British Airways Club Europe | Airbus A321neo | Heathrow – Aberdeen

This Series:

British Airways Club Europe | Airbus A321neo | Heathrow – Aberdeen
Courtyard, Aberdeen Airport
Aberdeen: City Guide
British Airways Club Europe | Airbus A319 | Aberdeen – Heathrow

Introduction

I know, it’s been a while. I’m sure you can all figure out why though. 

My first trip of 2021 finally came at the end of April, once the national lockdown started to be lifted. Although options were still very limited. Leaving the country was still out of the question until mid May. And even then, that wasn’t overly straight forward. Therefore, sticking to the UK it was. 

Wanting to get a good start on my earning year with the British Airways Executive Club, a domestic Club Europe flight it would be. This meant either Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester or Newcastle as the most realistic options. Flights to Inverness, Newquay and Belfast were somewhat patchy, at least when I looked. 

Being the furthest away, Aberdeen represented the best value, seeing as all destinations were in the region of £200 return. Give or take. 

The Day Of Departure

As has been the case for well over a year now, both the Pod parking and Business parking was closed. Therefore it was the slightly further long stay parking. Finding a space wasn’t an issue – I’ve never seen a Heathrow car park so empty.

Having an evening departure, a late afternoon arrival at Heathrow was sufficient. Unknown to me, despite there being an electronic timetable displayed, the buses ran on a request only basis. After 15 minutes, I realised that I had to phone up to request a bus. 

Before even entering the terminal, it struck me at just how quiet it was. I wasn’t expecting it to be busy by any stretch, but this still came as a bit of a shock.

Where Is Everyone???

Upon arrival at T5, I approached the First Wing as usual. Again, everything was all very eery.

Upon reaching the First Wing I wasn’t granted entry. The staff member on the entrance mentioned that it is only open in the morning these days. Instead, i was directed to the regular security. This wasn’t a big deal though as I was the only person there. In fact, being the only person there was more of a hinderance. The tray with my stuff in stopped as it exited the X-ray. It wasn’t until someone else turned up and their tray was able to give it a shove was I finally on my way.

Upon entering the lounge, it was the quietest I had ever seen it. Much like the rest of the terminal. More so than when I last flew on Christmas evening. 

British Airways Club Europe lounge
British Airways Club Europe lounge
British Airways Club Europe lounge
British Airways Club Europe lounge
British Airways Club Europe lounge
British Airways Club Europe lounge

I grabbed a bite to eat using the online system.

British Airways Club Europe lounge menu
British Airways Club Europe lounge catering
British Airways Club Europe lounge catering
British Airways Club Europe lounge catering

After around an hour or so in the empty lounge, the boarding gate opened. I made my way downstairs to find G-NEOX waiting. This would be the first flight that this particular aircraft had made in a month. And as I type this, it hasn’t done a trip since either.

British Airways
BA1316
London Heathrow – Aberdeen
Airbus A321neo G-NEOX
Seat 1F
April 2021

Boarding

As British Airways are still doing the rear to front boarding procedure, there was no need to get to the gate overly early. This was a surprisingly full flight, meaning I was still waiting for a good 30 minutes to board. I can’t help but wonder how long this boarding procedure will remain in place for. Recent studies suggest that this isn’t the best way to go. Time will tell.

I made it into my seat a few moments before our scheduled departure time. As such, we picked up a 10 minute delay to our departure. 

British Airways Club Europe A321neo seating

I heard a whisper that there was 175 passengers on board this evening. Not bad all things considered. 

Departure

Pushback came a few minutes behind schedule. Although as Heathrow is virtually dead, there were no holdups on the way over to the runway.

The last time there were so many BA tails at Terminal 4 was early 2008

Our flight time was due to be 1h6m.

Once we reached the threshold, we had to wait for not one, but two arrivals. This was due to the fact that Heathrow is still operating using a single runway, which alternates every two weeks. 

After a brief wait, we made a powerful takeoff. No doubt to blow the cobwebs out of the engines that had been stationary for the best part of a month.

Onboard Service

Since I last flew with British Airways in late 2020, a more familiar service has returned. Seeing as the flight time was only just over an hour and there were 7 full rows of Club Europe on this flight, the crew certainly took their time getting going. This is the advantage of sitting in row 1. Not only are you almost guaranteed to get your first choice of meal, you’re under less pressure to finish up when you’re still eating and the 10 minutes to landing call is given. 

There was a chicken or vegetarian salad option. Despite things being a little better than previously, I cant help but feel the tray still looked a bit bare compared to pre March 2020. I couldn’t quite place my finger on what was missing though!

British Airways Club Europe catering
British Airways Club Europe catering

Also introduced since I was last on board is the latest Brewdog/British Airways tie up. Out is the Speedbird100 and in comes Jetstream.

British Airways Club Europe catering

I think I preferred the Speedbird100, but the Jet Stream is drinkable. I finished off with a cup of tea.

British Airways Club Europe catering

IFE

Being one of the more recent additions to the British Airways fleet, the Airbus A321neo offers WiFi on board. 

Pricing was £1.99 for a messaging package or £4.99 for streaming. I didn’t purchase either as I can quite easily go an hour without being connected!

Arrival

As my tea turned up, the captain was giving his pre arrival speech and the engines had spooled back. The noise cancelling on the AirPods Pro works very well! I was a little clueless as to how the flight was progressing as I was concentrating on eating and listening to my music. 

As I started paying attention to what was going on again, I noticed that quite a few more crew members had appeared in the Club Europe cabin to help out. I said the crew took their time to get going…

How I’ve missed cloud surfing

We passed the city on final approach and arrived pretty much on schedule.

The biggest hold up on arrival was the ground crew getting the stairs sorted. Much like previously, British Airways are still using the few rows at a time method when disembarking. 

Due to the small nature of Aberdeen Airport, I was outside the terminal within a few minutes. 

Verdict

Another standard flight with British Airways. And this is a good thing. Other than having to wear a face mask and not having any priority boarding, this was the closest I have come to taking a normal flight in over a year. 

Hopefully this trend will continue. 


See a previous visit to Aberdeen here:

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