BA920 London Heathrow to Stuttgart – Club Europe
To Stuttgart and Schwabisch Hall
In this trip report:
- An Invite to Germany
- Testing and Paperwork
- Off to Heathrow, Terminal 5, and the South Galleries Lounge
- BA920 London Heathrow to Stuttgart (Club Europe)
- The joy of German Immigration, Into Stuttgart and the Novum Hotel Rieker, Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof
- Off to Schwabisch Hall, qubixx stattemitte Hotel
- Economy Class and Beyond at Recaro Aircraft Seating
- The inauguration of their new customer facility
- The Recaro Hybrid Seat Show
- Exploring the Crash-Test facility
- Back to Stuttgart and the joy of pigeons
- Off to Stuttgart Airport
- BA921 Stuttgart to London Heathrow (Club Europe)
- Welcome to Brexitainia, The Premier Inn Heathrow
- Off Home again
- Innovation is the driver
BA920 London Heathrow to Stuttgart
BA920 London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 to Stuttgart Airport Terminal 3
British Airways, Airbus A320ceo
Seat 5F, Club Europe
471 Miles flown, 80 Tier Points earned, 500 Avios Earned.
I was welcomed aboard the British Airways A320ceo that would take me to Stuttgart that evening. As part of the welcome, I was given a plastic refuse bag for PPE and a Dettol wipe.
I proceeded to my row – the last row of business class in Row 5. Thankfully, the seat map was accurate, with no one else sitting next to me. Club Europe had two spare seats in it, whilst EuroTraveller looked very busy.
I settled into the seat – and once again, the Collins Aerospace Pinnacle Seat greeted me.
There’s something about this seat in the BA configuration that makes it horrible – whilst it is a relatively modern seat (in terms of slimline standards), it lacks in the knee and under knee space – which at 30” makes it feel a tight experience for no reason.
The thing is – there’s no excuse for this these days, with seating evolving to the point where 29” seats can be comfortable. It’s something BA is steadfastly going “lalalalalala” and putting fingers in ears about for its Club Europe seating.
As this is an A320ceo (as opposed to a neo), the tray table is still in position. Also, it seems that the refit engineers had been busy whilst the lockdowns had been in progress, with both Wi-Fi models installed and power at the seat in the form of USB Power and mains power.
Praise the $deity and pass the salt – that’s taken far too long to implement in this day and age, where passengers carry personal electronic devices with them nearly all of the time.
Our aircraft sat on the tarmac and waited. And waited. Then the captain came on to confirm what had happened – the aircraft had been late departing/arriving from Copenhagen, and that ground staff were nowhere to be found, with a 25-minute wait.
There’s not a lot you can do, other than gaze out of the window at this point.
The captain opened the cockpit up for the younger visitors to pay a visit, whilst the cabin crew began a service recovery run in the cabin, offering water and crisps to all passengers – be they in club or economy.
Now that’s 1) some foresight and 2) good recovery. Power at-seat was switched on to allow passengers to connect to their networks and inform them of the delays.
Eventually, the ramp loaders came and started to load the aircraft up with the waiting luggage bins.
By 17:15, the aircraft was buttoned up and we were on our way. The crew conducted the safety demonstration manually as our aircraft taxied out.
Around 17:30, the twin CFM engines roared into life, propelling the A320 into its home – the skies.
With the aircraft in the sky, the crew began their onboard service, preparing both for onboard sales in economy class, with an afternoon tea in Club Europe.
It was also the chance to see if the British Airways internet connectivity service – .Air works as intended.
There were three pricing options for the flight I was on
- Messaging Only Plan – £1.99
- One Hour – £4.99
- Whole flight £6.99
As the fight had a block time of 1 hour and 3 minutes, I went with the one hour plan.
Connectivity for this service is powered by the European Aviation Network. This network uses a mixture of ground stations and satellite connectivity to allow for the seat-to-internet connection (powered by Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom).
Whilst EAN promises speeds up to 100Mb https://www.europeanaviationnetwork.com/en/fastest-ifc.html to the console, it would be fair to say that British Airways had installed some limiters – with me yielding no more than 1.35Mb download and upload speeds.
Hardly HD-video speed inspiring.
It was “fast enough” for Twitter, Instagram and some web browsing. I would save the HYoutube tests later on.
As I did this, the catering trolley made their pass, with offers of finger sandwiches and drinks. Welcome to the joy of British Airways afternoon tea.
I chose the meat option, which contained
- A finger Pastrami sandwich
- A finger Cheese and Ham sandwich
- A fruit scone with jam and clotted cream
- A Coffee cake slice.
Afternoon tea in Club Europe has always seemed to be a weak service – compared to dinner or breakfast – and I’m sorry to say that view is one I’m holding after this meal.
Considering the crew made it to 30 minutes before landing – it was just about the right portion size. But those finger sandwiches have seen far better days I think. And I swear they’ve gotten smaller since previous journeys.
By the time I had finished my service items, it was time to clean up the service in preparation for landing.
This flight was going far too fast.
The crew ensured my drinks were topped up and cleared the rest of the service as the aircraft was prepared for landing.
At the 10 minute mark, the internet went off, and all remaining service items were cleared.
The A320 then began vectoring in for its destination of the evening, with daytime turning to the evening and finally dusk.
With ease, BA920 planted itself on the runway at Stuttgart airport and taxied over the terminal area.
With our aircraft long missing its slot, the aircraft was directed to the terminal area and to a hard stand, where the engines powered down.
Unlike Heathrow, the ground staff were waiting for use with steps.
Disembarkation was by row number, allowing for a less rushed exit of the aircraft. With my time over on the aircraft, I thanked the crew and headed off.
Sadly, it seemed that British Airways couldn’t deliver on two fronts – neither of which are forgivable. The delay that was endured – whilst handed and communicated well, was less than stellar. As for the onboard meal, I was almost glad of the bland food I had earlier in the lounge.
Afternoon Tea has always been a poor service and I see nothing here that will improve the view of it – other than the scone…
The crew were excellent and attentive – a welcome thing to see – and that is where British Airways may have to lean into as it recovers.
Next. Into Germany, Novum Hotel Rieker Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof. Mein Gott.
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