On May 30th I attempted to fly to Edinburgh onboard the BA B767 in their Club cabin in order to write a review for you all. I missed the flight.
Thanks to a friendly flyertalker who read my blog post on the missed flight – I went back to have another go. This time, I made the flight! British Airways have seven B767s left in their fleet which once boasted 31. With all the long-haul configured aircraft now retired, the seven remaining aircraft are set up in a domestic configuration with 259 seats. The aircraft is, however, available to configure is several different ways. The first 17 rows are available to sell as ‘Club Europe’ seats (BA’s short haul business class product) but in practice it is very rare that all of these rows are used in CE (Club Europe) configuration. For my flight, the first five rows were configured for Club use. What this means is that the middle seat in the middle rows aren’t available to sell which gives the club passengers some extra comfort. To clearly show which seats are used for Club seating, white antimacassars are used. I flew onboard G-BZHB which is due to be retired in November 2018. I sat in seat 5A and had the only free seat in the whole of the club cabin next to me thanks to it being blocked for sale. The cabin may look tired but I found the old seats very comfortable for the 55 minute flight.
The aircraft is powered by 2 Rolls Royce RB211-524H engines, has 3 galleys and 8 toilets onboard.
British Airways’ Club passengers are allowed to use Terminal Five’s ‘FastTrack’ facility located to the left of BA’s A desks. Having slept very badly the night before, I decided to make my way to T5 bright and early to spend my time in the lounge instead of rolling around in bed and not sleeping. Arriving at T5 is very easy no matter what transport you take. I arrived on the 490 bus from Twickenham and was up in the departures hall 5 minutes later. If you have an early flight out of LHR then you should take note of my following mistake. To my surprise, T5 doesn’t actually open its check in desks until around 4.45 for the Edinburgh shuttle so I couldn’t check my bags before then. This resulted in a 30 minute wait in T5 for the bag check facility to open for my flight. Even if I had been able to drop my bags, however, the Galleries North lounge at T5 wouldn’t have let me in until 5am anyway. Once through security, I went to the South lounge for some breakfast and then positioned myself in the North lounge to watch the sunrise and landings on runway 27R. BA’s lounges are laid out nicely with a choice of pastries and rolls for breakfast and a wide selection of drinks.
I headed down to my A gate before the gates were announced to meet the crew as they arrived. I was met by cabin manager Elaine and her crew for the day who were more than happy to let me on early to get some shots of the aircraft. My passport and boarding pass were checked and I came down to the aircraft to have a look around.
I only had a few minutes before boarding began but it was really nice to check the cabin out and chat to the crew before the 767s get retired next year. Boarding was handled seamlessly and we pushed back and began our long taxi from T5 to 27L for takeoff. Service began while we were still on the ground as the crew brought hot towels round to the Club passengers. We banked right out of Heathrow and began our scenic cruise towards EDI. Breakfast (yes, my third of the day) was served very soon after takeoff and consisted of a full English and selection of bread roll of croissant. The basket of bread came around a few times during the flight, as did the offer of more drinks. I was very well looked after by the crew and (as always) ate far too much.
The crew that operate the 767s are known as ‘Eurofleet’ crew. They operate on the smaller jets (319,320,321) and the 767. I found the crew very welcoming and I could sense they were a lot more relaxed than many mixed fleet crew I have encountered on my BA travels. The 767s are fitted with overhead screens in the aisle but these were not used during our short trip. Newspapers and magazines are provided on boarding to all passengers, however. Seeing as the majority of the passengers were commuters, there was just about time to have a read of the morning papers before coming in to land.
The scenic route got even better as we began to descend into Scotland. As we hit water to the east of Edinburgh, we began to bank onto our final approach which offered a fantastic view of Edinburgh for those on the left of the aircraft. But as pictures speak a thousand words I’ll let you look at the slideshow below.
We landed at around 9am in Edinburgh and, as Club passengers, left the aircraft first. As a domestic arrival, no checks were needed and I was out the door 10 minutes later.
I had a really enjoyable flight with BA on their old girl the 767. I’ve on an A319/20 a handful of times but flying shorthaul on the 767 felt quite different. Firstly, I found the crew very relaxed and well organized. They stopped to chat with most of the club passengers onboard and seemed genuinely happy to be operating the flight. The space on the 767 also seemed a lot nicer than that in the Airbus fleet. Being a jet with two aisles makes it feel a lot more spacious and I liked that.
Flying on the 767 was a great experience to have before they become a thing of the past next year. I had a really enjoyable flight with British Airways and think the morning 767 shuttle is a great option for those wanting a stress-free ride to Edinburgh