Introduction to a European Birthday Adventure
New Delhi to Abu Dhabi (Jet Airways First Class 777-300ER)
Abu Dhabi to London (Etihad First Class A380)
London to Rome (British Airways Business Class A319)
Hotel Boutique Nazional (Rome 1)
Mainson Tofani Hotel (Sorrento)
Best Western Plus Hotel Milton (Rome 2)
Hotel Palazzo Manfredi – Relais & Chateaux (Rome 3)
Rome to Paris (Air France Business Class A321)
Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (Paris)
Paris to Doha (Qatar Airways First Class A380)
Al Safwa First Class Lounge (Doha)
Doha to New Delhi (Qatar Airways Business Class 787-8)
British Airways A319
London - Rome
Class: Club Europe (Business Class)
My day started at 2am, and it was nearing 12pm when I landed in London (nearly 8pm in India where I took off from), and I had only managed around 3 hours of sleep due to my previous First Class trips (the latest one which was pretty amazing) - so I wasn't in any mood to review the lounge in London. However, as with previous reviews, I always like to drop a little on each lounge before hand.
After deplaning from the Etihad A380, I first went through security (with the flirtiest customs agent I have ever met), piked up my suitcase, then had to catch the 'Tube' from T3 to T5, which is British Airway's home in London Heathrow. The procedure was easy enough, and I made it to T5 with plenty of time to space. Unfortunately for me, BA only allows check-in counters 3 hours prior to a flight - and since they couldn't interline my bags - I ended up sitting and waiting for 40 or 45 minutes till Check-in (thank you free wi-fi). Once through, I cleared customs (again) and headed towards the British Airways Galleries Club Lounge - and ended up in a lounge which was absolutely packed. Filled to the brim essentially, which is why I ended taking no pictures - there were just too many people. It was probably because of this, why it just felt so hot in the lounge.
Design wise, it's a nice-ish lounge with lot's of seating (99% full) and decent decor. I decided to head to the bathrooms, which was quite frankly disappointing for any kind of lounge.
Was I in a Hospital bathroom or a Business Class lounge? Anyways - the food spread was small, but tasty enough that I certainly filled myself to last a few hours. Keep note that all hot food's are removed between 3pm to 6pm (which is a shame for passengers using the lounge during those hours).
Closer to boarding, I made my way to the gates and got straight into the Club Europe line, which was starting to board and I headed towards the plane. Maybe I should have done my research, but I was really disappointed looking at what BA considered 'Business' for short international flights. Essentially, it's a plane with a 3 x 3 row, and it's the same seat as economy thought with a fixed tray block of the middle seat for extra 'space'. Not great, by any standards - but I suppose this is why Inter Europe Business Class isn't regarded highly.
I didn't take a picture of the seats, but here's a quick snap from their website just to give you an idea. Looks decent, feels just as uncomfortable as you would expect.
Either way, one of the main aspects I was looking forward to was the Evening Tea service British Airways is known for, which was also why I chose this particular flight. It was interesting to see the British Airways flight attendants who were older than the economy crew - I suppose experience plays a part in rank here. Professionally they were fine, not overly friendly or rude, but just fine - which I suppose is par service for BA - only Middle Eastern and Asian carriers price themselves on service. Drinks were first rolled out, with some snacks (peanuts) before meal service started.
The mean consisted of Tea sandwiches which were frankly a mix okay and disgusting, which was odd - they may need to play around with their menu here, but I understand people actually like these. However, I was most looking forward to the scones - proper English scores served warm and with Strawberry Jam, and boy did they deliver. I chose the Lemon Scones as opposed to the plain, and they turned out to be delicious, even more so with Jam on top. Texture wise, they were soft on the inside, and a little harder on the top - not quite perfect, but close, and I really wish they offered you two scones considering it wasn't a completely full cabin, but they never offered and I never asked. I did stop eating long enough to take a pic, before devouring the final two bits.
While I would stay away from the sandwiches, the Scone was spot on. I followed up with a carrot cake which they had given as a 'dessert' which was nice, but a little too sweet.
With the meal service done, I lent back and dozed off almost instantly, only awaking as the cabin crew were coming around telling everyone to put their seat's uprights as we were on the final approach to my favorite city in Europe - Rome. Once we landed - we taxied very quickly to our gate and were ready to de-board fairly quickly. The flight crew mustered enough energy to say 'Bye' to me as I left, with memories of a sore neck and a jonesing for some Pizza, after an overall average experience at best. Unfortunately I didn't manage many picture's this leg, but I'll try and make up with other reviews down the line.