I had initially booked a flight on Iberia from Madrid to Lagos. Iberia has (had) a decent Africa network and, amazingly, British Airways Executive Club does not add any fuel surcharges; most flights are in the 7,500 to 10,000 Avios range for the trips to North and Central Africa.
However, Iberia recently cut down on its Africa network and my flight to Lagos was cancelled. I called British Airways and they offered to re-book me on BA (which has no plans to kill the profitable Lagos route) and for the inconvenience I would be upgraded to British Airways Premium Economy on the LHR to Lagos leg. Deal!
I had a 2-hour connecting flight on Iberia from Madrid to London the morning prior. This airline has started to price very aggressively and has also started to reduce the seat pitch – it’s very tight! Luckily, though, this flight would get into Terminal 5, making the connection much easier. Nevertheless, you still have to clear immigration and security when connecting in the same terminal.
I wasn’t so sure about the food on the upcoming flight and was really hungry, so I stopped by gate A10 in Terminal 5 and grabbed a Pret-a-Manger sandwich to take on-board (for some reason I really love those).
When I arrived at the gate, boarding was well underway and I made my way to 25K in this 777. I really liked what I saw; the seat looks much like the Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class. There is a lot of legroom and the seat (and seat cushion) reclines about 30 degrees.
The seat also felt really spacious and had an adjustable headrest that made it easy to flip it up and down.
Each seat was equipped with a pillow, a blanket and some decent headphones.
There was a lot of confusion about row numbers going on and about a dozen passengers kept switching seats back and forth. Admittedly, the numbering wasn’t the best and it was easy to miss your seat. Once boarding finished, premium economy was about 90% full and the same seemed true for economy. I also had a quick look into the Club World (business class) cabin and I really DID NOT like what I saw.
The open seats seemed to give no real privacy at all and on this short daytime flight I felt happier with premium economy!
The flight attendants were jovial and came through with champagne and water several times before take-off. For some reason I was really thirsty and ended up managing to drink more than a gallon of water in less than 6 hours of flying across this flight!
Since several bags needed to be unloaded, there was a massive delay of 90 minutes. The take-off runway had six A380s right in front of us, which needed extra time because of their huge engines and the bigger wake turbulence they leave behind.
Once the flight was in progress, lunch came out pretty quickly. I was happy now to have brought a sandwich on-board, since I did not like the chicken or rice, although the pasta salad was OK. Everything was served from a tray – no dessert on a separate tray.
We made our way over Spain (yes, I had just come from there) and past Algiers over the Sahara Desert. There was no turbulence at all – not even the slightest – until we had a few light thunderstorms outside of Lagos.
About an hour before landing, a snack service came through with a chicken sandwich. Again that did not look appetizing, so I was happy with my Pret-a-Manger sandwich.
Landing at Lagos was easy and quick (though we were 75 minutes late).
Immigration was easy, as I was the ONLY (!) person in the non-Nigerian passport line. Nigeria requires a tourism visa and a yellow fever immunization.
The airport was quite calm and once outside customs I was able to exchange money and get a SIM card with no hassle. The airport WiFi was broken, so once I had a SIM card, I called an Uber. The instructions of how to meet your driver are a bit odd, since the app and your driver will tell you separate things. I eventually found my driver, but of course, meanwhile, a policeman stopped me to extract a bribe. I had NGN 300 ($1) ready (in small bills) and after 10 minutes of back and forth the police agreed to the ‘settlement money’ for me to be able to go downtown…
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]