Good Advice Tried and Tested

British Airways A319 Club Europe

17/10/2012

CHECK IN I arrived at Heathrow T5 at 0600 by taxi for my flight to Toulouse, BA372. I was booked in Club Europe and had been checked in already by a colleague, so I collected my boarding pass from him and made my way towards security, a short walk from the Club World check-in. Security was quiet and I could use the fast-track lane, meaning I was through in no time. From here I made straight for the south lounges.

THE LOUNGE I went to the Galleries Club lounge south, found by passing the First lounge and Elemis Spa and going to the top of the escalator, past the life-size horse model. The lounge is large and has varied seating throughout. I turned right on entering, picked up a newspaper and took a seat on a bench located near the breakfast bar and a couple of coffee machines. I helped myself to a coffee straight away and grabbed some fruit and yoghurt from the buffet. I then went back up and grabbed a mini bacon roll and some ketchup. There is also toast with a selection of spreads, cereal, roasted tomatoes and grilled mushrooms and fruit juices.

There is a wine gallery towards the middle of the lounge with bottles of wine in glass cases and then a business centre towards the far right hand side, with a large bank of computers. Free password-protected wifi is provided by BT Open Zone throughout the lounge. There is also a screening room which seats 20 and a children’s play area. The lounge serves lunch later in the day and the menu detailed a selection of sandwiches and a soup of the day.

BOARDING I left the lounge at 0720 and made my way to gate A9, located near the Starbucks on the ground floor. Boarding was called soon after I arrived at 0730 and being in Club Europe allowed me to be in my seat five minutes later. The aircraft was an A319 configured 3-3 in both classes. In business the middle seat is left unsold, making it 2-2, with the armrests extending out on the left hand side to create a small gap between seats A and C, instead of a whole seat gap on the right side (to see a seat plan, click here). There is no IFE as this is a short-haul flight.

THE SEAT I was in aisle seat 4D, with the middle seat left unsold between myself and the person in 4F. There are small cocktail tables on the end of the armrests. The seats are large and upholstered in blue leather, which was looking a little worn in places. The seat is comfortable though and has around four more inches of pitch to economy. On this aircraft there were seven rows of Club Europe and then a curtain divider.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? I would always opt for seats 1A or F as I prefer the window seat but also get the added legroom afforded by the bulkhead. Here you also get served first and can disembark quickly.

THE FLIGHT There were announcements made in English and French at 0755 and the safety video before we pulled back at 0800. Take off was at 0810 and I read until breakfast was served at 0840 with the option of either a full English or continental.

I opted for the full English which was fantastic. This consisted of scrambled egg, bacon, mushrooms, a tomato and a good quality sausage. The eggs were quite dry and tasteless but the rest was delicious. There is also a small plate of fruit, orange juice and butter and a small jar of strawberry jam. This is followed round by a basket of warm bread rolls and pastries and a drinks service offering water, juice and Pommery champagne. Tea and coffee had to wait ten minutes due to some turbulence.

Breakfast is served on chinaware with metal cutlery and a proper napkin, the coffee cup is nice and large but the coffee itself was lukewarm. Club Europe was served by two cabin crew, a charming bespectacled French man and a young female flight attendant.

Trays were taken at 0900 and another round of drinks offered along with duty free followed.

ARRIVAL The seatbelt sign was turned back on at 0920 and we landed at 0935 (1035 local) before disembarking via airbridge at 0945. I had no luggage to collect so passed through passport control quickly and was out of the terminal by 1000.

VERDICT A good quality breakfast, friendly crew and plenty of coffee made this short flight fly by.

Factfile

  • PLANE TYPE A319
  • SEAT CONFIGURATION 2-2
  • SEAT WIDTH 18.9 inches
  • SEAT PITCH 33.8 inches
  • SEAT RECLINE 6 inches
  • PRICE Return flights in Club Europe in mid-November range from £430 – £719 depending on flexibility.
  • CONTACT britishairways.com

Scott Carey