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British Airways club class review by lady Sarah

British Airways website says:
“Club Europe is our feature-packed European business-class service, a perfect combination of efficiency, convenience and comfort. Who says you can’t mix business with pleasure?”

lady Sarah says:
Flying is, nowadays, a horrible experience. We more or less, accept the discomfort on the plane itself, as well as the airport security ritual humiliation, (mostly) for our own safety, of course.

We booked ‘club’ flights with British Airways. ‘Club’ is kind of a substitute for business or first class, which is not offered for short haul flights within Europe.
This was my first visit to Heathrow terminal 5, which in my view is very poorly designed with confusing signage. If you got lost there, you are not alone, we did too.

The lounge Heathrow terminal 5
We searched and eventually found the business club lounge. One has to go DOWN the stairs and then UP again, and apparently that is the only way…

The lounge Heathrow Terminal 5...

The lounge Heathrow Terminal 5…

The British Airways lounge itself, was of an acceptable standard, if a little unimaginative. Subdued lighting, plenty of seats and complimentary ‘wold of interior’ magazines.

Gratuitous photo of my bag in the airport lounge.

Gratuitous photo of my CHANEL bag in the airport lounge.

There was a small, but adequate, hot meal buffet, salad & quiche bar, cheese selection and a choice of soup. I had a vegetarian curry, my husband chose the mustard chicken with rice, and we rounded it up with a little cheese and a glass of wine. A pleasant start to our little trip.

The flight
Sadly, it all went downhill. The boarding system was chaotic, and when we got to our seats, they were so narrow and cramped, I thought surely, this must be a mistake! (At 5.7″ UK8, I’d say, I am average height and small-ish frame, yet could barely fit in my seat!) Considering British Airways club seats, cost more than some other airlines business fare, it was such a disappointment in every way. This is not just about the width of the seat, but the attitude of the flight attendants. I love to be greeted in a hospitable way, with trays of orange juice and champagne. (On a recent flight with another air carrier, we were given this exact choice and I had both! Then the very pleasant air stewardess came back to check if I needed refills.)

The food
I avoid eating aeroplane meals, unless on a long -haul flight, or absolutely starving. However, it is nice to stay well hydrated and any offers of fruit, water and juices are very much appreciated! There were no such offers from the British Airways air hostess. I had to ask for extra water, a request which only seemed to irritate her further. And by the way, no mater what class we fly- everyone should be entitled to extra water on the plane.
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There was no offer of a sweet/mint either, to help ease ear pain during the landing pressure mounting up. (Malvern airlines offer this as a nice touch, it costs the airline small change but makes a big difference for the passengers comfort levels.)

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The verdict

It would be so nice if someone brought British Airways club class into our present decade.

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It seems stuck in an era of, useless hot towelettes, (we now have anti bacteria hand wipes, thank you!) excessive alcohol consumption reminiscent of Mad Men in the 1960s, (has no one heard how dehydrating it is? Liver problems anyone? Please do offer us a freshly squeezed juice.) and heavy indigestible food. (can we have something light and tasty please!)

Look carefully at the graphic on this menu... Can you spot the error?

study the graphic on this menu… Can you spot the error?

We arrived at our destination, looking rather worse for wear, and wondering why on earth did we pay almost twice the cost of a standard economy ticket, to fly ‘club’ with British airways. Not at all sure what sort of club BA based their standard of service on, but certainly none you’d really want to be a member of.

The glamour of flying is long gone. It is now an ordeal and test of endurance

There was a time that flying was a glamorous affair. That time is long gone and it has now become an ordeal and test of endurance

I am writing a letter to them and unless they make some substantial changes to their policies, we shall never ever fly with BA again. Which is a shame, as I think, they are a good airline with unparalleled safety record. If you share my view on poor service, write to them too. We pay for all this, we should have our say…

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When I fly, I try to do so with awareness and consideration for my carbon imprint. (we all live on this planet, for the moment no where else to go so better take care of it..) that and the sheer discomfort of this trip, will make me think again before I book my ticket next time. Especially when it’s non essential traveling, just for leisure.

Lady Sarah is now back in London, and will start blogging about London fashion, watering holes and afternoon tea as soon as she recovers from her club experience with BA.

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6 thoughts on “British Airways Club class review

  1. Pingback: Successful travelling. … and the Art of packing | lady Sarah's London

  2. Kirsten Woodcock

    Hello Sarah, I have just returned to my temporary home in Bermuda from London Gatwick.
    Actually we have done this trip twice in 3 months. Same experience as you and both times we decided not to fly British Airways again BUT
    they have a monopoly here in Bermuda, no other european airline is allowed to land here. We could fly via New York, which is only 2 hours away,
    but that would mean a longer flight. Instead of 7 hours it would be more than 12.
    We are stuck with them basically but it is nice to know that we are not the only ones being so disappointed.
    I fail to see the point of the “Club Class” as it seems to be what other airlines call Economy.
    I asked for a magazine from Business Class and was told she would try but they were boring anyway, all about Economy!

    Regards
    Kirsten

    P.S. Can I quote a couple of your comments on my FB page? I will not do it without your permission.

    Reply
  3. driftingepicure

    Agree with you on the pointlessness of Club class on European flights. Seats are almost the same as Economy as well. Lounge is alright and provides the most basic necessities like food, drinks and shower. BA Business Class on intercontinental routes is however a different story and I find it much better than any of the American carriers for cross-Atlantic flights. For Europe/Asian flights, definitely CX/EK/QR/SQ over BA

    Reply
    1. ladysarahinlondon Post author

      Agree with you on all points. BA long haul flights are a different experience altogether. Short haul- complete waste of money. No idea why so much discrepancy – it is like an entirely different airline. Their response was also a disappointment as I was simply given a standard questionnaire to fill… No real customer service.

      Reply
  4. Steve Morris

    I used to always request BA flights and was happy to pay a premium. Now they seem to have lowered themselves to the common denominator and are not interested in offering a superior experience.

    Best airline I have ever flown with? Singapore Airlines, from Seoul to Tokyo. And that was an economy class flight!

    Reply

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