British Airways Club Europe (Business Class) - A Review

Earlier this year we took a short mid-week trip to Budapest. Celebrating some significant birthdays this year we opted to use our air miles to treat ourselves to a bit of luxury and experience business class flying.

We flew with my favourite airline, British Airways, from Heathrow Terminal 3 to Budapest. We took an early morning 8am flight out and a midday flight return. We had enough air miles for us to both fly there and back, we just had to pay the fees and taxes at a cost of £140 total.

Club Europe is the business class for British Airways in Europe. The fare includes online check in and seat selection 24 hours prior to the flight, 2 checked bags at 32kg each, one cabin bag and one handbag/laptop bag.

When we arrived at the airport I had expected a dedicated check in but this did not seem to be that obvious. We guessed which check in desk might be for business and they checked us in without us joining the queue but this did not seem that obvious.

Following check in we were directed to the fast lanes for security, included as part of our ticket, which we were very grateful for. This was a much quieter area with fewer desks but plenty of staff. The process was efficient and we were through in a matter of minutes.

We had an hour or so until our gate would open so we of course headed to the Terminal 3 British Airways lounge. This was located just off the main airport concourse alongside a number of other lounges. Down a plain but well lit corridor before approaching automatic double doors which opened up to two check-in desks. Here they check your ticket before letting you into the lounge.

The lounge had a variety of seating areas, including tables to eat at, comfier looking sofa areas and some children's play equipment. There was also an IT centre with 12 plug & play desks, 14 computers and 2 printers. Two areas overlooked the taxiing area towards the runway but there were no window seats available when we arrived.

There was wifi available with the password printed on the notices above the IT centre. It was sufficient for a quick news check & an Instagram upload, but it was temperamental and I would have been worried if I had lots of work to do. Luckily, there was a wide variety of magazines and newspapers to keep us entertained including Newsweek, Stylist, Golf, Gallop (a new one for me - appeared to be about horses) and The World of Interiors.

Of course I couldn't miss out trying the good selection of food available. We were there about 7am so the food available was predominantly geared towards breakfast. The buffet included hot rolls with either sausage, bacon or omelette & emental; a selection of pastries namely croissants, pain au chocolat and pain au raisin; porridge and a selection of fruit. There were also cookies and crisps. Fruit juices, coffee and variety of tea was also available. I did see some stocked fridges with fizzy drinks, alcohol, wines and water but we did not use these at that hour.

On the plane Club Europe seating offers the same size seating as economy class, with three seats on each side of the aisle. The middle seat however is used as a table giving you more space to spread out. There were four rows in business class on each of our flights. We sat in the third row on the way out.

Prior to take off we were given a hot cloth to freshen up and following take off were offered a drink and asked if we would like a hot or cold breakfast. This is where I think Club Europe really outshines economy on European flights these days. British Airways announced last year that they would no longer offer complimentary food on their European flights in economy from Gatwick or Heathrow. As one of the few airlines still providing this service, this was one of the reasons I had used them so often over the years. Now it is only Club Europe seats that include this service. Economy class are offered a selection of Marks & Spencer's food for purchase.

Being business class champagne was available, and I am never going to turn down an opportunity for some champagne. Its not best accompanied by tea but you live and you learn!

The hot breakfast offered a sausage, scrambled egg, a slice of bacon, half cooked tomato and mushrooms. A bread roll with some jam and a small fruit plate were also provided. The lunch on return offered a filling chicken salad, bread roll and a pudding. This was good quality food and something I would have been happy with in a [cheaper end] restaurant, not my usual experience of plane food.

The flight was comfortable and the service was impeccable. The air hostesses handling of a ruder customer was something to be admired.

Our flight home, where I had the coveted seat 1A meant we did not have a tray table in the seat in front but pulled out from the side. There was more leg room available but my personal preference is to have the table in front. We also hit some pretty awful turbulence during this flight and landing and I personally found facing a plain wall during this time unnerving.

The staff however, continued to be more than helpful in this time. Getting out of their seats to provide sick bags and making sure everyone was OK after a fairly frightening landing.

In all I thoroughly enjoyed our Club Europe experience. Whilst we used air miles for these particularly flights I have always found some very good deals on Club Europe holiday packages and during the BA sale. Given the changes to the BA economy offer for Europe in recent years (checked luggage is also no longer standard) I will definitely be considering paying the additional price for a business class flight and it's additional perks.

Speak soon x

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