my overall flight history since the launch of this website, but this was my first encounter with the new First Class cabin rolled out by British Airways to its existing fleet in the period 2010-14, and popularly known as 'New First'. As such, it was a novelty for me - a little voyage of frequent-flyer discovery, albeit one that I was experiencing rather late in the day. Boarding through door 2L and walking through the cabin from the rear, my first impression was that I liked what I saw. While still not entirely sure what the inner windows were for, they seemed harmless enough and maybe even added something to the overall style of the cabin. On a more practical level, I liked the personal wardrobe. I was also relieved to see that there was still plenty of room in the seat area for all the bits and pieces that I like to have around me, this having been one of my fears about the new product when I saw the first pictures back in 2010. I amused myself by experimenting with the seat controls, which seemed very different from their predecessors, and with the window blinds. The large in-flight entertainment screen was literally a huge improvement on what had gone before. Over time, I noticed that the design of the centre seats had a number of differences of detail, compared to the window seats. Leaving aside the various design features and concentrating on condition, cabin presentation seemed to be not too bad, with one significant exception: the floor already looked as though it had seen better days.

I had a glass of champagne as my pre-departure drink and allowed a cabin crew member to talk me through the various features of the seat, even though I'd already had a good 'play' with the controls. Orders for post-take off drinks were also taken at this point and I was presented with a menu booklet, a sleeper suit and a pair of in-flight slippers. I was also subjected to the unedifying sight of 1E changing into his night clothes in his seat ... dear-oh-dear! There was time for a top-up of champagne, which seemed all but essential after enduring that visual trauma.

We pushed back from our stand at 2117, following which the tug pulled the aircraft forwards for quite some way before finally detaching. Only at this point were the engines started. We finally took to the skies at 2144 local time.

Starters   Champagne
Poached Atlantic salmon with bulgur salad and Thai chilli   Kir Royale cocktail
Polenta wheel with corn, leeks, Shimeji mushrooms and   Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle
tomato ragout    
    Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs Millésimé 2007
Sweet potato velouté with bacon lardons, mascarpone and    
maple   Michel Forget Grand Rosé Premier Cru
Fresh salad leaves with your choice of balsamic dressing   White wines
or creamy Greek dressing   Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes 2012, Domaine Pierre
    Vessigaud, Burgundy, France
Main Courses    
Bacon-wrapped tournedos of pork loin with heirloom   Pouilly-Fumé Les Cris 2012, Domaine Alain Cailbourdin,
potatoes, haricots verts, carrots and a beet and almond   Loire, France
fig cream sauce    
    Cline Cellars Marsanne/Roussanne 2012, Sonoma Coast,
Harissa-spiced sea bass with red lentils, broccolini,   California, USA
squash and roasted red pepper tomato nage    
    Red wines
Porcini-dusted breast of chicken with wild mushrooms,   Château Haut-Bergey 2004, Grand Cru Classé Pessac-
glazed parsnips and black truffle jus   Léognan, Bordeaux, France
Grilled prawn and red pepper feta skewer with artichoke,   Morgan Twelve Clones Pinot Noir 2012, Santa Lucia
Kalamato olive and farro salad with prosciutto ham, mixed   Highlands, California, USA
baby greens and a red wine oregano dressing    
    Particular Garnacha Centenaria 2010, Bodegas San
Bistro Selection    Valero, Cariñena, Spain
Goat tortellini with green asparagus, piquillo pepper and    
Pecorino Romano cream   Dessert wine
    Château de Rayne-Vigneau 2007, Sauternes 1er Cru Grand
Warm bacon roll   Classé, Bordeaux, France
A selection of biscuits   Port
    Warre's 1999 Colheita Tawny
A selection of cheese and fruit    
Chocolate Opera délice    
Pear tartlet    
Cheese Plate    
Farmhouse Cheddar    
Herbed goat's cheese    
Wisconsin Mountain Blue    
Fresh Fruit    

Shortly after the cabin crew had been released from their seats, my requested drinks appeared in the form of a Kir Royale and a glass of ice water, presented with a few mixed nuts. A hot towel was also delivered and I quickly spotted that it was of a new design, thin but not rag-like. After browsing through the various IFE menus, I started up the recently released movie, A Most Wanted Man. My table having been set for dinner, I asked for and promptly received a glass of the Pouilly-Fumé, which was presented with a duck and apple-based amuse-bouche and my choice from the bread selection. I then enjoyed the salmon starter, the pork main course and the pear tartlet, before finishing with a caffeine-free herbal infusion. As the film came to an end, I asked for my seat to be made up as a bed and disappeared into the washroom to change into my sleeper suit.

*     *     *     *     *

I'd had a good sleep, but one that was inevitably too brief. I woke up with just 50mins flying time left and immediately decided to skip breakfast as I had 4hrs available on the ground at Heathrow. For the record, here's what I chose to forego:

Chilled fruit juice
An energising fruit smoothie of mango and lime
A selection of yoghurts
Muesli with apples and coconut
Fresh seasonal fruit appetiser
A wide selection of breakfast pastries and rolls
Main Courses
Traditional English breakfast of scrambled eggs, banger sausage, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, plum tomato and rösti
potato cake
Roasted tomato omelette with sautéed spinach, roasted fingerling potatoes and crispy bacon
Homemade maple pancakes with huckleberry compote and vanilla sauce

Even so, by the time I got myself organised for arrival, the seat belt signs were on and we had a mere 20mins left before landing. We touched down on 09L at 0957 local time, on a grey and damp Monday morning that looked every bit like Britain in November. Ten minutes later, we arrived at our allocated gate in the 'B' satellite building.

Date: Sun 16 Nov 2014 
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Scheduled dep: 2055
Actual departure: 2117
Scheduled arrival: 0955+1
Actual arrival: 1007+1
Cabin: First Class 
Seat: 1A

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