British Airways’ new seasonal service from Vancouver to London Gatwick offers efficient boarding, exceptional service, and in-flight Wi-Fi, although the pre-flight experience left much to be desired.
Earlier this month, Cathy and I were excited to try out British Airways' new seasonal service from Vancouver (YVR) to London Gatwick (LGW).
As the second largest base for British Airways, Gatwick has become an attractive option for the airline, especially after Heathrow raised its landing fees and implemented passenger number caps due to staff shortages in 2022. Although Gatwick is located farther from central London compared to Heathrow, the difference in travel time is not significant, especially if you plan to take public transit.
Flights from Vancouver to Gatwick are available daily, except on Tuesdays, with departure time set at 15:25. The service is operated on Boeing 777 aircrafts, offering just four rows of Club World seats.
Our journey began with a slight inconvenience as we were unable to complete the check-in process online. Upon passing through YVR security, we discovered that British Airways had closed its lounge and directed premium passengers to the Plaza Premium Lounge. Unfortunately, the quality of the lounge did not live up to its “premium” designation, with outdated furnishings and a limited selection of underwhelming food choices (tomato soup was the best available option). Cathy and I were puzzled as to why British Airways would treat its premium passengers in this manner.
We even hoped to switch to the Cathay Pacific lounge, but it was unfortunately closed due to flight schedules.
Once we boarded the aircraft, our experience significantly improved. The boarding process was efficient, and we departed right on schedule. The Gatwick-based crew displayed exceptional service throughout the flight. Their attentiveness, friendliness, and genuine smiles were a rarity in today’s airline industry (and amongst British Airways staff these days).
After takeoff, we were served drinks, and the menu for the flight was presented.
I opted for the lobster and avocado salad as a starter and the salmon as the main course. Although the presentation of the salmon was not particularly appealing, it turned out to be delicious.
It’s worth noting that these older Boeing 777-200 aircraft only have four rows of Club World seats, arranged in the old back-to-back configuration. As a result, the flight did not offer much opportunity for sleep, especially due to the early arrival at Gatwick and the rising sun.
One positive aspect of the flight was the availability of Wi-Fi, which worked flawlessly from door to door. Despite the cost, the convenience and connectivity it provided made it a worthwhile option.
Despite the lounge issue, the British Airways flight from Vancouver to London Gatwick proves to be a great alternative for travellers who prefer an earlier departure. Gatwick Airport itself is easy to navigate and offers a smooth exit process.
Overall, with efficient boarding, exceptional crew service, and the convenience of in-flight Wi-Fi, the flight experience outweighed the minor inconveniences. Embracing this new seasonal service allows travellers to explore the possibilities of a different airport and simplifies the journey while still enjoying the hospitality that British Airways is known for.
For Andrew, travel is so much more than just learning history or taking photos. Rather, the value of travel is witnessing a lifestyle, bonding with locals, and gaining rich cultural experiences. That’s why he founded the Luxury Wanderer; a place to share itineraries, offer advice, swap stories, and foster a like-minded community of curious travellers.