Ten years ago, I crossed the Atlantic in Club World on a British Airways Boeing 777. Rather than flying directly to Miami, I took advantage of a cheaper business class fare to Orlando. Here’s the flight review of both the outbound and return as published at the time, which I originally titled “Champagne Across The Atlantic”. Please enjoy!

A friend of mine was heading off to Florida for a week or so of fun before joining a cruise with another of our friends. I was invited to join them for a little trip to South Beach, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale mainly because I wanted to visit the Kennedy Space Centre. In addition, I very much wanted to spend some time with my friends, and try the new Club World seats on BA. It was a good (drunken!) trip!

BA2037 – London Gatwick to Orlando (LGW-MCO)
26 February 2010
Boeing 777-236ER – G-VIIR
Seat: Club World 11A
Departure: 11:40 Arrival: 16:25

My day started as usual in Dublin, flying Ryanair to London Gatwick for my connection. Of course, the service is chalk and cheese – the only advantage of Ryanair is the fact that the baggage arrives at the carousel very promptly!

I was met in the terminal by a friend who was in training as cabin crew at easyJet. They were on a break and I got to meet a load of baby easyJet crew in training for about 5 minutes, before bidding them all farewell and getting the bus to the other terminal. This was a one off experience as Gatwick’s monorail was being refurbished at the time.

Check-In And Extra Security

I checked in at the Club World counters and proceeded through security into the Terraces Lounge. I’ve spent many hours in this lounge over the last few years, and so I don’t find it very exciting, and hence there are no pictures. I can’t wait for it to be upgraded to Galleries standard! Soon enough it was time to board, and there was a long line at the gate.

This was due to all carry-on luggage being hand searched prior to boarding. Another wonderful example of security gone mad in my opinion, as I’d already been through all the usual necessary checks. Still, the wait in the queue was about twenty minutes or so, so it was nice when it was all done.

Finally Time To Get On The Plane

Boarding was called, and I was one of the first on board. I proceeded straight to my seat in row 11, which I had chosen as it was the last row of Club World and therefore easy to get in and out of. The efficient cabin crew immediately offered me a pre-takeoff drink and as usual I chose the Champagne.

I sat back and enjoyed peeking out of the window while watching all the other passengers board. Soon enough, everyone was on board and we watched the safety demonstration. While taxiing to the runway, I took a couple of pictures.

Soon enough, our engines spooled up and off we went down the runway at Gatwick, taking off into the clouds before coming out on top into a beautiful clear sky.

Some Club World Cabin Views

This is the view from seat 11A, showing the foot stool and the bulkhead, behind which was Premium Economy Class.

The new divider between the seats is a huge improvement over the old blue fan style divider. It’s electrically operated and of course you can’t see through it at all. It makes the seat extremely private.

On Board Goodies And Drinks

After take off, the hot towels were handed out. I always find these very refreshing and a lovely way to welcome a person into the air.

Our Elemis amenity kit, menu and wine list were handed out next.

Next, it was time for the drinks service. I am a sucker for champagne (and could drink it all day every day) so the champagne cocktails caught my eye.

I decided to have a Kir Royale and the wine list says, “Creme de Cassis gives this cocktail its distinctive taste”. Indeed! It duly arrived with some nuts. By this stage I had popped out the whoppingly large PTV and was choosing a film.

Time For Lunch Above The Atlantic

I do enjoy eating a meal and watching a movie in a large comfortable seat while cruising high above the Atlantic. Dinner arrived and my starter was Loch Fyne smoked salmon with shallot and lilliput caper dressing, accompanied by a salad.

It was very nice indeed. There were four choices of main meals. When I fly, I usually choose the red meat, because I don’t have it very often when I cook for myself. Due to this, I chose the Roast rump of lamb au jus with traditional vegetables and bubble and squeak cake.

Delicious as BA Club World food tends to be! I wasn’t too fussed with many of the desserts, but decided I’d go with the cheese plate (or, as the menu says – Bleu d’Auvergne and St-Nectaire with black grapes and biscuits).

You will note from the pictures that I had a glass of white wine with my starter, a glass of red with my main, and back to the champagne cocktail with dessert. This is only the beginning of the sheer amount of alcohol I consumed on this flight!

Every Possible Photo Of The Facilities!

Now for a picture of the Club World cabin behind door 2, which is where I was seated.

It’s nicely set out and the speedmarque adds a touch of class to the proceedings. By now it was time to visit the toilet (surprise, surprise!).

Having thoroughly documented the toilet in case future historians wish to reconstruct an aeroplane lavatory at the beginning of the 21st century, I decided to visit the self-service bar.

It was filled with lots of lovely things to snack on. What else is there to do while crossing the Atlantic in style?

Of Champagne, Crew And Landing

One of the flight attendants took and shine to me and basically kept my Champagne cocktail filled for the entire flight. It got to a point when there was no more Creme de Cassis left, so I had to revert to standard Champagne. I went for a walk at one point to stretch my legs, and when I reached the back of economy he retrieved me and lead the way back to business class. I also invited him to sit down for a chat for two minutes, which he did also – he was very good! I’ve never drank so much in my life on an aircraft.

Afternoon tea was served before descent, which was a selection of sandwiches, scones and coffee. I know I had some of it, but by this stage I wasn’t taking anymore pictures. We descended and landed in Orlando and this happy bunny wobbled off the plane and proceeded through US immigration to catch another flight to Miami.

BA2036 – Orlando to London Gatwick (MCO-LGW)
6 March 2010
Boeing 777-236ER – G-VIIO
Seat: Club World 2B
Departure: 18:35 Arrival: 07:35

Well, all good things come to an end, and I was looking forward to crossing the Atlantic and heading back to London. I arrived at Orlando airport and checked in for my flight.

Delta Sky Club Orlando

British Airways use the Delta Sky Club for their lounge and I was interested to see what it looked like. This would be my first visit to both a Delta lounge and a Skyteam lounge. Here is the sign outside near the lift.

I was pleasantly gobsmacked when I arrived. It was like stepping into the old south! I thought the lounge had beautiful decor, it was very relaxing and just perfect. However, it was also very very busy!

Heading to the bar, I ordered a drink and found myself a seat and watched the people passing by. I had some nuts and then I found a lovely pack of sundried tomato dip that went perfectly with the carrot and celery sticks sitting nearby. It was so delicious that dip, I had lots and lots of it!

While going back to my seat, I passed a lovely old desk and of course some nice carpet too. It was just a really nice lounge!

If it had had a computer, I would have been happy, but I guess the USA has moved on from PCs and expects everyone to have a laptop!

Time To Cross The Atlantic Again!

Boarding happened, I had my pre-takeoff champagne, we had the safety demonstration, took off, got our hot towels and out menus and then the lights were dimmed for our night flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

After visiting the toilet, I was passing through the forward galley and as no Cabin Crew were around.

Naturally I had to take advantage of the opportunity and get a quick picture.

Dinner Time

Dinner was served! For a starter I chose the Duo of duck magret with Waldorf salad, candied walnuts, pears, haricots verts (wha?) and figs.

Did you notice that I was drinking water? I’d had enough of booze and wanted to be sober when I arrived in London – it was successful by the way! For my main meal I had Chicken korma with basmati rice and saag paneer.

It was all very nice! I don’t remember what I had for dessert, as I didn’t take a picture of it. After a couple of movies, I napped for a while.

Club World Breakfast On An Eastbound

In the “morning”, I chose an energising fruit smoothie as my starter to go with my coffee.

For my proper meal I had a Warm bacon roll served with tomato ketchup, and it was quite nice, but not very exciting. Breakfast is always small on these shorter eastbound Atlantic flights, so I was not too surprised.

That was about it – the flight was unremarkable and we landed in Gatwick on time and I went off to meet friends.

Overall Thoughts

Club World is still an a great Business Class product, with the food and drink offerings being on par with the worlds best airlines. At a price of £1199 return, it was also a massive bargain. The November sales for travel in winter have some wonderful airfares and I wonder where I’ll be heading this year!

And that’s how I reported on the trip across the Atlantic back in 2010. Naturally things have changed a little since then, with British Airways introducing new catering and an entirely new seat. Still, it’s nice to look back occasionally to remember how things were.

Have you crossed the Atlantic before? Who is your carrier of choice? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Paul Spijkers on Airliners.net via Wikimedia Commons.