READER REVIEW: BA Club Europe – Titan Airways wet lease from Venice to Gatwick

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Today’s reader review from Max is of one of the many wet leases that BA are using to get around it’s crew issues. Leasing an aircraft “wet” means it comes complete with crew. Food and drink should be the same as you would get on a BA flight. I will be flying back from Italy soon on a BA aircraft so it will be interesting to see what food I get. 

My wife and I were booked to fly Club from Venice to Gatwick on Tuesday 3rd May.

The day before, we received an email from BA as follows:

To ensure your journey remains uninterrupted, there will be a change to the aircraft and operator for this flight. The aircraft will be operated by Titan Airways due to operational reasons. There will be no changes to your departure time or terminal of departure.

Having read about the staffing issues that BA are currently having, and already had two other flights cancelled this year, I guess this was no big surprise and better than a cancellation.

 

Check-in

Water Taxi dock at the airport

So we arrived at Venice Airport (Marco Polo) in true James Bond style in a high-speed Water Taxi, well worth the €125!

We checked in promptly, although the usual confusion about which is the queue for Club, and other passengers thinking we were “queue jumping!”

Then on to the Marco Polo Lounge, which is one of the most spacious and clean Lounges I have ever used, plenty of everything, including seats and space.

Then ready for boarding, now to add some context to this, on the way out we were told everyone had to wear FFP2 masks, otherwise you would not be let into Italy.  Most people wore ordinary masks and there were no issues.  On 2nd May, Italy dropped most of their Covid restrictions and you no longer had to wear any masks inside, apart from the usual, hospitals, Pharmacies etc.

At the airport, this message had clearly got through and most people were not wearing any masks at all.

 

Boarding

So back to boarding, as they called Group 1 we all went forward and put masks on, and to our amazement, we were told we had to wear the FFP2 masks, or we would not be allowed on the plane.  Although my wife and I were only wearing ordinary masks, we did have FFP2 ones with us, so put them on and were allowed to board.  Several other people were not allowed to board until they went to a kiosk and purchased the correct one.

We all boarded and the doors were shut 15 minutes before due take-off time and we actually left the stand 10 minutes early.

As soon as the doors were shut the crew all took their masks off!  I asked them why and they said we no longer need to wear them as we are heading to the UK.

So the poor people who had to go and buy a new FFP2 mask literally wore it from the boarding desk til they got in their seat and passed no-one who could check up on them!  Bureaucracy gone mad!

 

The cabin

The plane was a 757-200 and in a bit of a shabby condition.  The plastic cover on my armrest was broken and fell off.

Seat configuration was as per the normal A319 / 320 / 321 – 3 seats with the middle one blanked out.

There were 5 rows of Club (20 seats) and only 12 passengers.  Overall on the plane, there were 96 passengers and 220 seats.

 

Service

We had 3 crew apparently looking after Club, but service was pretty slow, although the crew nice and friendly.  The uniform was a little odd.

One upside of the 757 is having 2 toilets, which are also somewhat larger than the usual ones on the A319 / 320 / 321, especially when only between 12 passengers.

Champagne was the usual Nicolas Feuillalle in the small bottles and there seemed to be plenty of it.  No nuts because someone on board had an allergy, but they found a few bags of crisps.  However, the big issue was the food.  We were offered either Quiche or Vegetables!  When I said I really didn’t fancy either of those they managed to find some Parma Ham and Melon, which came along with pomegranate.

We went for the melon and ham and the quiche.  The ham was dried up and the melon very tiny.  The quiche was awful just a wet tasteless lump.  Everyone who ordered it seemed to leave it.  The starter was a small bowl of cold sweet potato and couscous.  Desert was a pot of chocolate and orange ganache.

We complained about the quiche and were then offered the vegetable option instead, which we took and surprise, surprise, it was just a larger version of the starter but with some added onion.

All in all a very disappointing meal.  I did complain that the quality of the food was very poor and was given the excuse that the food was provided by BA, I have no idea if that is correct, but very disappointing. (Michele – yes this is one of their standard meals at the moment)

We landed 25 minutes early and the flight was smooth and otherwise uneventful.

Overall I would rate this experience a 5 out of 10 and just hope BA get their act together and back to providing a premium service that we pay for and expect.

7 Comments on "READER REVIEW: BA Club Europe – Titan Airways wet lease from Venice to Gatwick"

  1. We’re off to Venice next month with BA. I hope it’s better than this. When we last went in 2018, going out we had a wet lease 737 which had reclining seats and plenty of legroom. Service was really good.

  2. Just read the Titan wet lease review. We have just returned from a cruise via Marco Polo. I was seriously looking at Swiss Air business from LHR via ZRH, because of the cancellations and delays being experienced at moment with BA. I couldn’t quite bring myself to book it, what with the extra flying time involved. Wish I had tried it now!

  3. I have just returned from Asia where I took multiple flights with Singapore airlines including short haul from Singapore to Thailand and back.I have to say that short haul European business class is an embarrassment compared to the product that SQ provides and given some of the ridiculous prices BA are asking at the moment I will be steering well away from club Europe until prices are more in line with the product on offer.

  4. Richard G | 23 May 2022 at 2:39 pm |

    Nightmare fuel cabin crew pic!

  5. Well of course this is just BA taking the pee. The focus here should be ensuring the catering is excellent because flying on a decades old 757 is not: no matter how safely maintained, it was clearly shabby. Sean Doyle is not up to the job. He should have appointed a senior manager to oversee and MANAGE the temporary wet lease operation to ensure the lamentable BA PR is better than this. I’m flying down to AYT next month in J and hope the 4.30 hour flight is better than this. I’m only doing it for a double tier point run and some crown refurbishments!

  6. I mean, unless you are flying business (which turns out to be pretty bad, all things considered), what is the difference between Ryanair, BA and Easyjet? You need to pay extra for luggage, economy needs to pay for their own food, flights get cancelled left right and centre… I guess the only difference is that with Ryanair and easyjet you pay less and actually can get hold of customer service!

  7. All the time customers pay to fly BA. They are not going to improve in a hurry….

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