Last November we flew British Airways Euro Traveller from London to Budapest. Things have changed since then, “no free meals’ on short haul flights. So what, you may ask. You’re only on the plane for under 2 hours but how does the overall service compare, especially as the latest British Airways CEO has come from the Spanish low-cost airline Vueling?
Arriving At Terminal 5
We were flying from London Heathrow airport, T5 (the British Airways hub) to Hamburg, Germany. It was an early afternoon departure with a scheduled flight time of 1 hour 40 mins.
We were using the POD parking service – these are little driverless cars which transfer you from the business car park to the terminal. These little cars are great fun and despite using them a number of times before, they still make us a smile.
The self-service check-in was quick and easy and there were plenty of staff available to help.
There are a number of zones where you can check-in, the ones by the entrances are busy but just walk through the terminal and you should be able to find a quieter check-in zone.
After check-in, it was the dreaded security channel. Shoes on, shoes off, what was it this week? Which line will be the quickest? Will we be stuck behind the man smuggling goldfish in his pants? Luckily the security was quick and the staff were actually quite polite, so no problems there.
The T5 Deaprture Lounge
Heathrow airport is busy and the departure lounge reflects this. Unless you have access to an airline lounge it is quite difficult to find a quiet space. However, if you want to do some shopping then this is the place for you. It will be very easy to spend your holiday money before even leaving the airport.
Baording The Plane
Unfortunately, although we were departing from T5 our plane didn’t actually appear to be at T5. We had to take the dreaded airport bus which is always a bit shambolic. It wasn’t really the best way to start a flight.
The plane was a trusty old Airbus A319 (17-years-old) with a small business section. The flight wasn’t going to be long so the limited leg space of this plane wasn’t an issue.
Rush Hour At Heathrow
As mentioned, Heathrow is very, very busy and there was a queue of planes trying to get to the runway. They obviously build this time into the schedule as the published flight time was 1 hour 40 minutes but the actual ‘flying time’ was only 1 hour 10 minutes.
Finally, after a little drive around Heathrow airport, we were at the front of the queue and quickly taking off, hurray!
The In-Flight Service
BA Euro Traveller food used to be good however the in-flight food service is no longer included, instead you have to buy food from the M & S menu. As our flight was so short there wasn’t enough time to try it out. Luckily we didn’t want anything as they only managed to serve about 8 rows in 50 mins so we didn’t get a chance anyway. As there is a larger menu and you have to pay, the whole process is extremely slow. They definitely need to find a way to speed things up as if you are sitting at the back, at the current speed, we can’t see you getting any drinks if the flight time is under 2 hours.
Apart from the food situation, everything was fine with the flight and we arrived in Hamburg on time.
Our BA Euro Traveller Summary
Overall we thought the service was fine although I don’t understand why they cut the free drinks. It was a negligible amount of the price and the service was quick.
BA is not a budget carrier and we feel they should not follow some if their practices, especially when some of these are smartening up their service for the business customer.
The fares were reasonable especially when you choose the 23kg baggage option.
The number and times of the flights around Europe are still quite good.
The staff representing BA at Hamburg for our return were a bit disorganised. They were late opening up the check-in and crowd control at the gate was a bit of a mess. If I was returning business class I would not have been impressed.
We are still unsure about BA, they used to be the flagship airline but it didn’t really feel like that on the European service. We have to try their long haul and business service to really make up our minds. Hopefully, these will not be taken down the budget airline route.
What was your best airline experience (or your worst), let us know below?
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