British Airways, the Mile High Club and simple pleasantries

OK admit it; how many of you are reading this because it says “Mile High Club” in the title?! One of life’s great myths isn’t it? A club everyone wants to be part of, a few claim to have joined, and where proof of membership is somewhat lacking beyond taking their word for it! Yet I’m sitting on BA flight 482 to Barcelona, wondering how on earth they’d manage it anyway?

I guess it must be a long-haul thing; where there are large periods of time where the lights are out and even the cabin crew are grabbing 40 winks, along with the majority of other passengers. Yet two (?) eager beavers will sneak off to the toilets and pledge their allegiance to the club a mile above sea level. However, on short-haul flights, such as tonight’s jolly to Catalunya, the toilets are at the rear of the plane, sharing a tiny space with two very busy trolley dollies of varying genders (and given their mixture of genders, I CAN get away with calling them that!) So the chances of ‘sneaking’ in unnoticed are slim to none, and I reckon slim just jumped with the last parachute.

Assuming Flopsy and Mopsy did manage to sneak into the toilet, I’m wondering what the chosen position would be, if they even had a choice? There’s hardly room to swing a cat in there, let alone his dingle dangle! It’s have to be a functional activity rather than pleasurable, I guess. Although you could argue the excitement of their inauguration could make up for a lack of intimacy, passion or foreplay… oh lord, the thought of foreplay with you’re arse squashed up against a dis-used ashtray, or if  you were on the other side, the beauty of reading “these toilets are fitted with smoke detectors; smoking is forbidden in all parts of this aircraft.” How much of a moment killer would that be – there goes the post-intercourse cigarette then, damnit.

At this point, if mum is reading, her imagination will be going into hyperdrive! So to avoid any doubt, and to bring her blood pressure back to normal levels; Mum, the answer you’re looking for is “no”!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: if anyone reading this has managed it on a short haul, I’d be intrigued to know how!

So, going back to the trolley dollies. It’s been 15 years since I last flew with BA, but that flight was a hop from Heathrow to Schiphol – a 35-minute flight where, by the time we were up we were coming down again – not too dissimilar to the mile High Club attempt one would guess? So not really enough time to enjoy the experience really (I’m back to talking about the flight, not the club, just to clarify). But I recall being impressed by the quality of service.

So how does BA compare?

More recently, I’ve flown with Emirates, Cathay Pacific and Qantas – all established airlines with good reputations for quality of service, as far as I’m aware. Each has its good and bad points; Emirates to Colombo was exquisite, yet someone I know who used to be a cabin attendant for them, hated it and left after being regularly spat upon by Arabian male passengers (perfectly acceptable in some cultures, but perhaps not in modern day global aviation?) Qantas had me in hysterics wth their typically Australian laid-back approach to customer service “G’day guys, it the captain. Welcome to Brisvegas International…” and their check-in facilities in Sydney were faultless – technologically advanced, quick and easy to use. Cathay Pacific had very comfortable seats and plenty of legroom (and Hagen Daaz!) but the colour scheme felt somewhat dated – grab the pantone book guys, sort it out!

So now flying with BA albeit short-haul, I guess I expected a combination of the good and less of the bad. So what’s my view?

Pre-flight service, excellent. Despite the negative publicity I was ripping off earlier, I found T5 clean, spacious, clearly signed, fantastic for shopping and even the seats were comfortable. Boarding was efficient, until we had to queue in the air tunnel… can’t remember the last flight where I had to queue to board?… which turned out to be because everyone boarded via the front door and there was only one aisle, so everyone had to wait for each passenger to find their seat, stow their luggage and get comfortable. More an aircraft design issue than BA, to be fair, but it made the experience less smooth. (Harsh?)

Aha – stumped! Going through turbulence, so seatbelt signs have come on everyone has ro return to their seats and WASHROOMS ARE OUT OF USE! God help Flopsy and Mopsy in there – a right rough ride, you might say?!

Anyway, back to BA.  The plane itself is a pretty standard Airbus A320: six seats wide, with a single aisle down the middle, I guess it’ll seat around 150 people, with the first 10 or so rows curtained off as first / business / premier / premium economy class (although the only difference I noted was slightly more legroom). But as the crew prepared the cabin for take-off, the subtle differences started to show.

Simple pleasantries

The cabin attendants helped by putting everyone’s bags in the overhead compartments for them. This not only allowed the passengers to comfortable in their seats, rather than faffing with bags, it also saved the ladies in front from the decidedly dodgy looking patches under the arms of the chap across the aisle from them…

The dollies themselves look normal. I know that sounds crazy but, for those of us not lucky / bothered about being stick insects caked in make-up, with hair scraped into a high ponytail and teeth whiter than Richard Hammond’s, this does make a difference! The attendant who took my bag for me had freckles, was at least 6 foot tall, about a size 14 and had a tidy brunette bob. (The male attendant down the cabin looked much the same 😉 sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Then the captain introduced himself, and I could hear and understand him! Rather than sounding like Peter Kay’s impression of the wedding DJ, this guys was polite, clear, and didn’t sound like he was reading from a script. He spoke for more than 5 seconds too (rather than saying his name, introducing his cabin crew, then leaving them to say the rest). But what I liked a lot, was that he ‘asked us not to smoke on board his plane’ – just the fact that he called it his plane made me think he cared about his vehicle more? Not sure if that makes sense, but I liked it. He also explained (in not too technical terminology) why we had to do things, for example when he asked us to switch off electrical devices, he explained why we had to. And when asking the cabin crew to ‘cross check and prepare doors etc’ he thanked them for their work during the flight – recognition! Always good J

Eeeeeek, that’s the med down there! Whoop whoop! And the sunset s luuuuuurvley!

So, my verdict of BA is that they do the simple things well. They don’t have posh planes or glamourous staff (not on short-haul, at least) but they’re typically British and include the pleasantries in a way that feels honest and believable. I like BA.

So with a soft, smooth landing, a polite and honest welcome from our captain and temperatures in the 20s (at 9.30pm) – welcome to Barca baby!

ttfn /R xx

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One thought on “British Airways, the Mile High Club and simple pleasantries

  1. Greg Rafaniello says:

    I really like flying in British Airways because the services are good. ”

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