Brussels Airlines, Business Class – Airbus A 320: London Heathrow to Brussels

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Date: 11. September 2016.
Departure: 11:30.
Arrival: 13:15.
Flight time: 40 minutes.
Seat: 2F, window on the starboard side.

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GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
Transport:
Heathrow Express.
Journey time: 17 minutes.
Departs from: London Paddington Station.
Arrives: Heathrow Central.
Cost: GBP22 for a single, second class ticket.

Heathrow Central Station serves Terminals 2 and 3. Once you alight, just follow the signs and then walk. And walk. And walk. And then walk some more. It is a fairly long schlep from the station to the check-in area, but there are plenty of lifts and trolleys available.

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CHECK-IN
Location:
Terminal 2, top floor.
Facilities: Only check-in at the counter is available. Brussels Airlines does not have an app. I did receive an e-mail to check-in online but that failed because my API data was not in the PNR and there is no means online or at the check-in machine to enter the data.
Counters: B13 – B27.

This is my first visit to Terminal 2 and I really must say, I like it very much. The construction is very similar to that of BA’s Terminal 5, although Terminal 2 seems smaller. But the facility feels very open and airy. It is also very quiet.

The check-in counters are divided into different zones. And there are two rows of counters behind each other. Brussels Airlines checks in at zone B, and the Business Class counters are located on the second row.

Premium passengers are entitled to use the Fast Track.

LOUNGE
Location:
A1, after security walk towards the atrium and then turn right.
Type of Lounge:
Lufthansa Business Class and Senator lounge.
Facilities:
There is a large and spacious working area with continental and British power plugs. There are also a few iMacs provided by the lounge. The lounge also has a variety of seating options. The small tables next to the armchairs also all have power plugs. Toilets and showers are available in the lounge.
Catering: A good selection of hot and cold dishes, including everything you could want for a decent English breakfast.
Internet:
Complimentary wifi is available in the lounge, no password required.

This is probably one of the nicer Lufthansa lounges out there. The view of runway 27L from the lounge is brilliant. But alas, photography is made impossible by the bars outside the window.

BOARDING
Priority Boarding:
There is a separate lane for passengers with priority and one of the gate agents checks passes before you are allowed to join the queue.

CABIN
Configuration:
2 + 2. There are four passengers in Business Class on this flight.
Seat: Brussels Airlines has a seating capacity of 168 on the Airbus A 320. In Business Class you have the typically European set up, with the middle seat left empty for a bit more space. Other than that, it is the same uncomfortable slim seat that Lufthansa has and which is seriously lacking in the padding department. The flight from Heathrow to Brussels is only one hour, but from what I understand, Brussels Airlines flies these aircraft to places as far afield as Tel Aviv, which must be closer to four hours from Brussels.

Other than that, it would appear that the cabin divider is definitely on its way out on European short-haul with the Star Alliance – like SWISS’ CSeries, Brussels Airlines do not have a divider on their A 320 either.
Pitch: 30 inches.
Width: 17.5 inches.
Facilities: Reading lamp, air vent.
Audio and Video: Overhead screens.

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Seatmap courtesy of seatguru.com

SERVICE
The crew seem friendly enough, but they are not exactly going out of their way to take care of passengers. Admittedly, with an announced flight time of only 40 minutes there is only so much you can do to give the passenger a lasting and memorable impression.

THE MEAL
Welcome drink on the ground:
Bottle of Spa still water.
Towel before the meal: Scented hot towel.
Choice:
There are two different meal types, but the crew do not ask and you are randomly given either one or other of the trays.
Delivery:
Tray service.
Type of meal:
Snack.
Meal:

  • A dish with mezze: rice filled vine leaves, hummus, couscous.
  • A plate of dessert with a creamy vanilla tart and a chocolate mousse cake.

The meal service is really reduced to the absolute minimum. Seriously, what airline in Europe still serves a Business Class meal in plastic dishes and with throwaway plastic cutlery? Also, if you are going to serve hummus, it would be good to offer some bread with the meal. I do not like!

But the chocolate is good.

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ARRIVAL
The tray is quickly removed and very shortly after, the plane dips its nose and we start our descent into Brussels. Outside the weather is not so hot, it is overcast and the expected temperature on the ground is 19 degrees Celsius. By the time we hit the ground, it has also started to rain.

We arrive at the B dock, which serves all the non-Schengen flights in Brussels. Unfortunately, it looks quite as though nobody is expecting us and we wait for ten minutes before eventually somebody decides it might be a good idea to attach an airbridge to the aircraft.

 

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