an airplane in an airport

British Airways Flight 287 London (LHR) to San Francisco (SFO), December 27th 2015

Looking for our FIRST CLASS review? That’s HERE

It’s a bird, it’s a bloated whale, it’s a plane? Surely that thing can’t fly! Packing two decks, four classes of service and enough space for a moderately sized village, the Airbus A380 is one serious piece of equipment, or some “seriously impressive kit” as our senior captain told me. I’ve been eager for quite some time now to fly British Airways A380, their flagship aircraft, to see what all the fuss is about. I was delighted to find a perfect deal, allowing us to fly direct from London Heathrow to San Francisco, experiencing one of the airline’s premier Club World services. On a flight spanning roughly twelve hours, it was nice to stretch out. Even better? Doing it on the Upper Deck…

This review contains 360* Images which YOU control. Swipe with your finger (mobile) or click and drag (desktop) to see whatever angle you’d like. Up, Down, Left, Right. 

an airplane in an airport

Check In 

a large airport terminal with luggage carts

Club World Check In at Heathrow Terminal 5 is over in the H & J section, which you’ll find to the far right as you enter. The economy check in areas are found to the far left, creating a fairly relaxed and quiet area. It’s conveniently next to the security fast track as well…

a sign in a building

I love fast track security, even if it never seems that fast. Safety first…


BA Galleries Entrance LHR #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

I absolutely adore the entrance to the Galleries South lounge in Terminal 5. A large scale model A380 and a horse, what more could you ask for?

a woman sitting on a couch

I suppose if you’re being picky, you could ask for a nice buffet, some Tattinger, top shelf liquor and comfy seating areas. Granted!

a display of wine bottles and glasses

British Airways pay very keen attention to their wine program. I enjoy the varying selection in each city and particularly enjoy the overall quality. I sampled quite a few (hundred) reds…

BA Galleries LHR Eating Area #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

As I was busy bothering lounge guests with my camera, flashing pictures of everything under the sun, I stumbled across one time teenage heart throb (not to me) and current TV star from the show The Affair, Joshua Jackson, who accidentally made his way into the 360* above. Can you spot him?

a glass of champagne on a table

As with all (I think?) British Airways lounges, Tattinger Brut is available upon request, they just won’t leave it out for you to guzzle. I asked a server who kindly brought over as much as I pleased, one glass at a time. 

a group of posters on a glass wall

A welcome visual feature of this and other British Airways lounges are these old airline posters. I still don’t think they look as cool as my post, featuring original materials from a 1958 British Airways flight

BA Galleries Wine Area LHR #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

I’m all about the design; and the wine cellar designs found throughout the lounge are pretty nifty…

a shelf with bottles and glasses

Grey Goose, Bombay, Glenlivet, Johhnie Walker, something for everyone. If you’re interested in the wine selection click here

The Seat + Bed + Cabin

a woman sitting in an airplane

Ah, the front row of the upper deck, 50A and 50B. If you snag a window seat, you’ll enjoy tons of extra storage areas utilizing the negative space on the outside of the cabin. 

BA CW A380 Upper Welcome. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Welcome aboard, as you can tell from our happy (alcohol induced) faces, after a warm welcome from the crew, who we brought Ferrero Rocher chocolates, we were ready and quite excited to embark on this roughly 12 hour flight to San Francisco. 

a seat with two monitors on it

For those traveling together, I do think that the window and aisle combination, rather than the center two seats is the best pick. Unfortunately, one of you will draw the short stick and end up on the aisle, which while lovely, is exposed to the cabin. I didn’t mind at all. I enjoyed the direct aisle access and being in the front row, the seat, though exposed, was very private. 

a screen on a plane

Speaking of privacy, a large contention with many people is the privacy divider, which in the photo above, is down. if traveling with a companion it’s a joy to speak to each other face to face while sitting comfortably. If you have a seat mate who is hitting on you, as was the case with the people behind us, just press one button and send the divider up. It’ll look like what you see below. No hard feelings?….

BA CW A380 Upper Privacy. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

See? Just me now. I must say, it was extremely amusing to hear the gentleman (moron) behind me give his best effort. Unfortunately for his efforts, the privacy screen went up rather quickly. Back to the online dating then…

a woman in a chair with headphones on

Twelve hour flight, it’s about the bed. With the curtains drawn, we were secluded in the front of the cabin in 50A + 50B. With the privacy screen up Laura could have been Kate Middleton and other than the twelve security guards surrounding her, no one would’ve noticed. I love the length of the bed and the open foot area, allowing you to fidget. I constantly fidget. 

a screen on a bed

See? Nice wide open area for the feet, I assure you, those are Laura’s feet and not someone we’ve wrapped up in a duvet to silence. Though I’m sure the girl in front of us would’ve appreciated that fate for her seat mate…

BA CW 380 Flat. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

I chose Mission Impossible Rogue Nation over sleep, I think Laura wins in that contest. Speaking of which, great selection of films and television. I watched Amy, Rogue Nation and the Man From U.N.C.L.E. Amy was quite good…

a screen with a blue screen

Prior to the privacy curtains being drawn (for my benefit), I enjoyed looking at the gorgeous staircase leading to the flight deck below. It’s a stunning aircraft. More on that later… 

a sink in a bathroom

I’m all about passenger experience, and though the A380 boasts some nice passenger features, there are none more noticeable than the f**king gigantic bathroom. This picture doesn’t paint the picture, but just wait until you see the 360* VR image below! You could cook dinner in there!

BA CW Upper Bathroom a380 #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Am I right or am I right?!

Food + Drink

a plate of food and a glass of wine

I felt almost giddy after the flight because we had such a wonderful, seasoned professional crew. We were extremely well looked after, always with a smile, and always glad to top off the stunning Carmel Road Pinot Noir, which is hands down the best wine I’ve had on a plane. Full menu’s can be read here: beverages, main meal and light snack

a plate of food on a table

I was slightly reluctant to try the curried scallops ahead of a long flight with only a few lavatories, but the temptation was worth it. Very tasty with nice cauliflower. Inventive stuff.

a plate of food on a table

I think we’ve been through this, but your senses are dulled at 30,000 feet. Only bolder flavors and fragrances prevail. Luckily, this steak in a demi glace with truffle risotto packed tons of aroma and taste. As far as steaks on a plane go, it was a great one!

a glass of champagne on a table

And yes, more Tattinger. Not pictured, but included in a couple 360* VR images was a decadent dessert of chocolate tarte with hazelnut and pretzel with a caramel mousse. It was divine, and in Laura’s opinion, the best dessert we’ve ever had on a plane.

The Experience + Tips

the cockpit of an airplane

Remember that time Zane left One Direction and lots of girls fainted? Neither do I, but that’s just about how I felt when the crew kindly arranged a visit to the flight deck for me. It’s gigantic! The pilots couldn’t have been nicer or more professional and it was a thrill to see the nucleus of the amazing aircraft. As to the experience, flying business class, especially when paying borderline economy prices, as we did, is always a huge thrill to me. It’s an incredible upgrade to travel from start to finish. Our crew were all extremely senior, truly honing their craft over the years of flying and they looked after us with precision and personality. I felt important, I felt appreciated.

a sign in a building

As for tips, it’s neat to sit on the upper deck, the back of each mini cabin has direct aisle access for both window and aisle. If departing from London, you’ll likely end up departing from some remote gates which you take the train to. The journey is short (five minutes or less) and unless you’re a ninja like me who needs to get on fast to snap pictures, I think you’d do better to wait out the boarding process in the lounge. As for service, if you want great service, be a great person, in lieu of that, bringing chocolates helps…

As Always, Get In Touch:

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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