British Airways Euro Traveller Jet

Click the video above to see British Airways Euro Traveller reviewed on a flight from Heathrow Terminal 1 to Rotterdam.


British Airways Euro Traveller

British Airways used to run its entire short haul operation out of Terminal 1 at Heathrow, back in the days when you got luggage, food and drinks included in the price of your ticket. Shortly before Heathrow closed down Terminal 1 to enable its demolishment, we went to review the shortest flight it offered so as to capture the experience one last time. This is a review of British Airways Euro Traveller from London Heathrow Terminal 1 to Rotterdam airport.


Terminal 1 Check-In Experience

We’ve been in some unwieldy queues in our time at Terminal 1, not helped by the poor layout of check-in desks. This time was totally different – it was like a ghost town – with 8 staff and no other passengers we had a choice of desks and no queues at security.

With our bags dropped off, we went to the ‘international’ lounge (Terminal 1 used to be separated in to separate domestic and international sections!) which was inherited by British Airways when it bought bmi (previously called British Midland). As such, the lounge was designed and built by a different airline, one which was trying to stand out from its bigger rival so there were a few nice touches that you don’t see in British Airways’ lounges in Terminals 3 and 5 at Heathrow. A full-sized Aga had been installed, and there was a large bar area along with sleeping couches and high quality showers. BA had run the lounge down somewhat, so the bar area was permanently unstaffed, and the fancy Aga was just used to stand some soup on it.

In addition to the soup, there was also a choice of a couple of cake slices and packets of crisps. Pretty unimpressive, though more than adequate for our short trip across the English Channel. Had we been on a later flight to Cairo or Amman then we would have been distinctly unimpressed.

What was great was the view from the lounge window, and the choice of seating – with only a handful of other passengers here, 95% of the seats were free. A glance at the departure screen showed that there were only 7 BA departures all afternoon and evening, hence the quietness.

After a long walk to the deserted gate, we found that everyone was squashed on to a bus. We waited on the bus for 20 minutes before finally setting off to our plane on a remote stand. On the way we got to see empty stand after empty stand – it’s understandable that you have to put up a bus when the airport is full, but it’s so frustrating when there’s loads of empty gates and the bus experience itself is so bad. It took nearly 30 minutes from getting from the gate to the plane – the flight itself is only 45 minutes long!


Onboard British Airways Euro Traveller

Once onboard, we got to see BA’s older short haul seats – these blue leather seats looked well worn and past their prime, but looks can be deceiving. These seats offered the most comfort out of all BA’s economy seats, and it was a sad day when BA binned them. Our economy seat had a whopping 34″ of pitch (some of BA’s new seats are only 29″) and had a miniature middle seat which meant our window and aisle seats were wider than normal. Each seat also had its own air vent, which didn’t seem like a great feature until we tried the new BA seats and found this missing.

There wasn’t a single passenger in business class – which makes sense, as the economics of upgrading (to sit in the identical seat but have slightly better food) were very poor for a short flight like this.


British Airways Euro Traveller Food & Drink

After a quick taxi around Heathrow airport, we were up in the air and served first by a very chatty & friendly purser. At this time, British Airways didn’t charge for food or drink, so he was able to a have a short greeting with every customer and offer them something – a nice premium touch.

He gave us the world’s smallest packet of crisps and a biscuit, along with multiple gins and soft drinks. Clearly the person in charge of the drinks budget is a better negotitor than the person in charge of food!

35 minutes after take off, the seat belt signs were put on and the rubbish collected for our descent in to Rotterdam airport. This tiny airport had no holds, so we were soon on the ground. This airport doesn’t have any jetbridges, so the bus waiting for us was more understandable, but as it took just 30 seconds to take us to the terminal it probably would have been faster to walk! 5 minutes later our bags were on the carousel and we’d cleared customs – great service.


Best British Airways Euro Traveller Seats

The prime seats on this plane were the A/C seats directly behind business class (the precise row varies as the business class cabin expands and contracts). These seats offered great legroom, but also the wider seats of business class.

Failing this, the next best seats were the rearmost exit row seats – plenty of leg room, and a guarantee that both your bags would be stored in an overhead locker.


British Airways Euro Traveller Conclusions

Sadly, most of the things in this review – the bmi lounge, Terminal 1, expandable seats, 34″ pitch in legroom, free food and drink, premium service – have been relegated to the dustbin of history. However, it’s a great reminder of how nice flying used to be not so long ago – paying a little more for small touches and the ability not to worry about whether an airline only took cash or cards to get a drink.


Want a BA First Class Review?

For a review of British Airways First Class on the A380, click here.

Want to see a BA 747 business class review?

For a review of British Airways 747 business class cabin, click here.

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