UK – USA Business Travel
- Richard Moss
The Club Suite is British Airways long-awaited new business class product. It has initially launched on a small fleet of British Airways A350’s. By the end of 2019, a total of six BA planes will feature the Club Suite. This includes four newly delivered A350’s and two reconfigured 777s. The A350 planes are already an experience of their own with thanks to the high ceilings and extra-large windows. The new Club Suite product is a natural fit for this impressive plane.
British Airways Club Suite has a very professional and sleek feel to it. Aisle’s are somewhat narrow, passing another person here can prove a little difficult. However, the aisle’s are narrower so that the overall space for each suite is larger. I can only imagine how many people would prefer this way around to wider aisles!
Seats are in a reverse herringbone, 1-2-1 configuration. Each has direct aisle access, and window seats benefit from a perfectly angled window view. The A350 aircraft features 56 business class ‘Club Suite’ seats, split across a larger cabin and smaller, more exclusive cabin, divided by a crew galley and ‘Club Kitchen’ (snack bar). Three lavatories cater perfectly for the 56 business class travellers.
Regular British Airways passengers will immediately notice the new benefits to Club Suite. To begin with, there is around 40% more storage space, including a ‘water bottle well’ and side storage (including the IFE remote, sockets and ports). There is also a small cupboard at shoulder height where you may also find a vanity mirror.
The next obvious difference is a door, which officially turns these seats into suites. It is similar to the doors used by Qatar and Delta and offers fantastic privacy for watching movies or working on a laptop. The enclosed feeling may also benefit any passengers who tend to struggle sleeping onboard.
Club Suite passengers will really feel the benefit of the extra legroom – even tall passengers! In fact, shorter travellers may even struggle to reach the footrest with the seat in an upright position. Seating is comfortable, with essential padding around the lower back. Switching the seat between upright, half-recline and flat-bed is easy with three clear buttons. Soft bedding and a large, comfortable pillow from The White Company are available for sleeping.
The White Company also provide the BA amenity kit, as well as any toiletries in the lavatories. Amenity kits contain lip balm, moisturizer, socks, toothbrush and paste, eyemask, earplugs, a pen and a pulse point roller.
IFE screens in Club Suite are HD and 18.5inches, featuring a wide range of movies and shows, including a variety of new releases. Headphones are adequate but note that they are not noise-cancelling. Moving maps are available but there is no tailcam to view.
WiFi onboard is for sale in blocks of data rather than time, however the download speeds are suitably fast. A universal socket, headphone socket, and USB ports are found in the side storage.
At time of writing, the new A350 Club Suite product is on trial between London and Madrid. It is common practice for airline crews to familiarise themselves with new interiors and smooth out any kinks on short haul flights before taking to long haul routes. From October these planes will take on long haul routes to Toronto and Dubai.
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