British Airways: SEA to LHR

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Director reviews British Airways flight BA48 from Seattle Tacoma airport to London Heathrow. While many readers will be considering business-class, how comfortable is a nine-hour overnight flight in economy? We investigate…

A burgeoning metropolis that lies 680 north of San Francisco and 120 miles south of the Canadian border, Seattle has two giant North American countries at its feet.

And, it might be most popularly associated with Starbucks and grunge music, but there’s more to the city’s commercial credentials than ubiquitously familiar coffee and Kurt Cobain related tourism: packing a reputation in the USA for its robust economy and entrepreneurial flair, the home of the Space Needle is also the primary residence of Microsoft and Amazon, and has a notably strong university system.

With that in mind, Director recently paid a visit, and in this British Airways flight review charts its journey back to London Heathrow from Seattle’s Tacoma International Airport with the British national carrier.

British Airways: check-in and security

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BA’s online check-in system is wonderfully user-friendly and stable, and it always pays to make the most of it. On arrival, bag drop was available with no queue, thanks to the staff at various desks (First Class, Economy, Bag Drop) in Seattle Airport being willing to field any customer during quiet times.

Security was also a breeze: hats off to planners of this airport for having lanes in which shoe, belt and jacket removal is not deemed necessary, and your laptop can stay in your bag. Not a giant grey plastic tray in sight! A note to earlier arrivers, though: the free airport-wide Wi-Fi signal drops significantly in strength and stability once you get through security. 7/10

Boarding

Passengers were delayed at the gate with no explanation, and once boarding actually began, the uniqueness of us Brits’ approach to queuing became brutally apparent. The staff did a sterling job of restoring order on board, though. 7/10

British_Airways_Seattle_Flight_ReviewThe seat

Arranged in a three-three-three configuration, the seats on this, the back section of the British Airways plane, offer a generous 31in width, and offer decent recline and cushioning. A word to the wise: check in early and grab the aisle seat at the front of the section (First, Club World and World Traveller+ are in front of it), and there will be no one to the front or the left/right of you – well worth doing battle with the articulated-arm TV screen for. 8/10

In-flight experience

BA’s ‘World Traveller’ class is a transparent euphemism for ‘Economy’, but relatively speaking, a long-haul flight on the 777-300 does fly by, so to speak. British Airways cabin crew are pioneers when it comes to banishing the notion of poor customer service in Britain to the dustbin of history – and this flight was no exception.

The food was less inspiring. Exiting Seattle at 7.15pm meant a dinner consisting of a tomato, mozzarella and basil pesto appetizer and a choice of mains: either Korean bulgogi chicken or four cheese tortellacci. The former, normally a belter of a dish, was disappointingly dry and insubstantial (the fare on the way out to Seattle had been much tastier and heartier). Just before landing at noon, a cold continental breakfast was served, consisting of a croissant, granola bar and pack of raisons. 6/10

Arrival

Disembarkation was quick, but the British Airways flight’s entire contingent of passengers found themselves staring forlornly at the carousel for an hour before it became apparent that there had been a major mix up. The luggage eventually came through, though, and the delay can be blamed on Heathrow Airport staff, rather than BA. 8/10

Verdict

Bar the culinary wobble – which, in fairness, was very different to the stunning fare on the way out – British Airways did a sterling job of making this nine-hour haul something resembling a pleasure. 36/50

BA flies to and from Seattle twice daily. Prices begin at £774 including all taxes, fees and charges.

To book or for more information, visit ba.com

Read more flight reviews
British Airways: Heathrow to Berlin Tegel
SAS: Heathrow to Vilnius (via Copenhagen)
Cathay Pacific: Manchester to Hong Kong 

About author

Nick Scott

Nick Scott

A former editor-in-chief of The Rake and deputy editor of the Australian edition of GQ, Nick has had features published in titles including Esquire, The Guardian, Observer Sport Monthly and Rolling Stone Australia and is a contributing editor to Director magazine. He has interviewed celebrities including Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig and Elle Macpherson, as well as business people including Sir Richard Branson, Charles Middleton and Nick Giles and Michael Hayman MBE.

1 comment

  1. Arnold Rabinowitz 14 June, 2015 at 11:42 Reply

    London to Seattle sounds fine. Just try Funchal to London on a Wednesday midday with a miserable BA flight crew. It was not fine. The flight itself was fine but had the worst cabin service ever. I have been travelling the world since 1955 but have only had worse service in the 60s in and out of Russia. You expected that. You don’t from an airline that markets itself a sort of premium carrier.

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