We’ve tried the British Airways short haul service around Europe a number of times over the last couple of years and the experience hasn’t been great. The flights haven’t been terrible either, just mediocre. Not what you would expect from the the flag carrier and the largest airline in the United Kingdom.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of British Airways but despite their latest advert featuring ‘national treasures‘ Olivia Colman and Gary Oldman, have BA actually stopped their ‘penny pinching’ decline instigated by their CEO, Álex Cruz.
Check-In At Terminal 5
When flying from Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 we usually use the POD parking and get to ride the driverless PODS. These always make us smile, there’s nothing like sitting in a driverless POD with your suitcases flying around as you skirt the end of the runway whilst a 747 takes off directly towards you.
There are plenty of automated check in machines at the airport and unless you go to the ones directly by the main entrance you usually do not have to queue, just remember to have your booking number and passport available. Once checked in, there are also plenty of self service bag drops available which are quite straight forward to use. Don’t worry, there are a number of staff available if you do need help.
Passing through security was painless despite the usual person complaining why they can’t take a machine gun, a litre of sulphuric acid and a snow globe onto the plane.
Once through security, the terminal itself was quite busy but there were still places to sit. We were glad to see plenty of charging point and plugs available and the free WiFi was actually useable. While we are on the subject of free WiFi we must mention the importance of using a VPN. Accessing someones personal information is easier than you think on public WiFi, even for the most unskilled hacker. If you want more advice on how a VPN can protect your data this guide has a pretty good breakdown of the best options available.
One issue to watch out for was to do with the gate announcement. The display initially showed the gate and the gate itself was showing the flight number and destination. However, the display screen then changed the gate but the flight number and destination at the original gate did not change. So the people already at the gate were not aware of the change. Luckily a 10 year old kid who was bored and wandering around noticed the change and told his parents and we all followed.
On Board BA Euro Traveller Class
Last time we flew with BA we had the dreaded bus transfer but thankfully this time we had the air bridge. Boarding the plane was the same as most short-haul flights and there was actually space in the overhead lockers. Maybe the generous checked bag allowance helped with this and there were less ridiculously sized carry on items. We still don’t trust people who can go away with just a carry on bag.
Due to the slightly late arrival of the plane, there was a 15-minute delay but like most airlines, the scheduled flight time is always slightly longer than the actual flight time. There is always a queue of planes at Heathrow waiting to take off but this time, we only had three in front of us.
The plane itself was 14 years old although inside, it looked like it had been recently refurbished. The seats were quite comfortable and the legroom wasn’t too bad for economy class. There is no in-flight entertainment system and no Wi-Fi service whatever the class.
The business class seats are exactly the same as the economy seats, the only difference is that the centre seat of the row of three is blocked off with a tray.
For the last few years, BA no longer has the food and drink service included in Euro Traveller economy class, it is still included in the Euro Club business class.
The food for purchase onboard in supplied by Marks & Spencer so the standard is better than it used to be and on a short haul flight, do you really need a big meal?
Arrival At Tallinn, Estonia
We were lucky to have really good flying weather throughout the two and a half flight with great views of the Baltic Sea and snowy Estonia as we landed. Tallinn airport is relatively small and again we were lucky, no bus transfer, they had an air bridge! The airport is also close to the city centre with a taxi ride only costing around 10€ to the old town. If you haven’t visited Tallinn we highly recommend it.
Have you flown with British Airways recently, how did you find it? We are still unsure about flying with then long-haul, economy or business class.