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BA Club Europe - London To Istanbul  
User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4656 posts, RR: 23
Posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 20794 times:

Flight: BA0676
Route: London Heathrow (LHR) - Istanbul Ataturk (IST)
Date: August 28, 2006
Aircraft: Boeing 767-336ER - G-BZHC (cn 29232 / 708)
Seat Number: 4A
Departure Time: 1030
Arrival Time: 1620


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Photo © Manfred Biel



Starting my day in Dublin, I was pleasantly surprised to have the Aer Lingus check-in attendant offer to check my bags right through to Istanbul. Every other time I've connected to a BA flight, I have been told "we can't" check my bag right through, despite being a member of the same alliance.

When I arrived in Terminal 1 at Heathrow, I proceeded to check-in zone R in order to exchange my boarding pass for a British Airways one. This is a completely separate area for premium passengers, away from the main check-in areas. For the first time I had ever seen, there was a line and I had to wait five minutes to be served. This wasn't a problem, and shortly after I proceeded through the dedicated security channel with no trouble at all.

The Terraces Lounge in Terminal 1 at Heathrow is one of the finest Business lounges in the world. Upon entering you may cloak your carry-on bags if you wish, saving you having to haul them around the lounge. The lounge is quite large and there are plenty of Internet enabled PCs available along with desks for laptops. Nearby are low tables and plush chairs next to racks containing a selection of international newspapers and magazines.

There is a ramp leading down to a sunken area with a gorgeous self-service bar decked out in blues and greys, filled with a fine selection of wine's and spirits. Across from there is a self-service food area containing biscuits, danish and other such food. Further on there are deckchairs and sofas for relaxation. Upstairs is the mezzanine, which also has its own small bar.

Flight information is presented on flat screen televisions and there is also a customer service desk if you have any questions. The bathrooms are very modern and just adequate for the amount of people passing through. Additionally, there is a smoking room which is worth visiting for the period Imperial Airways / BOAC posters that adorn the walls. Finally, there is the Molton Brown travel spa which you can use for free if travelling long-haul. A twenty minute massage here is well worth it before a long flight!

Club Europe passengers are invited to board first and we were on board and seated within minutes. Overall boarding didn't take very long, partly due to the fairly light load. Our cabin had 12 passengers and one infant - meaning that almost everyone had the seat next to them free. The flight attendants told me later on that they had a full load for the return flight.

The seats are the usual navy blue leather Club seats like the rest of the fleet, with a aqua and white headrest cover with 'Club Europe' written on it. Seat pockets contained a Business Life magazine, High Life magazine, the Duty Free catalogue, a sick bag and the safety card.


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Photo © EDDL Photography



The front wall of the Club cabin had two framed prints of canals attached to it, but the general ambiance was lost by the age of the cabin. The lights along the window line were yellowed and the covers dirty with age. There were no personal air vents and a wire was hanging near my head from a former crew rest partition curtain.

That said, there were packaged headphones on the seat, along with a thick blanket and a pillow for comfort during the flight. Space for carry on luggage was plentiful and the toilets were clean and functional - featuring Molton Brown hand cleanser and moisturiser products.

We pushed back on time and after the safety demonstration an announcement from the flight deck informed us that we were expected to arrive forty minutes early and we'd have a smooth flight. Shortly after take-off, hot towels were distributed to the passengers and quickly retrieved once they had been used. This was followed by a drinks service and I availed myself of the Monopole Brut Champagne, which is the usual champagne on the BA club menu.

In-flight entertainment was switched on, and was viewable by televisions set in the ceiling above the aisle - or via the smaller panels in the main bulkheads. The BBC News was shown first, and just about everyone put their headphones on when the headline read, "Turkey Bombings". However, no-one seemed to be concerned about it. After the news, the movie was Mission Impossible III, which had been announced soon after we took to the air.

Soon enough it was time for lunch. An aqua table cloth was laid over the trays and for a starter we were served Smoked Trout Tureen with Tomato Compote. This came with a salad (which had no dressing), a plate of red grapes and two cheeses, and a slice of chocolate cake with cream, a mug for your coffee/tea and a glass.

The idea is to eat your starter and that plate is then replaced with the main meal. The rest at your leisure. A basket of bread was brought around containing a variety of different breads from around the world and the flight attendants encouraged us to take more than one piece.

Once done with the starter, I was offered a choice of main meal which was Beef Korma with rice, or Chicken Penne. I chose the beef and found it to be a little on the fatty side. Additionally, the plate for the main is quite big and takes up a lot of space - meaning you need to rearrange everything around you - a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. We were generously offered a choice from the bread basket again and our drinks were kept filled.

After service coffee or tea was offered, and the Royal Doulton mugs now feature English country scenes on them in colour. Previously, the scenes were in black and white - a minor detail, but very noticable. The flight deck came back on to confirm our early arrival time and most people settled back to watch the film or to relax.

One of the flight attendants, Sabine, noticed that I had been making notes and taking the occasional picture and struck up a conversation with me. We got talking for a while, and she informed me that she used to fly with Swissair. Her name tag had a German, French and UK flag to denote she spoke three languages and I found out that this was a requirement at her old company. It was an interesting chat - and her service standards validated the comment that I had always heard about how fine the Swissair service was before the company folded.

The four flight attendants assigned to the business cabin upheld my favourable impression of British Airways cabin crew. We were always offered drinks when our glasses were empty, took multiple servings of bread from the basket, and nothing was a problem for any of them. The uniform is navy blue and white uniform with a black and red scarf, and looks both professional and attractive.

Our flight was early arriving into Istanbul, arriving at 1530.

As most European airlines don't offer a continental business class product, the fact that British Airways does automatically puts them a step ahead of the competition. The airline has one of the best selection of airline lounges in the world, along with some of the finest cabin crew in the sky. The consistency of service, great meals and personal treatment continues to keep passengers coming back again and again.


I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDoor5Right From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2005, 707 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 20661 times:

Quoting ClassicLover (Thread starter):
After service coffee or tea was offered, and the Royal Doulton mugs...

Call me old fashioned but I always preferred a bone china cup and saucer!

Excellent report Mr. ClassicLover



My soul is in the sky...
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8578 posts, RR: 54
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 19981 times:
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Excellent report,

Quoting ClassicLover (Thread starter):
The Terraces Lounge in Terminal 1 at Heathrow is one of the finest Business lounges in the world

- It is good, but lack of apron views marks it down in my book.

Quoting ClassicLover (Thread starter):
Club Europe passengers are invited to board first

- In al my flight out of LHR with BA (LOTS), I've never seen that Sad

Quoting ClassicLover (Thread starter):
As most European airlines don't offer a continental business class product, the fact that British Airways does automatically puts them a step ahead of the competition. The airline has one of the best selection of airline lounges in the world, along with some of the finest cabin crew in the sky. The consistency of service, great meals and personal treatment continues to keep passengers coming back again and again

- I generally agree, BA tick the right boxes for me, a consisent product across the board.

Rgds

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4656 posts, RR: 23
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 19953 times:

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 2):
- It is good, but lack of apron views marks it down in my book.

I can understand that opinion... however, the sheer amenties in the BA lounge make it head and shoulder above the rest. What I really like is the travel posters in the smoking room... BA (and the Britsh in general) have an excellent sense of history. I've not seen anything like it in any other lounges and I think it should be done, frankly...



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineCXtra From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2006, 263 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 19674 times:

thanks for taking the time to document your trip..

Quoting ClassicLover (Thread starter):
she informed me that she used to fly with Swissair. Her name tag had a German, French and UK flag to denote she spoke three languages and I found out that this was a requirement at her old company.

interesting.. nice to know that ba's recruits are culturally diverse!

Quoting ClassicLover (Thread starter):
The seats are the usual navy blue leather Club seats like the rest of the fleet, with a aqua and white headrest cover with 'Club Europe' written on it.

it seems to me that the club cabin is very large.. normally they are partitioned into a couple of mini-cabins, no? well, maybe i'm too used to flying long-haul!

Quoting ClassicLover (Thread starter):
Royal Doulton mugs now feature English country scenes on them in colour

didn't that look a bit kitsch??

anyway, thanks for the report - ba's premium products always look really appealing to me.



Cathay Pacific, Now you're really flying
User currently offlineAlaskaqantas From New Zealand, joined Dec 2005, 905 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 19594 times:

great report classiclover!
bummer that the cabin was older, but it still seemed like you had a good time!
Its fun to have a good conversation with a flight attendant!
~Cheers-
~~Kyle H.



to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
User currently offlineMCOflyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 8690 posts, RR: 16
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 19561 times:

Nice Trip report Mr. Classiclover. Seat 4A sounds like a good seat. I look foward to more of your TR.

MCOflyer



Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
User currently offlineJonno From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 133 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 19273 times:

I must admit I will pony up the extra dosh to fly Club Europe. It's the little things that add up to me being a satisfied and happy customer. I'm looking forward to flying Club World someday.

User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4656 posts, RR: 23
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 19108 times:

Quoting CXtra (Reply 4):
it seems to me that the club cabin is very large.. normally they are partitioned into a couple of mini-cabins, no?

Not that I am aware of... I've flown BA Club Europe on the 767 and A320 and it's like in the picture.

Quoting Jonno (Reply 7):
I'm looking forward to flying Club World someday.

I did it once from LHR-LAX... very good experience!



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineBa757gla From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 760 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 19017 times:

great report , didnt know ba were stilll using the 767 on the IST route!

User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4656 posts, RR: 23
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 18559 times:

Quoting Ba757gla (Reply 9):
great report , didnt know ba were stilll using the 767 on the IST route!

They certainly are... my return flight out of ATH was also on the 767, however that flight wasn't as good - mostly because Club Europe was full and the headrest part of my seat wouldn't stay attached. It was down around my neck most of the flight resulting in a fairly uncomfortable trip.

Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 5):
Its fun to have a good conversation with a flight attendant!

I tend to always get chatting with the FAs, especially on very long flights to and from Australia. Never on a one hour hop for obvious reasons  Smile

Quoting CXtra (Reply 4):
didn't that look a bit kitsch??

No, the mugs look quite classy. I imagine they'd be good for soup if that was served...



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineJouy31 From France, joined May 2003, 447 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 month 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 18488 times:

Quoting CXtra (Reply 4):
it seems to me that the club cabin is very large.. normally they are partitioned into a couple of mini-cabins, no? well, maybe i'm too used to flying long-haul!

Actually, when you look at the larger version of the picture, you can see that there are no more than 10 rows before the galley, so it is a small cabin.

You can also see that it is only in the two middle seats that you have decent lateral separation from your neighbors. I personally find the seats on both sides of the aircraft to be no better than in coach.

[Edited 2006-10-21 21:28:13]

User currently offlineTristarSteve From Sweden, joined Nov 2005, 4052 posts, RR: 33
Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 18103 times:

Quoting Jouy31 (Reply 11):
Actually, when you look at the larger version of the picture, you can see that there are no more than 10 rows before the galley, so it is a small cabin.

You can also see that it is only in the two middle seats that you have decent lateral separation from your neighbors

The photo shows the fwd cabin in the B767 which is usually the Club cabin, but in this photo the seats are configured in Economy, 7 abreast. When the cabin is converted into club the middle three seats are pushed together to form two seats, and the outer pairs are pulled apart to give more room. I always take a middle seat because there is a cubby hole between the two seats for your papers.

Quoting ClassicLover (Thread starter):
a wire was hanging near my head from a former crew rest partition curtain

This little wire holds the stop in place which is at the end of the track that the moveable divider runs along. You can't see it in the picture because it is in the centre cabin. The minimum club config is three rows so the stop is over seat 4. The whole divider can be lifted out and moved between cabins, and is moved before each departure depending on the club load. Club can vary between 18 seats and 120.


User currently offlinePilot21 From Ireland, joined Oct 1999, 1385 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (8 years 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 17977 times:

Quoting ClassicLover (Thread starter):
When I arrived in Terminal 1 at Heathrow, I proceeded to check-in zone R in order to exchange my boarding pass for a British Airways one. This is a completely separate area for premium passengers, away from the main check-in areas. For the first time I had ever seen, there was a line and I had to wait five minutes to be served. This wasn't a problem, and shortly after I proceeded through the dedicated security channel with no trouble at all.

Nice trip report ClassicLover, just curious why you didn't go through Flight Connections at LHR. While the security lines can be a real pain transferring from T4/3 to T1 or 2, coming from Ireland allows you to pass through your own dedicated security check which doesn't get too full, so I find it much easier to transfer there. Just a curious question?  Smile



Aircraft I've flown: A300/A310/A320/A321/A330/A340/B727/B732/B733/B734/B735/B738/B741/B742/B744/DC10/MD80/IL62/Bae146/AR
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