I mainly fly British Airways and I am always on the lookout for offers and cheap ways to upgrade my class of travel to their business or “Club Class” cabins, for bookings in both Club Europe and in Club World.
I am not actually convinced that Club Europe is worth the ticket price bearing in mind that the Club Europe seats are identical to their economy seats. The only real seating advantage is the fact that the middle seat is converted into a table which gives you more space for your elbows. You read see my thoughts and review on travelling Club Europe.
What is definitely missing with your British Airways Economy ticket, is airport lounge access and superior in-flight dining. I have outlined how to achieve both of these on the cheap below.
The Cheapest Way To Get Airport Lounge Access At Heathrow & Gatwick
Lounge access can be purchased easily in advance. For example, if you are traveling out of London Heathrow Terminal 5 you can make use of the rather good Aspire Airport Lounge (pictured above). You can pay for, (or use your Priority Pass to), access this airport lounge. To get hold of a Priority Pass, you buy membership from PriorityPass.com, you can get an American Express Platinum card (which entitles you to 2 complimentary Priority Passes) or you can enjoy three hours in ‘Aspire, the Lounge and Spa at LHR T5’ for £35 GBP when booked in advance at executivelounges.com or for £40 GBP at reception on the day subject to availability.
You can read my personal review of the Aspire Airport Lounge Heathrow Terminal 5 including pictures that I took while I was there and you can also see a video of the Aspire Lounge in this article. At London Gatwick, you can also pay for or use your Priority Pass to gain access to their Airport lounges, and the same goes for most airports across the world.
The Best Heathrow Airport Pre-Flight Plane Food Hampers
Relatively recently, various outlets at Heathrow are offering food kits or “picnics” to take on board which replicates business class style in-flight dining options. As the limited British Airways economy food offering seems to have gone downhill recently (two weeks ago I was given a packet of peanuts or crisps for my in-flight dining back from Zurich!), these hampers can be useful regardless on whether you are trying to replicate the business class experience.
For example, in Heathrow Terminal 5, Gordon Ramsey offers a “Plane Food” box pictured below along with their “Plane Food” takeaway menu. The new Fortnum & Mason restaurant also in Terminal 5 has also launched a range of ‘eat on board’ hampers (again pictured below).
These “hamperlings” feature Fortnum’s best-loved produce from their food hall including Smoked Salmon; Lincolnshire Poacher; York Ham; Game Terrine; Rare Roast Glenarm Salt-Aged Beef and Fortnum’s Oscietra Caviar. Each “Hamperling” is packaged in an airplane-friendly plate format and comes with its own Fortnum & Mason cutlery set and cool bag in signature eau-de-nil, to ensure that all travelers are able to dine on the plane in style and ease. These are perfect to take on board – they create an instant upgrade to your flight experience. Prices range from £15 GBP to £50 GBP.
I’m afraid I do not have a tip on expanding the width and breadth of the seat in World Traveller (economy) class and for long-distance flights you can’t beat the space in a decent-sized business class seat. But for shorter flights, these new lounges and in-flight menu options make it well worth downgrading your Club Europe seat and spending some of the money you have saved on a nice pre-flight lounge and some “plane food”.
Of course, an easy way to fly British Airways Club Europe and Club World on the cheap is to pay for your flight using Avios miles which you can collect with Amex, Lloyds, Tesco. I will continue to feature any particularly good offers on collecting Avios on Luxury Travel Diary.
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