Exhausted from a sleepless flight across the Atlantic on British Airways from San Diego to London Heathrow, I earned a second wind after a few lovely glasses of wine in the Terminal 5 Galleries lounge. The flight to Paris was set to be just over an hour and, unusually for me, I hadn’t really researched what the business class offerings our next flight would be like since it was so short.
It had been almost a decade since my last flight in Club Europe so I figured things had changed. And, I was right. Overall, I was very pleased with the entire experience.
Seats on Airbus A320 Short Haul Flights
The seats are the same width (18″) and pitch (30″) as they are in economy class and in a configuration of three on each side. The difference is that in business class the middle seat is blocked out by a leather-covered tray to give passengers a bit more space. So, basically, the “B” and “E” seats are not for sale.
It appears that the plane could be converted to an all-economy-class model if need be by simply removing the middle seat dividers. In fact, I read that the curtain dividing business and economy class can be moved up or down depending on how many Club Europe seats are sold (or not).
Except, my daughter’s American Girl fit perfectly in the middle seat, as you can see.
Would I prefer lie-flat or more legroom? Of course, but the lack of posh seating on short haul flights seems to be the way some major overseas carriers are leaning and I’d still pay for it.
Service on both of our short haul flights was incredibly efficient and friendly. In fact, it was almost surprisingly so. Hot towels were handed out after take-off. And it’s impressive that they can actually serve and small meal and two rounds of drinks in an hour of flying time.
I opted for afternoon tea which I have to say hit the spot. My daughter’s kids meal had simpler sandwiches and we were all offered a choice of warm scones.
Breakfast on the return flight was equally pleasant. The Cathay Pacific lounge at Charles de Gaulle airport serves as the oneworld Alliance lounge so that is what we used. They have similar chairs and decor to the Hong Kong lounges and a generous breakfast buffet (for an airport lounge) including congee and other Chinese favorites. I am extremely biased toward anything Cathay Pacific, so needless to say I loved it.
What You Pay For
While the seats aren’t the most luxurious in the industry, it is still very much worth paying more for the convenience of flying Club Europe. In addition to priority check-in, security clearance and boarding, British Airways does lounges extremely well. All of these perks—to me—are worth upgrading for.
It is also worth noting that if you are connecting in Heathrow and headed outside of the U.K., you need to be rescreened at potentially lengthy security lines. If you are flying in Club Europe, you can be screened in a somewhat expedited line.
In a nutshell, Club World is an extremely a pleasant and efficient way to get from point A to point B.
However, I will say that Terminal 5 at London Heathrow airport has enough shopping, bars and dining to keep one occupied without a lounge. It’s awesome. But, we are lounge people and will sacrifice terminal retail for them every time.
Tips for Ticketing from the United States
It usually costs less to fly through London Heathrow than it does to actually land there. Our business class flights were about half the price to land in Paris—where we wanted to be anyway—than they would have been to complete the journey in London.
Keep an eye out for British Airways business class sales on tickets originating in the United States (in late summer or fall) because they can be an unbelievable steal for what you get. Our business class tickets from SAN – CDG were bought during one of these sales at about $2500 per person round trip. Tickets cost 3x that, at times.
And, did you know that you can purchase up to 100,000 British Airways Avios for yourself or someone else? This is a great way to top up miles for a business class ticket.
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Have you flown British Airways Club Europe lately?