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The HfP guide to British Airways Club Suite

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Contents

This is your comprehensive guide to the new British Airways Club Suite business class seat.

What’s it like? Which aircraft have it? Which aircraft will be getting it? Which routes is it flying?

British Airways launched its new business class seat in 2019 with the arrival of its first Airbus A350 aircraft.

British Airways Club Suite

Called Club Suite, it is gradually replacing the legacy Club World seat which was last updated in 2006.  Whilst the old seat was cutting-edge at the time, in recent years it has been overtaken – quite substantially, if we’re honest – by business class seats from other airlines.

By 2019, the old seat was relatively outdated, offering a yin-and-yang layout with relatively little privacy and no direct aisle access from most seats.  It was especially bad if you had to share one of the ‘double bed’ centre pairs with a stranger.  Even the major American airlines, which used to have the poorest business class seats on the market, began to overtake British Airways.

The money kept rolling in via BA’s grip on London Heathrow, however, and there was little incentive to improve until the situation became genuinely embarrassing. Here is the old seat:

British Airways Club Suite guide

Is British Airways Club Suite better than the old Club World?

In short, yes.

You can read our review of the new Club Suite on an A350-1000 here.

British Airways’ Club Suite is now a market-leading business class seat in Europe, offering greater privacy, storage and personal space than many of its competitors.

With Club Suite, British Airways moves to a 1-2-1 layout of its business class cabin, ensuring that every passenger has direct aisle access without having to climb over someone else’s legs like previously! In bed mode, Club Suite is 6’6″ or 2m long.

You can get a 360 degree view of Club Suite on an A350 in this YouTube video, whilst this video shows you the interactive elements of the seat – storage compartments, privacy partition and the door.

British Airways Club Suite cabin

Most airlines do not choose to design their aircraft seats from scratch, instead choosing an ‘off the shelf’ solution. Club Suite is based on the popular Collins Aerospace ‘Super Diamond’ seat. Whilst the ‘Super Diamond’ is arguably the best off-the-shelf business class seat, British Airways chose to make a number of modifications which make the Club Suite unique.

British Airways Club Suite

The Club Suite is the first variant of the Super Diamond to feature a fully closing door. Etihad has recently launched a virtually identical seat, albeit with a different colour scheme and a slightly higher quality finish.

British Airways is the first airline in Europe to introduce a business class seat with a door.  The seat is far better than we ever imagined it would be, and it puts British Airways back at the front of the pack of European airlines for business class seating.  We could never have contemplated this at the start of 2019.

Whilst the door does not reach the full height of the cabin, it does add an additional level of privacy to the seat.

British Airways Club Suite

Another key modification, as you will see above, is that the tray table slides almost fully under your IFE screen. This is different from most Super Diamond seats, where a small lip or overhang remains present. It also means that the ‘foot cubby’ is slightly higher, allowing for a little more room in bed mode.

Club Suite comes with a car-style shoulder seat belt for take-off and landing. This comprises of two elements, a normal hip belt as well as an over-the-shoulder strap that hooks into the hip belt. Both must be worn for take-off and landing but during cruise only the hip belt is required when the seatbelt sign is on.

Club Suite also introduces larger, 18″-18.5″ HD in-flight entertainment screens (depending on the aircraft), touch screen seat controls and a variety of storage and device charging options. Here is a screenshot from a promotional video showing all the storage options:

British Airways Club Suite

As you can see, there are three storage compartments. On the far left is a side-opening cupboard which features a vanity mirror on the inside of the door. You also have the two separate compartments of the side console, one of which houses a touch-screen controller for the in flight entertainment as well as two USB charging ports and a single universal plug socket that takes EU, US and UK style plugs. There is also a small storage compartment at your feet, suitable for a bottle of water.

You can also see the small reading light in the above image, which is in addition to the lights installed in the overhead consoles.

British Airways has chosen to fit the Club World cabin with overhead storage above every seat (many airlines only have it above the windows to make the cabin feel more spacious) although it has not opted for personal air nozzles.

You can read our review of Club Suite when we flew on its first commercial flight to Madrid.

Which British Airways aircraft currently have Club Suite?

Whilst British Airways’ new A350s were the first to get Club Suite, other aircraft types are slowly joining the ranks, albeit at a different rate to initial plans thanks to pandemic disruption. Currently, Club Suite is available on:

  • all A350-1000s (12 currently in the fleet)
  • all Boeing 787-10s (2 currently in the fleet, with more ready for delivery)
  • most Boeing 777-200s (25 out of 28 complete)
  • some Boeing 777-300s (7/16 complete)

In late 2021, British Airways announced that ALL Boeing 777 aircraft would be refurbished with Club Suite by the end of 2022. As you can see above, they are well on their way there with just 12 777s remaining. Note that the Gatwick long haul fleet will not be refurbished any time soon with Club Suite.

In total, we estimate that 46% of the Heathrow fleet has Club Suite in July 2022. This should increase to 58% by the end of the year, assuming BA hits its targets, and may even increase further as the airline takes deliveries of further A350s and 787-10s.

That still leaves the entire fleet of A380s, 787-8 and 787-9s waiting for refurbishment. Whilst BA has yet to announce an updated timeline, it is widely expected that the 787-9s will be refurbished next, starting in 2023.

The original plan was to have the entire fleet refurbished with Club Suite by the end of 2025. Whether this is still achievable or not is still unclear – covid has wreaked havoc with the plans and the refurbishment is marginally behind schedule.

British Airways adjusts the width of the console to fit aircraft of different sizes. Aisle and seat widths stay the same. This means that the console on a 787 aircraft will be narrowest, and largest on a 777. The A350 falls somewhere in the middle.

How do I know if my BA flight has Club Suite?

The easiest way to check whether your British Airways flight features Club Suite is to check the seat map in ‘Manage My Booking’. Because the Club Suite is in a 1-2-1 configuration it is visibly different from the old layout. Here is what you should see if your aircraft has Club Suites:

British Airways Club Suite seat map

And this is the old style yin-yang layout:

British Airways Club World layout

Which British Airways flights have Club Suite?

Whilst it cannot be guaranteed that every flight features Club Suites due to last minute substitutions, the following destinations were scheduled to have a regular Club Suite service in September 2022 according to Cirium data:

  • Abuja
  • Accra
  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Bermuda
  • Bengaluru
  • Boston
  • Buenos Aires
  • Cape Town
  • Chicago
  • Denver
  • Doha
  • Dubai
  • Grand Cayman
  • Johannesburg
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Mumbai
  • Nassau
  • Newark
  • New York JFK
  • Phoenix
  • Riyadh
  • Sao Paulo
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Tel Aviv
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver
  • Washington DC

Not all flights to the destinations above will have Club Suite. In some instances there is a regular service but in others it may only be a handful of flights per month. This article explains how to find out what aircraft is operating a British Airways flight before you book.

To get yourself in the mood, read our review of the new British Airways Club Suite on an A350 here.  It is genuinely good.


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Comments (59)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Olly says:

    Will you be doing the same for Virgin too?

    • Willmo says:

      Virgin are announcing a new seat for the a330 in the next few days. I expect this article was written as a prelude for this.

  • Paul says:

    Good seat! But the risks when flying BA now, or for the rest of this year, are just to many.
    There is a risk of not getting this product, indeed, less than half the fleet has it and even by year end more than 40% of flights won’t have it.
    Then there is the massive rate of cancellations! A further 1500 announced just yesterday just for July! And remember these cancellations often cast you into the 7 circles of BA customer service hell especially if you have to call them or need to make an UK261 claim.
    Oh and the risk of strikes is ever present at the moment!
    Assuming you do dodge all of the above and Actually sit in one for your flight. You’ll face the single tray catering offer.
    It might be the best seat in Europe but so much else is just bad.
    Doyle has also been invisible and silent since the February IT debacle, despite the daily chaos and mayhem faced by passengers.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      This is all very true. Had flights cancelled yesterday and braced for more by Fridays deadline, and if the strike does go ahead then it’s going to be a summer of endless phone queuing to get resolved. Anything I can move I’ve moved and if availability exists when further cancellations land then I’m taking the money and running too.

      At leas Virgin have been doing everything in their power to ensure nobody books with them in the first place.

    • G says:

      This article makes it clear that more than half of the fleet; and most of BA’s popular destinations in the US have the product.

      1500 cancellations are all short haul; and a small overall number vs the total level of flights BA operate.

      I’ve never had issues with UK261 claims with BA; they just take their time. (Up to 12 weeks for anyone I’ve met before).

      • FFoxSake says:

        G – You are Mr. Doyle and I claim my finders prize! 🙂

      • Rob says:

        I’ve banked £1200 in 261 this year and my wife has another £200 pending. All trips were still made, some at better times than originally booked.

      • ChrisC says:

        1500 cancellations over a month = 48 a day = 24 return trips a day.

        And yes indeed a small % of the schedule.

        Yes annoying and disruptive but if these cancellations allow the remaining schedule to have some certainty then it’s more likely people will get away and get away on time.

        • Rob says:

          Not really, since all the passengers will be reaccommodated so there is no change at most stages of the process, except for the number of gates and ground staff needed.

      • Paul says:

        I suggest you read flyertalk and some trade publications. The vasy majority of eligible claims are rejected on first view. `it is a deliberate and wanton disregard for the rules and down to reduce the payouts. My own claim relating to IT meltdown in February was rejected as extraordinary circumstances until I pushed back. My family have had £1400 out of BA since then but mostly because I have had to take matters into my own hands.

        There will always be apologists for the sad excuse for business, I get that. That only 1500 shorthaul have been cancelled will no doubt be of great comfort to the missed holidays, wedding ,funerals and business meeting those people were expecting to attend. And no, the dont all get re-accomodated. just read flyertalk and the tales of BA refusing to rebook on other airlines or reroute to trains. Its pathetic, utterly pathetic.

  • Brian Varney says:

    BA -Bloody Awful
    Poor soft product
    Poor Customer Service
    Poor IT
    Am surprised that Qatar as a major shareholder does not wield more influence on appalling management.
    So much for Doyle’s statement back in February that things will improve , now nothing but silence , maybe to busy submitting his CV to other airlines.

  • Ben says:

    I may be in the minority but I really hate Club Suite. As someone who is 6’4 I can testify that the bed is nothing like 6’6, it’s really very small and uncomfortable. There’s a metal bar across the seat that’s right at hip level in bed mode, and the ‘foot cubby’ is so tight, and extends half way yup the thigh, that you can’t roll over in it (given the short length and sleeping with bent knees). The old seat had its flaws but it was a very comfortable bed, which given the decline in food quality is all I care about really.

    Club Suite is so uncomfortable I’m now looking at alternatives for trans Atlantic – maybe Virgin/Delta have a better bed? Any other recommendations?

    • John says:

      Also not good for kids who don’t value privacy yet…. Thou

      • Rob says:

        I had a horrendous time in CS with my son last year. He was sat in front of me by a window. The plane hit a bad patch of turbulence and he got very scared but there was literally nothing I could do. If he put his hand in the air I could just, by leaning as far forward as I could with the seatbelt on, touch the end of his fingers with my hand. That’s the most reassurance he could get.

    • Rich says:

      I’m 2m tall so have nearly 3 inches over you and found the seat absolutely fine, indeed much more comfortable than the old seat for sleeping.

      The moral of this story? We can all have different views of the same hard product.

      • modestpointscollector says:

        The problem for me with old CW was it was so highly dependent on the seat you got. After 3 flights in CS there’s no way I’d choose CW over CS. I do think that if you’re not a side sleeper then CS isn’t the most comfortable product due to the weird shape of the cubby hole. Same with the older UC on VS. I am a big (fat) guy but find both of them perfectly comfortable at 6ft with broad shoulders.

        • modestpointscollector says:

          Of course there’s no cubby on older UC on VS – I just meant that it’s more comfortable if you’re a side sleeper do to the way the seat slims down past the shoulders (IMHO)

    • Charlie says:

      On a day flight, I actually prefer the old open cabin of CW. I don’t particularly enjoy being cocooned in a little capsule.

    • NickyP says:

      I agree with your comments. I flew the new Club Suite in June and found it most uncomfortable. Over shoulder seat belt cuts in (even though I only wore it for take off and landing). Kept the door open the whole journey as I did not like being ‘confined’. Bed uncomfortable for someone with a bad back. Prefer the layout but not the suite

    • Alan says:

      Just flown CS to NYC and back. In day mode it is fine, but as a bed I agree with Ben, just not as good and very claustrophobic, and I’m only 6’. Also not great for a couple. Flew out in window seats which was fine, but ended up in the middle coming back (cancellation!). Partner is only 5’3” so could not open and close overhead bins, and there is no cut through, so everything had to be passed over the top to me and put in mine ( and recovered a dozen times overnight!)
      Bring back the 747s with the upper deck side bins 😄

  • Lee says:

    FYI, my Vancouver flight with club suite was swapped out to an A380 without

  • Jon says:

    Any idea what the silver, possibly sloping, bar/rail is, that runs from just below the inside edge of the TV down towards the little screen with the seat controls? Possibly a grab handle to help you get up when the seat’s in bed mode? (Good idea if so.) Or a support rail for the tray table maybe? (Although it looks angled downwards?) Just curious 😉

    • Rich says:

      I think it’s the latter, it supports the table as it’s pulled out and the downward angle of the rail accommodates the corresponding angle on the tray support to keep the tray level.

  • Eppleby Green says:

    I am not 6’4” but I also found the club suite uncomfortable whilst trying to sleep! The console for controlling the seat was, painfully, jammed into my left shoulder and the fact that the whole seat vibrated each time a member of staff passed did not help! The staff seemed to pass by every two minutes. I spent the whole journey (ORD to LHR) sitting up!

  • CarpalTravel says:

    Well it saves me from needing to allow myself to be mugged by the seat selection charges, so I like this layout.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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