British Airways BA399 Brussels Airport to London Heathrow – CLUB EUROPE – Train vs Plane
In this… comparison.
- A Surreal weekend Out
- Early Morning Virgin Trains and St Pancras International
- Eurostar ES9116 London St Pancras to Brussels Midi (Standard Premier)
- Crowne Plaza Le Place, Roiger, Brussels
- Enjoying time in Brussels and Leuven
- Off to Trainworld
- Back to Brussels Airport, British Airways Terraces Lounge
- BA399 Brussels National Airport to London Heathrow (Club Europe)
- Heading back to Marylebone, and heading home
- Train vs Plane? Which wins in this round?
BA399 Brussels National Airport to London Heathrow Terminal 5
British Airways, Airbus A320
Club Europe, Seat 3F
218 miles flown, 0 Tier Points earned, 0 Avios Earned.
I was welcomed aboard and headed to my home of the evening – row 3F. After dumping my rucksack in the overhead bin, I took a survey of my surroundings.
Yes, as we’re flying in short-haul in business, we have the “premium” set up of Pinnacle Seat (B/E AeroSpace/Rockwell Collins/Collins Aerospace… I lose track now) in a premium 30” seat pitch.
There were two saving graces. With the middle seat free, at least it means that there’s space for drinks and cameras.
The other saving grace? Whilst the rest of the cabin went out full, the spare seat was right next to me.
I can do this travel game right sometimes.
We had a ground stop of 20 minutes – mainly as we had missed our slot at Heathrow – which as usual was under flow control. Hot towels were handed out on the ground.
I also took the time to see what BA were flogging in the back of the cabin.
Eventually, we pushed back, and the safety video played.
Now, I have plenty of issues with the current BA safety video sadly. Whilst the safety information is pertinent and important, it’s buried in innuendo, poor pacing and some rather questionable choices in the talent used for this version of the BA Safety video.
It’s good to see they’re updating it – but the pacing is so poor, the messages get lost in my opinion. That and it being near enough 6 minutes long is way too long.
The taxi-out was slow, with our plane passing various parked planes at the airport
Eventually, the plane found a runway, and after letting two planes go in front of us, BA399 powered up its engines for the short 45-minute hop to London Heathrow
With low cloud cover, Belgium faded out of sight, to be replaced by cloud and the night sky
The crew took a bit to get started, firstly closing the cabin dividers and preparing the dinner service. With 45 minutes on the clock, this was not one for the crew to hang around – rather get on with the service
Sadly, the crew took their time, with them getting to row 3 by the time we started crossing the English channel. And I swear row 5 and 6 didn’t get service until we had commenced decent
Not that the plane got very high, with a cruising altitude of 24,000ft
In terms of meal service, this has been a bone of contention of mine for the past few years – as it’s either uninspired, questionable or downright awful.
So trust – me, I wasn’t holding my breath for a quality meal service
So imagine my surprise when I Went for the chicken curry salad.
So lets look at the positive points. Presentation. Much improved. It seems Do&Co who are doing the catering seemed to have improved the product dramatically.
The chicken itself wasn’t dry and had a flavour which is good to see. The curry sauce – even cold – worked well as a mixture to it.
The side dish of noodles again has a reasonable texture and flavour.
As for the desert pot – this is a good step forward BA. It’s a struggle to go wrong with a chocolate based desert – and it thankfully wasn’t messed up
I’m going to go so far to say this is one heck of an improvement here.
Sadly, there has been no Champagne improvement on BA, with the airline insisting on serving Champagne de Castelnau.
And it’s far too acidic. It does need a water chaser to make it remotely drinkable.
Service was cleared down with some speed as the crew realised how close we were to London – again, a service segment on this leg needs to be tightly run… and for a Eurofleet crew – I’d expect slightly better here.
With the final 10 minute call to London, and me none of the wiser which way we were going, the cabin was secured and the lights went down.
From there, the cloud started to part – and I could tell the way were heading down it seems we would be making a Windsor approach, landing on 9L.
With a bump, BA399 landed at Heathrow Airport.
With a rapid peel off the runway, the plane began to taxi back via Terminal 3, and eventually towards the Terminal 5 complex.
The little A320 parking was aiming between an Air Belgium A340 (substituting for broken Boeing 787s) and an Airbus A380. – which meant we going to dock in the back-end of nowhere. I mean the C Gates. Which for a European arrival is less than optimal.
With the stand guidance system on the blink – we have a 5-minute wait before we could approach the stand. Eventually, it was on – and BA399 proceeded to the stand.
With the bongs going off, it was time to disembark. Thankfully the jetbridge driver wasn’t in the mood to hang around too, and we were soon on our way.
I thanked the crew – and headed off into the labyrinth that is the C Gates
Overall: I’ve noticed glimpses of improvement from British Airways in 2018, with both Club World showing signs of improvement – as well as Club Europe in the soft product. And this is so welcome to see after the cut, cut, cut nature that BA Management has been pushing for some time.
However, the soft product needs work. Whilst BA is going down the line of Pinnacle Seats and Recaro BL3510 on their A320neo family aircraft – I can’t help feeling that better seating choices are out there for the short to mid-haul missions out there. Certainty, British Airways will want to preserve their precious densities – and there are products out there that will do that.
The Pinnacle seat – if re-pitched correctly could serve that purpose. At 30″ seat pitch, however – it doesn’t meet that need.
And this is where BA will have to look next. Because to improve, there may have to be more changes.
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, with in-depth coverage, unique research as well as the humour and madness as I only know how to deliver.