I was on a mission to try the new Finnair AirLounge (which turned out to be quite successful). Since the flights were out of London to Helsinki, I needed to get to and from London and my go to is usually British Airways. This time I took economy one way and business class the other, so it made it easy to compare the product.

Since the most convenient Avios seats available were on 20 and 21 April, it meant I would be flying on my birthday weekend. Let’s just say the BA crew did not disappoint when it came to realising this fact.

Dublin Airport

British Airways are moving to Terminal 2, to be with their IAG partner Aer Lingus. This meant this was the last time I would be flying through Terminal 1 for a BA flight. I popped through Fast-Track Security very quickly and headed to the lounge for a snack.

After sampling two small things, it was down to the gate area to board. At T1, BA use stairs, which is always nice when the weather is dry. You really feel like you’re flying when you’re walking up to your plane like the days of old.

BA831 – Dublin to London Heathrow (DUB-LHR)
20 April 2024
Airbus A320 – G-EUUH
Seat: Economy 10A
Departure: 07:30 Arrival: 09:00

The friendly crew greeted me at the door and asked how I was. I replied, “Great, it’s my birthday today!” and continued into the cabin. After a step or two, I was asked, “Are you the guy in 10A?” to which I replied in the affirmative and went to my seat. At this point, I knew they knew.

I settled in and boarding proceeded rapidly enough. Irish flyers have been conditioned by Ryanair to get on quickly and soon enough it was time to go.

Starting Up

There was a problem with our aircraft’s APU, which meant an Air Start machine was required. As Dublin Airport was busy, this took a little while to arrive, and when it did we were started up and headed for the new runway.

Without much further ado, we took to the sunny skies above Ireland. Once inflight, the crew began the service and delivered bottles of water and a small snack to passengers in EuroTraveller. You can’t compare it to business class, as you will see.

Happy Birthday!

Later on, a crew member came by and handed me a big bottle of Champagne and a card, wishing me Happy Birthday again. This was accepted and after a few minutes realised it would never get through Security at Heathrow when I was transferring. I took it back up the front and they knew immediately, “Oh, you’re transferring!”.

I was offered a glass of Champagne and when I hesitated they basically insisted, so I had that while chatting to the crew in the galley. Turns out one of the crew was a major frequent flyer, so we nattered away for 10 minutes or so while I occasionally stepped this way and that as the other person working the galley needed access. It was all very nice! After that, I returned to my seat and we landed in London.

Compare The Return

That all made for a happy flight and the next day I found myself at London Heathrow on the return. As usual, I enjoyed the First Class lounge for a few hours before the flight.

Once the gate was available, I waited a bit and proceeded to the boarding area. Passengers with big carry-on bags were invited to check them in and in return they got to board first.

BA826 – London Heathrow to Dublin (LHR-DUB)
21 April 2024
Airbus A320neo – G-NEOV
Seat: Club Europe 1A
Departure: 20:40 Arrival: 22:10

Once on board, I sat down in 1A and things proceeded much like they always do when flying BA. The crew give the safety demonstration and then it’s up we go.

Club Europe Service

Champagne is my go-to when flying British Airways and I had this with the meal I selected. On the Dublin route, it’s always a cold salad type thing, usually presented well and very tasty.

Usually I eat relatively quickly, as the flight time can be quite short. After that I had some more Champagne and then we landed back in Dublin.

Overall Thoughts

When you compare Club Europe to EuroTraveller, two things stand out. Down the back, the small bottle of water and tiny packet of trail mix or whatever it is they are giving out is fine. Service is relatively “here’s your stuff” and “give us your rubbish”, which is fine.

Club Europe is an altogether different beast, with a choice of meals, and attentive service. Want a top up? No problem! The BA crew will always sort you out. Regardless of cabin though, the British Airways cabin crew are wonderful. Always smiling, always friendly and happy to help. It’s one of the main reasons I keep flying with them – I’m always treated so well.

I related the birthday story at a work do recently and someone used it back at me today, so that was amusing. It was amazing to them that someone would get recognised on their birthday. It’s unusual, but then again, how often does a Gold frequent flyer travel on their birthday?

What do you think of the British Airways short-haul experience? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Mitchul Hope on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.