Transport : Airlines

The photo of my last meal in British Airways (picture above) surely explains why Business Class within Europe (travelling between European airports) is utterly disgraceful.

Food & Drink On Business Class Flights In Europe

This plastic covered trio of dry sandwiches along with a disgusting brown “sweet” roll was the Club Europe afternoon tea that British Airways is so famous for. It came with unlimited free drinks – the lady next to me had two mini bottles of wine during the 1hr 50 minute flight, which was perhaps in an effort to lubricate her throat after the dry sandwich. Unlimited over-brewed tea. Now I am British and like a strong cuppa, but the tea offered on my flight was eye-wateringly strong, so much so that it caught in my throat. The offering did not merit the cost (or even the Avios cost) of this flight.

Seats On Business Class Flights In Europe

British Airways uses the same seats in Club Europe (or Business Class) as in their economy Euro Traveller (coach class). The exact same seats. This means the seats offer the same legroom in Economy and Business Class for their intra-Europe flights. I believe this is the same deal if you currently travel on Lufthansa in Business Class.

These Club Europe seats are squashed in like sardines (seat pitch around 30 inches), although admittedly British Airways do add in a separating tray so that you and your neighbour will be in seats A and C with B allocated as an additional tray area to place your papers and laptop, shared with your neighbour.

For comparison, Luftansa’s new A320neo aircraft will offer an improved 32 inch pitch in their Business Class which is slightly better making Lufthansa potentially a better choice when travelling within Europe. Swiss Airlines usually offers a 34 inch pitch. Turkish Airlines offers 34 – 37 inch pitch for short haul business flights.

The Business Class seats & food on flights in Europe are particularly pitiful when compared to their US counterparts. American Domestic tends to offer a Premium Economy or Economy-plus seating with extra legroom seats of around 34 inches of pitch. American Domestic First is usually 38-40 inches of pitch.

Why Travel Business Class Within Europe?

Good question – which I have answered in more detail in my article entitled why travel Club Europe on British Airways. In a nutshell, if you travel with British Airways from London Heathrow or London Gatwick, you get access to very good pre-flight lounges at the airport, much better than those you can access with a Priority Pass. My last British Airways Business Class flight gave me access to the new British Airways Business Lounge At Gatwick South which was almost worth the Business Class ticket price alone, as the rest of Gatwick South is a pretty tatty terminal and not somewhere you want to hang around. You also get priority boarding (although in my experience the boarding experience is often quite disorganised and this perk has little value).

To be honest, for flying within Europe I have taken to booking Club Europe out of the London hubs for the lounges alone. I book using Avios and I do think it is worth spending Avios on Club Europe flights for legs departing from London. The inflight experience is, as I said above, a disgraceful offering, and because I can access most of the British Airways Club lounges with my Priority Pass on my return leg, I am choosing to return in economy or even on a low cost carrier like easyjet. Without the free food and drink that used to be offered in economy on British Airways there is simply no advantage of travelling BA economy over any other low cost carrier.

British Airways features in my top Business Class Airlines and I compare British Airways Club World Vs Virgin Atlantic Upper Class including the Galleries Lounges Vs Virgin’s Clubhouses. If you enjoyed this review you may be interested in my other airline reviews and airport lounge reviews.

British Airways