Change to the service on BA1, London City to New York, JFK – flying the baby bird again

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For the uninitiated, BA operates a A318 from London City Airport to New York JFK, with a refuelling stop in Shannon, twice per day. The first flight is able to clear US Immigration and Customs in Shannon, whilst the later flight does this on arrival at JFK. The advantage of the pre-clearance is that you arrive at JFK as a domestic flight and can be out of the terminal in less than 5 minutes. The small plane has 32 all-Club World seats in a 2-2 configuration.

So, enough background. For those that have flown the service before I noticed several differences.

Ground Service
There is a new caterer in the small lounge at London City which BA just uses for its JFK flights. The range of food is much more extensive and they are making a real effort to increase the range on offer.

A new arrangement and selection of juices and smoothies have been introduced:

There was a wider range of pastries and food:

And the really friendly staff can make a mean latte with their new Nespresso machine:

I was delighted to notice that the plane had arrived and was ready as I was travelling the day after the dreadful fog had closed the airport for most of the previous day. I was due to fly LCY-Amsterdam-LCY that day but the fog was not going to allow me that trip:
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However, BA had flown the aircraft in from Gatwick the morning of my flight. (LGW is the diversion airport for the LCY-JFK flights as the crews are based there).
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Boarding started about 20 minutes before departure, but there were only 16 passengers with 4 coming from connections expected to miss the flight. Luckily for them the Billund flight landed at City (rather than the expected diversion to Stansted) and the passengers were whisked on board. Two other connectors were added just as the door was closing. Very quickly we were off to the end of the runway. Unfortunately, three landing aircraft had to go-around due to poor visibility and so our departure was slightly delayed.

I was lucky enough to have two seats to myself and so relocated to the window seat in Row 1. The legroom is plentiful as you might expect:
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with the seat going fully flat if you wish to sleep.

The starter and drinks are served on the short hop to Shannon:
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The stop at Shannon requires everyone to get off with their belongings, having their bags and shoes scanned and the proceeding through immigration which is combined with customs. There are two Global Entry machines and I was off the plane, through security and immigration and waiting in the little transit lounge in three minutes on this occasion.
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This explains why I like the longer flight time. If only every US port of arrival was like this.

The wait at Shannon was short and as we re-boarded another flight to the US was preparing to leave:
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After a few minutes we were pushing back ready to say Goodbye to Shannon Airport:
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Once in the air, the new BA Club amenity kits and menus were handed out:

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The menu had changed a fair amount since I was on last with a selection of entrees that appealed less to me than before:

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The Tattinger is still offered so I was quite happy:
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A salad was served, but they have dumbed-down the bread which is disappointing:
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The beef was presented in new dishes and looked very attractive. Slightly less tasty that I might have liked, it was still a satisfying meal:

However, the highlight of the meal was the dessert which was a wonderful warm pudding:

iPads were handed out and I got down to watching and napping over the next few hours. After I woke up and raided the snack basket, there were excellent views out of the window:

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I ate the sandwiches, scone and small cakes that they served 90 minutes before landing:
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Yes, that is an eclair on a stick!

This was as usual served with the dismal BA coffee.

The weather was not lovely when we landed:
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I also had the oddest journey in to Manhattan where we passed 4 different accidents on the roadway – including an over-turned minibus where people were still climbing out of the broken windows. Strange day!

Comments

  1. Have been wanting to try this flight. Thanks for the update. The other alternative is to fly from a european point into Dublin or Shannon and change to a flight to the U.S. where you can pre-clear US customs/immigration. This is certainly worthwhile if flying into NYC/ORD.

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