So I had a few days left of annual leave to take before the end of 2012 and was feeling ‘miles rich’ so decided to take a trip to Copenhagen. I booked Club Europe flights on British Airways flying ABZ-LHR-CPH-LHR-ABZ. This cost me 18,000 Avios and around £40 if I remember correctly. This would be my first time in CE so I thought I would give a bit of a newbies impression as to what I thought of CE which may be different to those on the BA board who frequently fly in premium cabins. I’m not as prolific a trip reporter as the great matthandy or BBB but I like reading these reports so thought I would put one together.
The morning I set off on my short trip, there had been snow in Aberdeen the night before. I’m not quite sure what it is about the UK but every time there is the slightest snowfall, things seem to go a bit crazy. I planned on taking the wee airport bus from the bus station. The bus eventually turned up 30 minutes late and the bus driver (a Doric speaking chap) was going berserk about the delays on the roads when he eventually let us on to the bus. Anyway, cue the fastest drive ever and I arrived at a dreich Aberdeen airport (for our non-native Scots speakers, ‘dreich’ is a way of saying ‘dull, grey, cold and generally yuk weather’).
My ticket from ABZ-LHR allowed me access to the Terraces Lounge at Aberdeen so that is where I headed after a very quick dash through security. I quite like the lounge and when I arrived, there were only two other people in it. I think that most people using the early morning flights are businessmen and therefore arrive at the airport at the latest possible opportunity. Sure enough, the lounge gradually filled up and got quite busy before boarding. BA have just started flights from ABZ-LCY and one of these was leaving 10 minutes after my flight to LHR did. Having two flights that close together is bound to mean that the lounge will get busy.
The food offering in the lounge was average to say the most. There were some croissants and Danish pastries (how apt seeing as I was heading to CPH) but that was about it. Drinks selection was very good and I had a few G&Ts closer to boarding. The coffee was pretty decent too. About half 11, they put out some sandwiches but whether they hadn’t received their full delivery yet, I’m not sure. There were about 12 quarters put out and they all looked rather suspect! The lounge is a nice enough place to spend around an hour and certainly better than the terminal which was absolutely packed on the morning in question.
ABZ-LHR, BA1307, G-EUYD
We left a wet Aberdeen about 20 minutes after our scheduled arrival time.
The captain came over and said he wasn’t quite sure why were delayed but thought it would be due to Heathrow. He advised of a short hop down to London passing to the right of Edinburgh and down the east coast of England but when the moving map came one, it became clear that we had taken a bit of a detour for some reason.
We took off from an Aberdeen which still had a light smattering of snow but shortly popped above the clouds.
The service on the domestic legs at this time of day consists of a bar run and a wee bag of crisps. BA used to just give everyone the same bag of Dormen crisps but these seemed to have stopped recently and they cart out some basket where you can choose either a small packet of crisps, some nut and chocolate selection or a biscuit. I had some crisps and a G&T.
Not quite sure where we were here….somewhere over west England but it looks like a KL flight dashing underneath us.
We passed over LCY on our approach into LHR.
The detour west and a holding of about 20 minutes before we landed in LHR meant that we were slightly delayed in arriving but nothing major. The crew on this flight were pleasant but it felt as if they were just going through the motions rather than actually engaging with passengers.
I decided that I would spend a night in London catching up with a few friends. I had arranged to stay at the Crowne Plaza in Shoreditch. I always stay here when I come to London as the hotel is great and staff are second to none.
I had booked a Club room which was only £20 more expensive than a standard room but which gave access to the Club lounge and breakfast in the morning. A nice box of chocolates and couple of bottles of water was in the room when I arrived.
The club lounge is quite small but there were only two other people in there when I was there so we had plenty of space. There was a small selection of canapés available when I was there which were nice. The drinks selection included beers, wines and soft drinks.
Breakfast in the 7th floor restaurant of the hotel was great and there are some nice views.
I love London. Maybe it’s the attraction of a bigger city than the one I currently live in. The anonymity that brings with it. I’m not sure. But I can definitely see myself working in London in the future. I’ll finish this section with some pictures of London – first with some pictures of Primrose Hill at sunset and then central London during the day.
The Parliament of the United Kingdom – where our laws are made.
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom – where the most important cases are decided by the most acute legal minds in our country.
Panorama of Parliament Square
Dave’s got a decent sized Christmas tree outside his house
So early afternoon the next day, I took the tube out to LHR and headed to the Galleries Lounge. It was busy but it didn’t take me long to find a comfy seat and order a glass of bubbles. I’ve been here a few times before and never really found the staff that great. However, today was a different story. There were a lot of them going round and one lady was even proactively offering refills – very impressive.
I had some chicken curry for a late lunch which was really nice and later, some red pepper and tomato soup with was lovely. Chunky pieces of red pepper and tomato – just great for a cold winter’s day.
Shot from the lounge looking down to departures
Before long, it was time to board. Welcomed on board by two very friendly ladies. I was in Row 1 – that was the only seat left when I checked in the day previously. CE had 5 rows and was full. Hot towels were offered on the ground. I use the term ‘towel’ loosely – it’s more like a recycled rag, but the thought is there…
I can’t quite remember when I took this shot, but it’s a nice one of London from the air.
We took off and then the service started. I was somewhat hesitant about the Afternoon Tea service partly due to numerous moans on the BA board about its contents. However, after setting my expectations quite low, I was pleasantly surprised. The sandwiches tasted good – ham and mustard, cheese and pickle and smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber. The cake was rich and reminded me a bit of Christmas cake but not as spiced. The scone was lovely and warm and I think I applied the jam/clotted cream the right way round (?!) I had a coffee with some Baileys to finish off the Afternoon Tea. All in all, I was impressed and, unlike some, would not choose a particular flight just because Afternoon Tea was to be served.
J, the purser who was serving in CE was just a delight. She is what makes BA great – a shining example of someone who genuinely cares about their passengers and interacts with them on both a professional and personal level. J was shortly clearing up the trays and came back round offering another drinks service as there was still some time to go before landing in CPH. Again, impressive service when sometimes you hear of cabin crew doing the bare minimum and then hiding behind the curtains in the galley until the landing announcement is made. I had a G&T (in a proper glass!)
We landed in CPH on time and I was amongst the first off the plane being right at the front.
Copenhagen is another city which I love. I lived in Denmark for a year and took frequent trips to the capital city. Strøget was cold and wintery and had some Christmas lights up.
I met up with a friend and we had dinner and quite a few drinks.
The morning after, we headed to Tivoli to look round the Christmas markets.
The Tivoli felt very Christmassy with lights up and trees all over the place.
View across to the City Hall.
We spent a few hours in Tivoli and purchased some wee bits and bobs. We then went to warm up in a bar close by and had some Gløgg (Danish mulled wine). We then walked through the town and down to beside Borgen – the Danish Parliament.
Before long, it was time to take the tram back out to the airport and I was wishing that I had longer to spend in Copenhagen.
Meh, the Novia lounge is really not that much to look forward to. Quite small, very busy and pretty dismal food selection. I went for some rye bread with ham and cheese and a few beers. If you’re flying CE from CPH, don’t get here any earlier than you have to.
The plane back to LHR was a 767 – I’d never flown on one of these birds before. Welcomed on board by a male purser who was a cheery chappy and directed to my seat. Jacket was hung in the cupboard for me and hot rags then handed out again. The plane is not in the best state of repairs….there was a constant ‘BONG’ every 10 seconds and the disco lights (as they are affectionately called on the BA board) commenced. It’s actually quite funny in person but they had to switch off some part of the system or something because an announcement was made that the reading lights couldn’t be used. Anyway, we took off and were offered drinks and nuts to start with. This photo is a bit dodge as it was quite bumpy at this point.
The guy sitting next to me was obviously someone BA wanted to impress as he was the only one who was asked for his meal choice before the trolley rolled round. Maybe GGL as there were numerous other Gold cards on display.
Dinner was a prawn curry which was actually really nice. It had the right amount of kick to it and was very tasty. Bread was wam. Red wine was either a Merlot or a Pinotage if I remember correctly. The cheese was good but they could have not been as skimpy on the chutney on the side.
Anyway, the purser was trying to impress the guy beside me so much that he overlooked me when doing his run with the coffee. When the other crew member popped through, I asked her for coffee and she looked horrified that I didn’t have while the guy next to me did. I asked for a Baileys to go with it and she gave me two (maybe to make up for not giving me coffee first time round!). The wee sweets which were served were great – a lovely way to finish off the meal.
We landed in LHR and I had just over an hour to kill until my flight back to Aberdeen.
LHR-ABZ, BA1318, G-EUXC
I headed to Galleries South to grab some drinks and a wee snack. Got to the door and handed over my boarding pass which beeped and then turned green. The conversation went something like this:
Dragon: “Sorry, you don’t actually have access, you can’t come in here.”
Me: “It clearly says ‘C’ under class on my boarding pass.”
Dragon: “Sir, those are the rules, you can’t come in.”
Me: “Well even if this boarding pass doesn’t allow me access (which it does), I have just come off a CE flight.”
Dragon: “Sir, it doesn’t matter if you have come off a CE flight, you can’t come in.”
Me: “Can I speak to your supervisor please?”
Dragon: “Sir, I will make an exception this once because you flight leaves in an hour.”
What a crock of sh!t. Here is an employee of BA who obviously has no clue about the rules regarding lounge access. We have had discussions on the BA board before this and BA staff have told us that they all get moved around different parts of the airport and never spend one shift in the same place. But I mean, come on. Surely all staff who have to work on the entrance to the lounge must know the basic rules – i.e. if you come off a flight in CE/CW/F, you can use the lounges. It’s a bit embarrassing standing there being denied access when you are well aware that you can go in. This was the only low point of the whole trip but I don’t think there is much point in mentioning this to BA but it doesn’t look good having these silly little problems at BA’s flagship airport.
Flight back to ABZ was fine. It was the usual bar and snack service. I always choose the back row on domestic flights in hope that I have the whole row to myself. Again, this paid off as I had all three seats to myself.
The purser was one who I think has been mentioned on the BA board before. He’s probably the cheeriest chap you will ever meet. When we landed in Aberdeen, the announcement went something like this:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to Heathrow airport. If you are here on business, I wish you much success. If you are here on holiday then I hope you have a wonderful time. If you are arriving back home then Welcome Home…..”
*two minutes later*
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am well aware that we have actually just landed in Aberdeen and should let you know that my first port of call on leaving the aircraft will be the nearest shop to buy myself an atlas”
He was great. A breath of fresh air from the normal dull announcements that you get upon arriving at your destination.
So, is CE worth it? Well I think so. It was a pleasure travelling in a ‘premium’ cabin. I don’t have to travel that often for work unfortunately so do enjoy travelling when I get the chance. Would I pay out of my own pocket for CE? That I am not too sure on but could be tempted. The lounge access at Heathrow is great (especially for someone like myself who has no status – quite a rarity on the BA board) and if I knew that there was a decent enough lounge at my destination, this may swing things towards paying for CE. Avios are a great way of taking a CE trip though by either using them outright to pay or by upgrading an economy ticket to a club ticket.
BA again showed itself to be a decent airline which seems to be making genuine improvements recently. Most of the staff I came across were helpful, professional and friendly. There is the odd spot here and there which is rough round the edges, but with some work, this could be seen to.
Feel free to shoot me any questions and thanks for reading!
Programs: Cathay Pacific Gold, Aer Lingus Gold, Air France Gold, Lufthansa Blue, British Airways Blue
Very nice report! The afternoon tea looks better than I had imagined...if you'd eaten in the lounge beforehand, this should suffice. The return meal on the disco plane looked good.
Regards lounge access in LHR, I'm 99% that you should have had access based on your CE ticket. However, I believe that ALL domestic tickets show "C" on the boarding pass, irrespective of what fare you paid or class you are booked in.
I-m a great fan of Copenhagen though I haven-t been there for several years. Nice to have a good selection of pictures of the city. Despite the grey weather, it was still showing the understated elegance it has.
Programs: Mucci, BA Gold, PS, TK Elite, HHonors Diamond
A vet nice report stu1985! And wonderful pictures!
Just to clarify - your Aberdeen BP did not allow access to the lounge as it was a redemption and redemptions are booked into 'X' on domestic sectors. All domestic BPs will feature 'C' class regardless of the fare paid. Your LHR inbound BP did allow access for the connecting flight, and it's a shame that the agent had to argue with you and 'make an exception' rather than welcome you as an eligible customer right away. But it looks like you enjoyed the trip anyway...
Last edited by Andriyko; Dec 7, 12 at 7:29 am..
Reason: Wrong booking class
A vet nice report stu1985! And wonderful pictures!
Just to clarify - your Aberdeen BP did not allow access to the lounge as it was a redemption and redemptions are booked into 'T' on domestic sectors. All domestic BPs will feature 'C' class regardless of the fare paid. Your LHR inbound BP did allow access for the connecting flight, and it's a shame that the agent had to argue with you and 'make an exception' rather than welcome you as an eligible customer right away. But it looks like you enjoyed the trip anyway...
Yes this confusion still persists.
I've just booked MAD-LHR-GLA and return redemptions in CE and the LHR-GLA-LHR sectors both show as being booked in U class which is a Club redemption fare class.
As you say best holding on and presenting the CE boarding passes to the lounge staff just to be on the safe side.....even then as stu found out it can still go wrong.
Fine report stu1985....
I'm very familiar with Copenhagen especially its beers.
Don't let the Walter Mitty's get you down....
A really good report but a real shame that it be let down with lounge dragons at Heathrow not knowing the rules, and worse still letting you in as an "exception" as you had pestered them enough.
Whilst the C on the boarding pass doesn't gain you access, the fact you are on a through Club Europe redemption does. This is simple and yet so many of the lounge guardians don't get it.
I would hope that British Airways management would be concerned that their premium passengers would be treated in such a manner, yet given the length of time that this nonsense has persisted for, I doubt they really do.