I’m more of a pettifogger than a slobber-blogger, given to fault-finding or spin reversing many a spellbinding PR tale. I’m the witch sprinkling sneezing powder over the fairy dust but it’s hard to find fault with something you love.
And I’ve loved British Airways Club World ever since experiencing their inaugural flight to San Francisco back in the day.
I love the friendly crew, the camp stewards, and being able to jump the check-in queue. I love the flat beds, the complimentary champagne service, and three-course menu. I love that BA are the only airline to fly direct to London from Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. And, most of all, I love getting a good night’s sleep far above the clouds, something well-nigh impossible for me when wedged like a battery hen into an economy seat.
Flying business class means your holiday starts the moment you step onto the plane instead of needing at least three days to recover from the cramped ordeal of uncollected food trays, arm nudging, and fractious brats kicking the back of your chair.
I saved oodles of time by checking in online and after dropping off my luggage (20kg, well under the permitted combined weight of 64 kg) I ambled off to the Slow Lounge as the British Airways lounges at OR Tambo are currently closed for refurbishment. Here I found free wi-fi, comfy chairs, tasty snacks, and a decent double espresso.
On board was where the magic happened though. I breezed straight onto the plane and into my wide roomy Club World seat (53F on the upper deck) with attached footrest. After take-off you can recline the seat half way into a cradle position – best for watching movies – or all the way down to a 183cm flat bed for a comfy night’s sleep under a soft lightweight quilt, part of the bedding and amenities supplied by the White Company.
British Airways are upgrading their Club World offering as part of their centenary drive, however on this flight the traditional comfortable formation applied. Once we were airborne, I raised my privacy screen, stashed my shoes in the small storage drawer, slipped on my sleeper socks, and applied the lip balm from my amenity kit before perusing the menu.
Boy, was the food good! BA’s Head Chef, Sinead Ferguson, uses fresh local produce as the inspirations for her dishes, so the seasonal starter salad comprising mixed lettuce, baby rocket, celery, cherry tomato, caremelised apple and walnuts was deliciously crisp. Other choices included smoked salmon or Thai-spiced butternut soup.
Steaks on the plane!
Main courses on offer included roasted Cajun breast of chicken with unami rice, pak choi and rooibos tea jus; a spinach and ricotta tortellini, or my own choice: seared fillet of beef, porcini mushroom, potato puree, baby carrot, and green beans. It was succulent and and tender – no mean feat on an aircraft – with the red wine and thyme gravy providing the perfected foil to the veggies.
I washed it all down with two glasses of a Vina Sutil Reserve cabarnet Sauvignon 2017 from the Colchagua Valley in Chile. I waived the dessert – lemon curd and pistachio tartlet, pecan tartlet with white chocolate drizzle or chocolate dome cake – and opted for the cheese board featuring mature cheddar, Simonsberg Blue, Caraway seed Kwaito with date and fig chutney, accompanied by a glass of Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port, a ripe, rich, sweet full-bodied vintage affair that no doubt assisted my blissful seven-hour sleep that made the 10-hour (or so) flight go very quickly indeed.
I awoke to the next morning to the delicious aromas of breakfast being served and opted for the ‘hot English’ featuring omelette with sausage, bacon, hash brown, and some genteel Twinings tea, one of several British brands introduced to celebrate the airline’s centenary this year.
Arrival at Heathrow Airport went smoothly, and I wasted no time in hurrying off to Terminal 2 to catch a connecting flight to Copenhagen, refreshed, rejuvenated, and rearing to go!