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.
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By 2019, the old seat was relatively outdated, offering a yin-and-yang layout with relatively little privacy and no direct aisle access from most seats.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:
Is British Airways Club Suite better than the old Club World?
In short, yes.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
And this is the old style yin-yang 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:
- Buenos Aires
- Cape Town
- Grand Cayman
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New York JFK
- Sao Paulo
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Tel Aviv
- 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 from UK credit cards (March 2024)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.