British Airways is now officially in the game…
Boarding an Airbus A350 is unlike any other flying experience. You immediately notice the high ceilings, whisper quiet cabin and the beautiful, extra large windows, but for British Airways business class customers who didn’t quite know what they were booking onto, they’ll also notice yet another stark difference, and rather quickly too – a remarkably modern and refined new business class cabin.
— Gilbert Ott | GSTP
(@godsavethepoint) August 5, 2019
Gone are the old seats and in are new business class “club suites”, complete with a privacy door to tune out the world, or at least your seat mates choice in entertainment. I was on board the first ever commercial flight, and put the new British Airways Club Suite seat through its paces. My verdict: it’s a sensational way to fly, but like many iconically British things, not without its quirks…
The British Airways A350 splits business class into two cabins, divided by a crew galley and a “club kitchen”, where guests can grab snacks in between meal services. As noted in our “best seats in every BA A350 cabin” look at the aircraft, Seats in rows 1, 11 and 15 would absolutely be my pick for business class, thanks to increased privacy, legroom, space or proximity to the exit door.
Upright: the seat enjoys an absolutely fantastic “upright angle”, with a really comfortable slouch position and excellent lumbar support. As I write this, I’m happily enjoying this seating position without feeling like i’m standing against a brick wall.
But bed mode was a bit of a mystery, albeit a very comfortable one depending on how you sleep.
I’ll start with the bad.
As far as the good goes though, there’s plenty.
Laying flat out in coffin mode, my 6’3’’ wide frame had at least a couple inches to spare in length, which is more rare than one might guess in business class, due to the fact that most seats are only 6’0” in length.
For side sleepers who curl their legs up a bit, the seat is very good and offers better padding than say… 20/25 of the best business class seats. If there was more room created where the immovable arm rest is located, it’d be nearer a perfect score.
This is not the tallest privacy door on an airplane, but a darn effective one it is. In upright mode, I could see over the seat, but could not see shorter passengers, and could only see the head tops of those in front of me. Once reclined, even slightly – everyone disappeared.
As to the new Club Suite screen, which comes in at 18.5’’ in full HD quality, it’s superb. It’s genuinely fast, very responsive to hand touch and gestures and is easily the most intuitive and easy to use IFE system British Airways has ever offered. It was little touches like instructions on how to login to the wifi that made an actual difference.
As to the actual films, television and docs, I’ve long considered British Airways to have one of the better selections of film and television, with a steady mix of new hits and classic bits, and I’m glad to see that this has not changed at all.
With a window seat featuring the A350’s extra large windows, which happened to be very clean on this maiden flight, it was just a question of which entertainment to pick between the sky and the IFE. They just don’t make movies like they used to, but that’s hardly British Airways fault.
The best lavatory in British Airways A350 Club World cabin is definitely the one found in the front cabin, in front of row 1, and not just because you feel as if you’re practically in the flight deck. This is an ADA compatible lavatory with enough space to comfortably turn around. All the lavatories are nice, but this one is the best.
Aside from a cabin which propels British Airways to an extremely competitive top tier business class offering, it’s the plane itself which makes this a sensational way to fly. This plane is so whisper quiet, you just cannot help but love it. Colleagues can chat at a whisper without disturbing other passengers and engines are more of an idea than a constant state of sonic fixture. Thanks to the well documented anti jet-lag measures on the plane, passengers on long haul flights will really feel the difference. I do.
The tray table is also a nice touch. It’s positioned high enough and adjustable enough that you can comfortably slide in and out of your seat during meal service, without pulling the table cloth and thus knocking your entire meal into your perfectly pressed outfit. It’s the little things, and this was done well.
Overall, I am really excited by this new business class experience from British Airways. If I could’ve made the privacy door 6” higher, I would’ve. If I could’ve prioritised more bed width over arm rest and tray space, I might have. But those are entirely first world problems, and I really can’t help but feel grateful at 40,000 feet in the sky, in a flat bed long enough for anyone not playing in the NBA, with a privacy door to shut the world out. I give this a 9/10.