Today I had the pleasure of joining British Airways for a flight after Christmas. After visiting my partner’s family, we needed to get home. A range of options for flights was considered, however, when it transpired that it would be cheaper to get the bus to Cologne and then fly with British Airways to London than to fly with Ryanair from Frankfurt, my mind was made up.
Booking the flight was actually a relatively painless procedure. Compared to the complexity of a Ryanair booking, with British Airways I had three simple options. This included basic economy, economy plus, and business. We opted for economy plus as we needed the additional luggage. All in all, we were able to check two suitcases each weighing 23kg, in addition to a standard cabin bag each. We paid a total of €67.76 for two tickets from Cologne to Gatwick. Booking Score: ✈︎✈︎✈︎✈︎
Check-in was one of the only major things that let us down overall. We decided not to pay to reserve seats as the website informed me that upon checking in at T-24 hours, the choice would be free. Imagine my horror when I discovered that online check-in was not available for my booking.
We arrived at the airport around three hours before the flight with check-in opening around two hours before. Despite being at the check-in desk when it opened, we still had to queue for 30 minutes to reach the desk. It seems as though online check-in wasn’t available for anybody on the flight. At the desk, the check-in agent didn’t greet me, instead just taking our passports and swiping them. It should be noted that the check-in agent wasn’t a British Airways employee. I asked for a fragile sticker as I had a couple of bottles in my suitcase, but was told that they didn’t have any. I was given a priority luggage tag instead. Thankfully, despite not being able to choose a seat, my partner and I were allocated 5E and 5F, at the very front of the economy cabin (more on that later). Check-in Score: ✈︎✈︎
Overall, boarding the aircraft was relatively painless, although there were a few hiccups. Due to the layout of the airport, the A320 was located away from the terminal. As such, it was necessary to take a bus to the aircraft. There was some confusion over which gate would be used. This was initially advertised as gate 22, down a staircase, but when it became clear that another flight was using the gate for too long, this was changed to gate 20, back up the stairs. There were two buses provided to the aircraft, both a significant time apart. Once we reached the aircraft we boarded and we directed to our seats by the friendly cabin crew. Boarding Score: ✈︎✈︎✈︎✈︎
All in all, I was very impressed with the seat provided by British Airways. The aircraft has an advertised pitch of 30 inches. As a 6ft 3in man, I had no problem with legroom. In fact, I had room to spare. I didn’t notice any discomfort with the seat at all.
The only slight complaint regarding the seat was due to its location. Being the first seat in economy, there was a black curtain directly in front of me. As such, I had nowhere to look for the majority of the flight. Additionally, due to the curtain, I had no access to an air vent. This was mildly uncomfortable, as the early portion of the flight seemed quite stuffy and it would’ve been appreciated. Seat Score: ✈︎✈︎✈︎
The in-flight service is potentially where this flight scored highest. I’m consistently blown away by the friendliness and professionalism of British Airways staff. Upon boarding, we were greeted with a smile and welcomed to the aircraft.
We were aware that food is no longer complimentary on British Airways flights to Heathrow and Gatwick. As such, I had had a browse of the M&S menu prior to boarding the flight. One thing stood out to me, the Emmental and Mushroom toastie. I was disappointed to see a symbol that said this option was not available on shorter flights, however, on asking the cabin crew I was told this was on offer. My order was placed, and I was advised that it would take 10 minutes to heat. I wasn’t disappointed. Despite not being as mushroomy as the picture suggested (I only had 4 or 5 big slices of mushroom), the toastie was delicious. I’m not usually one to pay for food on a plane, but any time I fly British Airways I would now buy this.
The toastie was accompanied by a Kenco Latte, and a packet of “Globetrotting Percy Pig”. My partner ordered the porridge, which was a little too runny for her, but enjoyable none the less. The latte was initially way too hot for me, somebody who usually orders their drinks “kids temperature”. I decided to leave it to cool until after my toastie had arrived, and in the end, was still drinking it while we taxied to the gate. As such, I had to hold it during the descent and landing. I didn’t get a chance to open the Percy Pigs on the flight, as by the time I finished the toastie, we were beginning our descent. All in all, the food cost a total of £10.75. Service Score: ✈︎✈︎✈︎✈︎✈︎
The Flight Overall
Overall the flight was mostly pleasant and problem free. We didn’t experience any turbulence, and the pilot kept us up to date throughout the flight. Despite departing 14 minutes late, we arrived at the gate only 3 minutes late. The initial problems encountered with check-in were more than cancelled out by the flight itself. I would fly this flight again. Final Score: ✈︎✈︎✈︎✈︎
Have you flown British Airways Euro Traveller? Let us know what you thought in the comments down below!