The airline with the best average rating is British Airways with 7.3/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 8 minutes.More information
Here I am, another birthday in Belfast! Two years after the last one as 2021 was a write off due to then lockdown restrictions. Luckily my 23rd birthday in 2020 was about 4-6 weeks before CV-19 became a problem in the UK.
Bit of context, I flew up to Belfast on February 16th, and spent the day in one of my favourite UK cities, with the plan to enjoy the 18th February in Edinburgh- the icing on the cake, a double Club Europe trip from Belfast to Edinburgh via London Heathrow on my actual 25th Birthday in 2022 for my 25th Birthday!
As I was flying with Club Europe, I went through the Priority Security lane which had a separate entrance a few yards away from the main security lane for everyone else, after passing through security within a few minutes (it was early morning & quiet) I went straight through the airport into the ASPIRE Lounge, I had visited twice in 2021, but this was my first visit where I wasn't paying for entry as it was included in my Club Europe ticket.
The lounge used to be a BMI British Midland Lounge before becoming a BA Galleries Lounge, now its owned by Aspire Lounges.
The lounge was now mainly self service, a step towards some normality compare to my prior visits where they did table service. Alcohol at the bar was available, so I had a cheeky Contreau drink alongside my breakfast. I even put a bag of Tayto's in my bag for later once I was in Edinburgh. I opted for some pancakes from their machine with some Lotus biscoff syrup alongside a tea & orange juice. It was tasty!
This pancake machine made my morning at the Lounge! This was my first morning visit to the Lounge as I had visited during the afternoon on previous visits.
Who doesn't love a decent Airport Lounge!!!
Originally this was the BMI lounge, after the BMI/BA merger and British Airways coming back to Belfast for the first time in decades, they rebranded it as a British Airways Galleries Lounge- before selling it on to Aspire Lounge.
Aspire allows access for anyone willing to pay £24, using a Priority Pass, OneWorld & Skyteam Premium members, Business Class flyers and Aer Lingus customers that qualify. The lounge backs onto Gate 4, which is dedicated to London Heathrow flights with British Airways and Aer Lingus. It means you can stay there for a decent amount of time and
My flight had flown in the previous evening, and was parked up at Gate 4. I could easily see it from the Lounge windows. The Airbus A320-ceo was G-EUUW. Delivered to British Airways in June 2008 (shortly before I left Primary School in the UK), it has spent its entire life with the airline. During the height of the pandemic the aircraft was stored at London Gatwick, Palma De Mallorca and Glasgow from March 2020 to April 2021. In early-mid 2009 it wore a red nose cone in support of Comic Relief.
With still a little more time, I noted some hot sausage baps had been put out, so I went up and grabbed a roll with some sauces to enjoy quickly before boarding started, the screens still showed the flight as not boarding. I paired it with another tea & orange juice.
Alas boarding commenced, so it was time to go and leave the lounge so I didn't miss my flight…
Boarding through Gate 4, as the plane was stopped overnight- the airport decided to board the flight using the Air Stairs rather than the jet bridge. So I was quite happy for this, this being my preferred boarding method, get some amazing views of the aircraft as you board.
2008 built airframe G-EUUW was my Airbus A320-ceo for this flight down to London Heathrow.
The crew noticed my aviation themed shirt & go-pro and knew they had an avgeek on board, which was a short & hilarious exchange. I took my seat in Club Europe, which was only 3 rows on this flight. It must have been my lucky day as my Row (3D-3F) was only occupied by me. All the other seats had two passengers per seating row, including a sole dead heading BA Crew member.
Club Europe (like any EU Biz product) offers a standard seat with slightly better legroom and a blocked middle seat. Its a subject of controversy among frequent flyers and avgeeks.
It was just gone 7am when we began our push back to depart Belfast and the city was starting to go from darkness to dawn break, meaning there was this amazing sky breaking out. It was quite quiet at this time as we were the only departure at that time and no arrivals were due for a good half hour. We had a clear taxi out to the runway and down the intersection and to the end of the runway where a 180 degree turn was needed in order to take off.
I think its safe to say the departure that day offered some of the most beautiful scenes I've personally ever seen on a take off!
It was a somewhat windy departure out of Belfast, but we climbed out to our cruising altitude of 29,000ft. The crew started up the breakfast service for the Club Europe passengers. A cooked option was offered featuring a Ham & Cheese Croissant, strawberry Nutri-Grain bar (as is served in economy), a pot of fruit salad alongside a choice of drinks, which I went with a tea and orange juice. Overall a substantial but light option which I found quite pleasant.
A solid breakfast offering for British Airways Club Europe on this flight.
A shot of the Club Europe cabin on this flight. It was a light CE load with only 3 Rows, 11 of 12 seats were occupied.
The flight was heading south-ward so we flew towards the sun, which caused a nice golden tint to light up the wing and engine. Luckily my side was shaded off a bit, so I wasn't getting the fuller blast of light the left side would have been getting during that time of day.
As we passed along the Irish Sea and North/West England, we ran into some turbulence that did make the plane shake about quite a bit. It was dramatically bad as seen in some videos, but it was enough to really notice both inside and when looking out of the plane! Luckily this rough patch was just that and we were out of it in somewhere between 5-10 minutes.
Areal views of Central London as we came into London Heathrow Airport, it was a very clear and sunny morning!
The flight path took us on route across the southern point of the Isle of Man, over Liverpool, Stoke on Trent, Birmingham- where we began our descent, passing just south of Luton over North-West London over to the City Centre and straight into London Heathrow onto Runway 27R parallel to the Bath Road & its myriad of Airport Hotels.
After landing and turning off the Runway, we only had a short taxi over to Terminal 5A, parking up on the small section that often is dedicated to the UK Domestic Flight Arrivals (Gates A1-A6).
We parked up on a stand that would be right underneath the BA North Galleries Lounge, where I would go to once I was off the aircraft. We disembarked the aircraft in Groups of Rows, with Club Europe being the first off. Departing the aircraft it was off to the Flight Connections for domestic flights, which was simply to scan my boarding pass for the flight to Edinburgh and a short walk dropped me off by the Gate A6 where I had flown out not 30 hours previously!
If you want to know what happened next- keep tight, there will be a further Flight Report on that one!
Hope you all enjoyed this Club Europe Review!
BA Club Europe- A solid product for a 1 hour Domestic flight, I know the seating on these Euro Business Class flights is a source of heated debates about making the product better or worse off, Food was amazing. Crew was interactive and friendly as well as efficient when doing the service that morning. Overall it was a good service, just a shame there is still no magazine material back on the plane.
Aspire Lounge Belfast- The lounge itself I quite enjoy. Ticks all the boxes for me personally, and it seems I'm getting recognised by some of the staff, two members of staff remembered me from 2021!