Itinerary

  • Airline: British Airways
  • Aircraft: Airbus A320 sharklets
  • Cabin Crew: Eurofleet
  • Route: Istanbul Ataturk to London Heathrow Terminal 5
  • Cabin: Club Europe (European Business Class)
  • Flight Duration: 4 hours 20 Minutes
  • Purpose: Tier Point run/Birthday Celebrations

Less than 24 hours after departing London on BA0678 it was time to head home  on BA0677.

Check In

British Airways at Istanbul do not operate a bag drop desk meaning the check in desks only open 2 hours before the scheduled departure time. As Istanbul do full security checks at the entrance it’s not recommended to come to the airport early (a mistake I made on this occasion).

When the screens finally showed ‘go to desk’ the check in area was deserted of any staff. After the queues started for both Club Europe and Euro Traveler there was no sign of any official staff until 1 hour 50 minutes to the scheduled departure time.

Check in itself was a breeze, with only 1 suitcase to hand over, the entire process took 5 minutes from being called to the desk. Unlike the previous departure from London, the staff actually put a priority tag on the sticker along with a fast track voucher for Passport Control.

Lounge

Sadly British Airways do not operate their own lounge at Istanbul any more. Instead a voucher was handed with the boarding pass for the Millennium Lounge. As it was a third party lounge I did not take any pictures.

Gate

It seems Istanbul have taken the issue of security very seriously, not only is there a check at the entrance to the airport terminal building in addition to the security check post check-in, there is also another check at the gate! It’s worth bearing this in mind to allow for plenty of time to get to the gate before the departure time.

Flight

img_3370

My home for the next 4 hours

Seat 6A was my home for the flight back. Unlike in the first flight this Club cabin was with the new seat that is standard for the short haul BA network.

img_3373

Leg room is average

Despite this being the ‘Business Class’ cabin, the pitch of the seat is the same in both Club Europe and Euro Traveler. If you’re of the taller variety then leg room is going to be an issue.

img_3371

British Airways A320 Cabin

I’m a big fan of the appearance of the cabin, the dark leather seats running throughout the cabin with the carpet provides a good contemporary look that won’t age as quickly as other airlines cabins have done.

Few months ago the management team at BA decided to ‘enhance’ the soft product by creating new meal bands for flights of a certain duration. Istanbul falls into the ‘Long’ band.

After take off the flight attendants sprang into action by handing out the hot towels and the menu card for this flight.

img_3390

Chicken or Fish?

img_3391

Good selection of alcohol on board

The bar service commenced immediately after the menu’s were handed out. One of the enhancements was new glassware for Club and Champagne/Wine served from the larger bottles instead of handing out individual bottles to the passengers.

img_3389

When in Club it would be rude to NOT have champagne

Just like in the first flight I opted for the champagne was is the Castelnau champagne so loved by the regulars on Flyertalk. The addition of cashew nuts was overkill given the feast to be served next on this short flight.

The starter on this flight was the peppered melon carpaccio with king prawn which seemed to be an odd combination. When it was brought out my opinion was not changed.

img_3392

Note the solitary prawn (cost cutting perhaps or a shortage of prawns worldwide)

To save time the starter is served with dessert on the tray. Sure this does speed up the delivery of the meal service for the flight attendants but as the tray is of the smaller size the bread plate was missing for the bread that was served from the basket.

After eating the melon with the anorexic prawn, the starter plate was cleared and the champagne was topped up before the main course was served.

img_3397

I opted for the chicken (The film Airplane has ruined fish on board for myself)

As you can see from the picture above the chicken was the winner as the choice of main course. It was served with ratatouille and gnocchi. The presentation could have been better given the effort that was put into the starter but it was very tasty!

Once the two desserts were polished off in quick succession, coffee was brought out on request to help aid the digestion.

With the meal service complete, the lights were dimmed as the flight continued en-route to London.

Conclusion

This was the first flight that I have experienced under the new enhanced Club service and I was not disappointed at all. The crew were professional with each passenger referred to their last name when being greeted.

After years of being left behind by their competitors, British Airways have started their turnaround back to the top among the European carriers.

Travel With H