Who won ‘Best New Business Class Seat 2019’ at the Head for Points Awards?

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Over Christmas and New Year, we are unveiling the winners of the inaugural Head for Points Travel & Loyalty Awards.  For Boxing Day we are on Category 2 – “Best New Business Class Seat”.

The Head for Points Travel & Loyalty Awards 2019 are a great opportunity to recognise the cream of the crop when it comes to UK premium business and leisure travel. A lot of the areas we are covering, such as airport lounges and travel credit cards, are ignored by other awards because they are too niche – but for our readers, they are very important and appreciated.

Over 4,500 HFP readers voted over three weeks in November. There were 12 categories in total. As well as giving an award to each category winner, we are also giving out a number of ‘Editor’s Choice’ awards for products and services which we personally admire.

Each winner will receive a trophy which we will be presenting at a special dinner in January. You can catch up with all of the winners we have announced to date by clicking here.

What is the best new business class seat?

Today we are announcing the winner of ‘Best New Business Class Seat’. And the winner is….

British Airways

British Airways beat three other short-listed airlines to the top slot, trumping Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class Suite, ANA’s The Room and Turkish Airlines’ new Aurora seat.

The British Airways Club Suite was a long time coming and, after an initial reveal this Spring, finally went on to commercial flights in August.  It wasn’t just a brand new seat – it was first launched on a brand new aircraft, the A350, although you can now find it on a handful of Boeing 777 and, in recent weeks, the first deliveries of the new Boeing 787-10.

Here is my review of the initial Club Suite flight to New York.

British Airways A350 Club Suite

I wouldn’t say that expectations were low when it came to the new British Airways seat.  What is fair to say is that Club World had fallen so far off the pace that pretty much anything would have been an improvement.  There was a risk that BA would settle for something that was ‘good enough’, given that BA is also supported by its strong position at Heathrow, without raising the bar.

We were wrong.  We were amongst the first to experience Club Suite and were surprised just how good it was.  Despite being an off-the-shelf product, British Airways has done some excellent modifications to customise the seat and improve it even further – most obviously by adding a door, but also by adjusting the tray table mechanism for additional flexibility.

Best New Business Class Seat 2019

What British Airways has now is a very competitive seat which finally means that Club World will have all-aisle access, increased storage and a bigger and better TV screen. The uniformity of the cabin is an additional bonus, with all seats virtually identical.  You won’t be caught out if you don’t reserve seats in advance, and indeed I don’t see any need to pay to reserve specific seats if you do not have British Airways status.

Coupled with the new improved Do&Co catering, as well as a relatively fast roll out (30% of the long-haul Heathrow fleet will be Club Suite by next Christmas), BA is in with a real chance of changing customer perceptions over how ‘premium’ it actually is.

Best New Business Class Seat 2019

We should say a few words about the new Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Suite, pictured below.  As with Club Suite, this is a huge improvement on the old seat which it is replacing.  Taken as an entirity – including ‘The Loft’ social space on the new A350 aircraft (more on that to come as the awards unfold) and the warm and welcoming colour scheme – it is great.  The airline has been forced to modify the tables, however, due to negative feedback and there are still issues over storage space.  The jury is out on whether the half-closing door adds much.

At the end of the day, I think it was the shock of seeing British Airways taking such a major leap forward which made so many readers reward them with their vote.   I don’t blame them.  Club Suite could well be the best business class seat offered by any European airline at the moment.

Best New Business Class Seat 2019

We also decided to award an ‘Editor’s Choice’ award in this category.

The winner of the ‘Editor’s Choice’ award is …….


Although ANA’s route between London and Tokyo is a niche one for most UK flyers, their new business class product, “THE Room” is exceptionally good.

“THE Room” is a brand new custom designed seat. What will strike you first is just how wide the seat is. Rob tried it out recently on the ground at the media launch and was even able to sit in the seat comfortably with an extra person!  “THE Room” still tapers into a foot well but it is nonetheless a new and innovative seat that rethinks how personal space is allocated on an aircraft.

ANA business class the room

“THE Room” is complemented by 24″ 4k screens as well as retractable privacy screens and doors that allow for full privacy if raised.  There is even a second opening which allows the crew to pass you your meal without having to open the suite door.

The ANA London-Tokyo route is also one of the best value redemptions you can make from the UK using your Virgin Flying Club Miles. Coupled with the new seat, flying to Japan has never looked so good!

The aim of the ‘Editor’s Choice’ awards is to highlight products or services which the Head for Points team believe are excellent and which deserve wider recognition.  We can’t think of a better example than ‘THE Room’, which shows yet again how the Asian and Middle East carriers are still setting the pace in innovative seat design.  If you are flying to Tokyo in 2020 in Business Class, we recommend giving it a try.

Congratulations to both British Airways and ANA on their success.  They will be picking up their awards at our winner’s dinner on 13th January.

Tomorrow we will announce the winner of ‘Best Airline or Rail Loyalty Scheme’.

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  1. Starting with the rules themselves – Once you have bronze, you should be able to choose your own seat free on Qantas and also for your partner if you are on the same booking, even if she doesn’t have status. See below (Qantas Silver = OW Ruby = BA Bronze)


    Now in practice, in terms of what will happen if you call Qantas once you have Bronze. First, they may be able to assign a seat for your partner even if she isn’t on the same booking. They have done this for my husband when we were on separate bookings, but the situation was different, in that mine was a revenue booking and his an award booking. I’ve usually had the equivalent of BA silver status when they have done this, but I think it also happened when I had the equivalent of BA bronze.

    Second, if you ask for seats upstairs on the A380, and you are both on the same booking, they will try to assign them for both of you. Success will depend on how many other status passengers, and especially higher status passengers, have already asked and how many seats they have blocked “just in case”. It is also possible they give preference to Qantas frequent flyer passengers, but I simply don’t know.

    One thing that may be tricky is using your BA account number vs Qantas account number in your booking in terms of getting status benefits vs actually earning avios. I seem to remember that the special Qantas birthday fare wouldn’t earn BA avios, whereas it would earn Qantas points?

    • Sorry, this was supposed to be a reply to @HarryT on the previous page.

    • @Lyn
      Thanks, really appreciate the advice.

      On the seat selection map, all the seats on the economy upper deck are showing as unavailable aside from a single extra legroom seat. Extra legroom seats are £110 per person per leg which is ironically higher for a return journey than our actual ticket costs!

      Yes, the Qantas golden tickets earn nothing on BA so I’ve set up a QFF account to use.

      • They always show unavailable because they are blocked for frequent flyers with status. You have to call. Hope you can earn bronze in time to take advantage of it for your trip.

        That’s what I thought. You would need to put in your BA number for status, but then you’d need your QF number to earn points. You would have to explain the situation to Qantas. I think they have a way around this. It will be easier for your partner, since she will only need her Qantas number in the booking,

  2. Mohammed Khan says:

    OT: doesn’t one know when the new suite will arrive on Asia routes? Ideally KL or Singapore

  3. Globe trotter says:

    The general theme of dark blue on grey is reminiscent of a grey drizzly day in Britain – generally depressing and half hearted. Could they not have chosen some brighter tones? Oh of course not, that would require some cleaning. They barely clean the plane between flights as it is – even in Club. Ground staff in the US are particularly bad – with bits of litter in the plane, virtually empty soap containers, and dried food smudges on seats and on the touch screen.

    • Shoestring says:

      indeed, darker colours don’t show up the dirt so much – and we all feel cleaner? not sure it is a ‘bad’ choice of colour

      & BA did do their intensive cleaning program…

      not sure every airline deserves orange, yellow, pink etc just because it’s brighter

      • Globe trotter says:

        Agree florid pink or shock orange or gold rimmed a la Emirates would be a bit of a headache – but slightly lighter stylishly assembled tones would have been less depressing. They do a half decent job with Concorde bar colour themes – would have been good to import inflight if the cleaning budget wasnt to horribly slashed. 🙄

    • Lady London says:

      I was frightened to touch my touchscreen in PY on the way back from the US second-to-last time – it had so many layers of fingerprints on it, it looked alive. Absolutely filthy.

      BA has a long way to go if they can’;t get the basic right like actually providing a cleaned environment and not running out of food at Row 2 which we see reported too often.

      I know I said I’d go back to being horrible in the New Year, but I can’t wait.

  4. Can’t believe BA beat ANA but fair enough most readers have probably not experienced the Room but have experienced both the old/current BA J seat and the new Club Suite and are delighted that VA now has a product equivalent to what Qatar was installing 8+ years ago (and has now moved on from !).

  5. Great to see BA taking the best biz seat award.
    The new generation of travellers seem unaware of the airlines successful history in this category, having the first fully flat bed over 20 years ago and constantly trouncing the competition with it, nice to see BA back where they belong.

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