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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
This explains why I like the longer flight time. If only every US port of arrival was like this.
Once in the air, the new BA Club amenity kits and menus were handed out:
The menu had changed a fair amount since I was on last with a selection of entrees that appealed less to me than before:
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:
Yes, that is an eclair on a stick!
This was as usual served with the dismal BA coffee.
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!