Cobblestone Flight Review: CPH-LHR-CPT on British Airways

Actually, I am not going to say very much about the Copenhagen – London flight as there is not much to add relative to last time I flew there and wrote about it here. The BA website is still not able to assign a seat when clicking on it – and while the iPhone app still is slick and nicely done, it took a few tries and I actually didn’t succeed in getting my boarding card for the second leg until shortly before departure from Copenhagen.

I did manage to change my seat online – from an aisle seat in the three-seat block on the window side to an aisle seat in the center four-seat block. If you’re curious as to why, it will be explained at some point in the CFR Travellers Tips series. The trick was to find the wee text box that allows you to enter a seat number – by clicking, I would still be working on it… 😉

Again, getting through LHR Terminal 5 was sweet and easy. Absolutely minimal queues at boarding pass control and security. If I should be a grumpy, complaining passenger, I would say that more table space a little away from the X-ray belts after security would be a benefit for everyone – as it is, there is hardly any other choice than to collect your stuff back into bags and re-don belts etc at the end of the conveyor and that inevitably delays everything. CPH has this well in place – lots of space right next to and even more three steps away going into the terminal.

After a walk around, browsing a bookstore and enjoying a snack of garlic prawns and Pinot Grigio, it was time to jump on the transit to the B gates. Again, a breeze. Pre-boarding of families with small children started quite soon – all was well. Not.

At some point, the gate staff announced a technical problem and that more information would follow shortly. It turned out (as a summary of explanations given in the airport and later, in the plane) that a repair in the afternoon apparently had damaged some other thingumy in the engine. To change that part required some specialist tools that were not available on site and hence had to be fetched somewhere. As it were, the delay ended up between two and a half and three hours. Guess we should be happy we were in London and not at the end of some route – the fetching might after all be relatively quick in the headquarter end of things.

Nice touch by BA, by the way, to have one of the first officers from the plane do some of the key announcements to the waiting passengers. And also nice to see that BA has female three-stripe pilots!

Once we got under way shortly after 22:00 – and after a reboot of the entertainment system to allow showing the safety videos, which had us standing on the tarmac for another 10 minutes or so – the flight actually went pretty smoothly. Dinner and drinks service was condensed into one due to the lateness. That, actually, had my full approval – the handful of king prawns was all I’d had to eat since lunch at home, now 10-11 hours ago. I was starving!

One last kink – all the way to Cape Town, the journey information system has confusedly reported on the basis of going to San Fransisco. I had a little laugh over thinking about the GPS female voice repeating “Make a U-turn now” in the cockpit as the plane icon on the screen got further and further south, stretching the dotted route line longer and longer, anchored as it was in SFO. As a result, while the cabin crew is serving breakfast and we’re over South African territory, the screen reports 16,086 km still to go. Yikes – I hoped they filled the tanks to the brim!

So all in all, despite friendly crew and a smooth flight, I cannot call this a good one for BA. Three hours of delay is just a bad one, no matter how you look at it. Now there’s only left to hope that the luggage in the hold is not actually the load meant to go to San Francisco…

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