Short But Sharp: British Airways’ Embraer E190 in Club Europe From Dublin to London City
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Many say that Club Europe (BA short-haul business class) is not worth it, especially out of London City Airport (LCY), where there is no lounge, everyone gets some kind of complimentary food and drink, and a 2-2 layout means nobody gets a free seat next to them regardless of class. The additional cost can be nominal, but is it indeed worth it?
To book this short hop between Dublin (DUB) and London, we used 8,000 Avios and paid £25 tax with the British Airways Premium Plus Amex credit card to earn 3 Avios per pound on the tax. In this case, I earned just 75 Avios, but every little bit helps!
The check-in area was deserted, with several free agents when I arrived, and they printed my boarding pass (for the collection). I headed straight to fast-track security, which was a breeze with only a couple of minutes of waiting time.
All premium passengers in Terminal 1 use the T1 Lounge. I was welcomed by the incredibly friendly and helpful staff.
There were two sides to the lounge, both with plenty of seating. One side had booze and the other food.
I took a work pod on the boozy side. The setup was perfect for a couple of hours working.
The bar on this side also had a proper coffee machine, and the cappuccino was excellent for a lounge and a top tip! Avoid those gross coffee machines that the lounge has round the other side.
A selection of food including sandwiches, cheeses and cakes was available.
It was a five-minute walk to Gate 206. The priority boarding queue was tucked behind the general boarding queue and was inaccessible, so I waited at the side until it was my turn to board.
Boarding commenced on time and was complete within minutes on this half-full flight. Many people hate remote boarding, but for me it was a pleasurable experience to be out on the apron, smell the jet fuel and board via the stairs!
Cabin and Seat
Seat 2D on the BA Embraer is surely the roomiest short-haul seat ever. Seats 1A and 1B have a bulkhead much closer to the seat, whereas the front-row seats 2C and 2D really have endless space in front of them — and two windows, to boot!
There was more than enough room for my little legs. Again, I had a spare seat next to me, and with 1A and 1B also free and with no one in my sightline, it felt like I had the place to myself!
The tray table was wide and sturdy with a little piece jutting out that balanced against the arm rest. It was well-sized and stable enough for a 15-inch Macbook in a way that many tray tables that pull out of the armrest are not.
The forward toilets were smaller than those at the rear but still fine — except maybe for that inexplicable brown coloring to the sink…
Amenities and IFE
Wi-Fi was not available on this flight, and there were no other amenities to speak of.
Food and Beverage
Meals for Purchase
The flight departed on schedule, and with only three rows in Club Europe, four passengers and one crew member, service was always going to be rapid.
Hot towels were handed out by Sharon, the lovely crew member.
As the meals were cold, they were served with the drinks a mere 15 minutes into the flight. I was glad that a “fresh” dessert was provided. I liked the idea of another option besides an “unfresh” dessert.
Two tempranillos were on offer, and I took the Luis Montevilla with a sparkling water. A real glass for water and proper small wine glass for the wine.
Save for the rock-hard, cold pita, the food was decent. I am a hummus expert and aficionado, and the Arabic mezze was not bad at all. The aforementioned “fresh” dessert,” an attempt at a tiramisu, was also not bad.
BA couldn’t resist throwing a pack of pretzels on the tray, and I couldn’t resist eating them.
A snack basket was also brought round with biscuits, crisps and popcorn.
On such a short flight, I didn't interact much with the crew. But when I did, it was pleasant.
Service was fast, efficient and friendly. There is not much time on these short flights to make an impression, but Sharon did everything she could make the experience feel special in the short time I had on board.
So is Club Europe really worth it?
On a longer flight and in 2C or 2D, the space really is magnificent. Also, out of Dublin, the lounge is pretty good, and on a busy day, fast-track security could be useful.
These are benefits that have less meaning when flying from LCY (e.g., there is no lounge), so I would probably not consider paying the extra for Club Europe on the Embraer from LCY, but on the return, and if you can nab the 2C or 2D seats, for the right price, I think it can be really great value, especially for a passenger without Oneworld status.
As a side note, landing at LCY is a dream. Within just four minutes of the aircraft doors being opened, I was on the train home. Insane!
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