#931500 by ColOrd
17 Jan 2017, 23:14
So a few friends and I embarked on using our rail staff privledges across Europe and headed for a long weekend in Italy, taking the Eurostar from London and then a combination of TGV and Swiss train from London to Milan in an epic adventure taking in 5 trains and a rather dodgy italian taxi.

Standard Premier on the Eurostar was lovely, although as a breakfast train we had opted to bring our own Prosecco...Italian of course...when in Rome...or heading in that general direction at least!

First Class on the TGV is nothing more than a seat, albeit a slightly more comfortable one!

And the Swiss trains were in Standard Class...let's not go there, although I will just add that they were so warm, at some points it was like a furnace despite it being -1 outside!

A couple of lovely days taking in Turin and Milan (didn't see enough of it!) and we were all pretty much heading our own ways back to our respective Northern or Southern hubs (although I should have people know I am from the North originally!) I had opted to book a flight with BA from Linate, and got a rather nice deal on an upgrade to Club Europe for a measly £69 so snapped it up!

My friends where all travelling with FR from Bergamo, but for myself going into Stansted means a convoluted ride home, so LHR was the best option. I took the bus from behind the Cathedral, the 73 which connects straight to Linate for only E1.50 and was pretty quick.

I arrived at the airport at about 1450, with the intention of checking in, going and watching some planes, spending some time in the lounge etc, but I was offered to be moved free of charge to an earlier flight as the 569 was overbooked (subsequently learned it was 13 over) as it happens I now wish I had taken the offer, but I had paid my £69 and I was damned if I was going to rush through security to run to a remote stand and not even get my first taste of a BA Galleries Lounge!

Linate itself is pretty dire and uninspiring, I had a tour around the terminal, but there was nothing that appealed in Duty Free other than a few bits of choccy, and no real gems to sit and watch the planes go by so I was off to the BA Galleries Lounge!

I was mildly impressed, it was a nice quiet space with lots of seating. I arrived literally as the earlier flight had been called so the food was a bit sparse, but what was there was a nice buffet of sandwiches and mini pizzas and the most amazing, moist filled blueberry mini muffins I have ever had!

Drinks selection was good, I have to admit I was making myself a variety of cocktails, sadly, nothing remotely resembling a readhead :-(

Whilst the lounge was good, I should note, that its not the Clubhouse, it's a nice place to wait for a plane, but spending nearly 4 hours there today was a bit much, and the toilets are outside which are a little bit skanky really!

We were called from the lounge as they announced priority boarding at the gate and we were straight on to ..... a bus as this was a remote stand, which was somewhat frustrating as all that happens is you get probity boarded to said bus along with everyone in Economy who then run to the plane and make a melee out of the whole situation. At the risk of sounding snobby, is it beyond the wit of man to call priority boarding and then bus those passengers to the stand first?

This being said, we were treated by a lovely purser and one of the cabin crew welcoming all customers on board.

I had seat 4A, and I was aware of a rather odd smell coming from behind, the poor little tyke, not more than 2 years old had clearly done a Poop and needed her nappy changed, however this only became apparent as we had started taxing, so I think most of the CE cabin were more than glad when the fasten seat belt signs were turned off and the obliging dad could get to the loo and sort it all out!

I think most V-Fliyers know what the CE cabin is like, however at 6'6 I did have enough leg room which is often a major issue for me. I do think that BA's plan to get rid of the forward galley and put more seating in doesn't make sense, as I don't see how the crew will manage to do the service at all if they running to the back!

The two crew working the full CE cabin worked their socks off, they were real stars, and made an effort to interact with passengers, turned out the Purser and I hail from the same part of the North East, however she now uses my company to commute to work , so much giggles were had about our respective transport sectors.

I could have forgotten where I was for a moment and almost believed I was on a VS flight with a crew this attentive and on the ball!

Food was really good no starter, but there was prawns and pasta or jerk chicken salad which was really tasty, a little mini biscuits and cheese and a yogurt-y style dessert of some kind, all in all nice enough.

Drinks were done twice and refills proactively offered, again, I would have sworn if I were blind that the girls must have been wearing Red and not Blue when she was twisting peoples arms to treat themselves!

We landed bang on time on the B Gates at T5, straight on to a shuttle back to the main terminal, and through immigration in less time than it takes to scan an oyster card as there was no one at all waiting for the E-Gates.

I have finally had a really enjoyable BA experience and well worth the upgrade cost!

A note of caution though, chatting to the crew the feeling was not so well down the back of the plane, with the Buy On Board offering still having teething troubles with the system, and getting it to work properly, however, most of the M&S range that were available looked good in the little brochure they have, and the prices didn't seem too stupid.

So overall:

Crew: 5 Stars
Seat: 3 Stars
Food: 4 Stars
#931501 by marshy11
17 Jan 2017, 23:23
I enjoyed your TR as it reminded me of our trip to Milan some months ago. We flew in and out of Linate. I did love Milan and would go there again in a heartbeat. Thanks for posting.
#931691 by ColOrd
22 Jan 2017, 20:10
Funnily enough Marshy I read your reviews ahead of booking the flight!

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