Many of you will recall the days when flying was exotic; you dressed in your best clothes, you got to the airport maybe just an hour before take-off, the security line was frequently empty, the flight cost you a fortune. 9/11 changed all that. Today there is a way almost to return to those heady days (except for the exorbitant flight costs of course!) if you are a British Airways Club card holder with access to the Club lounges (Silver and Gold card members and their guests).
On our recent return to Nice from Gatwick after Christmas, having profited from the exclusive check-in line, followed by fast track security, we headed for the Club lounge (turn to your left after security, past the shops and take the lift up). Greeted with a friendly smile at the reception desk, we were registered and shown into the lounge which overlooks runways and aircraft taking off and landing (more entertaining, particularly for your children).
Gatwick Lounge Photo : Roy Cox
If you want to freshen up before starting the day, you can leave your hand baggage in one of the lockers and make use of the shower suite equipped with high quality cosmetic products.
We were taking a mid-morning flight, so the comprehensive breakfast was very attractive – everything you might want. Fresh fruit juices, eggs, bacon, sausages, beans, toast, cereals, choice of Danish pastries and accompaniments, tea, the tempting smell of fresh coffee...
Instead of fighting to find or keep a seat in the main concourse, we relaxed in easy chairs by the window and took our pick of the wide variety of newspapers and magazines on offer. For those among you with an umbilical cord to your laptop or tablet, there is of course free WIFI.
Unfortunately, or in fact fortunately, bad weather conditions delayed our flight back to Nice so we had the pleasure of sampling lunch as well: a selection of sandwiches (prawn, egg, chicken etc) on different types of bread, excellent refrigerated self-service salads, followed by desserts and coffee, all accompanied with drinks, wines, spirits and mixers.
You are invited to help yourself to these delights free of charge.
There are lots of benefits attached to flying with British Airways but access to the Club Lounge turns the usual tiring, sometimes unpleasant travel experience into an agreeable comfortable wait for your plane.