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What is British Airways Club Europe? My complete guide

I think we can all agree that Business Class is pretty terrific. Lounge access, bigger seats and free champagne are definitely popular! British Airways Club Europe is the name of their short haul Business Class. A lot of people like it (i.e. me!). Some people absolutely hate it. The Club Europe seat isn’t the best. It’s an economy seat, with the middle seat blocked out. However, you also get tons of extras with your ticket, like lounge access and extra baggage. In this article, I’ll explain exactly what to expect when you fly Club Europe.

British Airways fly Club Europe for shorter flights. These aircraft will be narrow body aircraft with a single aisle. All flights to Europe (from London) have Club Europe cabins. In addition, flights to North Africa often have Club Europe Cabins. The flight from London to Marrakech is 5 hours. You probably don’t want to spend 5 hours in a Club Europe seat! The space is tiny, and there’s no in flight entertainment.

If you fly further away from London (e.g. to US or Asia), then their business class is renamed Club World. Club World has a fully flat bed in business class.

BA often discount their Club Europe Seats

British Airways frequently has sales, for Club Europe Seats. They often have great deals, with return flights starting at £200. I paid £200 to fly to Amsterdam in Club Europe and I paid £250 to fly to Copenhagen.

Even outside of sales, they often have good value fares. One great tool that BA have is their low fare finder. You can find the very lowest fares for many destinations at once. If you’re flexible, then you can get the lowest prices. It’s a great tool. More airlines should have it.
 

Club Europe tickets come with lots of extras

The Club Europe seat is a normal economy seat, with an empty middle seat next to you. This upsets a lot of people, but it’s only one side of the story.

When you book BA Club Europe, you get tons of extras with the booking:

  • Use the Business Class check in desks
  • Check in 2 bags per person
  • Access to business class lounges
  • Full meal service and bar service on board. Champagne Included
  • Extra Avios and Tier Points Earned
  • Sit at the front of the plane, in the Club Europe Cabin


That’s a lot of bang for your buck in my view. Especially as BA often discount their flights heavily.

One really cool benefit is that you can check in 2 bags per person. I travel a lot with my family, and need to check in bags. Economy tickets don’t come with checked baggage as standard. When you add in the cost to check in a bag, it can get pretty expensive. You’re often better off to pay £200 to fly in Club Europe.

Another underappreciated benefit is the use of the Business Class check-in desks. The length of economy check-in lines can be horrible. For an impatient man like me, it’s a great benefit!

Get access to BA’s Flagship Lounges

When you fly with British Airways Club Europe, you get to access BA’s network of lounges. In London, that means you can use the flagship lounges in Heathrow Airport. This is a pretty nice perk, and compares impressively to flights in the US. Most US airlines don’t offer lounge access to business class passengers, when flying domestically. You have to pay for access! Let that sink in for a second. A Business class transcontinental flight from New York to LA would cost around $2,000. For that, you’ll get a flat bed, but you won’t get access to the lounge. This is one reason why I really appreciate the Club Europe Product. For your £200 fare, you get so much.

How good are the lounges in Heathrow? They’re pretty good, although I’m not a fan of their breakfasts! They don’t have a full English Breakfast, but just bacon, eggs and rolls. You can make your own sandwich. For veggies, the only hot dish is porridge. Apart from the breakfast, everything is impressive. The lounges are bright and spacious. They also have a full bar service.

The Seat and Cabin

And here’s where it all went wrong! Like all airlines in Europe, BA don’t have a proper business class seat. They simply offer an ordinary economy seat, but with the middle seat left empty. They put a tray table in the middle seat. I absolutely hate the tray table – most other European airlines don’t bother with a tray table in business class. They just leave the middle seat empty. I prefer this, as it’s better for my kids. If my daughter wants to sleep, she can stretch out over 2 seats. That’s not possible if there’s a tray table on the seat!

This sort of configuration is terrific for airlines. It means that they can grow and shrink their business cabin, depending on the demand. It’s very efficient for airlines to operate like this. British Airways have a curtain to separate the Club Europe cabin to economy. The toilet at the front is for the use of Club Europe passengers. However, this is rarely enforced. Customers often go through the curtain and use the business class toilet.

The seats have power points to charge to your phone and use your laptop. One thing they don’t have in the seats is in flight entertainment. This is an important consideration, especially on the longer flights. I mentioned above that the flight to Marrakech is 5 hours. So you need to bring your own devices to entertain yourself.

The Food and Drinks Service

The Club Europe Catering is amongst the best, when it comes to airline food. Airline food is nearly always crap! On shorter flights, your meal will be served on one tray. In my experience, you’ll always get a hot meal, even on a 1 hour flight to Paris.

For longer flights, you’ll get a choice of meals. The meals will be more substantial, and your starter will be served separately. Although, as you’re sitting in an ordinary seat, you need to eat off a tiny tray table.

There’s a full bar service in Club Europe. This includes champagne, which is a nice touch. On a recent flight to Amsterdam (review here), my neighbour really went to town on the free bar. He had about 5 drinks during the 1 hour flight. I guess he wanted his money’s worth! Unlike long haul flights, BA won’t offer you a drink on the ground.
 

Conclusion

So what is British Airways Club Europe? Well now you know! It’s British Airways Short Haul Business Class service. The service definitely has its detractors – you don’t get a proper business class seat. However, flights are often terrific value. You also get extras like lounge access and extra baggage. I personally love the Club Europe service and think it’s great value.

British Airways main competitor is Virgin Atlantic. I flew their business class from London to Mumbai. The flight was a mixed bag. The seat was showing its age and the TV was very small. However, I enjoyed the food and the crew were lovely.

My Business Class Flight on Etihad was much better! I have nothing to complain about. The food was excellent – although fattening. The seat was comfortable and spacious. I also loved the Acqua Di Parma amenity kit.

 

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