British Airways Club Europe domestic review – is it worth it?

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Roving Reporter

Roving Reporter recently flew on BA in Club Europe between London and Glasgow. Normally for this trip he would fly economy as being a Gold card holder he can book the exit row seats for free which ironically gives more leg room than most of Club Europe apart from the front row.

Roving Reporter had paid for an economy ticket but upgraded to Club for £70 to get some extra tier points.

Why fly Club Europe on domestic routes?

Aside from lounge access the main difference with Club Europe is that you get food and drink included. Seats are 2-2 with the middle seat blocked with a tray table which is very useful for resting a drink on or your iPad whilst you eat. The legroom is the same as Euro Traveller currently (until they start densifying some rows of Euro Traveller). The only exception is row 1 which is blocked for Gold cardholders.

One reason that you may consider it is the tier points. Flights are often available for under £200 return which strangely can be cheaper than shorter flights like Paris. Club Europe gives you 80 tier points return, exactly the same as flying outside the UK on most routes. With high frequency flights and no immigration it can be the quickest and easiest way to get some extra tier points.

Of course if you are doing it as a domestic connection onto a long haul flight then it makes a nice change from the days where you would have to sit in economy even on a First ticket!

EDIT: As a couple of people mentioned (below) and K on Facebook the extra luggage allowance is also worth considering, particularly if you have extra or heavy items such as golf clubs. In economy (except hand baggage only) you would get 1 bag at 23kg. In Club you get 2 bags at 32kg. If you are connecting from another airline or are on separate tickets from a long haul flight, this could be very useful. If you have Silver (2 x 32kg bags in economy except HBO) or Gold (1 extra 32kg bag in any class except HBO), this would not make a difference.

London to Glasgow

Roving Reporter: “ I waited in the lounge until the gate was announced and then it immediately showed boarding. By the time I got to the gate I had already missed group 1. I went through the Priority lane straight into the gate, past the queue for non priority and boarded straight away.

The flight was uneventful but in a good way. The Customer Service Manager was serving us and delightful throughout. The drinks were plentiful and I managed 3 bottles (small ones!) of Castel-no Champagne. The CSM addressed me by name the whole time and was charming to the whole CE cabin which only had 3 rows.

I was in 1F and this was the older style seats which also means you have the much larger tray table that extends from the bulkhead. This is much larger than the fold out table you get in 1C and D. The table is the same for 1A. There was plenty of leg room here.

The food was OK for the length of flight. As it was an afternoon flight there was a choice of a ploughman’s or 3 mini sandwiches. I  thought the 2 slices of white bread was a bit random! I’m guessing it is probably because they don’t do a bread basket round on the afternoon flights. They were also pretty stingy with the portion. You think they could afford a whole pork pie!”

What to expect on other domestic Club Europe flights

Very Short- Leeds Bradford, Manchester and Jersey

Breakfast: hot bacon roll, fruit and yoghurt for breakfast (Jersey gets the hot breakfast as per short)

From 0930: a cold plate (09.30+ departures). This is usually a continental brunch type plate with meat, cheese and egg but no salad.

Short

All other domestic routes.

Breakfast (to 09.29) – hot breakfast including a vegetarian choice with yoghurt or Bircher muesli (no fruit plate). You will also get offered a bread basket including warm croissants. There are normally 2 choices – the full English which I find a bit watery and greasy and a vegetarian option which I usually prefer.

Vegetarian breakfast

Brunch (09.30 – 10.59) – a large hot sandwich or a cold plate as per very short

Hot ciabatta ( with dessert for lunch or without for brunch)

Lunch (11.00 – 13.59) – salad or a large hot sandwich as per brunch plus bread basket and a dessert.

BA B787-900 Club Europe review

“Salad”

Afternoon tea (14.00 – 16.59) – 3 cold finger sandwiches or a ploughman’s salad (meat, scotch egg or pork pie and cheese selection with bloomer bread) with cake. Scones have been removed

Dinner (17.00+) – as per lunch

Conclusion

You do get lounge access included but you could just buy that at Heathrow for around £30 for a third party lounge. Except maybe breakfast, it is not worth upgrading for the food although they are due to revamp the food offering for Club Europe later this year. You could work your way through quiet a bit of alcohol but probably not £70 worth!

Having the spare empty seat is very useful for me so that I can carry on working or watching my iPad whilst eating or drinking. Other than that the main reason would be the extra tier points as this can be a relatively cheap way to get them.

The extra baggage could actually make this a cost effective option if you didn’t have lounge access either. With extra bags costing from £25-60 each or £65 for overweight bags, it is definitely worth doing the maths as to whether it is more cost effective to pay for Club Europe and have a nicer travelling experience too.

 

 

6 Comments on "British Airways Club Europe domestic review – is it worth it?"

  1. Your forgetting the increased baggage allowance. If your connecting to say, Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow and are flying Upper Class, you get 3x 32kg allowance. With a standard shuttle fare, you are allowed 1x 23kg but when flying Club Europe, you are given 2x 32kg. (If you stick with economy and pay extra for baggage, it’s virtually the same as Club Europe but that extra is still only 23kg). It’s a great way to use most of your increased transatlantic baggage

    David

  2. I often wonder if it is worth flying Business in Europe let alone within the UK. The seating (Width / Pitch) is usually identical to at least the front part of Economy and the food not that different. In addition BA now fly 320’s on the 4 hour flight to Istanbul, with no entertainment screens in Business which is made worse by the fact that you can’t carry on your laptop or tablet on the return flight, making it void of any entertainment.

    • Very true. I always book mine in sales so the price is no more than £200 for many places. At that price I think it is worth it. I have paid more than that for economy with Easyjet! That would definitely put me off flying BA to Istanbul. At least Turkish have some entertainment. Not sure I could spend that long with a book. 4 hours is a long time in a European short haul Business class seat.

  3. I think in reality it’s always going to depend on what the extra cost is and whether you will use the extra benefits (luggage, lounge, on board catering). The slight extra comfort on a 1-hour flight is going to be worth different amounts to different people.

    I did the 5-hour return flight from Larnaca on an A320 in CE recently and was VERY glad for the extra space, catering, lounge, luggage etc. Was worth the extra Avios. Not sure it would have been worth the £500 cash fare difference.

    • I agree a lot depends on the length of flight and what the benefits mean to you. I wouldn’t fly for more than 3 hours in economy generally.

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