Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.
Today: British Airways A320 Business Class from London to Brussels
Prior to pandemic, I flew in Business Class from the USA to Europe. One of the legs involved a short journey onboard a British Airways A320 narrow-body aircraft from London to Brussels. British Airways has more than 140 aircraft of the A320 family (A319, A320 & A321) in its fleet, which it mainly deploys on intra-European flights. Unfortunately, Business Class onboard British Airways narrow body airplanes (called ‘Club Europe’) is nothing to be excited about (it’s basically Economy Class with a blocked middle seat). Nevertheless, I’ll always remember this flight as the landing was pretty scary and tense: the pilot’s first attempt to land at Brussels Airport failed due to hurricane-force gusts (aborted landing with go around) although the second attempt was successful (watch my video below).
Have you ever been in a go-around? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
- Trip: London (LHR) to Brussels (BRU)
- Airline: British Airways
- Aircraft type: A320
- Aircraft registration number: G-EUUL
- On time departure: Yes (10 am)
- On time arrival: Yes (11.40 am)
- Miles: 434
- Flight time: 40 minutes
- Seat: 2A
- Class: Business Class (Club Europe)
In this review (more information & photos below my YouTube video):
- Business Class cabin
- Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
- My verdict (score)
Heathrow Terminal 5 is one of my favorite airport terminals in the world. It is a multi-floor, light-filled complex that resembles a shopping mall, and it is the heart of British Airways’ activities at Heathrow. The main terminal building is referred to as Terminal 5A, while there are also two smaller satellite buildings, Terminal 5B and Terminal 5C (which can be reached by an underground train from Terminal 5A). Within Terminal 5, British Airways operates a huge lounge complex, which comprises five lounges:
- Three Business Class lounges, with two located on the north and south side of the main building and one in satellite Terminal 5B. These lounges are called Galleries North, South and B gates lounges respectively, and they are open to Business Class passengers and Sapphire members of a frequent flyer program of one of the Oneworld airlines.
- A First Class lounge located one floor below the South Galleries, which is open to Emerald members of any of the Oneworld airline frequent flyer programs. Since I am an American Airlines Platinum member, I had access to the First Lounge on this particular trip.
- The famous Concorde Room is British Airways’ most exclusive lounge, open only to its First Class passengers. The Concorde Room features hotel-style rooms with beds and ensuite bathrooms, plus restaurant-style dining. I previously reviewed the Concorde Room here.
IMHO, British Airways’ Heathrow lounges (as anywhere else in the world) are a step up from most airline lounges (and they definitely rank among the better Business Class lounges in Europe). Both the Galleries and First lounges are very spacious and embrace the daylight with massive windows that offer great views of the airport apron and runways. They offer excellent facilities – like shower rooms and work stations – and they both have a lot of food on display (e.g. a fresh soup bar, hot and cold entrees, lots of snacks, full coffee stations with all sorts of cappuccino and lattes, and a very broad selection of wines, beers and spirits).
In fact, the Galleries Business and First lounges have a similar feel, with some minor differences which most guests won’t even notice. The First lounge features a slightly more upscale decor with stylish high-backed chairs, beautiful chandeliers, horse statues, and oak wooded floors; and it offers a wider selection of food (including a menu offering salads, burgers, and egg dishes). IMHO, that’s also the main problem of British Airways’ First Class lounge at Heathrow: it falls short of being a real First Class Lounge (but I guess that’s what the Concorde Room is for).
The lounges located on the south side of the terminal (Galleries South, First lounge, and the Concorde Room) share an Elemis Travel Spa, which is pretty awesome. While the complimentary treatments are quick, like 15 minutes, they are top shelf, plus it offers something to do to break up the trip. And it doesn’t matter which lounge you are in, you have access.
From the British Airways lounge, it was a short trip (by underground train) to Terminal 5B where the Airbus A320 was ready for boarding.
2. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
Business Class on British Airways’ A320s is located in one cabin, with the seats arranged in a 2-2 layout. The A320 aircraft has a movable divider between the Business Class & Economy Class sections, so many configurations are possible. In the maximum density configuration, there are 48 Business Class seats with Business Class going all the way to row 12 (which is the overwing exit row – that’s nearly half the plane). Similar to most other European airlines, British Airways offers a rather disappointing Business Class on its intra-European flights, as the cabin is comprised of Economy Class seats with blocked middle seats.
3. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)
As mentioned above, the Business Class seat on British Airways’ A320 is a standard Economy Class seat which has been converted to a Business Class seat by blocking the middle seat. The leather seat has a width of 17 inch (43 cm) and a pitch of 30 inch (76 cm), so legroom is really limited.
What are the best Business Class seats on British Airways’ A320?
- Bulkhead seats in row 1 offer more legroom (and are the best seats in the plane). However, proximity to the lavatory and galley may be bothersome. Also, the tray tables in these seats are located in the armrests, making them immovable and slightly reducing seat width.
- The seats in exit row 12 also have more legroom (but are right in front of Economy Class)
What are the worst Business Class seats on British Airways’ A320?
- The seats in rows 10 & 11 cannot recline due to the overwing emergency exits.
For a seat map of British Airways’ A320s on intra-European routes, click here.
A light lunch was offered on this 40 minute British Airways A320 flight from London to Brussel, consisting of a selection of cold meats and cheeses.
5. ENTERTAINMENT & WIFI
Most of British Airways’ A320s are not equipped with in-seat entertainment screens, which is huge bummer on longer intra-European flights. Also, this aircraft was not equipped with WiFi, although the carrier targets to install internet on its entire fleet by the end of 2021.
6. MY VERDICT OF BRITISH AIRWAYS’ A320 BUSINESS CLASS
- Seat comfort (upright): 5/10
- Seat comfort (bed position): not applicable
- Food (quality): 5/10
- Food (quantity): 8/10
- Inflight entertainment : 0/10
- WiFi: 0/10 (not available)
- Service: 9/10
- Cabin design: 5/10
- Overall experience: mediocre – 6/10
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Lovely plane! When we fly from northern ontario to Toronto, about 50 minutes, our only choice is a Dash 8!! If flying onwards in Business class, you are given the front row. We had a very long day…. northern Ontario, Toronto, Vancouver, Brisbane! Not a trip to repeat too often. Love all your videos, whether flights or hotels. Take care.
What’s the difference between business and economy cuz they look the same