THE LOUNGE

Business Traveler (USA) - - TRIED AND TESTED -

I checked in on­line, which Bri­tish Air­ways al­lows on its web­site as early as 36 hours be­fore de­par­ture. Hav­ing only carry-on bag­gage with me, it made the air­port ex­pe­ri­ence a cinch.

Bri­tish Air­ways now finds Philadel­phia to be an im­por­tant hub in its route net­work given new oneworld part­ner US Air­ways, which is a part of found­ing al­liance mem­ber Amer­i­can Air­lines. This means that there will be far more con­nect­ing pas­sen­gers in the fu­ture. In light of this, Bri­tish Air­ways has in­vested in a full Gal­leries lounge for both first and business class cus­tomers in Philadel­phia. With two daily flights, the lounges are open dur­ing the evening hours and showcase the same style as the air­line’s London lounges. Since my flight was a Sleeper Ser­vice (mean­ing it departs at a later hour with a limited in­flight meal), there is a full din­ner buf­fet avail­able in the lounge. If you still feel peck­ish, there is a light meal of­fered im­me­di­ately after take­off. Don’t tell, but I in­dulged in both.

The flight was com­pletely full, but lounge staff as­sured us that we need not leave un­til board­ing was un­der­way. With a ded­i­cated line, I was on board one of the world’s new­est air­planes in no cap­tain gave a nod to the new plane in his wel­come as well.

The cabin is set up in a 2-3-2 con­fig­u­ra­tion so that win­dow seats face back­ward while aisles face for­ward. The seat un­folds into a full 180-de­gree bed. The en­ter­tain­ment screen fold out from the di­vider cre­at­ing a small of­fice of sorts with plenty of space for my lap­top. I es­pe­cially liked that there were in­di­vid­ual air vents, which many wide­bod­ies do not gen­er­ously pro­vide.

Since this is a Sleeper Ser­vice, most pas­sen­gers have al­ready dined in the lounge so they could rest. The in­flight buf­fet in­cluded a cook-to-or­der stir fry area, and I jumped at the chance to have a Thai dish while on my way to Thai­land. On my flight, how­ever, it seemed ev­ery­one wanted to ex­pe­ri­ence the on­board light din­ner. Ser­vice be­gan almost im­me­di­ately with a glass of wine and prawn salad served within min­utes of take­off. Dessert and warm bread were on the tray, and it was col­lected shortly there­after al­low­ing me to sleep quickly.

Dream­liner has a lower cabin pres­sure per­mit­ting a more hu­mid­i­fied cabin. This is sup­posed to help re­duce jet­lag. I did

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