After our review of BA Club World from London Heathrow to Miami, here’s a review of the return flight back to London.
BA flights from Miami depart from the Central Terminal.
The BA check-in desks do move around a lot. If you’ve flown out of Miami before, don’t assume they’ll be in the same place next time! Miami is of course a huge American Airlines hub. Security queues, even the priority lines, can be quite long.
The designated lounge for BA passengers is the Premium lounge which is located after security. This is on level 5 of Concourse E and can only be accessed by lift. This often results in queues to leave the lounge when boarding is called in the lounge.
It’s an expansive lounge but the decor is a little dated. There are shower rooms. If you want to use these you need to ask at reception. There has been talk of a refurbishment for some time, but no firm plans have been announced yet.
How the busy the lounge is depends on whether Finnair and Qatar Airways flights are also operating. Finnair flies from Miami three times weekly in the winter. Qatar Airways operates daily in winter and five times weekly in summer.
The Central Terminal is connected to the North Terminal used by American Airlines. If you don’t mind the walk you’re better off using the American Airlines Flagship lounge near Gate 30 on Concourse D. It has significantly more modern decor and, more importantly, better catering with hot food.
BA departures tend to use Gates E23-E25 and, regardless of which lounge you use, you do need to take a shuttle train to access these gates, as per the terminal map.
To boarding, and it was the familiar scene at Gate E24 with a large crowd gathering at the start of the boarding lines.
Boarding procedures are a perennial battle between airlines setting procedures, and passengers being willing and able to follow them.
All it took was for just one passenger to move towards the front of the boarding line, and then everyone else followed. Chaos ensued as BA ground staff battled to get Group 1 passengers through the lane.
Miami was, until the last season, served by a daily Airbus A380 in the winter. BA used two adjacent gates for A380 departures and boarding was far more orderly as passengers queued correctly in the designated lanes well before boarding started.
The Cabin & Take Off
On to the aircraft and it’s upstairs to one of the most coveted seats in Club World, 64K on the Upper Deck of the Boeing 747.
This seats benefits from direct access to the aisle, complete privacy with no passengers in your line of sight, and plenty of storage space in the side bins.
On take off you do get good views of Miami Beach. Though, they are better if you sit on the port side of the aircraft.
Food and Beverage
A full meal is served on board all BA departures from Miami. Here is the menu for this flight.
- Smoked salmon, quail egg, horseradish cream
- Burrata, tomato and asparagus salad
- Mushroom velouté, tarragon cream
- Fresh seasonal salad, cherry tomato, toasted pumpkin seeds, artichoke, choice of creamy pesto dressing or balsamic dressing
Here’s the smoked salmon:
- Seared fillet of Midwestern beef, potato au gratin, roasted squash, Savoy cabbage, whole-grain mustard jus
- Roasted haddock, herb mashed potato, carrot, broccoli
- Orecchiette pasta, creamy pesto sauce, courgette, artichoke, pine nuts
Here’s the haddock:
- Chocolate salted mille-feuille, cherry coulis
- Lemon fondant, raspberry coulis
- Warm sticky banana sponge pudding, caramel sauce
- Fresh seasonal fruit, strawberry mango
- Cheese board: Point Reyes Original Blue, Bûcheron, Prairie Breeze Cheddar, celery, apricot, farmhouse chutney
Here’s the lemon fondant. Like the outbound flight, as you can see, it is tiny. If you want another dessert, just ask the crew.
After the meal service, it’s lights out. With a flight time of around 8 hours, there’s enough time to get a decent amount of sleep.
Breakfast cards are collected before take-off.
On this route you have a choice of a full English breakfast wrap or a mozzarella and tomato savoury Danish.
In-flight Entertainment and Connectivity
Like the outbound flight, this aircraft has had a light refurbishment but no new in-flight entertainment system, nor WiFi.
The Upper Deck was well served by two very bright, confident, and engaging crew members who really did make an effort to build rapport with individual passengers.
If you’ve flown BA with any degree of frequency you’ll know that crews have set scripts to follow for in-flight announcements.
Let’s just say the Customer Service Manager on this flight was prone to a bit of ad-libbing!
The flight arrived at London Heathrow Terminal 3 in the thick of the transatlantic arrival rush hour.
It certainly showed with fairly long queues to get to the immigration gates. Post baggage claim and customs, you do have the option of using the American Airlines arrivals lounge for a shower and full breakfast.
Miami was until last winter served by a daily seasonal Airbus A380 service. Frankly, it is much missed.
The A380 may not have the small 20 seat cabin of The Boeing 747 Upper Deck, but it is a much better aircraft to fly on. And the Club World on A380 on this route was rarely full. This may explain why the aircraft has not returned.
Whilst this particular aircraft was in good condition, a friend did fly on another BA flight on this route very shortly afterwards and did not have good reports.
Leaving to one side American Airlines codeshares, three BA flights a day all served by the same aircraft type feels very restrictive. Most non-refurbished Boeing 747s will be retired over the next couple of years as BA begins to take delivery of the Airbus A350-1000 and later the Boeing 787-10 and 777-9. Hopefully, passengers will soon have a choice of more modern aircraft, with of course a new Club World cabin, on this route.
Disclosure: This review was carried out as part of a self-funded trip.