We don’t often pay for business class flights when travelling on short-haul flights across Europe. For the incremental benefits, it’s difficult to justify the cost as it doesn’t always represent good value for money. As frequent travellers, we also hold British Airways Executive Club status which means that we get similar benefits Read our blog on whether it’s worth getting Executive Club status here.
However, on this occasion, we found a great offer which meant that we paid a little extra to fly in Club Europe (British Airways’ fancy word for business class) from London Gatwick to Ibiza. Any opportunity to travel in business class is always welcomed ?!
Ibiza is a very popular summer destination, so even though we booked our tickets months in advance it was surprising to see the business class cabin almost full when we came to reserve our seats. It’s hit or miss whether the cabin crew will be able to cope with a full cabin, so was the flight worth the extra money that we paid for? Read our review to find out if it was worth the extra cost.
Flight No: BA2726
From/To: London Gatwick to Ibiza
Departure time: 21:15
Ticket Class: Business Class / Class: I
Seat: 1A and 1C
Flight time: 2.5 hours
Check-in & Fast Track
There is a spacious British Airways first and business class check-in desk area at Gatwick Airport South Terminal. We have used the check-in desks multiple times and have never seen other passengers there, perhaps it was the time of the day we arrived. The check-in staff greeted us cordially when we checked-in and it was the first time they’ve acknowledge our status. A nice touch. We were checked-in, swept through fast track security and into the lounge in less than 15 minutes.
Purchasing access to Fast Track security
If you aren’t travelling in premium cabins or hold airline status, there is an option to purchase access to the Fast Track security at Gatwick airport for £5. It’s hard to justify paying the cost just to get through security quicker but if you fancy getting airside for that first glass of wine, then this could be an option for you. The fast track lane is also a bit less busy than the standard security lanes.
There are two British Airways Galleries Lounges at Gatwick Airport, the First and Club Lounges. The First lounge was comfortable and had a good selection of food and drinks. Be sure to read our full review of the First lounge at Gatwick Airport here.
The First Lounge closes at 8:00 pm, so you will be transferred to the Club lounge after that time. I’m not quite sure why it’s closes at 8pm, as our flight wasn’t till 9:15 pm. Perhaps the lounge only stayed opened until the last long-haul flight took off.
The British Airways Club Lounge is spacious and has great facilities. We’ll write a detailed review of the lounge in an upcoming blog.
Gatwick airport south terminal paid lounges
If you’re willing to pay or have a Priority Pass there are also multiple lounge options opened to you. Read or reviews of them by clicking the link below:
- No 1 Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal
- Clubrooms London Gatwick South Terminal
- Club ASPIRE Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal
Chaotic, chaotic, chaotic! This was probably one of the most disorganised boarding procedures we’ve had in a while. We made our way to the gate when boarding was called on the screens, but when we got to the gate, boarding hasn’t started yet. Instead, there were crowds of people hanging around at the gate in no particular order or queue. The staff then started picking people from the crowd to ask if anyone wanted to check-in their bags into the hold. In return, they would be offered priority boarding. It’s not a problem for them doing this as you need some sort of trade-off for putting your bags in the hold. But we thought it was a bit unfair for people that have paid for luggage.
What happened next was a free-for-all. Once they boarded everyone that handed their luggage in, everyone rushed to the gate. Everyone pushed to the front, and the boarding system broke down as tickets went unchecked and due to the flights being late, they were desperate to get everyone on board quickly.
There were two classes on the British Airways A320, Business and Economy. It is a big business class cabin with 48 Club Europe seats and 96 Economy seats. You can look at the seat map here.
Amenity Kits & Washrooms
As it’s a short Club Europe flight, they did not give us an amenity kit. Given the short flight, this is unnecessary, however, we do need to call out the state of the washrooms on this flight. Customary to British Airways cabins, it’s usually dirty and grubby. The cleanliness of the cabin is something we regularly write about. The state of the washrooms were unpleasant on this flight. It looked like it hasn’t been cleaned for weeks. It also showed the age of the plane. Not even the nice White Company soap can make up for the state of the washrooms!
We sat in seats 1A and 1C. According to the British Airways website Club Europe seats are “innovatively designed” to maximise your personal space and comfort. But in reality, the seats are the same as economy apart from the guarantee that the seat next you is empty.
A word of warning when choosing your seats on this flight. One of us were sat in Seat 1C on the bulkhead, and because of where it’s located, we felt like we were greeting everyone coming on to the flight. In future, consider Seat 1D and 1F on this flight as it may provide you with more privacy! See photos.
There is no In-flight entertainment on the flight. However, the flight is WiFi equipped. We value the days where you can fly uninterrupted by access to phones or emails, however, more and more people are expecting airlines to provide options for WiFi these days. One day it will be standard on all carriers! Given it’s only a 2.5 hour flight, not having any in-flight entertainment was not really an issue but the competition is heating up, as low-cost carriers like Vueling or Norwegian sometimes offer films on short-haul flights.
One of the benefits of travelling Club Europe (British Airways business class) is the complimentary food and drinks service. They were generous with the drinks and service started promptly after the seat belt sign went off. The crew were attentive, but in speaking to them, they were pretty exhausted and will have to fly the plane back from Ibiza! So they wanted the service to be over quickly to give them time to rest.
A couple of years ago British Airways replaced complimentary food and drinks service in Economy short-haul flights with an M&S menu that you had to pay for.
The food was average at best. Even though they offered a hot food selection on this flight, the curry we opted for was average. Sloppy and poorly presented. We talk about this everytime we fly British Airways whether it’s Business Class, Economy or First class; the cleanliness of the cabins are always an issue! This time, our cutlery was also dirty and it still had food stuck on it. Not a very premium experience!
Efficient and speedy. We were the first off the plane, and through immigration. However, we had to wait a while for our luggage to arrive. One of the benefits of travelling in Club Europe should be priority baggage reclaim… but this is dependent on whether the airport observe the tags. They didn’t on this occasion.
It’s hard to justify paying the extra to travel in business class on this route. When we spoke to other passengers travelling in Economy on the same flight, the situation in the cabin was ‘raucous’. Ibiza is a party island and everyone on the flight were rearing to go! A woman sat in Economy came running towards the front of the plane when the aircraft landed. She exclaimed she had to get out due to the noise and roucous atmosphere on the flight! So even though we didn’t think it was worth paying extra, perhaps our cocoon at the front of the plane was worth it after all?
If you want a seat on the bulkhead… try seats 1D and 1F instead. In seat 1C, you’re practically facing the aisle where people enter the aircrat and it can feel like you are part of the welcoming party before takeoff.
It felt like the airline had given up on this route, as regardless of service or the state of the hard product, people are going to pay for the flight anyway due to the popularity of visiting Ibiza in the summer. So if you’re prepared to lower your standards and pay for the experience of flying British Airways Business Class to Ibizia, you’ll be absolutely fine. In the future, we won’t be paying the extra and would channel our energy and money on ensuring we have airline status instead. For our take on whether it’s worth getting Executive Club status, you can read our blog here.
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