I had flown British Airways First class multiple times, but this was my first time flying them in Club World. I came in with pretty low expectations, and was somewhat surprised. Although the seat is narrow, the IFE screen had great resolution. The food was good, but the crew left something to be desired from.
The Good: Solid IFE Screen, with a selection that didn’t require watching the same ad over and over again before each show.
The Bad: The crew was flat out lazy. They just relaxed in the back of the cabin, and waited about 5 minutes between ringing my call button and actually approaching my seat. I could see them talking and not caring.
The Noteworthy: The upper deck of a 747 truly feels like a much more private plane.
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I had booked this flight as part of an itinerary that includes a Club World flight inbound from Rome-FCO. I booked it using AA miles, and decided to upfront the hefty fuel surcharge, given it was the only option for a family of four when I made the booking.
Arrival at LHR:
Although my flight from FCO landed on time, we had to take a bus from the remote gate to the terminal. This whole process took around 15 minutes. By then, we had to go through security again. This took another 30 minutes, because LHR security is notoriously slow and thorough. I was not selected for additional screening, which often happens to me at LHR. After that, we only had about 45 minutes before departure, so we proceeded to the gate, which was in the C gates of Terminal 5.
Airline: British Airways
Cabin Class: Club World Business Class
Route: London LHR to New York JFK
On Time: Yes
Once at the gate, the airline agents were busy preparing for boarding. They announced First class could board first, followed by Club World and oneWorld Emerald and Sapphire members. The boarding process was somewhat orderly. We boarded through the 1L door, and were greeted by the purser. She pointed us to the stairs and told us we would be flying in the upper deck. There is nothing more exciting on British Airways that going up stairs to the 747 upper deck.
Seat and Cabin
We were the first to arrive in the upper deck cabin, and it looked so snazzy. It had mood lighting, which I have only seen in First Class on the BA 747. As soon as I got to my seat, I noticed how much space I actually had. There are bins on the window side to store fairly large things. The seat itself had been recently reupholstered. This flight was before the enhancements with the White Company, so we still had the traditional small pillow and thin blanket. There was also another small compartment next to the power outlet that could be used to store your phone, a watch or some travel documents.
There is a USB port, as well as the headphone jack. The ottoman was small and rather hard, but its only purpose is for your feet, no one would otherwise be joining you for dinner.
The IFE control was modern and very receptive. The screen was very high resolution. Seat controls were on the side opposite of the window, and you could control the recline, the privacy divider and the lumbar support.
There was a flimsy shoe bag that doubled as an amenity kit. Inside were some Elemis products, and all the basics. Like I mentioned before, there was a small pillow and a thin blanket. They weren’t much a bother, but on a red-eye flight I would appreciate having better bedding. Thankfully that has changed since the revamping of their soft product. Before departure, the flight attendants served orange juice or champagne. They seemed efficient, but were not very friendly.
Departure and Take-off
About 5 minutes before our scheduled time of departure, the captain came on the PA to announce that our flight would depart on time, as we were finished with boarding and loading cargo. He anticipated an early arrival at JFK, given favorable winds and good weather. As soon as pushback began, the safety video began to play. I honestly love the BA safety video, as I find the music soothing and the animations cute.
White taxiing to the runway, we got a lot of views of cool aircraft on the ground. It makes me happy to see that BA still flies quite a few 747s, and are not yet in the process of phasing them out.
We lined up on the runway and after a longer than usual take off roll, we were airborne.
Club World Dining
After we leveled off at our initial cruising altitude, the FAs began their service. They began by taking orders for the meal. The menu read as follows:
I decided to order the beef, since the description sounded pretty good and oh-so British.
The meal began with a set of drinks, as well as packaged nuts. The nuts were the same they served on my Madrid to London flight, which left me very disappointed. I would honestly expect at least a ramekin of nuts on such a flagship route in business class.
Then, the FA’s set up table cloths, and brought out the appetizers. Both were good, but nothing impressive. I was surprised, however, that they only brought one bottle of olive oil/ vinegar. If you didn’t eat butter, you would need to have split it between your salad and the bread.
The main course was served next. Although it doesn’t look like much, it was more flavorful than what I was expecting. The meat was tender and juicy.
Finally, I ordered the raspberry and lemon sponge for dessert. It was amazing. Not only was the cake moist, but it was incredibly flavorful. The meal was done about 1h45m into the flight.
The seat transforms to a fully lie flat seat, although there is no mattress pad, and the seat has many divisions. I tried sleeping, and it was enough for me to sleep for about 2 hours. By this point, there were about 3 hours left of the flight.
I tried working a bit, and decided to look at the snack basket and galley in the lower deck Club World Cabin. Besides drinks, most of the food were candies and packaged snacks. Once again, I was disappointed by the selection. Even American Airlines has plated snacks and a larger variety of options in their galley.
Before arrival, we were served afternoon tea. I ordered the sandwich set, which was TINY. Between both, you could hardly make half a normal sandwich. They were also very cold and not very tasty. The sweets on the second plate were warmed, but were not very flavorful either.
I decided to order any of the desserts from the first meal if they were still available. They brought me the vanilla and cherry dessert, which was just as good as the raspberry lemon sponge.
Landing and Arrival:
For the last hour of flying time after the pre-arrival snack, I tried to sleep some. However, about 40 minutes before landing, the captain came on the PA to announce that we were already beginning our approach to JFK, and that the crew should begin to prepare for arrival.
At that point, all lights were turned on, and the crew passed multiple times through the cabin collecting glasses, trash and leftover food. About 20 minutes before landing, the captain asked the FAs to ready the cabin for landing.
We had a smooth landing, and we began to taxi to our gate. BA uses Terminal 7 at JFK, which they operate, and is used by an interesting mix of carriers.
After we were at the gate, it was a short walk to baggage claim. Bags were delivered at a reasonable time, and within 30 minutes of landing we were waiting for an Uber.
British Airways Club World leaves much to be desired. Their food is okay, although the desserts were amazing. The Pre-Arrival snack was pathetic, and can vastly be improved. Club World’s seats are narrow, but the window seats offer a lot of privacy. The crew was not at all proactive, and took a while to answer the call button (since they were hardly ever in the cabin).
All in all, the airline has a lot of room for improvement. I would like to try out their new enhanced soft product, to see if it addresses the issues I raised. However, their new seat can’t come soon enough.
What do you think? What was your experience flying BA Club World? Let us know!
Here is a list of all my flight reviews: The Millennial Traveler Flight Reviews
Here is a list of all my lounge reviews: The Millennial Traveler Lounge Reviews