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.”
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