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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club First Class – but where?

First Class – but where?

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  • Ash

    I’ve flown Business on BA now looking to experience First with my partner to mark an anniversary. Any suggestions of good destinations? Have the premium 2-4-1 voucher.

    Done NYC.
    Australia/NZ – like to do but reading getting 2 redemption seats very difficult.
    South and central America? Are there first class routes?
    South Africa – havent seen first class.
    Any other options?

    We are flexible with dates.

    Lula

    You can see which routes have first class by looking at the cheapest fare finder. No guaranteed availability for rewards so it tends to be a bit more random as to whether and when they appear.

    We flew first to Mexico City last year and are returning First from Singapore in a few weeks so you can get it, especially if you’re able to be flexible.

    Hope you find something and enjoy the experience.

    NorthernLass

    As Lula says, there are no guarantee with F so flexibility is key. It might be helpful if you’re signed up to SeatSpy so you can search for availability in F for your travel dates. Remember as well that F can be released at any time and doesn’t always appear at T-355 like the other award seats. Destinations with decent availability include Mexico City (as per Lula), Bermuda, Boston, Doha, Dubai sometimes even Maldives (unless that one’s a glitch on SeatSpy!)

    If you really want to go to South America but also want the F experience, consider booking F to one of the US cities with availability then getting a connecting flight to your destination.

    JDB

    In South America you can fly F only to SCL currently and for South Africa there is F to JNB but not CPT. For South America going via the US will add considerably to your journey time (even Miami to Buenos Aires is nine hours) the inconvenience of transferring on two tickets and huge extra cost as you can’t use the 241 on the second leg.

    NorthernLass

    OP might just mean Latin America in general – ATL or MIA to Costa Rica (for example) would be doable – award flights on AA using avios with very low surcharges might be available from MIA. I know there’s extra work involved of changing flights but if the main aim is to travel F at least part of the way, it might be worth it or a city break could be factored in to the trip – I really like doing this.

    Ash

    Thank you all, helpful ideas.

    Chile would be interesting.
    Is First Class Iberia comparable to BA’s First Class? As one option is fly to Latin America from Spain.

    For South Africa, is Upper Class Virgin matching BA’s First.

    I read Business Class varies a fair bit between carriers, wondering if there is the same wide variation with First.

    I have enough Amex MR to use on partner airlines, but of course foregoing the BAPP voucher.

    memesweeper

    Is First Class Iberia comparable to BA’s First Class? As one option is fly to Latin America from Spain.

    Iberia don’t fly First at all AFAIK.

    For South Africa, is Upper Class Virgin matching BA’s First.

    Well, no, but for quite a while it was a lot better than BA business. Lounges, seat, service, food, the lot. These days, with the First wing in Heathrow BA First is getting better on the ground, and with Club Suite the gap has narrowed between BA and Virgin business. And some people hate the “old” Virgin seat (I liked it).

    I read Business Class varies a fair bit between carriers, wondering if there is the same wide variation with First.

    I have only got direct experience of BA First, but by all accounts there are much more luxurious offerings out there — Singapore and Emirates spring to mind.

    TGLoyalty

    If you really want to experience first do Emirates to/from Dubai.

    JDB

    I think people’s perception of F on different airlines depends on what you like. I continue to like BA having completed a return F trip yesterday, although it is rather crew dependent, the outbound crew having been vastly better. I prefer the low key service rather than fawning that ME and Asian airlines tend to offer. We have tried SQ, QR, EK, AA and QF but neither of the Japanese airlines for a few years. We found QR really quite poor in most respects. SQ is good but they seem to be instructed to call you by your surname as often as possible to a point that is really quite irritating and they don’t stop even if asked; Four Seasons do this in a way Mandarin and Peninsula use more sparingly to good effect. SQ F food is OK but not remarkable, Ch. Beychevelle good . EK is very bling but service is robotic, drinks focussed on brand not quality and food similarly based on expensive ingredients rather than quality/execution. QF significantly better on the ground and in the air than either. AA just doesn’t cut it at all. BA may no longer serve caviar (as it used to in F and on Concorde) but the food is still generally very good indeed. Last night, superb canapés, duck foie gras, truffled chicken, an exceptional Chablis 1er Cru which I don’t normally like and Chateau Haut Batailley 2010. Cheese not so good, chocolate pudding middling. In general while seats have improved massively F quality has declined dramatically. Swissair was just superb, the new Swiss is a shadow of that. Aer Lingus when it had F was superb, and the US airlines were much, much better than they are today. Rob says LH F is great but I have never liked that airline so haven’t tried it. I used to fly AF (F and once on their Concorde) a lot and was a member of Club 2000 but even then BA was better; not sure about today but AF European service is less good than BA Club. I have no doubt many will disagree but as I say it depends on the style you like; everyone has excellent seats/beds.

    VerdantBacon

    We found QR really quite poor in most respects

    Flying QR F DOH to BKK next year, will be our first time in QR F, though have flown J a few times, what did you find poor about it JDB?

    JDB

    We found QR really quite poor in most respects

    Flying QR F DOH to BKK next year, will be our first time in QR F, though have flown J a few times, what did you find poor about it JDB?

    Part of the problem is that QR F feels rather underwhelming vs QR J which is good, although I don’t think it is quite as amazing as some people suggest. With BA the difference between J and F is night and day. Specificallly on QR F, while you are in a very small cabin it doesn’t feel very private vs being hidden in the Q suite. There are no overhead bins, so if you can’t put your bag around the seat storage, they take it away to store; doesn’t bother me as I bring minimal hand luggage, but others quite annoyed. The food is a bit better, but some is just a rehash of J food presented in a smarter way – eg the Arab breakfast (which I often have as lunch/dinner options quite uninspiring) and some main courses. There is a fancy illustrated wine list but we were told that it was to show the types of wine, not the ones they actusllly had on board! The white burgundy and claret illustrated were both unavailable and replaced with inferior versions. They did have Krug! There was a salmon and caviar starter that had only microscopic amounts of caviar. We thought the service was quite poor – they keep coming to ask if everything is OK or do you need anything. There is nothing intuitive, ie noticing that your wine and water glasses are both empty and I don’t like constantly to feel like the supplicant. The buddy dining seat is better than the old BA one. Probably the biggest plus is having two very smart loos. The bar is the same as J as is the amenity kit albeit in a different bag that doesn’t feel very nice. It was interesting to experience but I wouldn’t bother doing it again.

    VerdantBacon

    Interesting, thanks for the insight. I do find on QR the service is a lot of asking if you need anything, rather than just topping things up like water.

    I guess I can see that QR F doesn’t feel as large a jump as QR J. We’ll be flying QSuites from LON to DOH before getting the F flight, I’ll remember to lower my expectations for the F leg! Though I am looking forward to seeing what the F lounge in DOH is like. Might need to eat there rather than on the plane!

    pointsfan

    How many points are we talking approximately for a F flight at least 5 hours long?

    I’m new to the points game but am doing my best.

    harley

    When are you flying? I am doing the same route in F in March, will let you know how it is

    We found QR really quite poor in most respects

    Flying QR F DOH to BKK next year, will be our first time in QR F, though have flown J a few times, what did you find poor about it JDB?

    harley

    Wanted to do Qsuite but there was no availbilty so opted for first for the extra 25k avios

    Interesting, thanks for the insight. I do find on QR the service is a lot of asking if you need anything, rather than just topping things up like water.

    I guess I can see that QR F doesn’t feel as large a jump as QR J. We’ll be flying QSuites from LON to DOH before getting the F flight, I’ll remember to lower my expectations for the F leg! Though I am looking forward to seeing what the F lounge in DOH is like. Might need to eat there rather than on the plane!

    Jonny1888

    You can see which routes have first class by looking at the cheapest fare finder. No guaranteed availability for rewards so it tends to be a bit more random as to whether and when they appear.

    We flew first to Mexico City last year and are returning First from Singapore in a few weeks so you can get it, especially if you’re able to be flexible.

    Hope you find something and enjoy the experience.

    Hello, read the message above which struck a chord. I was thinking of visiting Mexico City myself but wasn’t sure. May i ask if its safe and worth the trip? TIA

    JDB

    Not addressed to me, but we have just returned from Mexico City. It’s as safe as any other big city. The historic centre and nicer areas have been hugely cleaned up in the last 15 years and have significant police presence. We have been every year for the last five years and have never felt unsafe, even walking around at night. People say there is a risk of pickpockets on the metro and buses. There is a lot of history, interesting sights/museums and exceptional food all at very reasonable prices vs US or Europe. From there you can easily fly cheaply to many resorts, ideally avoiding the mega ones that have been ruined by overdevelopment.

    VerdantBacon

    When are you flying? I am doing the same route in F in March, will let you know how it is

    Flying at the end of May, LHR<->DOH in QSuites and DOH<->BKK in F. Would be interested in your thoughts as well!

    VerdantBacon

    You can see which routes have first class by looking at the cheapest fare finder. No guaranteed availability for rewards so it tends to be a bit more random as to whether and when they appear.

    We flew first to Mexico City last year and are returning First from Singapore in a few weeks so you can get it, especially if you’re able to be flexible.

    Hope you find something and enjoy the experience.

    Hello, read the message above which struck a chord. I was thinking of visiting Mexico City myself but wasn’t sure. May i ask if its safe and worth the trip? TIA

    We’re flying F to MEX around Easter with BA, will be our second time there, though the first time was 5 years ago. It’s definitely worth a visit though, great city and an amazing country

    Lula

    Echoing both @JDB and @VerdantBacon – Mexico City has felt very safe to me, both times I’ve visited. And that has included walking around the city a lot, sometimes by myself. All big cities have their sketchy areas. The one they say to avoid in Mexico City is Tepito. I went there with a local though and was a bit non-plussed as to why it has that reputation. I guess just because nothing happens while you’re there doesn’t mean you’re not taking a risk. But I think the old reputation of kidnappings etc is now outdated.

    I would say definitely visit. I loved the city – it has so much to offer in terms of history, culture, food, night life and general atmosphere. I’m looking at another trip towards the end of next year, and would love to be an annual visitor a la @JDB.

    Interestingly on the subject of safety, while I was in Jamaica earlier this year the US government gave advice to its citizens about the danger posed by guns in Jamaica. This was not too long after yet another school shooting in the USA. So I do sometimes wonder how reputations that countries/cities have come about as it very often seems to be developing countries that are perceived as dangerous when in fact many of us face bigger dangers closer to home.

    astra19

    Agree totally with @Lula and @JDB. I felt as safe in Mexico City as any city in Europe, and honestly safer than I do in some American cities. I’ve had a slightly pushy glasses seller (never seen so many in my life) and someone half-heartedly try to pickpocket an empty pocket at rush hour but no worse than somewhere like Paris.

    Anna

    @Lula, Jamaica has about 10 x the murder rate of the USA, and is currently in a state of emergency because of the level of violent crime. The Caribbean region as a whole has shocking violence statistics when you look into it. Though I imagine the US government warns against everywhere in case they get sued by a victim’s family for not providing adequate warning. That said, an American tourist was shot dead in Turks & Caicos a few weeks ago having been caught up in the horrific gang violence currently blighting the islands, so they do well to be cautious.

    Lula

    @Anna I wasn’t saying that there aren’t murders in Jamaica. Or that it’s a safe paradise. You don’t hear about a lot of school shootings there though. With crime as with anything else, the statistics tell only a tiny part of the story.

    Anna

    But as a visitor you’re more likely to be murdered in numerous other countries than in the US (even though the risk is still small. The conversation around school shootings is sadly a verbal tussle between the more liberal politicians and the gun lobby which never seems to be capable of progressing beyond words.

    Michael C

    Another +1 for MEX. Also
    an easy trip by coach up to Guanajuato, which is
    fab for a couple of days.

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