British Airways: London Heathrow to Budapest (return)

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Hi, I returned home quite late last night after a pleasant flight from Budapest. Unfortunately, both of my trips were during the hours of darkness, so photography was impossible! Anyway, here are the reports.
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British Airways flight BA870 London Heathrow to Budapest Friday 29 October I haven't flown with British Airways since last Christmas, so to be flying with them from Heathrow to Budapest was something I was looking forward to. Our flight was scheduled for its departure at 8.15pm from Terminal 1, so in order to compete with the rush hour traffic, we made the 20 mile drive at about 4.30pm, with me hopefully arriving at the airport around 3 hours before departure. The terminal seemed quite empty, with very little going on in the British Airways check-in areas. Within minutes, a man working for the airline pointed us in the right direction and we joined a small queue of four or five people. There were four agents working at the desks, all of whom were on the telephones. As a result of this, the queue built up slightly, but didn't seem to move. We spent at least 20 minutes waiting for anything to happen. Once at the check-in desk, we handed over our Expedia travel confirmation and checked in our baggage. The agent asked our preference of seats and then issued boarding cards for seats 18A and 18B, next to the window. We were carrying a lot of video equipment and lights, which were valuable and quite fragile, so we decided to carry them as hand luggage. Between the two of us, our hand luggage must have weighed in excess of 20kg, just a little more than the permitted 6kg each! The check-in agent said to carry our heavy tripod to the gate and they would stow it in the hold when we got there. I was happy with that and we were soon on our way. We sat in departures and then went and enjoyed a meal at the Italian restaurant next to Burger King - not sure what its called? Once we had killed a few hours in there, our flight was called for boarding at gate 29. Upon arrival at the gate, we approached the help desk and explained the situation with our tripod. The member of staff called a dispatcher to come up. He said it wouldn't be a problem to place it in the overhead locker. By about 8.00pm, boarding had begun and rather than calling by row number, it was 'general boarding', so anyone on the flight could climb aboard the Airbus A320-200 flying us to Budapest. We waited patiently until everyone else had boarded, just to prevent accidentally smacking into someone with our rather large pieces of hand luggage. The crew welcomed us aboard and were happy to assist with the stowing of our luggage in the overhead locker. Our flight was totally full, except for just a couple of seats. Everyone was on board just 10 minutes after boarding (8.10pm) and we were all set to be away on time. However, the Captain came onto the tannoy and explained that we would be taxiing for 25 minutes before taking off. We had to taxi from our gate, up by runway 27L, down to runway 9R where we were held up in a rather long queue. There was the usual traffic in at Heathrow including a Thai Airways 747-400 and a British Airways 737-400. At 8.52pm, we taxiied onto the runway and departed for Budapest. We were more than 30 minutes behind schedule. The television screens showed us our whereabouts on the map, along with the current altitude. For a good few minutes we flew at 6,000ft. Not much of a surprise considering how busy the London skies were. Cabin service was well under way within 30 minutes and the drinks trolley and the meals were wheeled out into the cabin. As per usual, British Airways offer a great selection of drinks and high quality food - food that doesn't always appeal to your 'average' person. We were given a hot ciabatta filled with cheese and ham. The ciabatta contained olives and peppers. The thought of it made me cringe, but they were tasteless. As well as this, passengers were given a long cardboard lunchbox containing a cup of mineral water, a fruit salad, a lemon muffin and bits 'n' bobs to add to hot drinks. Later in the flight, the cabin lights were dimmed for about 30 minutes, allowing people to sleep. Once descent was under way, the lights were switched back on and we started to make turns into the Hungarian capital. We slammed down onto the runway at Budapest and took our time turning off. There was no rush to get off of the runway either. There didn't seem to be anything approaching behind us and there was nothing moving on the ground. The time was nearly 11.55pm. We had arrived 15 minutes late. The Captain had said that we should expect a flight time of 2 hours 5 minutes when at Heathrow, so he was spot on. The traffic at Budapest was limited, and most of the aircraft seemed to be parked up for the night, with their little red, "remove before flight" strips attached to them. Aircraft parked up were Malev Fokkers and Boeings (736s etc), Lufthansa CRJ, Wizz A320s and a few others. As we pulled onto the stand, a Malev Charter 737 was pushing back for departure. Apart from that, not much else was happening. An enjoyable flight.
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British Airways flight BA867 Budapest to London Heathrow Monday 1 November The flight I had been waiting for was finally here! British Airways flight 867 to London Heathrow was due to depart at 7.35pm. When we entered the terminal building for check-in at about 5.30pm, it was obvious which of the check-in areas were ours - the one with the largest queues. There were four check-in desks in use in Terminal 2B; three for economy and the other for Club Europe passengers. It took about 20 minutes to get to the front of the queue - not bad when you consider that there were about 30 people ahead of me. The screen above the desk notified us of a very short delay to the service. Instead of 7.35pm, it was now 8.00pm. We managed to keep hold of our fragile hand luggage when checking in and were given cards for seats 34J and 34K on the Boeing 767-300 which would fly us home. I've always loved the British Airways 767s. I've never been on one before, but the aircraft looks great and to see it in a British colour scheme is just amazing, hence the reason I was so looking forward to the flight! Ferihegy Airport is impressive. It is split in two - one terminal for Malev and the other for everyone else. What I saw of terminal 2B was nice. It was very clean; free from litter and every bit of the tiled floor was shining under the light. We had to wait longer to be security screened than we did to check in. There was one metal detector and one x-ray machine in use and the queue had around 50 or 60 people in it. Everything happened so slowly. The security screening area was understaffed - just three members of staff; one watching the screen, one male for searching and one female for searching. Passengers had to load and retrieve their bags themselves using the big blue linen baskets! We had a friend who was flying with Wizzair to Luton at 6.05pm. Fortunately, even when we arrived in the departures area (about 6.15pm), her flight was only just boarding, so we managed to have a chat with her and to make our arrangements for meeting her back in England. We sat at gate 16 and waited for the 767 to arrive. G-BZHC pulled up at the gate shortly after 7.00pm and passengers quickly dismbarked. 30 minutes later, flight 867 was just about to start boarding. I approached a member of the ground staff and asked if I could board just a few minutes early, so I could stow my hand luggage properly without blocking the aisles for fellow passengers. She said I could and I quickly grabbed my bags and boarded the aircraft first. The crew were all in place and welcomed us on board, pointing us to our seats. It took a good 5 minutes for anyone else to get on board, so we were quite lucky to have been allowed to board earlier. Passengers trickled onto the aircraft slowly and the boarding process was complete within 20 minutes. The flight appeared to be about 70% full. At around 7.50pm, the aircraft door was closed promptly and we pushed back and began the relatively short taxi to the runway. There were no aircraft ahead of us, so it would only be a couple of minutes before we were airborne. It turns out that the small delay was due to a passenger from the inbound service (BA866) checking in for the flight, but not turning up to the gate, so it took time to retrieve his baggage from the hold. We took off at about 8.00pm and inflight service began. We were served exactly the same meal as we had been on the outbound flight; ciabatta filled with cheese and ham, so slightly disappointing. We also got our lunchboxes filled with a cake, Mars bar and fruit salad again. When it was time for the duty free goods to come around, I decided to make a purchase. The item I wanted was £23.50, but I only had £20 on me. I told the stewardess I would have to pay £20 cash and the rest in Hungarian Forints. She told me that they didn't accept the currency! I was shocked. An airline flying into and out of particular countries should accept that currency. Fortunately, I also had Thailand Bahts on me (for god knows what reason), but they didn't accept these either. I had managed to scrounge together £22.95, so was 55p short. When she came back to me again later on, she let me off of the 55p, so I was happy. Landing was to be on runway 9L at Heathrow, so we had to fly past the airport and then back in again, adding extra minutes to the total flight time. By 9.25pm we were on the ground, just 15 minutes behind schedule. The aircraft taxiied to Terminal 1 and was disembarked quickly. What a dump Heathrow was. The baggage reclaim area was falling apart and the entire ceiling above baggage reclaim #1 was missing, revealing lots of disgustingly dirty and damp pipes etc. Flights were excellent both ways and I look forward to another visit to Budapest with British Airways some time in the future.
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Original post
Profile picture for user LBARULES

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Great report Michael - Cant wait for your Easyjet reports now :)

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Great report Michael, sounds like you really enjoyed the 767 and the BA service.
Profile picture for user SHAMROCK321

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That was a great trip report one of the best Ive read.I was just lookin at the BA timetable on my computer and its now showing BA870 as a A319.
Profile picture for user T5

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Great report Michael - Cant wait for your Easyjet reports now :)
Thanks LBARULES. I've never flown easyJet report, but heard some good reviews about them, so I'm really looking forward to it. :)
That was a great trip report one of the best Ive read.I was just lookin at the BA timetable on my computer and its now showing BA870 as a A319.
Glad you liked the report, Shamrock. As for the aircraft that operates 870, it does vary. If you check the Heathrow/Gatwick movements site, it is normally an A319 or an A320. The LHR-BUD-LHR service is also operated regularly by 757s and 767s. Does anyone know when 870 returns and what flight number it operates as? The flight arrives in Budapest at 11.40pm, so it clearly doesn't return that night.
Profile picture for user Mark L

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Nice report Michael. I have actualy been on both the aircraft you flew on! I assume you were in the rear (cloth) section of the 767 rather than the middle (leather) section?
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Great Report mate!
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Brilliant Report Michael Glad You Had A Good Flight :D
Profile picture for user T5

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Nice report Michael. I have actualy been on both the aircraft you flew on! I assume you were in the rear (cloth) section of the 767 rather than the middle (leather) section?
I certainly was. Any idea why the seats aren't leather throughout?
Profile picture for user Mark L

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They were in the process of upgrading the whole fleet before 9/11, but when the attack happened the only seats not upgraded were the ones in the back of the 767s. They have never found the time or the money to refit them all. I think they are due to be done next year, but not 100% certain.

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The leather seating is specifically part of the Club Europe brand specification. On the 757 and 767 the seats in the rear cabin are never used for Club Europe so are covered in the cheaper and lighter-weight fabric, whereas the seats in the forward and mid cabins are Club/Traveller converter seats so have leather covers. For some reason on 737/319/320/321 all the seats are leather even though the back few rows are not Club/Traveller converters. Glad you enjoyed your flights, it's always good to know that we are doing something right. Oh, by the way, the Euro Traveller catering for this length of flight is about to be updated. By the next time you fly on the BUD, the ciabattas should have been changed to..... pizza! 1L.
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1L are any 757s still in the old cloth config? I flew on CPER and BPEF back in 01 and one had cloth in the back, but BPEC was leather throughout back in Feb?
Profile picture for user Airline owner

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Great report. Glad you enjoyed your flights and holiday.

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Not sure Mark. I thought all the 757's had fabric covers in the back cabin. I'm not flying the 757 at the moment as I have gone back onto the 737, but I'll see what I can find out. 1L.
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I'm 100% certain my seats were leather in BPEC, as it had the movable headrest thing, except mine was broken and wouldn't stay up! I will have a trawl through my old boarding cards and see if I can find the row number, but I'm pretty sure it was the rear cabain as I walked for ages to get there!
Profile picture for user Mark L

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Ah, I was only in 12F, I could have sworn I'd walked for miles, it just must have been busy :D