For our in-depth report on doing business in Ghana, Director experienced a BA flight from Heathrow to Accra, via Terminal 3’s fabulous No.1 lounge. Here’s our review of the flight…
Known as Africa for beginners, Ghana found prosperity when offshore gas and oil were discovered and, although growth has plateaued recently, nowhere is the burgeoning middle class and vibrant entrepreneurial scene more evident than in its capital, Accra. With the UK facing a very different trading future post-Brexit, the voyage here could soon become a tempting one.
British Airways offers daily flights to the city (via first class, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins) and, with Accra being in the GMT timezone and a flight of just six hours, 50 minutes from London – and Kotoka airport itself just three miles from Accra city centre – it makes for a very manageable international journey.
There’s no fast-track for World Traveller Plus, but fortunately there was no queue by the time we arrived. That, and the friendly, courteous service, made check-in a speedy breeze. Online check-in and bag drop are also available. World Traveller Plus passengers are allowed up to 23kg of hold luggage, plus one small bag or laptop bag. 9/10
Ten minutes’ walk from the security gates, the fantastic No.1 lounge (accessible with my Priority Pass) is cool, airy and perfect for working. Passholders can take a guest and there’s free WiFi, plenty of plug points, a complimentary healthy-eating buffet (including salads and hot food), a great selection of magazines, private meeting areas, mini screening room – and even a spa, though passengers need to book in advance for this. It looks amazing too: adorning the wall, above the chesterfield sofas, are items evoking the golden age of flying, including a BOAC bag from the 1960s. The floor-to-ceiling windows ensure you can idly gaze at planes taking off, but don’t get so distracted you forget to watch the screens – the flights are not called. 9/10
We had to wait while the first-class, business, and gold and silver-card holders went through fast-track, but that wasn’t a problem because, yet again, the friendly, approachable staff ensured a smooth process, with good communication at all times. Boarding via a gangway, the Boeing 747-400’s doors were closed at 2pm and we pulled back from the stand 10 minutes later, with take-off at 2.15pm. 8/10
The clean and comfortable canvas and leather seats, measuring 18.5in wide, with a 38in pitch, are designed to offer more flexibility and extra legroom, and were laid out in a two-four-two formation. Our window seat afforded fantastic views of the Sahara as we flew over. 9/10
An amenities kit was handed out – toothbrush, toothpaste, pen, headphones, socks, blanket and earplugs – while in-flight entertainment included noise-cancelling headphones, a telephone and High Life magazine. A screen in the seat in front had a great selection of film and TV. We watched Eye in the Sky and Absolutely Fabulous, and listened to an audiobook on becoming more zen! 8/10
Food and drink
The cabin crew were very friendly and courteous. A lunch menu included a red cabbage and cranberry coleslaw starter and, for the main dish, there was a choice of braised lamb in a cashew nut sauce with fried okra, garlic and steamed rice, seared fillet of beef with mushroom risotto (our choice), and smoked runner beans. Plus the crew kept us topped up with juice, tea and coffee. 9/10
It was a five-minute bus to a small arrivals hall – although signs boast that the upcoming expansion means the airport will soon be able to handle some five million passengers a year. Ghanaians are proud of their security and work hard to keep their country safe: posters in arrivals warn against “money laundering, terrorist financing, financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”. Customs is also very strict on visa checking. Our baggage arrived within 20 minutes and, when we got through to the other side, the hotel transfer was waiting (most hotels offer this service). 9/10
Verdict Speedy check-in, friendly and attentive service, great in-flight amenities and a heavenly departure lounge add up to a smooth flight. 61/70
BA flight 81 from Heathrow Terminal 3 to Accra airport
BA offers return flights on this route from £498