For the first time in just over a year, I’ve been able to get the chance to return to Poland, something which I’m more than pleased with. That meant a journey from London’s Heathrow T5 into Warsaw Chopin airport with the hope that I had collected together the correct documents.
I’ve written about the BA T5 Galleries South Lounge before and so won’t repeat that, as not much has changed recently in terms of its operation. Drinks are still self-service, but food needs to be ordered via a QR code and is brought over by staff. The food delights in the morning included the breakfast option of a bacon roll with hash brown, alongside a fruit salad. The lunch-time options included Vietnamese vegetable curry, chicken jalfrezi with lime & coriander rice, beef keema with rice, mixed leaf salad, five bean salad with feta and a black rice, Quinoa & Edamame salad. I went for the jalfrezi and five bean salad, with the former being excellent and the latter being OK but a little short on feta. I’m always content with the quality of the food, but some people inevitably moan about BA’s offering.
The lounge was though the busiest that I’ve seen it and that perhaps suggests some sort of normality is definitely returning. A couple of customers were completely rude in their dealing with the staff and although I wanted to say something, I thought that no good could possibly come from that. I was able to get one of the high seats by the power points and remained in the lounge for three hours or so, all very relaxing.
The gate wasn’t called for ten minutes after it was meant to have been, instead it then switched to ‘please wait’. I guessed that this meant it would be departing from A10, the bus gate.
And here we are, the bus gates. Boarding was well managed and Group 1 and then Groups 1 to 3 were allowed to board first. I’m in Group 2, as I’m not decadent enough to be in Group 1, but that was enough to get on the bus first.
The bus was a little over-filled I thought (I didn’t photograph that), not in terms of it being dangerous, it just wasn’t comfortable for those who boarded last.
And time to board, the aircraft was the A320 G-EUYT, which I’ve never flown on before. And I accept that no-one is really bothered about that, but there we go…. The aircraft was brought into service in February 2014 and it has only been used by British Airways.
I had a seat in the emergency exit row which I like because of the slight extra space, but dislike that my bag has to be in the overhead lockers. For the first time I’ve seen though, a member of cabin crew was guarding the lockers by the emergency exits so that customers could ensure that their bags were placed there and not half way down the plane. Although I boarded early and this didn’t make any difference to me, it did speed up boarding later on.
The flight was full and I’m not sure that there were any empty seats. The customer next to me arrived towards the end of boarding and started to put his bag on the floor. I was standing up as I was in the aisle seat and let him in, thoughtfully asking him if he wanted to put that bag in the overhead locker. He replied “no” and in my very British way I added “are you sure, it might be easier?” to which he replied “no” again so I sat back down. The customer at the window seat, who seemed perfectly friendly, was more direct and said only slightly gruffly “that bag needs to go in the overhead locker”, at which point I had to stand up again as that more direct approach worked.
The aircraft was meant to take off at 15:15 and arrive at 18:50, but we took off late due to a delay in the baggage being loaded. We eventually took off at 15:47, but time was made up en route and we arrived at 18:46 (can I add that I didn’t sit and measure that, I took that information from Flight Radar). As an aside, the crew weren’t handing out wipes for customers to clean their seat area as they’ve done over the last year, I’m not sure whether that’s by omission or whether that has been scrapped.
The on-board catering and I’m happy with this, it annoyed me when they removed it. There’s the option to buy additional items, but I noticed only a handful of people did so. Crisps and water is sufficient for me though, it wasn’t a long flight.
The fare cost me £30 each way, which I have to say continues to offer excellent value for money, especially given that BA funded lounge access for me before the flight. The crew were friendly, the aircraft was spotlessly clean and the pilots were professional with timely announcements. I have nothing really to fault BA on, I thought that this was a well managed service.
For those interested, anyone going to Poland at the moment needs to fill in a locator form and have their Covid pass ready, with both being checked. The Brexit arrangements mean that British travellers are inevitably now sent to a different area which all takes longer and passports are now stamped. Some idiotic British passenger (I admit to be judgemental as she was being rude) was lucky to be allowed in as she was complaining that she was being asked where she was staying and why was only she being asked? The member of the Polish Border Guard was calm and helpful, not mentioning that it was because she hadn’t bothered to fill in a locator form. This whole process only took around five minutes though and with that, I was back in Poland. How very lovely.