There is something very disorientating about flying late at night in the dark. You look out of the window and into blackness, with no idea where you are, particularly if you are on a British Airways flight without drop-down screens like the one I am currently flying on.
As an aside, there are no charging points for your laptop on this A319, even in Club or Business Class, which is extremely frustrating because my laptop is hovering at about 10% battery life, and we are only halfway through the flight. Thankfully my flight is not long. BA flies from Nice to Gatwick in around 2 hours. With 20 minutes of my flight being takeoff and landing, where I can’t use my laptop anyway, the lack of power is not a complete disaster.
But I digress. Flying at night reminds me of a rather horrific movie I watched many years ago, where a plane flew along with the world was disappearing behind it. A black hole (or a similarly disturbing force) was slowly munching up our world. Yes, it was an odd movie, but I watch most movies with planes in them. It’s the travel nerd in me!
Although my world doesn’t appear to be disappearing behind the plane (not that I can see anything through the cloud), sitting here and consuming my in-flight meal is an odd experience in the dark, is one of those frequent traveler experiences that is hard to describe to the uninitiated,
As I write, not a soul is talking. In front of me, the man is watching Manic on Netflix, and IMHO, if you watch a few episodes of this, you will feel as disorientated as I do right now, in the sky, in the dark, on this British Airways plane.
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Canopy Airport Lounge At Nice Airport
My journey started at the Canopy lounge at Nice Airport Terminal 1. This is the lounge which all British Airways Business Class travelers have access to when flying out of Nice airport. It sits above the main foyer, and, usefully, you can see the queue forming at the gate from the lounge if your gate is on the upper level. If your gate is on the lower level (bad luck as you are in for an unpleasant bus transfer whether you are flying in Economy or Business Class), you do not have a direct line of sight to the gate, but you can see when the flood of passengers in the waiting area suddenly disappear, which should be enough of a shove for you to check and confirm that your flight is boarding.
It is truly great that this lounge is so near the gate. Everything else about this lounge is not great. From the food to the seating, the crazily noisy air conditioning over one part of the lounge, that makes it sound like it’s going to takeoff, to the general upkeep. This is a pretty dreadful lounge. Okay, you get more comfortable seats than if you sit beside the gate, but the food is awful, and the ambiance is not much better.
When we arrived, there was a bowl of salted crisps with small side plates to balance them on and tongs to pick up the crisps that simply didn’t work, meaning that most travelers were forced to grab the crisps with their hands… nice and germy. There are no mini cans of drink. The drinks are in bottles and cartons. Orange and other fruit juices (not fresh) sit beside bottles of coke and water. There was Heineken in cans, but the rest had to be decanted into shabby, scratched glasses.
Beyond the crisps were some stale olive bread, some hard (not fresh) baguette, some cheese slices that were wilting at the sides, and some sealed individually wrapped unappetizing processed biscuits. There was a selection of alcohol, but I didn’t take that in, being so annoyed at the lack of anything worth eating. There was also a coffee machine that I didn’t try and some open jars of communal jam.
Just before we left this airport lounge, the staff put out a salad, but we were too late to try it, and to be honest, although it offered the best of the food on offer, it was a few lettuce leaves and tomatoes, no nice sides or soft bread and not appealing preflight unless you are a rabbit.
You will see my delightful spread of food in the scroller above. Suffice to say that a handful of crisps and a slice of stale bread and cheese was not particularly luxurious. Next time I get access to this lounge, I won’t bother using it and will use the Starbucks by the gate, which offers a pleasant environment and edible food.
BA Evening Flight Review
I don’t usually fly late at night or even in the evening as I don’t much like doing the 3-hour drive home in the dark, you see. My car has a horrible blind spot, so I feel safer driving when I am alert. But I had no choice on this flight, so I am able to review the evening service on British Airways in Club Europe.
I booked my flight on Avios, so it only cost me 27,000 Avios and around £75 GBP in fees for myself, my husband, and my boy to fly back from Nice airport. My annoyance is that this is the second return flight I booked. I canceled the first one because I was unwell, but because it was the return leg of a set of flights booked on Avios, BA would not refund me my Avios.
If I had booked each flight separately on Avios, then BA would have refunded the Avios from my return leg (but not the fees), so there is a moral here… don’t book a return flight on BA on Avios and then cancel it as the Avios will be lost. I should perhaps have tried to amend the return leg rather than cancel it and rebook, but at no point did the BA website say they would not refund my Avios, so I had no idea it would keep my return flight fees and filch the Avios. You live, and you learn.
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I usually book my flights for free on air miles and American Express Rewards, which convert directly to Avios (along with other airline miles). The free Amex Gold Card is an incredible deal with a huge free bonus of Membership Rewards and even more if you apply through our referral link. You also get limited free airport lounge access with this free card. You can apply for the UK & US card right here.
How To Get Unlimited Airport Lounge Access
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The flight itself was great. The air hostesses welcomed us on board, immaculately made up as always, I have no idea how they keep delivering those smiles all day and keep their makeup still looking good at 9:00 pm, but they do, and my meal was delivered with the usual smile.
The cabin on this British Airways A319 was spacious, as the plane had not been densified, much like the A320 flight I reviewed last week. The decor was royal blue and light blue with grey tray tables. These cabin interiors are not new or special but they seemed clean and not desperately worn like the cabin on my most recent and rather horrendous Easyjet flight.
European flights on the British Airways tend to be on their Airbus A319, A320 & A321’s and the experience is very similar as they all have the same in layout 2-2 in Business Class and 3-3 in Economy, with the main difference being whether they have been refurbished recently or not.
I was in row 4, which was a great spot, although this row did not offer the legroom of row 1, which has a wall in front of them and loads of legroom. On the refurbished BA planes, being in the front row means that you have people pushing past your legs during boarding, which isn’t ideal. This is a major problem if you are seated in row 1 to the left-hand side of the plane but is less of a problem to the right.
The front row is undoubtedly the best row to pick on the plane with the best 4 seats because of the sheer amount of legroom. So seats A C D & F in row 1 are by far the best seats on this A320. On BA’s refurbished, densified short-haul planes, I would always opt for seats D & F in row 1 because of the problem of passing human traffic during boarding in seats A & C. That said, the seats themselves are all the same throughout the cabin, including the Coach seats at the back, with exactly the same width. By booking into the Business Class seats on the flight, nobody sits in the middle seat (it is converted to a table), so you have plenty of elbow room if you want to work.
This is a major reason for me to choose Club Europe over Economy. When you try and type on your computer in Economy, you are liable to knock your neighbor as these seats do not have a generous width. In Club, you can work your way through the flight. 2 hours of my time makes it worthwhile for me to upgrade, particularly if I upgrade on Avios air miles!
Food in Club Europe
On offer tonight was a salad to start with tomatoes and cheese on a bed of lettuce. It wasn’t great, the tomatoes were cherry ones and had a vague taste of tomato. The lettuce leaf was swimming in oil and floppy. The cheese didn’t taste of much at all.
The main was a choice between salmon or a mushroom something. I didn’t quite catch what the air hostess said, but not being a fan of mushrooms, I didn’t go for that.
The salmon was on a bed of lentils and was pretty tasty, with bits of tomato and other flavors in the lentil bit and broccoli and olives to the side. This came with a soft roll and a chocolate cheesecake, which was quite rich and filling even though it was small.
Perhaps it was my tiredness, but I thoroughly enjoyed my evening meal on British Airways. I usually have their afternoon tea, preferring afternoon flights, so you can read more about this British Airways flight in my review.
The Rest Of The Flight
The rest of the flight was not noteworthy. I am a fan of these older planes for the legroom, but the lack of a power socket was a problem for me on this flight. The toilet was rather worn as it was on my previous flight, the weather was good, and the flight was smooth, which always makes it more enjoyable. We arrived on time and left on time, which was also good being as the flight is towards the end of the day.
That’s it. I hope I can read over this flight review at least once before my battery dies, and once again, if you ever book a BA flight on Avios, book each leg separately just in case you need to cancel your return leg.
Heathrow vs. Gatwick
I regularly fly on British Airways out of London Heathrow to Nice. Have a read of my European British Airways Business Class Flight Reviews to find out what the Heathrow route is like. I prefer it. On landing, the Gatwick Terminal is always tatty, and the immigration queues tend to be worse. I am a major fan of Heathrow Terminal 5 with its modern and impressive design and the glamorous facilities both pre and post-flight and would always choose to fly via Heathrow than Gatwick.
The lounges, if you fly out of Gatwick rather than into Gatwick, are decent. In fact, they are the one redeeming feature of flying out of Gatwick’s South Terminal. They are both excellent, and I have reviewed both in detail below. They are both very much better than the dreadful Canopy Airport lounge at Nice airport.
Being brutally honest, in looks and seating alone, the First class British Airways lounge at Gatwick South is no better than the Business Club Lounge at Gatwick South which I have already reviewed with pictures. In fact, the seating on… Read More.
The new British Airways Business lounge for Club passengers and First lounge is open at London Gatwick’s South Terminal, and it is an absolute cracker. Following a late opening due to electrical teething troubles, the lounge is now fully functional… Read More.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor.