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What it’s like to fly Air Belgium business class when you’re expecting British Airways Club World

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If you are due to fly to Abu Dhabi in the near future, you may be in for a surprise.  Air Belgium has been standing in for British Airways due to its problematic Boeing 787-9 fleet.

Reader Gill recently took this service and dropped me a note with her thoughts.  The key fact is that, despite flying on what is basically a Finnair cast-off Airbus A340, it is better than Club World …..

  • The crew are employed by Air Belgium and the cabin is branded Air Belgium
  • Service is the standard Club World offering
  • White Company bedding and washbags are offered, as per Club World
  • The seats are good, comfortable and with a novel massage feature

  • The crew are “incredibly delightful” – “I got a welcome as a Gold member (can’t remember the last time that happened) and they also came and spoke to me to reassure me that my Gluten Free Meal was on board.  They also spoke to each passenger to wish us well and hope we enjoyed our flight before landing.”
  • Staff numbers seemed a lot higher than on a normal Abu Dhabi run, with six in Business Class

The downsides Gill noted were:

  • The in-flight entertainment is rubbish – a selection of about 10 films and nothing else (take your tablet and load it up)
  • The staff were incredibly nervous and slow with the service
  • For those that like to purchase duty free there is none on board

Gill concluded:

“I would fly this service again and want to reassure people who may feel they are getting a budget airline.  It’s not BA or a brand new Dreamliner that’s the real downside, but the staff and their mode of operation really impressed me.  I do think that some BA staff could take a leaf out of the Air Belgium staff who were happy to help and really pleasant.  They made sure each and every passenger was well catered for.  The Air Belgium substitution is not an ideal situation, but its also not to be feared.”


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (199)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Harry says:

    This is the first time I have had an offer and not had the automatic redeem email through when I made the transaction. The offer says points to credit in 5 days, but they haven’t. Anyone actually got the 500 avios for this?

    • Kathy Mallam says:

      Yes- my 500 came through today- think the 6th day after the spend. No automatic e-mail- just found it on the account.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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