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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By 2019, the old seat was relatively outdated, offering a yin-and-yang layout with relatively little privacy and no direct aisle access from most seats.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.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

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In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

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There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

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Comments (59)

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

  • MM says:

    Flew back from DIA last week in Club on 777 with new suite. I’m 5’6″”. Found seat less comfortable to sleep on than the old one. Cubby holes are intriguing but mostly too small to be useful. The vanity mirror height critically isn’t adjustable so no good for me. Because my reserved seats were scrapped without a substitute (thanks BA) I found myself in the centre of the cabin which has no view of windows at all and I found it claustrophobic. Just a personal opinion.

  • dougzz99 says:

    “and no direct aisle access from most seats.” So here ‘most’ means less than half?

  • Holmes says:

    What I have actually noticed more on recent BA trips is less the seat and more the fact that you feel a lot worse if you’ve flown 10 hours on an old aircraft (say 787-200 at 17 years old) compared to the 2/3/4/5 year old plane. I wonder what the average age of the BA fleet is compared to competitors?

    • Rhys says:

      No such thing as a 787-200 🙂 I assume you mean 777!

      Average BA fleet age is 13.5 years. Virgin is 6.6 years. BA is dragged down by the 777s which are, on average, over 18 years old.

      • Holmes says:

        🤦🏼‍♂️ yes! Flew that to Delhi last week, was the oldest plane I’ve been on in a long time!

    • dougzz99 says:

      Absolutely. The A350 and B787 are big improvement in cabin pressure and humidity over older planes like B777. As someone that had status to get bulkhead seats in CW, I value the aircraft type more than the CS/CW argument. Of course, aircraft always subject to change.
      The aircraft age is in itself of no meaning to the passenger, assuming the seats and other fittings have been properly maintained.

  • Smid says:

    Flown it twice. No nozzles mean you’re at the mercy of temperatures being too hot if you suffer that like me. Now I take shorts to change into on BA flights. Also the middle seats seem to have electrics which act as underfloor heating (777s), so a window one is needed if suffering from that.

    Cubby hole for feet is quite small, and there is definitely an arch in the middle of the seat so its not a flat seat per se.

  • Adrian says:

    The whole BA experience is lack lustre. The one tray dining, low morale Flight Attendants (with good reason imo) and high prices. In terms of the seat, i too am tall and i really struggled to sleep because of the footwell and the curve of the seat in front. I also found the seat to be narrow across the shoulders in bed mode. The plane we were on was only a few months old and the door was already broken on my wife’s seat. There are plus points, no stepping over anyone, watchable IFE from gate to gate and i found the seat fine for lounging/watching tv etc. The seat on AA’s 77w is the best i have found for me, for sleeping, so i will be looking for that whenever possible.

    • Rob says:

      There is a catering announcement due next week, although its the same day as the Virgin seat reveal so will probably disappear from the frequent flyer news agenda.

      • yorkieflyer says:

        Greggs replacing Do & Co ?

      • mkcol says:

        Here’s hoping it’s an improvement on ex-Canada catering which was abysmal for a vegan special meal including putting non-vegan items on the tray.

        • RoundTheWorld says:

          Does BA still have this Sleeper Service from JFK to LHR which basically services you nothing except a breakfast for the whole flight?

    • ChrisC says:

      I was chatting to a CSD recently and he was visibly upset when he told me that in the last few weeks he’s been spat at, verbally abused and threatened with physical violoence by passengers. And that he had also taken a £10k pay cut.

      And people wonder why BA (and other airlines and airport workers) have problems recruiting new staff and retaining existing staff when some passengers act like that.

    • Alan says:

      “Watchable IFE gate to gate” It would be if they didn’t stop interrupting it. In the last hour of our flight to JFK last month there were over 20 minutes of announcements interrupting the IFE. Missed the end of the movie!

  • Gary says:

    I am having no luck with Club Suite. I booked Bahrain chose my Club Suite seats only for the aircraft to be changed to Club World. Recently I booked Miami for next March, chose my Club Seats only for them to change to Club World.
    I can’t belive BA didn’t use the Pandemic to get the Suite refits done.

    • Catalan says:

      Supply chain was affected by the pandemic. Difficult to fit seats not available from the manufacturer.

    • ChrisC says:

      There are a lot of things people would have liked BA to have done and there are a lot of things BA would have liked to have done as well but given they shut down virtually all non essential capital expenditure it simply wasn’t possible.

      And it basically takes a month for the seat supplier to make enough seats to refit an entire Club cabin with suites there wasn’t a lot they could have done to accellerate the refits.

  • Frankie says:

    I flew back from Vegas a week ago in CS and the crew didn’t go around and release the doors on the suite after take off (like they did on the outbound to Phoenix) so most people’s seats were locked open all night. I asked for mind to be unlocked so I could close it. (And what DOES happen if you pull the red handle that they announce you shouldn’t touch?)

    • JAXBA says:

      The door falls off, and your credit card is charged a restocking fee.*

      *One of these is more likely than the other…

    • Stagger Lee says:

      A light come on saying ‘Do Not Pull This Handle Again’

  • Olivia says:

    Is it just me who still thinks Club Suite seems better than it is mainly due to how relatively bad Club World is. Booking a Club Suite reward flight with the ridiculously high taxes + points but having a significant chance of being changed into the old seat feels like a waste of money.

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