|Features||British Airways A320 Club Europe (Business Class) Highlights|
|Airport Lounge||Basic lounge with stale pastries.|
|Seat Comfort||Business Class seats are exactly the same as Economy seats, but middle seats aren't sold.|
|Food and Beverage||Hot lunch of pasta was served.|
|The GET.com Verdict||Nice hot lunch compensated for tight seat pitch.|
As part of our family's 6-month Round-The-World journey on free Business Class tickets (using one million miles via some of the best airline credit cards) to 17 countries across five continents in 2017, we did a side trip from Valencia (VLC) to London (LGW) on British Airways' Airbus A320 Club Europe (Business Class), which I'll review here at GET.com.
British Airways A320 Club Europe Business Class Review
Valencia Airport is well-connected to the city via metro, and being the 10th busiest airport in Spain, it's quite a small airport with very limited options for food and drink after passing through security.
The departure hall was quite empty and there was no queue at the British Airways desks.
Club Europe is the Business Class service for British Airways' UK and European flights. As a Club Europe passenger, each of us got a checked bag allowance of 2 bags of 32kg each (total 64kg), in addition to a hand baggage allowance of 1 laptop bag of 23kg and 1 cabin bag of 23kg. We packed light, so the baggage allowance of more than 100kg per person was way more than enough for us.
After security and before heading to the departure gate, we made our way to the Sala VIP Joan Olivert Lounge located on the first floor near gate A2, which is the VIP airport lounge in Valencia Airport for Business Class and First Class passengers flying on British Airways, Iberia and S7 Airlines, and also for oneworld members holding Sapphire or Emerald status.
British Airways Club Europe Business Class Airport Lounge
British Airways Club Europe Business Class Lounge in Valencia Airport is open from 05:00 till 22:00, and is managed by AENA. As the Valencia Airport is small, I had not expected the VIP airport lounge to be anything more than being functional.
We handed our boarding passes to the receptionist who scanned them before we made our way to the lounge upstairs. Measuring 400 square meters, it is spacious and filled with natural light coming in from over the runway.
The airport lounge isn't so exclusive; even if you don't meet the requirements for entry, you can still purchase access to the lounge. An adult pass costs 28.7€ and you get a maximum of four hours to use the lounge before the departure time on your boarding pass, but I don't think it's worth paying that amount to use this lounge if you don't get free access.
There were a mix of red, orange, brown and green swivel chairs and armchairs arranged neatly in various parts of the uncarpeted lounge.
There was a work zone with power ports where you can catch up on emails. The wifi worked okay.
In the food section, there was a fridge stocked with yoghurt, assorted juices and water, and two coffee machines. I used the coffee machine to make myself an espresso and got my boys bottled water from the fridge.
The selection of food was very disappointing. There were a couple of sad looking pastries and bread, so we didn't touch the food at all.
When it was time to board the British Airways A320, we had to walk out of the airport building and across the tarmac to the plane.
The BA inflight magazine high life didn't have the glossy cover that I was used to seeing. This dog-eared magazine looked more like a supermarket catalogue than a proper airline inflight mag.
British Airways A320 Club Europe Business Class Seat Comfort
Typical of other European airlines' Business Class seats, BA's Club Europe seats are standard Euro Traveller (Economy) seats in a 3-3 layout, but with the middle seat blocked off. So a Club Europe passenger is guaranteed either a window seat or an aisle eat.
The middle tray table is removable, so for parents who want to sit next to their children, you can ask a flight attendant to remove it for you. They will unclip it and flip it under the middle seat.
We occupied seats in row 3. Headrests are fully adjustable.
The seats are clad in black leather seats with a 30" legroom that's too cramped for my height. Previously, the pitch was 34", but this had been reduced to 30" over the last 2-3 years following an interior overhaul which purpose was to maximize profits (by adding more seats) at the expense of passengers.
There are no power or USB ports on the plane, neither is there Wifi. There is also no inflight entertainment screen.
British Airways A320 Business Class Food and Beverage
Shortly after takeoff, we were offered hot towels and a packet of mixed nuts.
I was happy to be offered a miniature bottle of Champagne de Castelnau Reserve Brut NV and a small wine glass. Passengers flying in BA's Club Europe cabin have been served this top choice of champagne since February 2016. The finish was good and I could taste Chardonnay in the rich blend.
Even though this was a short-haul flight, I was given two choices for lunch and I chose Pasta Bolognese. The food was served in china and with metal cutlery. The lunch tray also came with warm bread and a chocolate caramel mousse dessert. To my surprise, the pasta was hot and good.
After experiencing SWISS Business Class' very disappointing meal service (see my SWISS A330 Business Class review and SWISS A320 Business Class review), I was impressed by a simple hot and uncomplicated meal.
For passengers flying Economy on short-haul flights like this one, BA had stopped serving them complimentary food and drinks since 11 January 2017, and instead replaced that with an "M&S On Board" food and drinks menu, with onboard catering by Marks & Spencer.
The cheapest food options from the M&S menu are crisps and chocolates which cost £1 each.
A cup of Java Republic coffee costs £2.30 and a Cadbury hot chocolate costs £2.70.
We didn't buy anything from the M&S menu; after all, why pay extra from our pockets when our food and drinks were already included in Business Class?
British Airways A320 Club Europe Business Class: The GET.com Verdict
I already knew what to expect when it comes to seat comfort before we flew on British Airways Airbus A320 Club Europe Business Class from Valencia to London. Like other airlines in Europe, they use standard seats for Business Class and block out the middle seat so you get a little more privacy and space in return.
In their last redesign of seats, British Airways actually made the seats more uncomfortable by chopping 4 inches off of legroom, though they also reduced the recline of seats so that tall people's knees don't get too bruised. We would have chosen the more spacious row 1 bulkhead seats had they not been taken already.
Despite that, I still preferred the Business Class service on BA compared to SWISS as I was served hot food (and Champagne) on this short-haul flight, not to mention hot towel service too. Even though the cabin crew didn't address us by name or interact with any of us, it was nonetheless a pleasant flight.
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