We’re partial to British Airways which was our home airline when we lived in London. Over the years we’ve been pleased with their regional business class and, on our last set of flights, the food offerings were definitely improved hence the update to this British Airways Club Europe review.
We desperately wish they’d change their seats though.
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Club Europe Seats on Airbus A320 Short-Haul Flights
The seats are the same width (18″), pitch (30″), and configuration (three on each side of the aisle) as they are in economy class. The difference is that the middle seat in business class is blocked out by a leather-covered tray to give passengers a bit more space and privacy. So, basically, the middle “B” and “E” seats are not for sale.
The legroom is the same as it is in economy class. My 6’6″ husband always requests the bulkhead in Club Europe as his legs are smashed otherwise.
The plane can be converted to all economy class if need be by simply removing these 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).
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 European carriers (like our recent experience in Aegean Airlines business class) are leaning.
However, the additional cost when bundling flights with long haul flights from the U.S. isn’t outrageous if — if there is a price difference at all (more on this below).
If there’s one thing we can’t complain about lately about both short-haul and long-haul (we frequently fly BA direct from San Diego to London Heathrow) British Airways business class flights is the service. This wasn’t always the case, but our flight attendants across multiple recent flights have been incredibly efficient and friendly.
Pretty Good Food for an Airline
If you’re wondering what you’ll eat in British Airways Club Europe, here are some examples.
Hot towels are handed out right after take-off, sometimes prior to take-off.
When flying to Paris, it’s impressive that they can actually serve a 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 CDG-LHR 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.
We recently flew out of Istanbul to London Heathrow in the morning so breakfast was on offer.
An evening chicken meal paired with rapidly-flowing wine hit the spot on our evening flight between London Heathrow and Athens. I forgot to take a photo but you get the idea. Meals aren’t served in courses but rather handed to you on a single tray.
Additional Club Europe Perks
Club Europe offers additional conveniences that help make up for the fact that the seats aren’t the most luxurious.
Of course, you’ll check-in at the airport using the shorter Club Europe lines which usually only have a handful of people in them.
You’ll pass through Fast Track, an expedited security line at London airports. If you are connecting in Heathrow and headed outside of the United Kingdom, you will need to be rescreened at sometimes lengthy security lines. Club Europe passengers usually breeze through Fast Track.
If London is your final destination, you’ll use Fast Track arrivals through immigration which for non-EU passport holders can be a huge time-saver as well.
British Airways lounges are typically excellent especially if you’re flying in and out of Heathrow Terminal 5. I love Galleries First (the food and wine is better over here).
However, I will say that Terminal 5 (and even Terminal 3 to a lesser degree) at London Heathrow airport has enough shopping, bars, and dining to keep one occupied without a lounge. It’s also family-friendly. But, we are lounge people and will sacrifice terminal retail for them every time.
The British Airways lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 is just okay, in my opinion. If you’re flying on a business or first class ticket (or are oneworld alliance Sapphire and above), we prefer the Cathay Pacific lounge again in this terminal.
Both Heathrow Terminals 3 and 5 have Elemis Spas where business and first class passengers in addition to Executive Club Gold members are entitled to complimentary 15-minute treatments.
All of these perks — to me — are worth upgrading for.
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 — then they would have should we have completed our 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.
Tip: 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.
Have you flown British Airways Club Europe lately?