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Travel blogger, points collector and trip planner. I travel the world for fun and give advice on how to travel. 70+ countries so far...... I love to travel, write and take pictures of everything. I'm here to share my stories from my travels around the world and i hope to give you a great insight to the destinations and the joy of travel. I've worked on building some of the best travel advice out there, i'm not here to save you money, I'm here to let you know all the great things you can when you arrive. One of the best parts of the journey for me is getting there, i hope my flight guides give you a great look into each airline around the world and the service they can offer.

British Airways First Class Johannesburg to London – Airbus A380

British Airways Flight 56
Depart: Johannesburg (JNB)
Arrive: London (LHR)
STD: 8:20pm (ADP: 8:22pm)
STA: 5:25am (ATA: 5:10am)
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Reg: G-XLEE
First Flight: 9th Oct 2013
Delivered to Airline: 6th Mar 2014

Seat: 2A
Flight Time: 11h 3M
Meal Service: Dinner & Breakfast

After a fantastic two weeks in South Africa it was finally time to fly home, and what better way to return to London and enjoy the long flight back but on the A380 in First Class.

The aviation geek inside me was happy the route was operated by an A380, I have had the enjoyment of flying British Airways in First class on the Boeing 777, 747 and 787 and was excited to experience the different first class seat that they have on the A380
We arrived into Johannesburg airport with plenty of time, I had deliberately booked a long layover in JNB as I was not sure if our com air flight would be delayed at all when flying from port Elizabeth, more on that flight in another trip report though.

We arrived at check in a few minutes early and just waited around a little before it was open, no big deal, I hate rushing at airports and like to take my time.

British airways has a check in aisle for every class of service on this flight from Economy through to First class

Check in was done very quickly and we were given our boarding passes and instructed to go through passport control and that the British airways lounges would be to the left after passport and security control.

I’m really glad we arrived early with plenty of time to spare, as the line for passport control was horrendous and took about forty five minutes to get through it just after security.

After a short walk past the duty free and all the shops we arrived at the British airways galleries lounges.
The lounge is split into two sides, the left side is the first class or one world emerald card holder side and the right side is the business class part of the lounge. Though that side did have all the showers.

The Galleries first lounge here was almost like a much smaller version of the Galleries first lounge at London Heathrow.

Though let’s be honest, the people working in the lounge here were fantastic and really fun. They noticed I was taking photos around the lounge and wanted to be in a few and have a few taken with me, so here is one. I wish all lounge staff were this friendly and fun.

The food selection in the lounge was enough to fill you up and there were no complaints from me.
Granted some will feel this food does not cut the first class experience, but this is not the Concorde room at Heathrow.

There was a make your own salad station with plenty to choose from

And then a hot selection of Pasta & melted cheese and vegetables,

What caught my eye was the chicken curry, I decided to go for some of that to satisfy my hunger.

There are also ready made sandwiches and wraps in bags that you can take away from the lounge if you want to take something with you on the plane, and then plenty of drink options.

The first class Champagne in this lounge was Lanson.
Not my favorite Champagne in the world, but I have no problem enjoying it at the end of a wonderful vacation.

I had a few glasses of Champagne and then decided to enjoy my curry with Linton Park Chardonnay.
I had really enjoyed a lot of wine in South Africa, so felt it fitting to have a bit more.

And I guess nothing like some cake to finish my meal with,

After drinking a bit more and relaxing we had about one hour and twenty minutes until departure and at this point I decided to have a quick shower and ventured over to the business class side of the lounge and all the shower rooms were empty which was nice.

As this was a night time flight all the way I had ventured down earlier to the gate to catch a photo of our Airbus A380 which would be taking us home.
I wanted to have a nice daytime picture of the plane.

Our ride home today would be G-XLEE
Which was delivered to British airways on 6th March 2014 and made her around three years old at the time of our flight.

British airways fits in fourteen first class suites onto the Airbus A380, which to be honest they could have put in more if they had made them smaller.
So I think the space each suite has is very good indeed.

As we made our way to the gate there was a pointless passport check to walk into the seating area which formed a massive line for everyone.
They glanced at my passport and gave me the proceed nod, our passports would also be checked when boarding was called and once we boarded the plane, so it was a bit over kill on the passport checking front.

We did arrive to the gate a bit late and boarding for first class had already been called, so we pretty much just walked straight up to board.
Upon entering the aircraft I was greeted by name and escorted to my seat and informed someone would be along shortly to offer me a drink and settle me in.
I was really impressed with the size and space of the first class suite. A lot bigger than any other of the first class seats British airways have on offer.

I have used a wide lens here to try to give you a better view as to how much personal space you have.
I know people complain about British airways a lot, but I really like the first class seat.

Here is the view from my seat sitting down

And then the view from sitting on the ottoman

And an overall view of the seating area

Within a few minutes a member of the crew greeted me and asked me what I would like to drink,
I asked for Laurent Perrier grand siecle and the crew member informed me that would be fine and went off to grab a bottle.
This Champagne typically retails for just over one hundred pounds a bottle.
The crew member returned in a matter of minutes and poured me a glass

I then took a bit of time to look around my seat,
My slippers, pajamas and amenity kit were laid out for me

On the side of the seat is a rather deep pocket for storing person items, but it won’t fit a laptop or anything of that size

The seat controls are very easy to understand, you simply just need to turn the dial in the middle to adjust your seat and there are a few preset buttons including one for take off and landing. You can also control the lights around the seat from here.

You also have your own personal wardrobe located at the front of your seat to store a jacket and personal items, plenty of space in here.

I cracked open the amenity kit and it contained the usual items and a few extras including Deodorant, eye gel and face cream.

A quick look at the paperwork that came with the seat, including a guide on how to enjoy your first class seat and space

One part British airways could improve on here, is maybe they could provide some nice bose headphones in the first class cabin.
These are the same cheap headphones they provide in business class, I can’t believe it would be much of a stretch to have 14 sets of better headphones for first class passengers, once again its the little touches that go a long way.

You also have a person reading light that can be dimmed to bright or dimmed really low

I then took a look over the menu and decided in my mind what I was going to enjoy on the flight

And a look over the Champagne and wine list
It was nice to see a British sparking wine on the menu


I was also happy to see three South African wines on the menu, two red and one white

There was also an extensive tea selection and coffee to pick from

Follow by the breakfast menu

The captain then announced that he hoped we could push back early and take off right on time.
He informed us that if we did not leave right on time there was a good chance we would miss our arrival slot into heathrow during the very busy morning rush of arrivals.

He also let us know that we would be dodging a few thunderstorms on route as we made our way north.
Thankfully we did push back a few minutes early and the safety video started to play.


Our taxi to the runway was fairly short and it was pitch black outside so nothing much to see on the taxi apart from ground lights.
We lined up and started our take off roll, which was really long, but that’s normal for JNB airport due to its height above sea level.

It was a clear night and we were treated to some wonderful views of the city at night

Once we had reached a safe cruising altitude the seat belt sign was turned off and the crew jumped into action
First off I was greeted again and given a hot towel to freshen up with

Before the crew came back for my drinks order I decided to change into something more comfortable for the long flight.

Much better, a lot more comfortable

A quick peek on the staircase to the upper deck, not much for me to see up there

When back at my seat, the crew asked me what I wanted to drink, It was a long flight, so I had to give some more Champagne a go.
They just gave me the entire bottle and said to enjoy it

The flight time would be around eleven hours and flown entirely through the night with an arrival time of around five AM.

Whilst sipping on my Champagne I decided to browse the IFE selection and see what was on offer

I find that British airways always does a good job of providing great entertainment options on flights.
I know others will complain the system is clunky and slow to use, but its the content that matters, not the speed of the user interface

I settled on watching Genius, which was pretty good.

The crew came around and asked me when I wanted to have my dinner and I informed them I wanted it in about thirty minutes to which they had no problem at all offering, so for the next thirty minutes they continued to top up my Champagne.

Shortly before dining I opened up the tray table table and I say table as this thing was massive, It’s probably one of the biggest tables I have ever had, still we had decided to have dinner together and this table would offer the space needed for two people to dine.

To start with our table was setup, we took this flight during the first round of the 2017 British airways strikes.
The Johannesburg flight is operated by a mixed fleet crew which are the ones on strike.
However our crew were all professional and did a fantastic job, the person looking after us admitted that this was his first time setting up for “buddy dining” and he was just as excited as we were.

To start with I went with the Mediterranean vegetable tart served with Basil pesto dressing, which was enjoyable


Brittney decided to go for the duo of citrus flavored rock lobster medallion with beetroot and dill back loin salmon with an orange confit and fennel puree.

After enjoying our starters we both decided to give the Cream of lemon and carrot soup with toasted almond sumac a try

At this point I probably could have stopped eating, but the show must go on.
For my main course I went with the warm spicy honey chicken breast which came with baba ghanoush, hummus, muhammara, peppers, pomegranate seeds, croutons and was served on a bed of greens.
This hit the spot just perfectly, it was not a really heavy main and was a good amount of food.

Brittney decided to give the pasta a try, which she was really disappointed with.
I know pasta on an airplane is always an issue, but the pasta was cooked well, I think it was more the lack of imagination with the sauce, it was rather bland and had no flavor.

After both finishing up our mains we asked our friendly crew if we could wait for about thirty minutes before having anything else to eat
They were more than happy to accommodate this and we sipped and enjoyed some red wine and passed some time.

To finish our dining experience we both went with the cheese plates which consisted of three types of cheese.
We had smoked kwaito, cheddar and Camembert which all went down great with our red wine.

After all that food and wine we both decided it was time to relax and Brittney returned to her seat.
At this point we still had around seven hours of flight time left so I asked the crew to make up my bed for me.

The bed was very comfortable with plenty of space to lie on my back or side.
I don’t normally sleep on planes, but after a long day and lots of champagne and wine I feel asleep for a few hours

I woke up again just as we passed over Marseilles after a good little sleep and slowly woke up and decided it would be a good time to have a light breakfast

Once again the giant table was deployed and my table setup. I told the crew member serving me that I did not want a main breakfast, but just wanted a few of the starters

I enjoyed my small selection starting with the pineapple & ginger smoothie followed by my fruit plate and pastry and then finished with my Bircher muesli with a strawberry, apricot & a prune.

It really hit the spot and was prefect to assist with my hangover dehydration

After enjoying my breakfast I was handed a hot towel and the service was complete.

The lights in the cabin were then switched on the awake any remaining passengers

And we started our morning arrival into Heathrow airport.
The landing was smooth and it had been a delightful eleven hours

After clearing immigration our bag arrived quickly and we proceeded to the arrivals lounge
First class passengers can enjoy breakfast in the Concorde breakfast room in the arrivals lounge

We also grabbed a quick shower before enjoying our breakfast,

The usual selection

Last time I dined in here I remember that BA cheaply only gives you one poached egg per dish, so asked the server if I could have two eggs on my avocado toast, he looked confused, so I just asked for two rounds to avocado toast to enjoy.

Despite the strike being in effect, it had been a wonderful experience and our flights operated without the notice of the strike.
Even though British airways first class is often compared as being the best business class product out there, I found that the service levels on this flight were indeed first class, making for a great long haul flight.

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One Comment on “British Airways First Class Johannesburg to London – Airbus A380”

  1. paulifeblog August 11, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    Great overview of the BA first class offering. Thank you.

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