Click the video above to see British Airways Club World Double Beds reviewed on a flight from London to Washington D.C.
British Airways Club World Double Beds
British Airways doesn’t have the best of reputations for its business class service – lack of investment, a company that has cost-cutting in its DNA and a lack of attention to delivery means that many of its rivals have overtaken it in the eyes of their passengers. However, BA offers something that no other airline really does properly – a double bed in its business class cabin for couples. We wanted to check this out, so took BA for a business class flight from Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to Washington Dulles Airport.
British Airways Business Class Check-In Experience
Having taken the tube to Heathrow T5 (the fastest way from many parts of London) we got off the lift and found the terminal was really busy. The terminal was designed with the intention that passengers flow through, so no thought was given to managing these non-existent queues (very short-sighted thinking for Britain!).
We got our boarding passes from a machine, and had to line up to drop our bags off. This was luck of the draw – there was one line for each agent, so if the person in front of you had a problem, you were stuck. Fortunately we got through in 10 minutes, and were able to go the spacious lounge.
There was a decent choice of alcohol (though no champagne on display) and a basic buffet – but as the health inspectors had recently found all sorts of problems we gave it a miss and waited to eat on the plane! Our 777 was on time, and an hour later we were at the gate and able to walk down the jetbridge to the plane.
Onboard British Airways 777 Club World Cabin
First impressions were not good – the plane had clearly seen better days, with the seats looking marked & scruffy, and not particularly clean. Surprising considering this was BA’s home base – presumably the incoming flight was delayed which meant only a short-tidy was possible.
The BA business class seats (branded Club Word) are high density, with people lying head to toe to maximise passenger numbers. Sadly most of the seats don’t have direct aisle access, which is pretty outdated. Privacy screens are available between the seats, so you don’t need to look at a stranger all flight.
We found our seats – and they were great! We had the last row in the cabin, which meant we were lucky enough to have direct aisle access. Most of the Club World seats are pretty narrow, but this double bed is missing the main divider between them, so there’s extra space. There is a small pull-out divider in case you are seated next to a stranger, but this is a divider in name only – there will have been boyfriends and girlfriends in your past that you weren’t as close to as this.
Each seat has an international power socket, USB charger and decent sized TV screen that folds away. Great for when you’re sleeping, but it does mean you can’t watch anything during take off and landing. There’s hardlhy any storage space – nowhere to put a water bottle, phone or spectacles when you’re sleeping – but there is a drawer to store papers or a small laptop under your bed. Just don’t expect to be able to access this after you’ve pressed the button to turn your seat in to a flat bed!
The bed is pretty good – totally flat, albeit with some bumps and gaps that mean Virgin Atlantic and Qatar Airways have a slight edge here. Neither of them have the width that this double bed offers though – other than a small section at the top, you are right next to your travel companion. The build quality of the seats is such that you won’t be having any sex onboard though – any major movement knocks the passengers on the other side of your divider.
BA’s Club World Food & Drink
Once we’re settled onboard, we’re offered a choice of champagne, orange juice or water. Menus are handed out, and before long we’re pushing back from the gate and heading west to Washington DC.
There’s no dine on demand, so you have to eat when the food service starts up soon after take-off. Cocktails and nuts are handed out, whilst food orders are taken. The food is a mixed bag – BA advertise a starter of salmon with vegetable caviar. Anyone who has attended school will know that caviar is not made from vegetables, and this sort of menu description does no-one any favours, especially when a large proportion of your customers won’t have English as a first language.
British Airways serve the best main course we’ve ever had on their airline – the dull-sounding salad of Ploughman’s [sic], with pork pie, ham, egg and cheese. This chilled meal was nothing fancy (a million miles away from a lunch of caviar) but the ingredients were high quality and it was a basic meal done perfectly. In comparison, the main course of risotto with mushroom and truffle was a pile of tasteless mush. There’s definitely a lesson for airlines that they should not be too ambitious when it comes to expecting food to be cooked in a single dish in an oven – this is not how you treat risotto.
We were then told that we weren’t allowed both cheese and dessert, we had to pick one or the other. It sometimes seems that BA tries to distinguish its first class from its business class offering by artificially restricting and reducing what they offer business class customers, which is a bit sad considering our tickets cost over $10k.
AFter dinner, the lights went down for a couple of hours and most people dozed or watched a movie. Amenity kits were handed out, but strangely there were no eye masks or ear plugs – but the crew found some for us when asked. There were no pyjamas or slippers.
Before landing, the lights came on and afternoon tea was served. As an English tradition, our hopes were raised as to what we would get. The answer was underwhelming – 3 finger sandwiches in a plastic packet (with over 100 ingredients in them!) and a tiny cake of the type you’d find at a toddler’s birthday party. Tea at the Ritz this was not.
90 minutes later we were on the ground at Dulles, and a short ride in the strangest airport buses known to man took straight to immigration.
Best British Airways 777 Club World Seats
These double beds are fantastic for couples – but avoid at all costs if you’re not travelling with a loved one! Do what you can to get the seats in the rearmost row, as these have direct aisle access – but be aware that BA charge most passengers $100+ just for a seat reservation.
British Airways Club World Double Beds Conclusions
BA certainly does not get enough credit for its innovation and these great beds for couples – perhaps because it spends a lot of time marketing itself to corporate singletons. Its competitors don’t have anything similar (even Qatar’s Q-Suites are less intimate) but then BA drops the ball when it comes to its catering and passenger handling. If you get lucky in these soft areas, the bed is certainly recommended.
Want A BA First Class Review?
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.