Report No: 2019-502E
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this new short series, which would contain two British Airways flights onboard their Club World and Club Europe cabin. As British Airways had a smart Business Class fare for $899 (o/w on a mixed class booking) for the entire journey to Istanbul from the USA, I have decided to fly British Airways and after this trip back home, I was going to retain my BA Exec Silver status for another year.
The second and the last report of the series would be a longer intra-European flight from London Heathrow to Istanbul onboard the Club Europe cabin of a British Airways A320neo. This flight was my first ride on the British Airways A320neo so I really wondered the difference between the BA A320neo and the BA A320 so I had the chance to compare the two aircraft types as well. This report would also contain the breakfast offerings in the Galleries Club in Heathrow Terminal 5A South in addition to a small visit to the Elemis Spa as well.
I have flown this exact route and flight several times in Economy Class ( Euro Traveller ). If you want to take a visit to those reports please click here.
The routing for this short series would look like this.
Pax for this flight
Club Europe ( Business ): %80-85
Euro Traveller ( Economy ): %95-100
After arriving from my previous flight, as I've noticed that my flight would depart from A gates, I have headed to the main flight connections area and headed to the priority lane. That Friday morning, Heathrow was crowded so the priority lane was crowded as well.
After waiting 15-20 minutes for my turn to leave my belongings to the X-Ray, my backpack got flagged and there were almost 7-8 bags needed to be searched. Luckily in 2 minutes, one of the security agents brought my bag and said I could take it. The reason that my bag was flagged was security had made an explosive check on liquids. At that time, one of the passengers waiting for his bags to be inspected shouted at the security pointing at me "Is he special." The security agent told that angry passenger that his bag needed a full hand search while mine was just a liquid check, however, the guy started to complain more and then that security agent went to the other side of the X-Ray device.
As my gate was not signposted yet I have decided to use the South Lounge as the shower facilities and the Elemis Spa is located just a level below that lounge. Before heading to the lounge, I have stopped by the Elemis Spa to request a massage. Arriving British Airways Club World and First passengers could benefit from the massage service even after connecting to another flight in Club Europe so I was able to get an appointment at 09:00 on the spot which was not that bad. Also, I had asked for a shower room but due to the morning rush, a pager was given and the responsible had told me that the average waiting time was around 30 minutes.
The breakfast offerings of the lounge was similar to my last morning visits to the same exact lounge. Let's start with the yoghurt options.
The corn flake and granola options
Unfortunately, there were no smoothies at the time I had arrived at the lounge, they were available after 08:30. In another website, I have learnt that BA would remove their smoothies from their Club World cabin starting June 2019 because of the difficulty cleaning the pitcher, so this may also be the sign of the removal from their lounges.
And finger sandwiches, alongside with hash browns and frittatas.
While enjoying my breakfast, the pager blinked so I have quickly finished the meal on my plate and went down to have a shower. I was assigned shower room number 2 by the front desk, however, one of the cleaners told me that number 2 is not ready at that time so she asked me to use shower room number 1. Here are some photos from shower room number 1.
After having my shower, I've checked the incoming aircraft. That bird was still at Glasgow at that time, he would soon depart for Heathrow.
Before my massage, I've returned back to the lounge, as there were almost no seating available, I have taken a seat at the TV room.
The drink options,
The coffee and tea bar.
Around 08:55, I was present for my appointment at the Elemis Spa, I was asked to fill a form which asked me personal details such as allergies, any treatments that I had passed, etc…
After a great massage by the masseur, he gave me samples of Elemis products and then I've decided to head to my gate as boarding was going to begin soon.
Just after arriving to gate A6, I have checked expertflyer if still seat 1D was blocked or unoccupied and yes it was still blocked. I really like the way that Theoretical Seating works in British Airways. I was going to have the opportunity to occupy the whole row in a row that has extra legroom.
Boarding had started 30 minutes before scheduled departure time with the respect of priorities. Before queuing up, an agent simply checked passports, if the name matched with the boarding pass.
Like most gates in Heathrow Terminal 5, complimentary newspapers were available at the gate.
After being welcomed by the cabin crew, I have taken my seat 1F. In the British Airways A320neo, the first 12 rows are equipped with Pinnacle seats, despite the rear rows having Recaro seats. As I was flying in Club Europe, a pillow and a blanket were present at the seat.
And the huge legroom in row 1. Also, I have noticed that British Airways has started to have Spanish signs on their aircraft as well, in addition to the English ones.
The overhead panel
In BA A320neo aircraft, there are no overhead monitors, however, each seat is equipped with a USB port and the power outlet. These were activated after takeoff.
The first visible aircraft that day was another A320neo being towed to his gate for his flight to Frankfurt
This A319 was visible while we were pushing back after arriving from Manchester as BA 1389.
At that time, G-BYGC, the BOAC livery Queen of the Skies that I had just arrived at Heathrow onboard, was taking off for a flight to Houston.
At that time, the cabin crew made the safety demonstration manually as there were no overhead monitors.
G-YMMG getting ready for his flight to Shanghai.
G-ZBKB, one of BA's Dreamliner aircraft, was going to fly to JNB that day.
G-CIVO was parked at Terminal 5C before his flight to Lagos.
Some BA aircraft at Terminal 3
G-VYUM getting ready for his flight to Shanghai
N772AN was parked at a remote stand before his flight to Dallas.
A Cathay Pacific 777-300ER at a remote stand
A Virgin Atlantic A340-600, it's rare to see an A346 these days.
N278AY departing as AA 729 to Philadelphia
After that, it was the turn of N830AN, for its flight to Chicago
G-CIVP was going to fly to Nairobi that day
A SAS Ireland A320 would take off for Oslo. By the way, it was my first time hearing SAS Ireland.
And after that SAS Ireland A320, it was our turn to take off.
Some photos after we took off
Shortly after the seatbelt signs had been turned off, menus and hot towels were distributed by the cabin crew.
A view of the French Channel
The seat pocket content, there was no inflight duty-free catalog in my seat pocket ( High Life Shop ), however, inflight duty-free was available throughout this flight.
The High Life magazine had the ad of one of the cities that I wanted to visit: Adıyaman, Mountain Nemrut
BA Europe destination map
And the list
For those interested, I am sharing the M&S Onboard menu as well. However, as I was seated in Club Europe, I had nothing to do with this menu for this specific flight.
The service had begun with an aperitif service. A drink of choice was served with dry roasted almonds. Drink refills were offered after the trolley had finished its first tour.
I had made a visit to the lavatory before the actual lunch service as it was clean at that time.
Shortly later, meal orders were taken and trays were distributed. I have opted for the pasta option which was a bit overcooked but delicious. Drink refills were offered throughout the meal.
Salad of cos lettuce with cherry tomato and Parmesan
Mezze rigatoni, slow-roasted cherry tomato sauce, mozzarella
Celebration of British cheese: Red Leicester and Cropwell Bishop Blue with fig relish and crackers
Do&Co's dark and white chocolate mousse
As I wanted to sleep a bit, I haven't took anything after the meal from the tea/coffee offerings and woke up here just after landing to Istanbul Airport.
The presidential terminal
The Do&Co catering facility
The future Turkish Airlines headquarters
The Turkish Technic hangar
TC-JIR was inside the hangar
An Emirates 777-200LR was parked at gate A11 waiting for his flight to Dubai.
Iran Air Tour A310, alongside with two TK A330 aircraft
5A-LAT preparing for his flight to Mitiga.
The follow me vehicle was taking us to our parking position.
TC-LNB would fly to Riyadh that afternoon as TK 140.
Qeshm Air A300, before his flight back to his hub, Tehran.
TC-IZD had just arrived from Izmir and taxiing to the domestic concourse.
TC-JSG had just pushed back for his flight to Brussels
And we had parked to gate D9.
After saying goodbye to the crew, I have left the aircraft and took this last photo from the arrivals level. An ATA Airlines 737 was visible as well.
Spoiler for one of the future reports.
The transfer desks.
As there was almost nobody at immigration, immigration was a breeze and I was simply in the baggage hall 5 minutes after we had parked to our parking position.
FIDS - My bags should arrive at carousel 20A.
Two or three minutes after arriving to the carousel, the sign "All Bags on Belt" appeared and my bag was not there. I have simply went to the Havaş Lost&Found office. The agents over there told me that they were not expecting a misconnected baggage that day, they have checked my baggage locator and everything looked fine. They asked me to recheck the carousel and then what I have noticed, my bag was at carousel 20B. So, my baggage was waiting for me over there and I have simply spent 10 minutes because of the error of FIDS showing only one of the carousels.
Never mind, then I have left the baggage claim area and headed to the public transportation level.
I have taken one of the Havaist shuttles back to the city and left the airport. Here are the guide where which line departs at which dock. However, some of the routes have been rerouted so the photos below may not be accurate.
A photo from the Havaist bus
And the baggage tag for the bus.
So, this report has came to an end.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.
After arriving at Heathrow, the surprise at security was a bit annoying. After a 15-20 minute wait, my bag got flagged but it ended up being a liquid check. Regardless of the wait at the security checkpoint, I still had plenty of time at the lounge and after having breakfast, I have taken a shower and requested for a massage at the Elemis Spa before my flight. The lounge got much more crowded after my massage, so after having a cup of tea, I have headed to my gate. Boarding was organized and group numbers/priorities were respected throughout the process. Like most of the gates in Heathrow Terminal 5, free newspapers were available. Row 1 on British Airways short-haul aircraft has really good legroom and with the combination of the Pinnacle seat and the legroom, you could have the maximum comfort in Club Europe. Even though, middle seat blocked Euro-J seating is not the best option for a 4-hour flight. In the newer shorthaul aircraft of the BA fleet, there are USB ports and power outlets at each seat but there was no Wi-Fi, nor overhead monitors on the BA Neo aircraft that I had flown with. The service onboard was decent and I liked the way how they spread the offerings throughout the flight. An aperitif service just after takeoff, followed by a meal service and a coffee/tea service just after people finished enjoying their meals. During these services, drink refills were offered multiple times. The meal tasted really good but the pasta was overcooked. Lavatories were kept clean throughout the flight as well. After arriving at Istanbul Airport, I felt lucky parking at a gate closer to immigration and past passport control in a second. As I've arrived at the carousel, all bags were shown as delivered within 3 minutes, however, my bag ended up in the belt next to ours so I've lost 10 minutes for nothing. However, this could happen at an airport that has newly started to serve near its actual capacity. With the huge amount of transportation options at Istanbul Airport, I have used the Havaist shuttle to go to my address back in Istanbul.
(+) Newspaper offerings at the gate
(+) Priorities respected throughout boarding
(-) Very crowded security checkpoint ( Fast Track lane )
BA Galleries Club T5A South
(+) Breakfast offerings ( in general )
(+) Comfortable seating
(+) Shower facilities
(+) Massage offering for long haul passengers
(-) Repetitive offerings for a long period
(-) Difficult to find a seat due to the high volume of passengers
(-) A longish wait for shower facilities
(+) Comfortable seats and decent legroom in the first row
(+) A tasty Business class meal
(+) Drink refills have been offered throughout the flight
(+) The improvement of the presence of power outlets and USB ports
(+) Friendly and professional crew
(+) Lavatories kept clean throughout the flight
(-) No IFE options except inflight magazines
(+) Super fast passport control
(+) Super fast baggage delivery
(-) Strangeness of the baggage being delivered from another carousel