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Fly to Malta. BA vs Air Malta Club class?

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  • Fly to Malta. BA vs Air Malta Club class?


    Over the last 2 years I've used Air Malta Club Class (A319). This last trip I used BA Club Class (B737-400) do they compare?

    On all occasions the flights left within 20 minutes of on time which works for me, generally arriving a little early, which works even better.
    The meal and drinks services were on a par with the BA entree being served from a china bowl onto a plate and then put on the tray whereas the Air Malta is served in a foil covered china bowl. ( Watch your fingers, the foil can be HOT ! ) Otherwise the quality was very good for both carriers.

    Drinks service on Air Malta a little better than BA with a complimentary welcome aboard choice of orange juice, tomato juice or water. No such offer from BA.

    So far, running about even with further drinks available on request throughout the flights.

    Price of flight? Depends when you fly and how far ahead you book so each seems to balance the other out.

    Still running even.

    Inflight entertainment? None on BA. Movie on Air Malta.

    Drop one point for BA. ( but hey, it's only a 3 hour flight ! Read a book ! )

    Online management of booking?
    BA let you check in and choose a seat online wherever you fly from, 24 hours prior to flight time, both outbound and inbound.
    You can only check in online and choose a seat with Air Malta if you fly from Gatwick. Any other UK airport and you can forget it. BA get their point back...


    ...telephone the Air Malta customer services and they will generally help with seat requests.

    Still generally running even......until.....

    ... we come to seating pitch and width.

    I'm 6 feet tall and 22 stone. ( AKA ... a fat bastard ! ). That's why I fly Club get that little bit more comfort.

    ...and this is where BA fall down big time. The seats in Club Europe on the 737-400 are 3 abreast with the centre seat unsold and a 34" seat pitch. The armrests don't fold up .... so, basically you're in an economy seat with a bit more legroom.
    The Air Malta seats however are still 3 abreast but the centre seat is unsold and is a narrowed down version of the normal thus giving more width for your seat. There is also a tray fitted in the middle unsold seat for your drinks without having to use the fold out tray. Same 34" pitch but the front row Air Malta bulkhead seats have a 3 or 4 inch foot cutout giving a bit more legroom. Not found on the BA 737. These are my favourite seats as you don't get the seat back in front of you in your face. You can also get a tray that clips into the front of the unused centre seat armrests to avoid having to have your meal tight up in front of you.

    It's this last issue with the seats which means that sadly I won't be using my national carrier, BA, again unless they make a significant change to the 737 fleet. I can't comment on the BA A319/320 fleet as I haven't used them.

    One final point...the Air Malta flight times from both Gatwick and Heathrow also suited me better.
    If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !

  • #2
    Brian - why are the center seats unsold? Is it to meet the payload capacities for the flight? Or, do you request them to be blocked?
    Whatever is necessary, is never unwise.


    • #3
      Wow, both carriers have just a 34" seat pitch in their premium class on short-haul, yikes! Most US carriers have about 38" seat pitch, 19" seat width in their domestic first classes. Well, at least the seat widths on both Air Malta and BA are pretty big at 20-21" for Club Europe. BA's Airbus A319/A320 are better as they have the overhead video monitors. Anyway, Brian thank you for the useful comparison of the premium classes on those carriers.




      • #4
        Originally posted by AA 1818 View Post
        Brian - why are the center seats unsold? Is it to meet the payload capacities for the flight? Or, do you request them to be blocked?
        It's to maintain a degree of "elbow room" for Club class passengers. I would imagine the BA A319/320/321 series have the narrow centre seats similar to Air least, I would hope so. Unfortunately the 737-400's are standard width centre seats so the seats are other wise standard economy as far as width is concerned.
        If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !