Trip report BA902 LHR-FRA
Any fear Andrew and I may have had of standing out like over excited schoolboys as we headed to board BA902 were immediately relieved as not one, not two, not even three, but a significant proportion of passengers were photographing the aircraft shortly due to take them to Frankfurt. I have to confess to not knowing how many people usually board BA902 at this ungodly hour on a Sunday, let alone how many also return the same day, but this was no ordinary flight, and no ordinary plane.
Andrew had done the on-line check in (OLCI) whilst I opted to swiftly collect mine at T5 where I was met by the usually friendly BA check in staff, with no queue ahead of me. Fortunately the no queue theme maintained its presence through Fast Track security, which for once was exactly that, though I had foolishly worn a shirt with metal on the pockets so endured a full body scan. However, it was only a brief distraction and barely impeded upon our progress towards first breakfast in the Galleries South Lounge. The bacon rolls were well received, and a portobello mushroom and tomato option was also available, along with an assortment of cereal, pastries and fruit. In spite of the initial bravado, the Bloody Mary’s remained in the well-stocked alcohol cabinets, whilst fruit juice and coffee sufficed. After all, there was a lot of excitement to be had later in the day, and we didn’t want to miss any of it.
And so it was years in the waiting, but only hours ago in the booking, the two Andrew’s boarded G-XLEA, British Airway’s brand new A380-841.
Upstairs was out of bounds, as was the first class area on the lower deck. The Club World section, where we were sat, constituted 6 rows of 8 seats, in the now familiar ying/yang 2-4-2 formation. Travelling rearwards in an RAF VC10 was one thing, but I am now used to BA’s layout, particularly as it means you have a bed to lie in en route.
In spite of boarding comfortably in time, it wasn’t the new technology of a £65m aircraft that let us down; the docking mechanism had become devoted to its new charge and didn’t want to let it go. Finally prised apart we taxied to runway 27L and within 27 seconds of starting our take off roll we were climbing gracefully toward our cruising altitude. In a matter of minutes the crew were round with hot towels before starting the breakfast service. We both opted for a full English as our 2nd breakfast, complete with croissant and fruit juice. And to celebrate our inaugural trip on this behemoth, wine…though we really ought to have ordered champagne, which was available! Schoolboy error, but then there were many a grown man passing through at least their second childhood on this flight!
The remainder of the flight was spent in complete awe at the immense size of the wing, and the varying perspectives one got of it dependent upon where you were sat. In 14A its dromedary appearance was all too obvious (see blog) and was my sole view from the moment I boarded until I left my seat upon arrival. Indeed unless you were sat in row 10 (Club World) or forward, or row 24 and rearwards in economy, the wing would form the focal point of your viewing pleasure.
Arrival into Frankfurt was as graceful as our departure 1hr 4 minutes earlier. Once again the cameras were out at every available position to capture a defining image of the aircraft that had clearly captured the imagination of those who had just travelled on it. We had arrived into Terminal 2 and were parked at the end of Pier E, but I don’t think the long walk to immigration, or the subsequent melee to get through passport control bothered anyone.
As an aside I have to mention the wonderful crew who were also evidently enjoying every minute of operating BA’s first new aircraft type in nearly two decades.
NB – this flight was operated under Club Europe mode. In regular Club World operational mode you would of course have the In Flight Entertainment (IFE) to amuse you in the [likely] event of having scanned every square inch of the wing and needing an alternative viewing option.