Trip report: British Airways ex-BMI A321 Club World Amman to London Heathrow

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I'd just spent the last two nights sleeping in Etihad's Pearl Business Class lounge in Abu Dhabi and Royal Jordanian's Crown Lounge in Amman prior to this flight. Two consecutive 13-hour layovers in airport lounges isn't everyone's idea of fun but this was my final straight and I hadn't been home in 3 months. I couldn't wait to smell the (relatively) clean air of suburban London again.

But first a red-eye flight.

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British Airways 146
Amman (AMM) – London Heathrow Terminal 1 (LHR)
Wednesday 20th February 2013
Depart: 04:20AM
Arrive: 07:05AM 
Duration: 4hr 45min
Aircraft: Airbus 321-200 (Former BMI aircraft)
Seat:  1A (Club World / Business class)

I'd heard that British Airways had some “slightly different” planes going to the Amman. These were the former BMI planes that British Airways had acquired after their takeover. They were still bearing the old BMI in-flight entertainment logos, and more interestingly BMI's hard product.

The seats are laid out similar to Swiss Airlines' business class, so as you can see I had the entire left side of row 1. I like to call this the “throne” configuration. Essentially the leg space of the two seats behind in row 2 extend into the arm space of my row, and similarly row 3 would have its leg space go in between those two seats. Seats 1A and 1D have their feet extend into an alcove in the bulkhead.

The plane was parked at a remote gate. Rather annoying to be honest because I was hoping to not be exposed to Amman's cool nocturnal breeze, but let's call that a first world problem.

Once at my seat I was offered the pre-flight beverage and an Elemis washbag, which was somehow lacklustre compared to the one from Cathay Pacific (which I continue to use as my primary travel bag!)

Just before we took off, one of the three Club World stewards went around the cabin to take orders for breakfast, and to ask whether we wanted it at the beginning or the end of the flight. I elected for the beginning as I knew I was going the the British Airways Arrivals Lounge at Heathrow afterwards to have more breakfast. I was interested to see how long the meal service would take as I was still exhausted (and pretty drunk!) from spending the last 50 hours airside.

The menu was as follows:

Once we were airborne, and around 10 minutes after the seat belt sign extinguished, the 2 of us (out of 9 passengers maybe?) who chose food service at the start received our trays. As with most airlines, the food on the menu sounds better than what's given, including this flight. The presentation was pretty neat though.

To be honest I couldn't taste the "Italian" in the sausage, and there's no pretty way to present an English breakfast. Shall we call it 'rustic'?

To be honest I couldn't taste the “Italian” in the sausage, and there's no pretty way to present an English breakfast. Shall we call it ‘rustic'?

The meal service was over in around 1 hr and it was time to take a nap.

I'm sure the lie-flat seat was horizontal, but it really didn't feel like it when flying. In addition I felt it was a little on the narrow side, and I wouldn't call myself bulky either!

I slept like a log after that and was woken up by the steward in time for landing, thus I have no more photos from the flight! In all though the service itself I can't fault, but the food left much to be desired. Having not travelled in ‘normal' Club World before I don't really have anything to compare it against, but I'd be surprised if this were any different.

But for 25,000 Avios and £67 of taxes and fees, I couldn't really complain. Even valuing Avios at a generous ?0.0125 per Avios it's like I paid ?380 for this one-way AMM-LHR flight which would retail at something like £800+, and included lounge access both sides.

But as it was my final sector of my long and winding (and somewhat nutty) journey home, I was just glad to be on home turf again. As it turned out, I only had time to wash and dry my clothes when I got home before I was off to re-establish myself in The Netherlands!

 

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