Many of you have probably read my last flight review where I ended up in a pickle at Madrid Barajas Airport. My inbound flight from Lanzarote had been delayed due to a tech aircraft on the outbound Lanzarote flight. I was, therefore, stuck in the domestic terminal at Madrid and needed to somehow get across Barajas to the Satellite terminal in under 10minutes as my flight to London was already closing. You can see the awkwardness of my situation.
The problem I was faced with was to run for my life clinging onto the slim chance I may actually make it in time, or keep my dignity and walk, moving my flight to the later one. My current flight was scheduled on a Boeing 777-200, so the inner avgeek kicked in, I took the first option and ran for my life, although even that was trickier that I first thought. We were being taken by bus from my inbound aircraft to the terminal and after a painful 10minutes of sitting on the bus, I was let loose and proceeded straight to connections, through passport control and onto the train in seconds. To my annoyance the train moved along at a measly 10mph on the satellite terminal. Lots of painful waiting and fidgeting followed but we did finally arrive at the Satellite terminal. A small handful of passengers were also running in the same direction as I was headed, so knew I was not alone.
FLIGHT CLOSED read the screen in front of my aircraft, however I was ushered forward and escorted onto the aircraft, they had obviously realised several passengers on my inbound Lanzarote flight were booked onto this 777 and had made the effort to hold the doors. The first of many great surprises I experienced with British Airways on this flight. While many would have been surprised that a large aircraft was on this route, I was not because I had checked Kayak before booking. Kayak is great as it shows you which aircraft will operate every flight! I then booked with the cheapest deal I could find.
After my sweaty sticky body made it onto seat 35K we were already pushing back for our departure to London. One thing I noticed when I was going to sit down was the first officer talking to a little boy further up economy about flying, just the little things that make a young boys dream become more of a reality, not something you see nowadays anymore. The captain himself also made a friendly warm welcome brief to the passengers and a few minutes later we were in the air bound for London!
I have been on many wide body flights and the best spot on any large aircraft for wing view shots is by the 2nd main door in front of the engine. While snapping away on my camera I got talking to the cabin manager about why I was flying today, my Instagram page and the website! I then asked if I could sit in the first class cabin for the flight as it remains empty on these short haul flights. She thought the idea was great as I could take pictures of an empty first cabin and chat to the crew all the way to London but she just had to check with the Captain. I returned to my seat in Y class while awaiting the verdict. Funnily enough, 5 minutes later I was called to the front of the plane to await my first class seat. This was my first time in first and even though there was no first class dining, it was still a pretty awesome experience. I got some fantastic British Airways hospitality and was offered a free drink and some nuts.
The next great surprise on this flight to London was that the first officer came out and had a chat with me mid-flight! We sat in my little first class ‘suite’ and got talking about flight training, school and the next part of my journey to the flight deck which, again, is not something you get on many flights. The crew were happy to take pictures of me in the seat and generally chat about the flights I have taken, favourite aircraft and all the general avgeeky stuff. Flights are always more enjoyable when the crew actually try to engage with the customer and drum up a conversation rather than smile from a distance. To end a great flight with British Airways we descended into the most beautiful sunset, to an even more beautiful on-time arrival.
To wrap things up I will say that i had a very comfortable and enjoyable flight with British Airways on this occasion, the use of wide-bodies on their London-Madrid route does give that extra special feel to short haul travel. If you want to read our review on the inaugural London to Madrid flight on the larger 777-300ER click here.