Click the video above to see British Airways A380 Business Class reviewed on a flight from London to Frankfurt.
British Airways A380 Business Class Cabin
British Airways now rely on the A380 aircraft to fly many of their most popular routes, but we were lucky enough to be able to fly on the first ever British Airways A380 passenger flight in business class, on a flight from London to Frankfurt.
This may seem a strange choice for BA to start using their brand new super-jumbo plane on, but it meant that their pilots and crew could practice many flights each week before the plane was moved over to its intended long-haul routes.
The flight may have been quick, but it still provided a great opportunity to check out British Airways’ A380 new business class seats – as well as look at its World Traveller (economy) and World Traveller Plus (premium economy) seats. There’s links to in-depth reviews of British Airways A380 economy class & first class flights at the bottom of this page if you’re interested in more.
British Airways Business Class Check-In Experience
Today was an early start for the first flight to Frankfurt. Check-in was quick and easy – no queues for a self-serve terminal, which let you pick your seat free of charge and scanned your passport before printing out a boarding pass. We got through fast track security just before it closed (BA only allow passengers to go through security if there’s more than 35 minutes before your flight leaves) and had time to check out a business class lounge in Terminal 5.
Although there’s no sign of it, you can ask for champagne to be brought to you so a bucks fizz was ordered, and a bacon sandwich picked up from the buffet. All of British Airways’ A380 flights leaving Terminal 5 go from the satellite T5C terminal, so we headed downstairs and took the short train ride to find our plane for the day.
Onboard British Airways A380 Business Class Cabin
Initial impressions were good – along with the ‘new plane’ smell, the cabin looked to be a step up from the normal British Airways Club World cabin. There was swish mood lighting, and a familiar seat that had been refreshed with a few tweaks and new colours. Anyone who had flown with British Airways before would recognise the seat, but the evolution seems to have been a case of 3 steps forward and 2 steps back.
There are two business class cabins on board – one on the upper deck with 7-across seating, and one on the lower deck with 8-across seating. There’s no easy way to get between the two cabins, other than by walking the length of the plane. The seats alternate between facing forwards and facing backwards – effectively your head & shoulders are next to your neighbour’s feet (albeit with a plastic wall between you!). The middle pair of seats in the lower deck both face backwards, and the small divider can be pushed back to make this into the closest thing you’ll find to a double bed in a business class cabin.
Like all of British Airways Club World seats, these are a bit narrow & have you potentially facing a stranger – but there is an electronic translucent divider that rises between seats, giving an awesome amount of privacy. It’s here that we find the first misstep by British Airways; on all their other aircraft, you can raise the divider as soon as the pre-flight safety briefing is complete – and never have to put it down again. Due to safety certification rules on the A380, it works differently on this aircraft – effectively you can only have the divider up when the power plugs are switched on. This means the divider is down from the time you get on the plane to the time you reach 10,000ft – which is normally about an hour. The divider comes back down when the cabin is tidied up for landing – and as anyone who has sat in Heathrow’s holding patterns knows, this is normally about an hour before you get off the plane. There’s no issue here if you’re travelling with a partner – but if you’re sitting next to a stranger, expect to spend a long time avoiding awkward eye contact!
There’s a good-sized TV screen with a huge choice of TV shows and movies – and a brilliant HD moving map feature which makes the old one found on BA’s other planes look terribly bad in comparison. Basic noise-cancelling headphones are provided, and there’s a nifty power plug that accepts plugs from the US, Europe and the UK without an adaptor. You can also charge your devices over USB.
The ceiling lights found in other Club World cabins have been removed, although there is a small movable LED spotlight located at your shoulder. This produces a very narrow beam of light, so whilst you can just about see what you’re doing at night, you’re going to struggle to do much else.
Most importantly, all the seats go fully flat and connect with a footstool to turn in to a bed. There’s an inbuilt air pillow that you can electronically inflate or deflate, but it would really benefit from a thin mattress – the bed has a few bumps and ridges as the different parts (nearly) fit together.
British Airways A380 Business Class Food & Drink
This was a short flight, operated by crew working on the A380 aircraft for the first time – so you’d expect a few problems. Fortunately the crew were on the ball, and although there was a lot of looking in cupboards for things everything went to plan.
Unlike the normal A380 service, today we would be served the food and drink British Airway’s would normally serve on their smaller jets to Frankfurt. This meant that there were no drinks before we took-off, and a foil container of a hot English breakfast was placed in to a ceramic dish for serving. In addition, there was a fruit plate and a choice of bread and pastries along with a drinks run – and it seemed appropriate to celebrate the new plane with another bucks fizz!
Best British Airways A380 Business Class Seats
There’s a handful of seats that have direct aisle access, and no-one stepping over your feet – located at the front and back of each cabin. These are the ones to nab if you can, and don’t mind being at the end of each cabin where it can be noisy (being next to galley / toilet / other cabins).
Solo travellers might want to consider the middle upper deck seat, which is very private – but can be claustrophobic.
Pairs should consider the centre double beds, especially at the rear of the cabin where they have direct aisle access. If a window seat is preferred, the head to toe pair seats are not much worse.
British Airways A380 Business Class
Evolution, not revolution is the name of the game when it come to British Airway’s A380 business class. Other than a few tweaks here and there, and you have the regular business class seat in this super jumbo. This helps British Airways offer a consistent standard across all their aircraft – but the competition are outclassing them in many respects. British Airways A380 First Class is a different story though…
Want to see BA’s A380 First Class cabin?
For a review of British Airways First Class on the A380, click here.
Want to see a BA 747 business class review?
For a review of British Airways 747 business class cabin, click here.