There were steaks on the plane! Actual steaks, on the business class menu, for my British Airways flight to Bermuda.
During 3 years of constant travelling and countless flights to over 30 countries, I have never once been upgraded. OK, there was this one time when I won flights to India with Jet Airways and due to overbooking we were upgraded, but that magical moment where you arrive at check in and get told you’ve been upgraded to business had never happened to me before. Until now.
I checked in online the night before for my flight to make sure I had an aisle seat. I checked out what rows were available and strategically moved myself towards the back of the plane where I gambled I would be more likely to end up with an empty middle seat. I didn’t bother printing my boarding pass, knowing they could do it quicker at the airport.
Arriving at Gatwick the next day the BA check-in desks were blissfully quiet. I explained to the check-in staff that I had checked in already but needed to print my boarding pass. The lady chatted away, complimenting my handbag, and pressing all the buttons on the self-service machine for me. She handed me my slip of paper and pointed me towards baggage drop. I didn’t bother looking at it as I knew which seat I had already checked into. Or so I thought. I dropped my bags, no one said a word and I prepared to head through security with the rest of my group.
And then I glanced at my boarding pass to check the boarding time and noticed something odd. It said my seat was 12C. 12C? There is no way I would reserve something so close to the front. This was worrying. Except in the left hand corner of the boarding pass were 2 special words I hadn’t noticed before. ‘Cabin Upgrade’. My prayers had been answered. I was going up in the world, and flying Club World.
I didn’t have long to enjoy the BA Business Class lounge as I hadn’t anticipated gaining access. The drinks and free nibbles were plentiful but the lounge itself looked a little tired, at least in comparison to other Gatwick Lounges I have seen, like the minimalist chic No 1 Traveller Lounge.
On board was where the magic happened though. Grabbing a complimentary copy of Elle magazine plus my favourite freebie Stylist on the way out of the lounge, I breezed straight onto the plane and into my Club World seat.
The business class seats on BA look like little pods all facing in different directions. Mine was facing forwards and I wondered what it must feel like to be in the empty pod next to me facing the wrong way. The seats are wide and roomy but it’s the generous legroom that feels like the real indulgence. A footrest is attached to the seat in front; so far away my short legs almost didn’t reach it. After take off you can recline the seat, fully if necessary, and then the bed stretches all the way down to the footrest.
The TV screen seemed massive in comparison to those at the back of the plane but it was the small touches like the personal reading light and laptop drawer that pleased me the most.
The earphones were padded, the blanket was more like a duvet and the pillow was almost large enough for a human head! To top it all off, I discovered I could roll my tray forward and backwards and easily move around during the never-ending food service. Happy Days!
Boy was the food good. I took advantage of the complimentary champagne service before take off (who could resist?) but when the attendant handed me the menu I wished I had bought more of an appetite on board.
During my 6-hour flight I was served a 3-course meal (4 if you count the salad but I never class that as a course!) and English Afternoon Tea. I ordered things it felt the most indulgent to be eating on a plane – sushi for starters and steak for main.
The steak in peppercorn sauce was presented a little bit messily but tasted simply divine. I passed on dessert as gateau is not my thing, but afternoon tea certainly is – warm fruit scones served with jam and clotted cream and a cup of tea in a large ceramic mug. This was turning out to be quite the afternoon.
Aside from the food, service in general was spectacular. As you would expect, the BA staff were courteous and attentive – hanging coats and providing a never-ending supply of fresh drinks and snacks.
The inflight amenity kit they handed out contained some gorgeous Elemis products, including lip balm and eye cream; I think I may have looked better coming off the flight than I did getting on.
Our flight was predominantly empty so I didn’t have to make use of the privacy screen between the business class beds and the service was perhaps even more attentive than usual. All in all, my Club World flying experience was one of the highlights of my trip – it really does make the holiday start as soon as you take off.
My only complaint (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again) is flying business class makes it so hard going back to economy on the way home. I’ve seen how the other half fly, and I want it every time!