British Airways business class: LHR – VCE

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British Airways business class Club Europe flight reviewed

Director sampled a British Airways business class seat from Heathrow to Venice, a city which needs no introduction as a destination of choice for culture-seekers and romance-hunters. Whether you’re travelling for business or leisure, a hassle-free flight is essential to setting up a relaxing and laid-back trip in a city which seems to have just a few too many people taking photos and hailing gondolas at even the quietest of times…

Check-in and security

British Airways business class fast track at Heathrow T5Heathrow’s Terminal 5 on a Monday morning is a sight for tired eyes. The bright and open building hums with a studious energy and efficiency. It’s suits and carry-ons as far as the eye can see, boarding cards loaded onto smart phones, passports perpetually in hand, and no unnecessary mishaps with forgotten liquids at security. The fast check in and trouble-free passage through security was probably the easiest airport experience I have ever experienced. Just one week after the summer holidays had ended, I cynically wondered whether a few of those stocking up on complimentary breakfast in the British Airways business lounge had booked a flight just for a stress-free start to the week. 10/10

Boarding

The problem with travelling on business flights, even to places like Venice, is that your fellow passengers know all the tricks in the book. When I spotted the gate number had popped up on the British Airways app but not the airport screens, I packed up my work and dashed off to the gate, hoping to settle in at the front of the queue. Alas, there were only about five people who hadn’t had the same idea, meaning I’d left my half-finished breakfast in the business lounge for nothing. After this setback of my own doing, we stood for around ten minutes before being shepherded onto the plane via a jet bridge. Carrying my free newspaper that I’d remembered to scoop up from the lounge, boarding was quick, and we departed on time. 8/10

British Airways business class seat

British Airways business class seatClub Europe – as the British Airways business class short haul offering is called – surprisingly does not offer travellers much in the way of flashy at-seat features. In fact, the seats themselves are exactly the same as in economy, with a curtain put up to divide the two cabins. But there are still some perks to the posh seats. The middle seat of the three-by-three set-up is reserved for a table, so flyers are guaranteed a window or aisle seat, and extra space to spread out laptops, newspapers and refreshments. I had the aisle – 8C – and graciously shared the middle table with my fellow traveller in 8A. Unfortunately, the liberal user of the lean-back device seated in front of me wasn’t so selfless and I was left longing for a few precious more inches of legroom. 6/10.

In-flight experience

British Airways business class Club Europe full English breakfastOn boarding, Club Europe passengers are greeted with a warm towel to freshen up – a reassuring sign that you’ve paid a heap more for your seat than the people the other side of the curtain. After we’d taken-off, the dedicated Club Europe cabin crew whisked through tea and coffee service. Breakfast, on our 08.55 departure from Heathrow was a full English with pastries and spreads. Unfortunately for Director’s vegetarian incarnation, there was no hot alternative, but this was little concern having already stocked up in the lounge before take-off. 6/10

Arrival

We landed in Venice on time, departure was as quick as boarding and, leaving at the front of the plane meant I was able to beat the crowds to the passport gates. With BA’s generous on-flight allowance of both a carry-on and a personal bag, I had no hold luggage to collect and was into the Venetian air in near-record time. 10/10

Verdict 

Everything was on-point on this Monday morning flight from Heathrow to Venice – efficient, fast, and as close as international travel can be to relaxing. Aside from an extra table, the Club Europe offering, however, adds little to the overall experience. Business flyers with one eye on the final bill should check whether flying economy is not a better option. When skipping from the airport to the city on a water taxi, you won’t regret having saved some euros for wining and dining in one of Europe’s most iconic cities. 40/50

About author

Jake Cordell

Jake Cordell

Jake Cordell is a Communications Officer at the Institute of Directors

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