British Airways

Is flying British Airways Club Europe worth it?

As you walk through the plane to your seat in economy have you ever wondered what difference there is to travel in British Airways Club Europe (business class), rather than Euro Traveller (economy) within Europe? Whilst you get fine dining, a bed and other amenities when travelling outside of Europe the offering within Europe is a little different. Read on to find out more!

Flying from London Gatwick/Heathrow

The first difference you’ll notice (besides being able to take 2 x 32kg suitcases with you!) is you’ll be able to use the business class check-in desks. Compared to flying economy where you often have to queue it’s a quick and pleasant experience.

At Heathrow and Gatwick you will have access to fast track security which is great during peak season when there are lots of queues. The few times I’ve used it I’ve been through in a minute or two. Once you are through security you’ll be able to access one of the British Airways’ lounges or one of their one-world partner’s lounges. To view what lounges you can access see here – https://www.oneworld.com/airport-lounges?location= – the food/drink offering here is often to a much higher standard than you standard pay per entry lounge. A personal favourite is the Cathay Pacific lounge in Heathrow T3 with its noodle bar!

You get to board the plane in Group 1 being one of the first to board (along with other business-class flyers and BA Gold members)

Business-class has 2×2 seating, unlike economy which is 3×3. Whilst there are still 3 seats on each side, the middle seat is left empty or a table put on top. Sadly unless you are in the front row buying business class doesn’t get you any extra legroom! (I’m 6ft 2.) You have exactly the same pitch as economy class.

Food & Drink

As I have coeliac disease I pre-ordered the Gluten Free option for lunch on the outgoing flight. The chicken salad was OK though bland, you also get a rock-solid roll which you could knock someone out with. On the return, my pre-ordered gluten-free meal was a sundried tomato & asparagus salad, tasty but not very filling. The main difference here from the standard option was no scones (afternoon tea) though I did still get jam for some reason… ohhh and fruit rather than a normal dessert!

You have a range of soft drinks and hot drinks available as well as a small alcohol selection e.g. spirits, champagne, lager wine etc. (which you can have of much of as you like!)

Depending on the length of your flight your selection and offering may vary. If you want to work out what you may receive on your flight check out this FlyerTalk thread – https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/1930092-club-europe-catering-menus-reviews-photos.html

Depending on where you flying to, on your return journey you may get fast-track security and lounge access. The rest of the benefits are the same.

Flying from London City Airport

If you are flying from London City Airport you’ll notice an even smaller difference between business class and economy! Business still has it’s own check-in lane which should be quicker than queuing up to self check your bags in. You can also of course still take 2x32kg bags with you.

At London City, the security is super quick (well every time I’ve been it has been) but sadly there is no fast track for business class flyers. Once you are through security there is no lounge either. Though to be fair one of the main attractions of London City is that you can show up one hour or less before your flight… so no need for a lounge right?

You get to board the plane in group 1 but often as there are a lot of Gold members travelling too group 1 isn’t as small or as quick as you may think!

The seating is exactly the same in business and economy as BA use the narrow-bodied Embraer which has 2×2 seating. If you are sitting in the front row you’ll have a decent bit of extra legroom. (I’m 6ft 2) Regardless of where you are sitting the legroom is quite generous throughout the plane.

Food & Drink

As I have coeliac disease I pre-ordered the Gluten Free option for breakfast on the outgoing flight. The main difference compared to the standard option is there is no sausage. It was filling and for once the bread offered was edible (normally you get a rock-solid roll at other times of the day.) On the return, my pre-ordered gluten-free meal was a chicken salad, tasty but not very filling. The main difference here from the standard options was the dessert being fruit rather than a delicious looking apple crumble.

You have a range of soft drinks and hot drinks available as well as a small alcohol selection e.g. spirits, champagne, lager wine etc. (which you can have of much of as you like!)

Depending on the length of your flight your selection and offering may vary. If you want to work out what you may receive on your flight check out this FlyerTalk thread – https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/1930584-ba-cityflyer-catering-guide.html

Depending on where you flying to, on your return journey you may get fast-track security and lounge access. The rest of the benefits are the same.

Dietary requirements

If you have a dietary requirement you can request in advance for a special meal. The ones currently offered are Lacto-ovo-vegetarian, Vegan, vegetarian, Asian/Hindu vegetarian, Muslim, Kosher, Child meal, Baby meal, Diabetic, Gluten intolerant, Low calorie, Low fat, Low salt and Low lactose. More information on them here –
https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/food-and-drink/special-meals

However, you don’t get a choice/selection and have to make do with what you’re given. So if you don’t like fish or another common ingredient you might end up with a meal you won’t eat, so be prepared!

I’ve also found in most BA lounges I’ve been into there are Gluten-Free options. If they aren’t on show generally someone is happy to create something for me or show me what I can have.

So Is flying British Airways Club Europe worth it?

If you are able to pick up a good fare in one of British Airways sales or if you pay with Avios Points (double the Avios compared to economy and an extra £15 ‘taxes’ (£50)) you find it reasonable value from Gatwick/Heathrow. The lounge access, premium security, extra luggage and food/drink on the plane may swing it for you. If you are flying from London City I think you’d be harder pushed to find value in the extra cost. Though you are likely to receive lounge access and possibly premium security on your way back.

Have you flown British Airways Club Europe? Did you like the experience?

One Comment

  • Ar

    We flew back from Florida last year in Premium class with a different airline. Being the first time I’ve ever upgraded our seats I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was worth every penny! The food options here on BA look really good, I have to say! Will definitely be considering this for any future long-haul trips, although probably not from London as it’s a bit far!

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