In August, I traveled up to Edinburgh out of LHR on one of British Airways’ B767s in business class which was a great experience. I decided to compare the service offered by BA out of Heathrow and Gatwick on this short route in business class.
British Airways have 11 Airbus A319s based out of London Gatwick which are all ex-bmi aircraft. In addition to this they have 15 Airbus A320 aircraft. I flew on G-DBCG – an aircraft BA acquired in 2012. The aircraft is fitted with 144 standard economy seats. The front 8 rows are all able to be used as business class seats where the middle seat is blocked off for extra passenger comfort. For this short trip I was in seat 5A, the same as on the 767.
Club Europe passengers at London Gatwick can make use of the fast track security option at Gatwick’s South Terminal. The system takes you straight to the front of the queues. I would have been through security in less than 5 minutes had I not been stupid enough to bring a pot of hair gel with me. The obvious lack of staff at my security lane took about 25 minutes to finally get to my bag and throw away the gel.
Once I was through security I embarked on the roundabout trip to BA’s lounge area. I was really excited to see the lounge as I hadn’t been in it since the huge revamp it underwent. You can read all about how I found it in my upcoming review.
Once I’d eaten enough in the lounge I went out into the terminal and went to find my gate. Boarding was slightly delayed because of a delayed inbound flight from Barcelona. Nevertheless, I boarded once the food was on and spent a nice time with the crew for the day. Once we had boarded, we were delayed even further and didn’t end up taking off until an hour after our initial slot. Despite the delays, Club passengers were kept happy with drinks and a hot towel service before we eventually left for Edinburgh.
We took off on runway 26L at 20.10 and banked right towards Edinburgh. Meal service started almost as soon as we had hit our cruising altitude and was a choice of Salmon Salad or Croque Monsieur. I went for the Croque Monsieur and I have to say I regretted it almost straight away. The salmon salad looked like a much more comprehensive meal. For dessert we were given a ‘Wild Gourmet Passion Fruit Posset’ which was probably the best bit of the whole meal! Drinks were served with the meal and refills were offered before we began our descent. Before our approach I asked our crew if they had any crisps or nuts to give me and they went and found two bags of cashews which kept my stomach happy during my trip to the hotel!
On reflection, I was very disappointed that I went for seat number 5A. Being at the back of the cabin, you are last to be served. My piece of advise for such a short trip would be to sit as close as possible to the front as you’ll be one of the first to be served.
We landed in Edinburgh at about 9pm and as is usual with domestic flights at EDI, I was out of the doors in five minutes.
BA operate their short-haul business class product to Edinburgh out of both London Heathrow and London Gatwick. While flying on the B767 was an obvious novelty, I felt that the Gatwick route was a more peaceful way of flying up the country. With the airport being smaller, fast track security is faster and there are fewer people in the lounge, too.
With delays being a downside to my Gatwick trip, there is one other factor to bare in mind. The Gatwick based aircraft are pretty much all ex-bmi aircraft, these aircraft are notoriously known for having worse quality than the Heathrow based aircraft. I didn’t find this an issue and thoroughly enjoyed flying Club Europe to Edinburgh.