Good Advice Tried and Tested

British Airways A321 Club Europe

04/07/2013

FIRST IMPRESSIONS I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 5 by the Piccadilly Line at 1245 for my 1420 departure on BA374 and quickly checked in and went through fast-track security. There is a temporary / permanent addition to security here with the old-style scanning when compared with the rest of T5 – bags not in their own trays, for instance. From there, I walked through the terminal, down the escalator and made my way to the lounges.

I was meeting some colleagues in the Club Galleries lounges, but having a British Airways Executive Club (Frequent flyer programme) Gold Card I wanted to go into the First Lounge to have a look at the selection of food.

Only a few weeks ago BA changed the caterer / supplier here, and I’d heard a few rumblings of complaint, but on the Wednesday lunchtime there was a large selection of food and ample availability. I then went up a level and joined my party in the Club Lounge. Once there I had some salad and a drink, then made my way to Gate 10 from where the aircraft was boarding.

BOARDING There was no delay and we were quickly on board. BA flies three times daily to Toulouse. Normally the flight is on an A319, but this lunchtime flight was an A321 put on for the media and BA management flying down to Toulouse ready for the return trip on the A380 delivery flight from the Airbus factory in Toulouse the next morning.

The A321 was configured in two classes – Euro Traveller and Club Europe. To see a seatplan, click here.

On this flight, Club Europe was fairly full – iit ran from rows 1-7, then a gap for the emergency exit, and then 8-13 before the curtain. I was sitting in 7D, but sat in 7A by mistake before being asked to move.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE All the seats have the middle seat blocked off so you get plenty of room. I'd prefer the front section because it's easier to get off the aircraft first and closer to the washrooms if you need them, and I prefer the window seat (which was probably why I went and sat in it, even though it wasn't my seat).

THE FLIGHT We pushed away on time but then had a long taxi before take-off, which took place at 1435.

The meal service took place quickly after take-off with a selection of sandwiches and a choice of drinks. I was working on my laptop at my table when the service took place and was briefly forgotten but managed to attract the attention of the trolley as it made its way through the cabin.

The sandwiches were perfectly nice though nothing remarkable, and we also had scones, clotted cream and jam, along with a sweet treat – Lemon Drizzle, I think, though I gave mine to a hungry neighbour in 7A to apologise for sitting in his seat earlier.

It was a very short flight, so I finished my meal, carried on working and then we began the descent to Toulouse.

ARRIVAL We arrived ten minutes early, onto an airbridge and were quickly disembarked. There was no queue at immigration.

VERDICT A good short flight. The Club Europe seats are comfortable, though very old and in places quite tatty.


FACT FILE

PLANE TYPE A321

SEAT CONFIGURATION 2-2

SEAT WIDTH 18.9in

SEAT PITCH 33.8in

SEAT RECLINE 6in

ba.com


Tom Otley