Trip Report GCM-NAS-LHR BA Club World

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radiostationx
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Trip Report GCM-NAS-LHR BA Club World

Post by radiostationx » 23 Sep 2017, 18:37

Trip Report BA Club World Business Class BA252 GCM-NAS-LHR

G-YMMU Boeing 777-236ER


GCM-NAS

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The flight back to London via NAS departs early evening local time.
As said in the write up of the outward journey , The aircraft and “shuttle” crew spend 3 hours or so on the ground at GCM .

The catering for the whole return flight to London is supplied and loaded here at GCM.
More on the food later.

As we arrived at the airport, I wanted to head to the Hungry Horse snack bar on the upper viewing terrace, it was a great place to go and meet some of the very friendly Cayman plane spotters who gather there.

Owned and run by Caymanian staff who live island life to the full, the home made food was very good indeed and reasonably priced.

Last year at this location I found the best cafe/snack bar sign I have ever seen on my travels to date.

“Soup of the day, Beer ! LOL :0) “ :D

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The first thing I noticed was the Hungry Horse airport restaurant had been moved to a large marquee in the front car park due to the construction works of the new terminal.
The whole of the upper deck is off limits now.

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The marquee is far too large for purpose, seating for around 50 guests in a tent which could easilly accomodate 4 times that number.
Not a spotter in sight, devoid of all atmosphere and no air conditioning. It was sweltering inside there.

I hope the staff/owners get a nice new facility when the works are completed.

We decided to go straight to the priority check in area and get rid of our baggage.
At the check in desk, the agent stated that BA did not have any lounge facilities here and gave us a $15 usd food voucher each to spend in the tent over the road or at the airport snack kiosk and bar air side.
We opted to go straight through security into air conditioned normality and settled down by the bar.

The Cayman Islands were discovered by Columbus and he named it "Las Tortugas" or The turtles due to the abundance of sea turtles that live in the surrounding waters which CCs crew used for food.

The National Emblem of the Cayman Islands is a character known as "Sir Turtle".
Sea turtles come and go all the time in the Caymans but only one has gained the iconic stature of aquiring the name of Sir.

Cayman Airways display him proudly as their mascot.

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Next to the bar in the terminal is the Cayman Airways Sir Turtle Club members lounge, with seating for just 5 people it must qualify for one of the smallest business class lounges in the world.

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Pity I couldnt get a photo of the inside.

Realising we would not get anything to eat until around midnight we bought some snacks.

I had a very tasty but spicy hot Jamaican style jerk chicken wrap and an ice cold bottle of local Caybrew beer to wash it down and tame that firery scotch bonnet pepper marinade.

Needless to say, the beer cooling method didnt work well and my mouth was still on fire an hour later as we made our way out across the busy apron to G-YMMU for our long journey home.

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All of the window seats had gone, grabbed quickly some hours earlier by the BA agents over at NAS apparently so I selected seat 11D and the other members of my family were sitting in the centre grouping on this row 11E,F and G.

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Here is my seat for the trip 11D,

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Note the awkward positioning of the TV/IFE remote control, its easy to knock the buttons on this accidentally when relaxing and all of a sudden the film you were watching will stop dead.

The cabin staff warn you on the intercom pre flight about trying to retrieve a phone or similar which may slip down panel gaps in the seat while you are sleeping. Lots of passengers try to engage the motor buttons on the seat to get their device back and the inevitable crunch of breaking glass of iphone or similar is common.
The cabin staff have the knowledge to strip down the seat to get the device for you if you let them know.
There is a drawer for laptop/tablet and a power socket at the bottom and to the far right the fold out foot rest.

The rear aircraft cabin was around 50% full, business class around 12 pax total but G-YMMU needed all of the short runway at GCM to get off the ground. A fully laden B777-200er cannot depart from here so there must be a low fuel & cargo loading for the quick hop back over to NAS.

A round of drinks, I opted for the Tribute English pale ale beer, and some champagne for sustenance.. a bag of local nuts were given out to accompany this. The menus were given out on this short journey also but we were told to give our selections to the new crew who will be boarding at NAS to take us home back to LHR.

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With the cabin lighting dimmed down ,It didnt seem very long at all as we crossed over Camaguey and the Northern Cayos of Cuba. The flight deck team executed a short left turn just off the coast of Andros Island a Bahamian archipelago and lined her up nicely for the approach into Nassau.

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On the ground at Nassau, there is an hour or so stop over where we could not leave the aircraft. We took on a full load of fuel, some more cargo, a new BA flight crew and the rest of the passengers joining for the flight back to London. Every cabin was filled to capacity.
During the lay over, it was time to look at the menu.

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The champagne choices were the same as the outward trip so I took a look at the wine list.

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NAS-LHR

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The aircraft was full on this leg with lots of passengers joining us at NAS.

As the crew boarded, I noticed one senior male cabin attendant was proudly sporting a gold BA Concorde lapel badge on his very smart blazer. "Nice Badge" I remarked, "The best" he replied. I nodded in full agreement.

He may well have been ex Concorde crew and if so he would have been very interesting to speak to.
Unfortunately , he was working this flight in economy class at the rear.

Soon after take off our menu selections were taken and it wasnt very long before the starter arrived.

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The combination of smoked salmon with seared pineapple did not seem to be a perfect marriage of ingredients. A bit weird to be honest.

Strangely though this dish was quite tasty. It was a pity that the salmon was barely there and a little bland (probably American/Canadian) and could have done with a few more hours in the smoke house to intensify its flavour.
The fish portion of this dish was very small.
The salad was chopped very roughly and did not seem to be selected and prepared with love like the one on the outward journey.
It seemed like a travesty to open the bottle of fabulous LA Spanish salad dressing for this, but I did .

Immediately afterwards, I regretted using it, I should have put it in my bag and taken it home to enjoy with something worthy of it. :cry:

A 5/10 for this course im afraid.

As it approached midnight local time, the main meal was served.

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Thyme and garlic chicken with parmesan mash and asparagus.
Very nice indeed , the chicken was moist and full of flavour.
The Castelneau Rose Brut NV champagne was excellent with this, as was the chardonnay recommended by the cabin attendant.
Lovely !
A very robust 9/10. ;)

The dessert came next.

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Salted caramel cheesecake with pecans, nothing to write home about..
and again nothing like the dessert on the outward journey (that white chocolate & hazelnut tart which was so good, it was up there all on its own in a parallel universe)..
but the cheesecake was just okay. 5/10 for this. :|
The 2 small side chocolates being the best part of the whole thing.

I bedded down for a few hours before the cabin lights were turned on again for breakfast.

I had had more than my fill of melon, pineapple and such like while staying in the Carribean so I went for the Greek yogurt choice.

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There was far too much in this portion, the blueberry compote was very bland.
Not good at all.
The yogurt arrived with a croissant and jam which tasted much better.

Next a warm bacon roll which I swear was a few days old. Perhaps ex galleries lounge at LHR. No..worse than that ! Truly awful . No photo, I gave it back very soon after receiving it.
I did say on the outward write up that the BA bacon rolls are legendary, they have been on the menu for years and they are consistently terrible, this one was worse. :cry:
Cold, dry vulcanised rubber masquerading as bacon on a bread roll which must have missed the oven at the bakery stage as it was as near raw dough as you could possibly get. Yuk :shock:

Imagine if you will, a bread roll shape made from grey childrens Play-doh, that would be very similar in both look and feel.

I went to the “club kitchen” area to look for something to eat but I didnt fancy ice cream ,kettle chips or a chocolate bar/candy at 8am in the morning.

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Overall the breakfast experience was way below par im afraid, 2/10 and im being generous here.

The cabin service on this flight seemed rushed. I suppose the cabin crew wanted their turn in the crew rest pods above us to grab a bit of sleep. It must be said here ,The crew were very professional and attentive thoughout.
I can partly understand why the flight crew who have had 5 nights in a 4 star Nassau hotel with all reasonable expenses paid would not be so enthusiastic about returning home.

Just one circuit over the Biggin hold to the south of London and it was straight in to LHR.
We landed on rwy27r on time at around 11am unfortunately I did not have a window seat to grab some photos of the city of london.
The aircraft taxied to a gate at the outer end of terminal 5c.

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We were left with a very long walk and a short underground transit train journey to T5A to collect our bags.

After passing through customs into the arrivals we decided to try the BA galleries arrivals lounge up on the first floor of T5a.

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This is open until 2pm daily. Getting a fully loaded trolley and 4 of us into the lift was a challenge.
On entering we found that there were some hot breakfast items left.

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Although these items had been sitting under a heat lamp for at least half an hour, (the toast was cardboard itself) on the whole it seemed like culinary heaven compared to the onboard breakfast we had consumed earlier. At last a taste of home.
We spent an hour or so here and downed some soothing creamy coffee and spent some time watching the wall of TV news displays. There are showers and an elemis spa here which looked empty but at this point we were far too tired for pampering.

Thats it, I hope you found the write up interesting. ;)

Thanks for looking.

Mike.




PS I should note here that when BA state their product as club world,what they really mean is you are in a different world. I travelled in economy last year on the same sector and the 12 hour journey was terrible.
The seat spacing is ridiculous, if the passenger in front is in the recline, your TV/IFE screen is barely 6 inches away from your face and you will have to study the "Big dummies guide to contortionism" prior to travelling if you are thinking about visiting the washroom or stretching your legs mid flight.
If one passenger puts their seat in recline, everyone else behind them will do the same due to space constraints.
If you are unlucky enough to be at a window seat, getting to the aisle is a 5 spanner job in the "Haynes Manual of Airline Passenger Travel".
Tip: Take your reading spectacles if you are thinking of watching a film on the tiny dinosaur of an IFE.
BA are stuffing another seat into the 9 abreast rows on this aircraft variant to make it 10 across from March 2018 .
There are plans for a runway extension at MWCR, if this happens we may well see B777, B787 or further into the future, Airbus A350s flying here direct without the stop over at NAS.
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sn26567
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Re: Trip Report GCM-NAS-LHR BA Club World

Post by sn26567 » 23 Sep 2017, 23:31

Another great illustrated report, even if your flight experience was not as good as on the outgoing flight.

Are all the window seats in business class looking backwards?

Your final note on economy class makes it look frightening, with the worse still to come!
André
ex Sabena #26567

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radiostationx
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Re: Trip Report GCM-NAS-LHR BA Club World

Post by radiostationx » 24 Sep 2017, 10:43

Hi Andre and thanks so much for the comments.
Yes all window seats on the BA B777-200er face backwards in the club world business class cabin.
This seems unusual at first but you soon get used to it.
During the safety briefing there are different instructions for passengers sitting in rear facing seats if adopting the brace position.
To gain access to the aisle from a window seat, you have to step over the legs of the passenger sitting next to you if they are sleeping or have the foot rest deployed.

On this return leg, this BA 777 had the new flight safety video which features a list of celebrities and is much better than their old one,



very amusing...especially the "BA safety video behind the scenes" version also available on youtube.

Well done BA, people are more likely to watch this over the old one.

In economy class,I have never been in a more uncomfortable seat.
Easyjets recarro offering is luxury compared to this, It is that bad.
I thought that the old b767-300er service was tight in economy but the new service launched in july 2016 using 777-2 is much worse.
In economy, just prior to landing at NAS, you are offered a mini carton of fresh orange juice and another OJ is given out by the new crew after take off from NAS to GCM. I do not understand the reason why you would give a beverage full of citric acid to passengers who have been squashed in their seat for 10 plus hours. If you accept the OJ offerings, It will take you a few hours after landing at GCM to get rid of the heartburn.
Tip 2: bring gaviscon or similar antacid in your pocket, not your cabin bag as you will struggle to reach the overhead lockers due to the seating arrangements.
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sn26567
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Re: Trip Report GCM-NAS-LHR BA Club World

Post by sn26567 » 24 Sep 2017, 16:05

Thanks for the tips. I don't intend to fly BA long-haul economy in the near future (neither would I fly business, as I have to pay for my own trips now that I'm retired).
André
ex Sabena #26567

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