➔ British Airways Club Europe, A319, Heathrow – Frankfurt
➔ Frankfurt: City Guide
➔ LATAM Premium Business, B787, Frankfurt -Madrid
➔ AC Hotel, Cuzco, Madrid
➔ Iberia Lounge, T4S, Madrid
➔ Iberia Business Class, Airbus A350, Madrid – Heathrow
If you have read a couple of my previous reports, you’ll know that I’m on somewhat of a British Airways tier point run at the moment. This will be the home stretch towards retaining Gold status with them. Needing 45 tier points, this worked out as one flight in Club Europe and one in Euro Traveller. Although to make things a little less complicated, a return in Club Europe was what I was searching for.
Initially, a return to Vienna was the cheapest option to achieve what I needed. Also on the cards was Tirana in Albania, a country I hadn’t visited previously.
However, wanting to get one final flight on LATAM between Madrid and Frankfurt before the route is pulled, I looked to this instead. Whilst the date I booked for wasn’t the cheapest that this particular flight was selling for (£141 versus £80 for other dates), in the grand scheme of things, these particular dates worked out cheaper overall.
For the flight back from Madrid, the average price was around £200/one way. There were a number of flights available for this price throughout the day. The most appealing of which was the Iberia Airbus A350 flight in the afternoon. This flight is usually operated by the Airbus A340-600, which I have done a number of times in the past. Also available was the usual Boeing 777 flight – again, a flight I have done numerous times.
For the flight to Frankfurt, and the subject of this report, I made an award booking on the morning departure. Seeing as I would be getting a total of 80 tier points from the other two flights on this trip, there was no need to pay cash for this one. The total price for this flight came to 12,750 Avios + 50p in taxes.
The Day Of Departure
As per usual, I used the Pod Parking at Heathrow.
I made the walk to the far end of the terminal to pass through the first wing. I was selected for a secondary screening, although it was more of a random selection I suspect. I came up clear and was able to carry on my way without too much fuss.
Next up was breakfast in the lounge.
As I (purposely) arrived a little late, I didn’t have too long for the lounge before I had to get going.
As this was the aircrafts first flight of the day, this meant a journey over to the B gates.
London Heathrow – Frankfurt
Airbus A319 G-DBCJ
By the time I made it, boarding was pretty much under way. Although somewhat strangely, it was then on to a bus? Why not use gate A10? After making a lap of T5B, we pulled up at G-DBCJ, one of the former bmi A319’s that we’re inherited by British Airways in 2012. This was a rare occasion when I was able to fly on a BA Airbus A319 that I hadn’t logged before. Meaning just G-EUOF and G-DBCG until I’ve flown on the entire fleet.
It had been a while since I had flown on one of these aircraft. They retain the former BMI cabin for the most part – all BA did was fit new seat covers and replace the carpets.
The legroom in row 1 seemed a little more generous than the native BA A320 fleet.
Also unlike the native BA fleet, the arm rests move inwards meaning you get a slightly wider seat.
Due to this arrangement, rather than have the tray tables in the arm rest, they are attached to the bulkhead wall.
The seats also feature a central table, which is also present on the native BA fleet. Although it looks a little cheaper here.
The captain announced a flying time of 1h5 minutes and that we would be starting one engine on stand. Whilst he didn’t give any particular reason, this normally indicates a failed APU.
Due to the slightly extended start up procedure, we pushed back a few minutes adrift of schedule.
Another delay was then encountered due to the runways being switched. Basically all traffic both landing and departing had to hold position until the last few aircraft had used the old direction. Then once everything was out of the way, things could start up again, this time moving in the opposite direction. First time I’d experienced this whilst being on a plane.
Despite this, we weren’t too far from the new runway and we were able to join the front of the queue. Therefore we were into the air a little quicker than had we used the original runway.
The breakfast service started shortly after the seatbelt sign went off. With 7 rows of Club and just one crew member, he certainly had his work cut out for him! The choice was either the full English breakfast or an omelette. One area that has been consistently good over the years on British Airways is their full English breakfast. So once more, this is what I went with.
This was accompanied with a bread selection and a yogurt of some description… although I couldn’t quite place the flavour!
A drinks round was also offered with the meal service.
Back to the old days! As this was a former BMI aircraft, there were no drop down screens. The former owner didn’t take up this option for any of their fleet. And as British Airways intends to dispose of these aircraft, there’s no Wi-fi fitted to any of them either. But this was no major issue with the short flight time.
By the time the lone crew member had finished serving the cabin, we were well into our descent. Luckily, one of the crew members serving the economy cabin had finished their duties, so was able to come forward and lend a hand clearing up.
As promised, touchdown into Frankfurt came a little over an hour after departure.
As this was on the new runway, a lengthy taxi over to terminal 2 followed. Although I guess the new runway in Frankfurt isn’t that new any more. Unusually for Frankfurt, we ended up with a jet bridge.
Being in row 1, I was the first off into a very quiet terminal 2.
Following this, it was over to terminal 1 in order to take the train into Frankfurt for a few hours.
A generally standard Club Europe flight with British Airways on this short hop. Despite the busy load up front, the CSM did a good job of getting everyone served in a reasonable amount of time and without making it look like too much of a rush.
The former bmi aircraft don’t look quite as classy as the native BA fleet members, although I would say that they are a little more comfortable up front at least. Although I am lead to believe they have had the slim line Recaro seats as found on the BA A320neo series fitted towards the back.