Reply To: British Airways Embraer 170 Club Europe

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flydrive
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LCY – ZRH – LCY – BA Club Europe

LCY – ZRH leg

I took advantage during the BA sale to bag a £200 return trip in CE to Zurich on BA from LCY. There are no lounge facilities at LCY, but boarding was quite quick after a short delay due to a late incoming flight. No special boarding privileges for BAEC or CE, but boarding quick nonetheless and we were off, about 15 minutes late.

I was seated in 2A. I find the Embraer planes quite comfortable, although the difference in pitch for business vs economy is negligible. Probably about 34 in. I think BA pales in comparison with other airlines operating from LCY like LH which always keeps the seat next to you free in a 2×2 row. However, that was not an issue here as I was the only passenger in Business and had the row, and cabin, to myself.

So I had high expectations on the service, and I was not disappointed. Immediately after take off, the flight attendants got to work, and I was offered champagne, followed by a quite tasty shepherd’s pie with ice cream. Drinks were topped up regularly, and the service was professional and friendly, with the right amount of checking up that I had everything I needed.

We landed a few minutes late and I was on my way to my hotel in no time. Door to door (from my office in the City to my hotel in Zurich) was under four hours, quite a feat considering I took public transport on both sides and arrived at the satellite pier E in ZRH. All in all, a smooth flight that was a pleasure to be on.

ZRH – LCY leg

Unfortunately, the return was not quite up to the same high standard. The trip started well at ZRH airport, which is a pleasure to fly in and out of. Modern and uncrowded at this time of day (early evening), the E pier is a wonderful terminal. BA uses the general panorama lounge, which is spacious and has a good hot and cold food option (on par with T5 Galleries, although no champagne!).

There were only a handful of people, and best of all there is a terrace with unobstructed views of the departing runway. Great for planespotters! After watching aircraft departing for an hour, I sauntered to the nearby departure gate, which was boarding.

There were separate queues for economy and business, but this was not necessary. Boarding was quick, and we departed on time. I was seated in 1A this time, which offers more legroom than the standard CE seats.

Maybe it was because I was no longer the only CE passenger (there were 4 of us), but I found the service on the return flight drifted towards perfunctory and there certainly was no feeling of “special.”

Following take off, the flight attendants gathered in the galley for a long time before starting service. It was the same meal on the return flight (although there was also the option of fish, which I was impressed there was a choice for such a short flight), and was equally good, but the service let the side down. Bread was only brought around after I finished the meal, then came the rock hard ice cream which had to sit for 15 minutes to be soft enough to eat. I barely had time to finish given the late start on a short flight. Drinks and coffee were not topped up; in fact seconds were not offered at all. I felt that the flight attendants just wanted to get it over as quickly as possible.

Arrival was on time, but any benefit of being in row 1 was lost as we had to be bussed to arrivals, at which there was a relatively long (for LCY) passport queue. On the other hand, by the time I got through, my bag was already on the belt.

This is my 3rd trip in Club Europe this year, and I must say that I would only pay for the privilege again if the price differential is negligible, as was the case on this flight. Otherwise, most of the benefits (ease of both LCY and ZRH airports, Panorama lounge at ZRH, fairly comfortable plane) I’d get in economy with my BAEC card. The money saved could be better spent on a cheese fondue in Zurich.

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