British airways Club Europe Review
British airways Club Europe Review
This was our first time on British airways Club Europe Business Class to Tenerife so we had high expectations for this flight. During our Review we will cover the dedicated check-in zone, fast track security, BA club europe lounge gatwick, priority boarding, Catering, menu inc breakfast & lunch, seats, luggage & hand baggage allowance.
Using Google Flights, London to Tenerife at the lowest points on the price graph with availability was coming in at £330 each, a whopping £660 for the two of us. Time to switch to using avios points instead, availability in early March – 68k avios plus £98.00 Taxes, clicked and booked.
Gatwick to Tenerife South is the only direct BA flights available in March from London taking approximately 4 hours, 20 mins consisting of 1,572 nautical miles using the Airbus A320 aircraft. Tenerife North is available from both Gatwick & Heathrow also but stops in Barcelona for 1.5 hours and the shortest flight takes approx 6 hours, 30 minutes.
BA Club Europe Dedicated Check-in
When flying BA Business class in Europe you receive as part of your flight package the use of the BA dedicated check-in zone.
From the main BA check in area, we entered via an entrance signed as above. As we walked through we found ourselves in a queue awaiting service. Many Business Class luggage drop off booths were open and staffed but still some long queues.
We were directed to the First Class check-in booth on this occasion. The staff member was very attentive and chatty and attached a yellow First Class luggage label to our suitcases. Normally in Business Class you get an Orange luggage label which means your luggage receives priority within the baggage system.
Fast Track Security
After our luggage drop off we headed our way to the fast track security, this is also part of your package if you fly BA Club Europe. To find the fast track security lanes, you enter through the normal security area but then keep to the left through a dedicated fast track lane. There was one conveyor system for checking your hand baggage but the system worked efficiently and after only a few short minutes, we found ourselves already through.
Normally, the security gate system at Gatwick can at times be long and a frustrating wait. Fast track security is definetly a benefit in our opinion and highly recommended.
Once through fast track security, we made our way to the BA Business Galleries Lounge, our full Review found by clicking here BA Gatwick Lounge.
Luggage & hand baggage allowance
Checked in luggage allowance is 2 x 32kg baggage allowance per person. The hand baggage allowance is 1 x laptop bag of 23kg and 1 x cabin bag of 23kg. Extra baggage in size & weight can be booked in but will incur additional charges.
Please refer to the BA Baggage allowance dedicated page:
Also part of the Club Europe package is Priority boarding of the plane. By the time we had reached our boarding gate we just caught a Tannoy message requesting that all Business class passengers to board the plane now.
It appears that Short haul boarding is a lot quicker process than in Long haul. Priority boarding is definitely a benefit in our opinion, just to be able to board the plane first gives you enough time to place your hand baggage away and be seated and settled before the bulk of passengers enter the same aisle.
British airways Club Europe Cabin & Seats
As we entered the plane we were warmly greeted by the Cabin Crew who checked our tickets and directed us to our seat location/s.
On first impressions, the Club Europe Cabin looks exactly the same as in Economy. There are no notable differences with the decor inside this Cabin unlike the differences between long haul Business & Economy class.
The real differences became apparent when we arrived at our seats. The seat layout in Club Europe is the same as in economy consisting of three seats either side of the main aisle. However, the notable difference is that the centre seat is not used for a passenger, but utilised instead as a tray table. This tray table in the centre seat enables passengers both sides to enjoy more width to stretch out and place cups / glasses or personal items on the table. For a single traveller, this set up would also provide more privacy.
We purposely choose seats as close to the front of the plane as possible and managed to secure row 5, seats D/F. This was due to us experiencing on our last Club World flight an unsatisfactory level of service by being seated in the last row. It is common for meals to run out by the time the cabin crew have reached passengers in the last rows on BA.
If you’re not already aware, seat selection is not free even for Club Europe passengers. To read our New article on whether you should pay or not to reserve BA Seats click here – BA Seat Selection.
The legroom of the seats in Club europe is 30 inches with a seat width of 17 inches. This according to the official information provided by British airways is the same as an economy class seat.
Club Europe cabins do not supply any in-Flight entertainment of any kind. We were a little surprised to discover this as we were on a flight lasting nearly 4.5 hours.
BA Club Europe Catering
Our outbound flight departed Gatwick at 9.20am to Tenerife so was within the time slot of the Breakfast serving. I had already indulged in a cooked breakfast that morning at the Hampton by Hilton hotel – Gatwick North review found here – Hampton Hilton Gatwick North so decided against the full English again and opted for a lighter breakfast of continental meats and cheeses. This plate came with meats, egg, olives & selection of different cheese’s such as Brie & Mozzarella. Also accompanying the main dish was a fresh fruit salad and a shortcake style dessert with the usual Bread roll, butter & jam. We were also handed hot towels to clean and refresh our hands.
My wife had the Omelette which came with mushrooms, a cooked tomato and potato style Rosti. This was also accompanied by the same fruit salad and cheesecake style dessert. My wife enjoyed the Omelette, I tasted some and was impressed. Both our breakfasts were served with either fresh coffee or Twinings tea.
On our return flights from TFS, we were on the afternoon service so had the opportunity to experience the Club Europe lunch menu. On this occasion, I opted for the Beef Massaman curry and my wife choose the macaroni cheese.
I found the Massaman Beef curry actually quite good and tasty. It used a creamy style, mild curry sauce with braising style beef chunks and a Khichdi rice with vegetables. This dish also came with antipasti including stuffed peppers with feta, olives and Sun dried tomatoes. A dish of a selection of cheese which were delicious including Somerset brie and coastal cheddar, black grapes & crackers then for dessert an Orchard fruit crisp.
My wife enjoyed the macaroni cheese dish, I also sampled some and was impressed for a pasta style dish on a plane, not dry and chewy. Her meal also came with the antipasti, cheese selection and Orchard fruit crisp dessert, all accompanied by a bread roll and butter.
All meals are served up on Bone China crockery and accompanied by steel BA branded cutlery with Dining menus provided to all passengers in this Cabin.
Drinks & Refreshments
Before departure, drinks were offered to all passengers by the Cabin Crew. This included any soft drink, spirits, still wine or Champagne. All drinks are served in BA branded glassware.
I still like to take every opportunity to have a glass or two of Champagne either in the Lounge, pre-departure or during the flight.
During lunch I decided to try the Chardonnay white which I found pleasantly drinkable.
Tea by Twinings and Union roast coffee was regularly offered by the cabin crew.
In-Flight Cabin Crew Service
BA cabin crew service in our experience is unpredictable, on one flight you can experience a great cabin crew, then on another flight not so good.
On our outbound flight the cabin crew were just ok, they just done the basics of their job and nothing else. On our return flight we experienced a more customer focused crew with an on-board cabin crew manager present. The cabin crew manager made conversation with every passenger on our flight whilst serving customers with a smile.
We struck up a conversation with the Cabin crew manager during our flight on a few occasions and he shook my hand and wished me an onward pleasant journey when we departed the plane.
BA Club Europe vs BA Economy Class
Flying on British Airways Club Europe does certainly come with some Perks. In comparison to Economy class on the same flight we received a better seat in our opinion. This was due to the layout of our seats with the middle seat reserved by a tray table. Just having the tray table located in the middle seat provided us both extra space to relax, spread out a bit rather than almost rub shoulders with a stranger if were seated in Economy class.
The Club Europe Dining options were in our opinion actually quite good including a 3 Course Meal & Drinks inc Champagne. In Economy you have to buy your food which includes sandwiches, snacks & drinks – No 3 Course Meal.
Club Europe providing Business Lounge access at Gatwick on British Airways Airways is definetly a big bonus. You gain complimentary access to the prestigious BA Galleries South Lounge, economy class receives no lounge access unless you pay £25.00 each and with paying you do not get access to BA Gatwick South lounge, but a lounge nearby and not as good in our opinion.
Club Europe passengers receive priority boarding, economy class passengers have to wait until Business class passengers have boarded and settled.
Flying BA Club Europe can cost as little as £200 per person, Return.This Business class flight will also come with extra Tier Points & additional BA Avios Points. After only 2 Club Europe flights at 80 TP’s each way on the longer european routes, you will receive automatic British airways executive club Bronze membership.
When you take into consideration all the costs associated with Business Class Lounge access incouding Priority Boarding, dedicated check-in, additional luggage allowances at 2 x 32kg each, 3 Course Meals, Free drinks and more room in your seat allocation. In our opinion there is not a lot of difference in the prices between Economy & Business Class.
Our Verdict / Recommendations
British airways Club Europe is “as good as it gets” for BA short-haul European flights unless your lucky enough to be flying on one of the very few, long haul aircraft used on some European routes in which case you would be lucky enough to be sitting instead in a Club World cabin.
The cabin & seats are the same as in Economy except for the middle seat being reserved & used for a tray table. The real difference is the meal & drinks selection served and being seated in the front cabin of the plane, fast track security, priority boarding & the extra baggage allowances and don’t forget access to the Premium Lounges.
Is it worth paying extra? This all depends on how much you place a value on those extra benefits you receive in Business Class towards Economy. We will always go out of way to fly Club Europe now if flying short-haul but would always research the cheapest way possible. Remember we only paid 68k avios points plus £98.00 in taxes towards a cash price of £660, this makes 68k avios valued at £562 in our eyes.
If you would like to learn how to earn almost 50% of the avios points required to fly direct to Tenerife just by signing up for a UK credit card, click here Amex Preferred Rewards Gold Card
Our other recommendations would be to keep an eye on the regular BA Flight sales for discounted business class flights as some bargains can be found. Another option would be to always try a “Dummy Run” booking using BA Holidays. The dedicated holiday package site regularly displays packages potentially making the Club Europe flights cheaper than purchasing your basic flight & hotel separately.
Definitely reserve your seats as close to front of the cabin as possible as this almost guarantees that you will receive your preferred meal choice.
If you have any questions or would like to express your opinion on Club Europe, please leave a comment below.