I'm based in Milan for the first six months of 2017, and I've been able to sample several carriers in my travels this year. Of course, being in Europe, it is a market saturated in LCCs, which makes flying cheap and easy but perhaps not too interesting for aviation enthusiasts or trip reports - most of my travels have thus been on VY, FR, U2 and W6. However, I have been impressed with two previous journeys in April on BA's mainline fleet (BCN-LGW and LHR-LIN), and so for a long weekend getaway to London earlier this month, I was very surprised to be quoted a Club Europe (Business class) seat aboard a CityFlyer service for €132. Obviously, CityFlyer isn't mainline, but the "cheap" J-ticket combined with an evening arrival into LCY, meant that I quickly took up this opportunity.Pre-flight
There is a dedicated British Airways Galleries lounge at LIN which I headed to after bag drop in the priority BA lane and Fast Track security. It is spacious enough and was very quiet, I was there for about 90 mins and there were only about 4 or 5 other guests for the most part, to a maximum of 20 to 23 shortly before boarding.
Food was generally poor; panini and frittata dreadful, flavourless eggplant, soggy sandwiches. On the other hand the cakes and biscuits were tasty and the sort you would find at one of the many bars around Milano. Green and fruit salads available, reasonable selection of drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and fast Wi-Fi.
All in all not a bad place to kill an hour and a half, there are plenty of seats and it is quite comfy.Flight details
British Airways CityFlyer BA7304
Milan Linate (LIN) to London City (LCY)
Departure 1755 (1755)
Arrival 1855 (1836)
Flying time 2:00 (1:41)
(Actual figures in parentheses)
G-LCYN Embraer E190
Seat 4D Club EuropeIn-flight
Today there were 68 PAX, split 13 in J and 55 in Y, onboard our 7 year old E190.
Disappointingly, but as expected, the Club Europe seat is the same as the Euro Traveller seat. Identical, which is a bit of a shame for a flag carrier that's not supposed to be an LCC, like BA. On the BA mainline A320 it is the same seat in J and Y too, except they block the middle seats in the Club Europe rows. The E190 is 2-2 without middle seats, but as it ended up, all the solo travellers on my flight in Club Europe had an empty seat next to them - luck or deliberate blocking?
Nonetheless, there is enough legroom - I'm 6 feet tall and was quite comfy. The E190 seats are marginally larger than those on BA's A320, and the curved shape at the rear of the seat means there is lots of space around the knees, too. I'm a fan of the E190 as you get a nice view out of a wide window (they must be placed at a higher level), because usually on 737s I have to slouch to see out. This made for some fantastic views in flight, as there is no IFE. The curtains behind Club Europe are drawn post-takeoff, so you have an intimate cabin, with a single dedicated FA.
No pre-takeoff drinks were offered, but some 15 minutes after takeoff and our FA in Club Europe, Daniel, commenced service with hot towels and drinks. I opted for the Sauvignon Blanc, and was immediately offered two mini-bottles.
Meal service (dinner) followed some 25 minutes after takeoff. I went for the beef cheeks. As expected with reheated meat they are on the well-done side, but after some seasoning, were tasty. Mushrooms a bit flavourless, but the salad was fresh and accompanied with a vinaigrette. Daniel came around a couple of times with a bread basket, which had fresh, warm breadsticks - a nice touch. The chocolate mousse dessert certainly satisfied my sweet tooth, and was followed by an offer of tea and coffee, and a further round of drinks.
Popcorn and biscuits were offered after the dinner service concluded, and another round of drinks just before our descent, at which point we switched from wine glasses to plastic cups, so drinks could continue being enjoyed all the way through to landing. Again, while I don't travel much in J, my memory is of drinks collected completely at the top of descent - no switching to plastic for the full landing. So I continued drinking and enjoying our descent into LCY.
Our arrival into LCY was excellent, whilst overcast, we had some close-up views of the Tower Bridge, The Shard and O2 arena. All too soon the flight had come to an end, 19 minutes ahead of schedule. A very quick taxi at LCY ensures swift deplaning, and speedy passport checks combined with priority baggage had me walking out of LCY at 1855, which was actually our scheduled arrival time.Summary
As I've already mentioned, this is my third flight with BA in a month. And to be frank, the seat and meal are nothing memorable, in fact, for the most part there is not much separating the hard product on their internal European flights from carriers like U2. However, what leaves me always excited to board a BA flight is the quality of their cabin crew. On all three flights they have been terrifically professional. This is a somewhat subjective criteria, but to me, as a 20s male who enjoys flying for leisure, it means striking the balance between professionalism and formality, and friendliness and hospitality. Whilst EK, for instance, seem to be formal, they're a bit cold at times; contrast with LCCs like VY and U2 where I find they come across as too casual and blasé - to generalise, of course.
For this reason, as someone who enjoys flying, I would pay a not insignificant premium to travel on BA - mainline or CityFlyer - even in Y. It's nice to have a crew who still put pleasure into the experience that is flying, rather than treat passengers like customers on any other form of mass transportation.
I have a few more trips booked this year - my return leg to Australia in EK Y and a couple of points upgrade trips on QF's domestic J. As such I hope to add a few more TRs to my name before the year's end!
Thanks for reading and as always I welcome comments and questions.