I like to book Club Europe tickets on British Airways on my outward leg of flights out of London Heathrow. For my family, this is worth the expense, particularly if I buy the ticket on Avios miles, but less so if I am paying for the ticket with cash unless I spot a good British Airways Sale.
Wherever you decide to fly to, book your hotel stay via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels, including Four Seasons, Aman, Belmond, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, and more. You also get your usual Marriott Bonvoy Hyatt, loyalty points, and status benefits when you book with our concierge.
The problem is that I don’t travel enough on a single airline to make it worth flying Club Europe solely for tier points towards status, so I am purely paying for the pre flight access to the British Airways lounges in Terminal 5, in-flight experience and extra seat space.
For my family, the in-flight experience of Club Europe is not worth paying extra Avios for, although the priority boarding and exit are an advantage. It is the Galleries Club lounge access in Terminal 5 that makes Club Europe worth paying the extra for in Avios and maybe in cash too. This is namely because there isn’t a decent club lounge alternative in Terminal 5.
The Aspire lounge is accessible using your Priority Pass, but this lounge is too busy, and the food is not particularly appealing.
The Plaza Premium lounge Terminal 5 is the mirror of the Aspire lounge and is at the other end of the Terminal to the Aspire lounge. It and the Aspire lounge are the only non-British Airways lounges in Terminal 5. This Plaza Premium lounge is fine and quiet with very basic food, but access is usually impossible even if you hold an American Express Platinum Card that is meant to give you complimentary access.
Instead, you have to queue outside the lounge after registering using a digital queuing system. You have to wait until you are invited inside. On our last two flights, the invite did not come until our plane was actually boarding and we were at the boarding gate. We spent an hour sitting outside the lounge waiting (along with about 30 other American Express Platinum Card holders who were not given access either). Of three recent flights, we have only managed to gain access to the Plaza Premium lounge once and we reviewed the Plaza Premium lounge on this occasion.
So for us, access to the British Airways Galleries lounge is worth paying the extra for, with an outward Club Europe ticket, although, between you and I, we usually fly back in Euro Traveller as the international lounges that British Airways Club Europe travelers have access to are not brilliant. But on our outward leg, we get decent food (as Club Europe food is not great) and a seat where we can get some work done while we wait for our flight. For us, this is money, or Avios, well spent. You can read our reviews of the British Airways Galleries North Lounge, and the Galleries South lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5.
Benefits of flying Club Europe onboard
On board, the advantages are less obvious. In fact that the legroom on the British Airways seats in Club Europe (is it just me, or does BA have a rather old fleet of aircraft…) is the same as those in their basic Euro Traveller class. This lack of legroom limits the luxury that this service offers. The saving grace of these seats is that the middle seat is converted to a table so that you will never get a middle seat and you will never be shoved next to a stranger as you have the middle seat table between you and the traveler also allocated to the same row as you. You can also read our pick of the best seats on Club Europe.
Benefits of flying Club Europe onboard include avoidance of quite the level of claustrophobic intimacy with the traveler in the neighboring seat that you experience in standard class. This is because your “middle” seat, which separates you from your neighbor, is always free in Club Europe as the cabins are configured 3+3 on either side of the aisle, with the central seat left free.
More space to fit hand baggage in the overhead lockers, which can be a struggle in economy now so many people travel with hand baggage only.
A fairly decent improved food offering (see photo) which includes a snack with your drink, something I always appreciate when I am hungry, and a full limited meal. By comparison, the World Traveller Economy offering tends to be a bottle of water and a pack of crisps or a menu you can pay for.
Club Europe also offers separate toilet facilities from the World Traveller cabin and Fast track access through customs and at check-in at Heathrow and some other airports.
Clearly, if your standard Euro Traveller seat on your European flight is next to an ill-looking sneezing passenger, then the Club Europe offer pays for itself in germ reduction. The whole experience in Club is more relaxed and sophisticated, and the air host/hostess has more time to take care of you. Certainly, I feel spending my Avios is well worth it to enjoy the less stressful Club experience. But when paying with cash, I find it hard to justify spending £600 GBP per person one way to Nice. I prefer to divert the cash I’ve saved into that extra Michelin star for my evening meal at the other end.
We have also reviewed a number of European Business Class flights.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.