Good Advice Tried and Tested

British Airways A321 Club Europe

17/10/2012

CHECK IN I arrived at 0705 following a quick five-minute shuttle service from the Pullman airport hotel for my flight back to London (BA377). I joined the Club Europe queue for check-in and waited for one couple to be served before I could get my boarding pass. I only had hand luggage so went straight to security, located to the right from the BA check-in.

Security was all but empty. I set off the metal detector and had to take off my shoes but was airside by 0720. The gate for the flight was already showing and I knew from past experience that gate 47 was a fair walk, so didn’t have too much time to kill. There isn’t much in terms of shopping or dining airside at Toulouse airport so I made my way to the lounge, more out of curiosity than anything else.

THE LOUNGE The third party La Croix du Sud lounge has recently relocated a short distance and is now near gate 33, in the opposite direction to gate 47. It is between two shops and set just back from the main walkway, behind some glass doors. Reception is immediately to the right and was manned by two women on this occasion. I handed over my boarding pass and was welcomed in. On entering there is a staircase to the right, I asked what was up there and was told “nothing, at the moment” so the entirety of the lounge was to my left.

The lounge is split roughly in two sections and is dimly lit, with a predominantly red colour scheme. The first section has high tables and stools and the other section has more comfortable looking chairs. There were two trays of small pastries, some pre-packed biscuits and two coffee machines on the back wall, alongside two large fridges filled with beers and soft drinks. I grabbed a mini pain-au-chocolate and an espresso from the machine and watched the TV news for ten minutes before leaving at 0740. The lounge is open daily from 0540-2100.

BOARDING I made the walk through a near empty terminal and went through passport control, arriving at the gate at 0750. There is plenty of seating near the gates here and a small duty free shop, which was opening as I arrived. Club Europe passengers were called forward at 0800 but only in French, so quite a few people started queuing regardless.

THE SEAT I was seated in 2C but once boarding was complete I moved forward to 1A as the whole row was free.  There were only four rows of Club Europe on this particular A321 flight, (to see a seatplan, click here) configured 2-2 with the middle seat left unsold. The seats are large and upholstered in blue leather, which was looking a little worn in places. The seat is comfortable though and has around four more inches of pitch to economy. There are small cocktail tables attached to the end of the armrests.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? On this type of aircraft 1A or F are my favourite seats. These are window seats, which are my preference, and there is added legroom afforded by the bulkhead. Here you also get served first and can disembark quickly.

THE FLIGHT Boarding was complete by 0810 and the flight looked less than 50 per cent full. Pull back was at 0825 and take off at 0835.

Breakfast was served at 0850 and was a full English, with economy receiving a brioche. The Club breakfast was again fantastic (for a review of the outbound flight, click here) and consisted of an orange and mango smoothie, butter, jam and the full English served in a plastic tray. The scrambled eggs were velvety and buttery and the Cumberland sausage tasty. There was also bacon, mushrooms and potatoes. A basket of warm bread rolls and pastries followed and the offer of tea or coffee, juice, water and Pommery champagne. Breakfast is served on chinaware with metal cutlery and a proper napkin, the coffee cup is nice and large but the coffee itself was lukewarm.

My tray was taken at 0905 by the lone Club Europe cabin crew member, a cheery man with a French accent, and I read until a pre-landing drink was offered at 0940, so I opted for a glass of water.

ARRIVAL We landed at 0905 (local time) after performing one circle and I made my way straight towards border control after disembarking via an airbridge. This was quite busy so I went through the e-passport gates, which worked perfectly and saved me a good ten minutes. I had no bags to collect and so was on the tube home by 0930.

VERDICT A smooth and on time return flight and a great breakfast is about all you can ask for on a flight of this length, and BA delivered just that.

Factfile

  • PLANE TYPE A321
  • SEAT CONFIGURATION 2-2
  • SEAT WIDTH 18.9 inches
  • SEAT PITCH 33.8 inches
  • SEAT RECLINE 6 inches
  • PRICE Return flights in Club Europe in mid-November range from £430 to £719, depending on flexibility.
  • CONTACT britishairways.com

Scott Carey