British Airways offers a product that is sub-par to even US carrier’s business class. Between the indifferent crews, bland meal, and horrible hard product, it is difficult to imagine paying outright for business class on such a short flight.
The Good: Blocked Middle seat, which happens to me often on some American Airlines flights in Main Cabin Extra.
The Bad: The seat reclines just like an economy seat, same legroom as economy, lackluster food.
The Noteworthy: I got to see some exciting aircraft at FCO.
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This flight was part of a longer trip I had planned, and it was the first leg of my return journey to the US. I used AA miles to book a flight from FCO-JFK via LHR. It was the only option for the day, given we were flying as a family of four. I checked availability on aa.com and was able to find the seats, so we booked them a week before we left for our vacation.
Gate and Boarding:
We left the BA Galleries lounge at JFK about 20 minutes before boarding. The lounge had some finger foods, and a good selection of drinks. Since we didn’t want to spend any money at the airport, we simply waited for food on the plane, oh what a mistake!
When we arrived at the gate, the agents were not even there. Usually, European airlines use outsourced employees for their ground services outside of their hubs. The gate agents could not have been more relax (read inefficient). After settling in, one of the agents began assigning seats. The other began boarding. The process was chaotic and made no sense. Regardless, we were able to board pretty quickly and settle in our seats.
Airline: British Airways
Cabin Class: Club Europe
Route: Rome (FCO) to London (LHR)
On Time: Yes (surprisingly)
Cabin and Seat:
When we boarded, the cabin service director welcomed us abroad and pointed us to our seats. Seats 2F/2D and 3F/3D. No pre-departure beverages were served, and the crew seemed rushed already. After a (impressively) quick boarding process, we waited for bags to load. This took a solid 20 extra minutes. The captain welcomed us onboard, and announced that we were ready to depart.
The seat is truly uncomfortable. It is lightly padded, hardly reclines and has tiny armrests. The blocked middle seat is nice, but it is not a true business class hard product. I dislike that European Airlines do this, as most have the same policy. The Club Europe was 100% full, and economy seemed almost full as well.
Taxi and Takeoff
Taxiing at FCO has never been more interesting. Although there were any hiccups regarding our aircraft, I got to see a nice number of unusual airlines at FCO. I didn’t know that Jet Airways flew a 777-300ER to Rome!
Food, Service and IFE
After takeoff, the flight attendants burst into action. They offered breakfast to all customers. The options were a “full English breakfast” or a hot oatmeal. I chose the English breakfast. It took them about 20 minutes to start distributing drinks, and I had ordered water.
When they finally brought the trays out, they served coffee or tea. The black tea was the highlight of the meal. I am not a tea connoisseur, but it was really strong and tasty black tea. The meal came with eggs, sausage, mushrooms and a tomato. The tomato was perfectly cooked, and I loved it.
Alongside the main dish, there was a cup of yogurt, some coconut cookies, a croissant, and bread. It was honestly less impressive than what American Airlines serves for breakfast in coach, but I cannot complain, at least I didn’t have to pay for food.
After the crew cleaned up the trays, I only saw them once more. They were offering tea and coffee again. The coffee was good, but not very strong. I was very disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm of the crew.
In terms of IFE, all we got was the inflight moving map on the overhead screens. I personally love that touch, given how very few US airlines offer moving maps on overhead screens. That ebing said, BA is getting rid of overhead screens when they add wifi. I will be sad to see them go, but at least WiFi is a major improvement.
As we approached Heathrow, we got amazing views of the city. There was an American Airlines 787 on approach opposite to us, and I was able to snag a mid air picture. We landed without incident, and on time.
I was not impressed by British Airways Club Europe. If you are continuing from another leg in business class, then yeah I get that you would fly on it. I would never pay out of my own pocket to fly Club Europe within the continent, it’s not worth it. When BA adds WiFi, the experience should improve, and I really encourage them to improve their inflight catering within Europe. A tomato should never be the highlight of an English Breakfast.
What do you think? Have you ever flown BA Club Europe? How was your experience?
Here is a list of all my flight reviews: The Millennial Traveler Flight Reviews
Here is a list of all my lounge reviews: The Millennial Traveler Lounge Reviews
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