Winston Aldworth flies BA2679 from Croatia to England

The plane:

An Airbus A319. Not just any Airbus A319, I'll have you know: British Airways painted nine of the A319s with a golden dove flourish to mark the fact they were the aircraft that carried the Olympic torch in the build-up to the 2012 Olympics. Today, it's strictly a non-smoking flight.

"I wanted to do something that would make people stop and think differently about what they were looking at," said the Brighton-based designer Pascal Anson, who came up with the paint scheme.


"I've often looked up at aircraft landing and wondered whether it's a bird or a plane, and the idea developed from there."

Time: Scheduled for 2hr, 40m, we were at the Gatwick terminal 10 minutes early.

Class: Club Europe, British Airways' knockabout version of Premium Economy for shorthaul hustles around Europe.

Seat: 5C. Don't get your hopes up, the Club Europe seats are the same width (17") as the Euro Traveller (that's posh speak for "Economy Class") ones further back, with just 1" more of pitch (plane nerd speak for "legroom"). There are 40 seats in CE and 83 in ET.

The main advantage of being in ET was having access to the less-used toilet at the front of the plane. All in all, for a shorthaul flight, it's probably not worth paying the extra money for a spot in CE.

Fellow passengers: A lot of Brit holidaymakers returning home and plenty of indistinguishable European travellers.

How full: There was a smattering of empty seats around the plane.

Food and drink: The light lunch was both forgettable and inoffensive.

The service: A classic British mixture. A glamorous woman in her early 40s was politeness and graciousness defined and would have made a passable Bond girl in very recent times.

Meanwhile the head steward seemed to have developed his sense of self from a Monty Python sketch. A toy penguin was poking its head out from his top pocket - he did explain why at some point, but by the time the plane landed I'm sure only he and his therapist could recall.

Entertainment: See "Service" above.

The toilets: Spick and span. A credit to the carrier.

Airport experience: Gatwick is now definitely the shabby cousin to Heathrow.

Final word: Quack.