Flight Details: London Heathrow (Terminal 5) to Corfu
Aircraft: Airbus A320 jet
Flight number: BA0654
Seating: 48 seats in Business (Club Europe)
3D & 3F
Duration: 3 hours 15 minutes direct
Tier points: 160 Tier points return. Avios depend on your Executive Club Tier.
Free seat choice at any time.
2 x 32kg checked baggage allowance.
Separate cabin offering more privacy, personal space and comfort.
Access to British Airways lounges where available.
Complimentary food and drink service.
* Over standard Euro Traveller (Economy).
When the Unique Boutique Travel team travels for business it is invariably at the client’s expense. That means budget airlines and chain hotels. When we travel for pleasure we always prefer to travel in style. That means a Business class or Premium Economy flight whenever possible. British Airways may be our preferred airline, but this remains an unbiased review of their Club Europe (Business class) offering.
The first thing you notice about Club Europe is when you arrive at the check-in desk. There is a dedicated Business class queue, which makes checking in so much faster. You avoid the long queues of Economy class and you able to proceed through to the Departure Terminal with minimal stress.
At Heathrow Terminal 5 you also have the Fast Track security option for Club Europe and Executive Club members (Silver and above). You can use a dedicated entrance to the left of North Security that offers a more seamless security process and leads directly into the North Fast Track security lanes. There are no guarantees of how busy the Fast Track queue will be, but it will certainly be quicker than the standard offering. On the day of our flight, we were through security and into the Departure Terminal in less than 10 minutes.
This is one of the true benefits of Business class travel, the lounge. It is available to Club Europe travellers and Executive Club Silver members (regardless of flight class). The British Airways lounge is an oasis within the chaos that is the Departure Terminal. It is spacious and clean with comfortable seating. The bathrooms, including showers, are spotless which in stark contrast to the facilities outside of the lounge.
There is a huge range of snacks and refreshments available, including tea, coffee and soft drinks. In addition, there is a fully stocked bar with beer, wines, spirits and champagne. All of the refreshments are complimentary and self-service.
We settled in and enjoyed a few calming Gin and Tonics whilst utilising the free Wi-Fi. The lounge allows a few moments to relax after arriving at the airport before you begin the boarding process.
The seating for Club Europe is at the pointy end of the plane and one of the benefits of Business class is priority boarding. Club Europe is the first called and you get to board in an orderly manner, there is minimal queuing and you quite quickly seated with all of your luggage stored as required.
There are also pre-flight refreshments that are served in Club Europe. On our flight, we had the choice of sparkling or still white wines or various juices.
In the A320 the seating is in a standard 3-3 formation throughout the aircraft. The difference in Club Europe is that the middle seat is covered by a table-tray that can be shared. There is no extra legroom or width on the Club Europe seats (pitch approx. 30 inches). Likewise, the seats share the same degree of reclination as do the Economy seats.
The lack of extra legroom is not really an issue on a short-haul flight of less than four hours. It could become an inconvenience if your fellow traveller in front decides to recline their seat. Fortunately, on our flight being, in the middle of the day, all of the seats remained upright.
Service is where Club Europe truly shines in comparison to Economy. Hot towels were served soon after take-off and the complimentary drinks began to flow. One thing I always look for, in terms of service, in a fine restaurant is how the wait staff handle the drinks. In a good restaurant, your glass is never empty, it will always be refilled before you finish the last drop. This is exactly the sort of service you receive in Club Europe. Even when the flight was about to begin it’s decent the stewardess was pouring me another Gin and Tonic.
The food was perfectly acceptable for airline cuisine. Because it was a lunchtime flight we dined on a light Mediterranean salad, with by cheese and biscuits and a slice of chocolate tart. The food was served on plates and we were provided with proper cutlery.
The service from the flight crew was amazing. The level of service and attention to detail is what makes Club Europe so superior to Economy class. They are constantly smiling and are almost excessively polite.
Club Europe is approximately a 60% mark-up in price over standard Economy. Is it worth the extra cost? In the opinion of Unique Boutique Travel, absolutely yes. Economy class is efficient and functional, it provides a means from getting from point A to B. This fine if you are travelling for business, but if you are travelling for pleasure you want the journey to be enhanced and that is what Club Europe does to perfection.
The fast-track check-in and boarding, the lounge and the onboard service make the additional cost totally worthwhile.