Flying upstairs on an aircraft is rare enough. Most aircraft have a single level and only the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 feature an upper deck. The smaller one on the Boeing 747 feels very exclusive and usually contains Business Class seating. Passengers actively choose to sit here as it feels like being on a private jet.
On the Airbus A380 the deck runs the whole length upstairs and generally features Business Class seating and Premium Economy. On some airlines Economy Class seats are upstairs too meaning everyone can get to experience this. Let’s have a look at what it’s like on British Airways in Club World.
BA217 – London Heathrow to Washington Dulles (LHR-IAD)
3 November 2016
Airbus A380 – G-XLED
Seat: Club World 53A
Departure: 11:15 Arrival: 15:40
After spending time in the First Class lounge, I took the transit train from Terminal 5 to the satellite terminal 5C. This is where the Airbus A380 usually boards and today was no exception. Upstairs passengers have their own aerobridge which makes sense since half the passengers are seated there.
Upstairs Cabin and Seats
A feature of the upstairs cabin is the presence of lockers running along each wall. This means window seat passengers have quite a lot of extra storage space. British Airways Club World seating is in a yin yang type configuration with the window seats and middle seats facing backwards and aisle seats facing forwards.
Sensibly, there is Club World seating on both decks which prevents any kind of open dormitory feel. Seats are lie flat and feature a storage drawer, literature pocket, personal light and a personal television (PTV).
As you face your neighbour there are retractable dividers between the seats. Most people put them up immediately after take-off.
Space is utilised very well to ensure the floor area seats as many passengers as possible.
While boarding passengers, Cabin Crew come by and offer you a drink. This is usually a choice of water, orange juice or Champagne which means there is something for everyone.
Amenity kits are also handed out which contain socks, an eye mask, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a couple of other bits for your flight. Once everyone is seated, the crew hand out hot towels to refresh yourself. After the safety video I took the opportunity to make a short video of my view while seated.
Plenty of space as you can see. Shortly after, we hurtled down the runway and leapt into the air!
You can watch movies as soon as you’re in the air and I chose Kung Fu Panda 3. The crew came by on a drinks round and I ordered a Kir Royale which is a Champagne cocktail. Nuts are also provided.
Noise cancelling headphones are a must when flying even upstairs on the A380 where it’s very quiet. I took a little time to peruse the menu as well. One of the great things about Westbound transatlantic flights on British Airways is you get lunch and afternoon tea, and I do love afternoon tea when flying!
For lunch I chose the Scottish Smoked Salmon for my starter. This was accompanied by a salad and the crew offered a choice of bread from the basket.
Following the utterly scrumptious starter it was time for the main course. The seared fillet of British beef which is a staple food on British Airways caught my eye today.
Perfectly cooked beef is always welcome and I devoured it. The orange tart for dessert was also very nice. Once this was cleared away, I was offered tea or coffee and decided to have a Twinings green tea while I ate my chocolates.
I’m a bit of a pig when I fly Club World so I also had the other dessert which was a cheese course. The cheese is always pretty decent so it’s well worth having and naturally I finished it all!
Upstairs on the British Airways A380, right up the front, are two gigantic toilets. They are the biggest I have seen on an aircraft in my entire life. Other airlines have apartments or little lounge spaces in this area. Not British Airways! Instead, you have the world’s most comfortable mile high toilet experience in the air.
Both of these Club World toilets are larger than those offered in First Class downstairs. Bathrooms feature hand wash and hand moisturiser from Elemis who do the British Airways ground spas.
The Club Kitchen is a small space offered beside the galley where you can go to get a snack during flight. The offering is average at best and used to be better than what it is.
Chocolates, nuts, fresh fruit, crisps, wine, water, juice, yoghurt, sandwiches and fruit pots are all offered. To be fair the offering wasn’t bad on this flight. I’ve seen it much worse, probably after it has been raided by people. The airline is investing in the Club product this year so it will be great to see what happens in this area.
Just in case you are hungry – and it is an 8 hour flight – afternoon tea is offered before landing. This is hands down my favourite part of any flight as I’m a big fan of afternoon tea.
Sandwiches feature egg and mayonnaise, beef and horseradish, and salmon and cucumber. Delightful! The lemon drizzle cake is much nicer than the dense lump of cake offered on European Club services while the scones are the same.
Those scones! Be still my beating heart! I know I do the toppings backwards (etiquette has it that the jam goes on the bottom, cream on top) but it really makes no difference. So very delicious!
Upstairs / Downstairs
Stairs are located at the front and rear of the cabin. At the front is a straight staircase leading down to the entry doors and the entrance to the flight deck. At the rear there is a spiral staircase.
Interestingly, both sets of stairs are blocked off during flight. The front staircase is roped off as the noise of feet disturbs the First Class passengers below. There’s also absolutely no reason to go down there. The rear has a plastic gate to stop you going downstairs. Passengers are definitely not encouraged to mingle.
Flying upstairs is always a relatively novel experience so when my aircraft has a second deck I always sit there. The main difference from a passenger perspective is that it is not as wide as the lower deck and you have the extra storage by the window which adds to a sense of space for those people. It is also a little quieter as you are further above the engines.
I hope you have enjoyed this review and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below. Thanks for reading!