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So like many people in 2020, I had some trips booked during various points in 2020 that didn't happen, and a few of those were with British Airways and of my 6 cancelled flights, all of the BA ones (varying from £69 to £104) were refunded as Future Travel Vouchers.
My last BA Flight was a day trip to Amsterdam in July 2020, there was a brief period where some locations could be visited without quarantine at both ends, but that didn't last long and the second UK lockdown didn't aid matters. The restrictions for intra-UK travel began to ease during March to May 2021, and come the end of June 2021, it was time to get back to London Heathrow for another Edinburgh day trip.
When booking I checked out the price of a BA flight from London Heathrow to Edinburgh in Economy Class (Euro Traveller) and I then decided to factor in a Business Class (Club Europe) fare one-way on the booking. It was £198 for a return trip in both classes (Out in Club, Back in ET).
Using my cheapest voucher of £69, I brought the cost to around £120. Which was the same fare for two Full-Fare economy class tickets. With this in mind, I chose to use my voucher and press ahead with this trip!
When I got my free seat selection 7 days before the flight (I'm OneWorld Ruby tier) I found Row 2-5 was free and chose 5A, but when I went to check in the day before- Row 1 Seat A was available and unoccupied! What a lucky break through! So I jumped the chance to enjoy the bulkhead seat with the first Row of the plane- something I never thought I'd do with BA!!!
So lets check out the Club Europe experience on a UK Domestic flight with BA in 2021!
I transited from the Ibis Hotel on the Bath Road to Terminal 5 using one of the Hotel Hoppa buses (costing £5.50p one-way) getting to Terminal 5 in about 25 minutes from being picked up at 04:58am.
Getting through Fast Track Security, which took about 5 minutes tops, I was airside- finding it strange how quiet LHR T5 was, having been so used to seeing it bustling with activity from 2015 to 2019, seeing it Post CV-19 pandemic and how sparse it was felt odd…
I hadn't tried the BA South Galleries lounge before this trip. My only other BA Club Europe trip was on a Boeing 767 which I went to the North Galleries Lounge (which was closed) and my LCY-EDI flight in August 2019 didn't feature a lounge. So I was quite excited about this, and I wasn't let down!
Entering was pretty easy, and I was given directions to the business class area I could use. Which meant passing the famous LHR Concorde Room for the First Class and OneWorld Emerald flyers!
BA had a cabinet displaying the new Club World amenity kits as well as a few fancy BA models of aircraft fleets; Douglas DC-3 (BEA), Boeing 747-136 (BOAC/BA), Lockheed L-1011 "Tristar" (BEA/BA) and Boeing 787 (2014-present).
I entered the Business Class Lounge to find it all rather posh and fancy. I was allowed to find myself a table and I was told by one of the waiting staff about the table service and how it worked. I was quite early to enjoy the lounge for a few hours, so it was very quiet.
I managed to get a quick view of some British Airways Airbus A320-family aircraft parked up on the remote stands and one parked on an A-Gate for a flight into Europe.
For my breakfast I ordered a few teas, pain au chocolate, a bacon/hash brown roll, a Johnny Walker Black label with Cola and a porridge later.
My flight today was operated by British Airways Airbus A319-ceo, G-EUPO. The aircraft was delivered to British Airways in August 2000 and has always worn the 1997 Chatham Dockyard livery during its time. It has not had another operator. In March 2015 it was given the current BA Cabin as seen on their Airbus A319 fleet (sans the ex-BMI fleet) with 143 seats on the aircraft.
G-EUPO stored at Bournemouth Hurn (BOH) during the Spring/Summer lockdown of 2020, next to BA A321 G-EUXD (std at MAD)
During the initial CV-19 pandemic during the spring and summer of 2020 the plane was stored at my local Bournemouth Hurn (BOH) from March 26th 2020 to June 28th 2020.
Boarding Groups at BA were suspended at the time I flew (which had been the case since April 2020), everyone was boarded from the rear of the plane to the front by the jet bridge. I know its a matter that does split opinion in the Frequent Flyer and Airline Status community, but I wasn't too bothered. I got to board a little early as there wasn't a huge presence of passengers when they did the boarding.
Boarding the Airbus A319, I took my seat in Row 1 Seat A. I was satisfied with the legroom, even though there was a slight limit on stretching my legs due to the bulkhead, the crew at the door handed out bags with Detol surface wipes for usage.
We pushed back on time, and started our taxi towards Runway 27R, and within a good 10 minutes we were on the runway and with a rolling take off- we rocketed out of London Heathrow towards Edinburgh. We broke through the clouds around London and East Berkshire, and we had a nice day for flying once we climbed through the clouds.
Breakfast was quickly served in the Club Europe cabin as there was only 4 passengers on board in the cabin. The hot breakfast offered was a Croissant with ham and cheese alongside a Greek yoghurt, fruit bowl and a hot drink (I chose another tea).
We had a relatively smooth flight lasting about 55 minutes, during the flight after breakfast was clear one of the cabin crew asked if I wanted another drink, so I asked for another tea and a glass of orange juice.
As we closed in on the North of England and the boarder with Scotland, we started descending as we came on Manchester, the plane was going to come in over the city and central Scotland, as opposed to over the water like last time.
We arrived into Edinburgh on time with a smooth approach and we taxied over to one of the main BA gates at Edinburgh.
After parking on stand and waiting a few minutes for the jet-bridge to be linked to our plane, it was time to disembark. The crew asked for us to disembark in groups of 5 rows at a time, meaning Club Europe was the first one to be off- unsurprisingly I ensured I was the last of the Club passengers to depart the plane!
British Airways Club Europe- Nice to see the service is relatively back to normal now with a decent lounge product as well as offering the usual product benefits. Its good to see a decent cooked breakfast now provided again having seen a "lunchbox" offered most the way in 2020.
London Heathrow- Very quick service from LHR due to the low passenger numbers currently, but I am happy to see things are getting back to normal as shops & cafes are starting to open again, as well as seeing more flights return to the flight boards!
Edinburgh Airport- Same as last time really, the Airlink is still making regular runs to the city centre which is good for short hop trippers like myself! The airport was easy to navigate, though might be due to my many visits since 2014! Most of the shops/cafes are closed, but a few more were open compare to May 2021.