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
“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 from UK credit cards (December 2023)
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable 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 10,500 Avios.
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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.