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British Airways Club Europe (short-haul Business Class) is, on the whole, an underwhelming proposition. The food and drink on offer may be complimentary, the middle seats may be blocked, but the legroom is no better than you’ll find in the Economy Class cabin. In fact, a number of seats in Economy Class usually offer a lot more legroom than the considerably more expensive seats in the front.
As a general rule and as long as I’m not indulging in a Tier Point run, I avoid British Airways Club Europe as I find it to be a colossal waste of money. This summer, however, it looks like some routes may offer a Club Europe option that will be considerably better than the norm and possibly even great value for money.
According to reports over the weekend, British Airways is considering using a number of its wide-body aircraft on its European routes this summer as the airline looks to make the most of the boom in travel that’s expected once the UK’s adult population is vaccinated.
Routes on which Club Europe passengers have been accustomed to flying in an unappealing member of the Airbus A320 family may well be operated by the considerably more impressive Boeing 787 Dreamliner or a Boeing 777, and that would see passengers go from being offered seats like this…
….to being offered seats that look more like this:
While it’s unlikely that British Airways will employ its larger Dreamliners (the ones with a First Class cabin) on its European routes, it’s very likely that some of the more popular routes to destinations in Cyprus, Turkey, and Greece will be served by the airline’s 787-8 Dreamliners or the airline’s 777s, and we may even see widebody aircraft appearing on routes to Spain and Italy if the demand for travel is high enough.
If you’re someone who usually books the Club Europe cabin this would be a huge step up in the hard-product on offer, and for those who, like me, usually avoid BA’s short-haul Business Class cabin, this may be a time to consider paying the premium that Club Europe commands.
Better yet, if British Airways starts deploying wide-body aircraft on its European routes, this could be a fantastic opportunity to redeem some Avios.
Roundtrip Business Class cash fares on some of the longer European Routes that British Airways operates (which can be over 4.5 hours long) can run to over £600/$835 per person so if you can book a wide-body aircraft with Avios for just 34,000/40,000 Avios (off-peak/peak), you’d be getting a great return on your Avios as well as a considerably more comfortable (than normal) experience.
As things stand, British Airways is keeping tight-lipped on its plans for the summer and until there’s considerably more certainty around what intra-Europe travel will look like in June, July, and August, the airline is unlikely to add wide-body aircraft to its short-haul schedules. Still, if you’re considering booking a European trip this summer this is definitely something to keep an eye on, and with British Airways continuing to operating a flexible policy for travel into next year, it may even be possible to change an existing booking to a flight with lie-flat seating if your original flight doesn’t get upgraded (any fare differences would have to be paid by the traveler).
Come this summer and if bookings are strong enough, it looks as if British Airways will move some of its long-haul wide-body aircraft on to its European routes to meet the demand for seats and, should that happen, a number of popular routes will be offering a considerably better Business Class cabin than normal.
Club Europe fares are often hard to justify (especially if the money is coming out of your own pocket), but they’ll be a lot easier to justify if there’s a lie-flat seat on offer.