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My first British Airways Club World experience

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  • Aston100

    Hello, let me start by suggesting the forum section name be amended so that it allows for all topics concerning BA flights, regardless of relevance to BAEC.

    I flew Club World for the first time. This was the classic non club suite product.
    I was impressed.
    I had gone in with very low expectations based on the constant negativity posted here and on Flyer Talk.
    It was a 787-9. The crew reckoned it was under six years old.
    The seats were very comfortable and movement was not at all restricted.
    The IFE was perfectly adequate, though the touchscreen was slightly slow to respond.
    Everything (Including toilets) was clean and in good condition.
    The crew were very friendly.
    I ordered special meals as was worried player 2 might not get the onboard vegetarian due to it running out and no status. The food was surprisingly really good. Maybe because it was not the standard onboard food, but the portion sizes were generous and it all tasted great.

    The only thing that could have been better was the direct aisle access. As it was a day flight, it wasn’t inconvenient – I was climbed over by a middle seat user just twice, but this might well be an issue overnight.

    Overall, I would be happy to fly in this old club world hard product again.

    Can the veterans here help me understand why I didn’t have the same negative experience that they regularly seem to do?
    Did I just get lucky with the right combination of a good crew; a day time flight; special meals; newish plane?

    • This topic was modified 52 years, 11 months ago by .
    dst87

    Do you tend to fly in premium cabins regularly, especially with other airlines?

    I had a similar experience to you; my Club World experience was pretty good. I had much more space, and the crew were really friendly. But it was my first time in a premium cabin (except a Premium Economy flight on Virgin Atlantic about 10 years ago, if that counts for anything).

    My guess (and I could very well be wrong) is that the complaints could be largely (but definitely not exclusively):

    • People who’ve flown premium BA for years perceiving a drop in standards.
    • People who’ve flow premium cabins on other airlines, which are much better.

    As I say, I could very well be wrong. This is from reading between the lines on a lot of complaints I’ve read. And, in fairness, if I compare what I experienced in Club World it falls really short of video reviews I’ve seen of premium cabins on other airlines, so the comments are entirely fair.

    memesweeper

    I’m not a ‘regular’ in long haul business but I’ve never had cause to complain either. There are worse long haul business class products out there too. I’m flying later this week (I hope) on what is probably the worst BA long haul Club experience — the Gatwick 777. I’m guessing it’s going to be fine.

    KP

    Its an ok business class product and I’ve not had reason to complain yet

    Always_in_the_air

    I fly premium cabins regularly for work, 20+ longhaul per year, and 40+ shorthaul. Because of current routing difficulties I fly with numerous carriers, and I can say that the BA business (hard) product is definitely sub-par when compared to some other carriers (think Qatar, Emirates, JAL), although when looked at as a stand alone product and comparing to non-premium cabins its not bad.

    What I will say BA do very well, is look after top tier BAEC club members, I returned from Costa Rica on Friday and whilst the cabin was the old business class, the service I receieved was excellent, I was greeted by name, my (first) drink came almost as soon as the fasten seatbelt sign had switched off and when they had an issue in the galley they came and apologised that food would be a little delayed and could they get me another drink, etc etc.

    Andrew J

    Club World is a functional but highly underwhelming product – the food is abysmal and resembles what I would expect from a Premium Economy product. But if you want some space and a flat bed for a hop across the Atlantic it’s fine, but certainly lacks any wow factor.

    FatherOfFour

    @Aston100 Thanks for posting your feedback. We have our first CW booked for next year (long awaited). I am expecting a similar experience to yours and agree with other comments that perception is all relative to experience.

    Since I’ve never flown flat-bed business I’m sure the comfort factor will be a noticeable difference. As it happens, my points collecting “hobby” started after researching how we might get some affordable sleep on the overnight return trip from the Caribbean, having previously been stuck next to the galley on a VS 747 back from Barbados last time out!

    I’m trying to manage my own expectations on the food and lounge elements, having recently flown CE from LHR and “experienced” the circus of the galleries club lounge. (Onboard meal was quite tasty to be fair, but 2 slices of lettuce is hardly a starter or a premium experience.

    I have flown club a few times – 25/30 years ago. I’m sure a lot has changed in that time, but I do remember the attentiveness I was shown by the crew, even as a child! Having read on here and FT about the decline of service, I’m fully expecting to notice a difference!

    NorthernLass

    @Aston100, I love Club World, you’ve never seen a negative post from me about the actual experience! My number one priority is space (I get increasingly claustrophobic with age, for some reason), so being able to stretch out with several feet in front of me is bliss on a long flight. Combine that with being brought F & B (especially bubbly) and a selection of films and mini toiletries, it’s pretty much the perfect way to start a holiday!

    TJ

    Wait until you try the Club Suite product…it’s vastly superior…especially given the direct aisle access. I think that’s one of the reasons why some of us are a bit negative about CW…it’s been around for quite some time and there are better hard products available for the money. That said, a good crew can make all the difference regardless of whether you are in CW or one of the newer suite products.

    NorthernLass

    Wait until you try the Club Suite product…it’s vastly superior…especially given the direct aisle access. I think that’s one of the reasons why some of us are a bit negative about CW…it’s been around for quite some time and there are better hard products available for the money. That said, a good crew can make all the difference regardless of whether you are in CW or one of the newer suite products.

    I’ve got Club Suite showing for both my J bookings for next year, would be lovely to try it but I’m not holding my breath!

    Aston100

    Wait until you try the Club Suite product…it’s vastly superior…especially given the direct aisle access. I think that’s one of the reasons why some of us are a bit negative about CW…it’s been around for quite some time and there are better hard products available for the money. That said, a good crew can make all the difference regardless of whether you are in CW or one of the newer suite products.

    I’m supposed to be in club suite on my return from JFK in a couple of weeks.
    Will be an interesting comparison I’m sure.
    Will add to this thread when I return.

    Mouse

    I’ve flown CW 10-15 times and I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve flown Qatar business a similar number of times and although it’s also very enjoyable and certainly more comfortable and polished it always feels very formulaic to me. I like that fact that with BA the flight attendants show a bit of personality, which sometimes results in amazing service and sometimes hilariously poor.

    I’ve never had food I would call positively enjoyable on any flight on any airline, even in first class – fundamentally the limitations of in-air cooking mean it’s either microwaved garbage or pointless luxury (caviar, cold foie gras, etc) so the fact that it’s slightly worse on BA means little to me.

    I’ve never minded stepping over or being stepped over, and don’t really mind a bit less at-seat storage – getting up to get something from my bag is a good excuse to stretch.

    For me, a flat bed and free-flowing booze are 99% of the joy of being in business class and you get that on pretty much any decent airline – worrying about all the other differences is just fetish in my book.

    Tracey

    Flew out recently from Heathrow in club suites and was really not looking forward to the return journey to Gatwick that I knew would be old club world. Beeped at the gate and moved to the first cabin, which was a pleasant surprise and ideal as a night flight, but still not a patch on CS.

    The Savage Squirrel

    Can the veterans here help me understand why I didn’t have the same negative experience that they regularly seem to do?
    Did I just get lucky with the right combination of a good crew; a day time flight; special meals; newish plane?

    Because, as my frequent flyer brother often says: who cares about the airline; the very worst business class in the sky (which this certainly isn’t) is still far better than flying economy. Not sure he’s ever flown Air Ukraine, mind…

    lcy8737

    It’s a bed that flies you to where you want to go. I think a lot of the moaning needs to be seen in this context, the important stuff of the product is covered. Of course other airlines have more space, better champagne, more privacy, better food, better lounges, the list goes on. But realistically I want to get from A to B in comfort – that box is ticked. If I want vintage champagne and freshly prepared lobster omelette, then my first port of call would not be an airline.

    If there is a better airline doing the route without a stop, decent times, comparable price I would fly them. But the better airlines tend to be also more expensive or indirect.

    secretsquirrel

    You preferred CS over old First? Is this a view from most as i have CS in a few months time but never expected it to be better than F.

    AJA

    I have yet to experience the new BA Club Suite but have flown the old Club World many times. I first flew the really old club World cradle seat which is closer to the current BA WT+ seat but did fully recline although angled down and found that I was constantly climbing up so the true flat seat that replaced it with the fan divider was a huge step forward. The replacement with the opaque solid dividers (current Club World ying yang layout) was a step forward again. I like the window seat when travelling solo as it is more private and generally find that climbing over the passenger in the aisle seat is fine if a little awkward. I find the space pretty good though the seat feels a bit narrow. It is very comfortable though. I also like the fact that when travelling with my OH we face each other through the divider.

    My comparison is Finnair both on their newer seat on the A350 and their old seat on the A330. I liked the A350 seat with direct aisle access but found the A330 seat less comfortable as I kept hitting me knees on the underside of the IFE (the seat has a cubby hole for your feet)

    I would rate them as follows:
    1 Finnair A350 direct aisle seat
    2 BA Club World Ying Yang seat
    3 Finnair A330 old style seat
    4 WT+
    5 any economy seat a very poor runner up.

    I think BA Club Suite (new Club World suite with door) will probably go to the top of the list based on my experience of the similar Finnair A350 seat.

    Whatsthepoint

    I’ve flown CW many times, usually using a companion voucher, most recently to/from Orlando. For us, it’s a bargain when using a companion voucher. What it does, it does well and the service is usually very good. I have limited experience comparing it to other airlines long haul business class (Aer Lingus – better, Emirates – hard product better, soft not as good) though and if I was paying cash for CW I might be a little pickier.

    Aston100

    Flew from JFK to LHR overnight / this morning.
    777 with Club Suites.

    I found the legacy club world seat on the 787 (LHR to IAD a couple of weeks ago) to be more comfortable.
    There was something odd and uneven about the flat bed in club suites.

    The service was poorer, though I accept this is something that may vary from flight to flight.

    Overall, I liked the look of club suite seats; I appreciated the storage and direct aisle access.
    However, for me the most important aspect of an overnight flight would be the ability to sleep as long as possible. This was an issue for both myself and Mrs Aston (hence confirming I didn’t have a faulty seat). Therefore, I reckon I’d be happy enough to do an overnight flight in the legacy hard product, and might even prefer it TBH.

    By the way, I found the BA lounge food offering to be superior at JFK compared to the lounge at 5b.
    However, I enjoyed both lounges very much.
    I sometimes read criticism of these BA lounges. Perhaps I was lucky on my visits.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 11 months ago by .
    NorthernLass

    JFK lounge food is definitely better than LHR lounge! There was also a bar tender who made cocktails when we were last there in 2019. And much better/more seating.

    dougzz99

    As a BA Gold I get the nice seats in CW, those with direct aisle access from a window, so have no problem with CW over CS. I like CW as I like flying backwards, and the slightly raised head tilt makes that great for sleep.

    In terms of the original post, business is so much better than PE simply because of the extra space that even poor business is great. I think at present with BA the ground experience, food and crew interaction is as poor as I’ve experienced. They’ve cut staff so aggressively, and those they’ve retained they’ve disenfranchised sufficiently that a significant number just don’t give a ****.

    RussC

    Recently flew CW on BA 191/191 LHR-AUS-LHR on 787-9. Rows 1 & 2 first class but not sold due to staff shortages. However outbound flight completely full so First opened up to Business Passengers 48hrs before flight. Worth watching on MMB to see if First opens up on a 787-9 flight – valuable if like me you are 6ft 5in & CW flat bed not long enough (slightly better if foot rest part set in lower position) even if you only get CW service.

    NorthernLass

    Indeed – I refuse to pay for CW seats and this paid off a couple of years ago when our flight to GCM was full and we were allocated seats in the F cabin, which isn’t normally used on this route. It’s a 12 hour flight (and had a longer than usual stop in NAS), so the extra comfort was much appreciated!

    Aston100

    Indeed – I refuse to pay for CW seats and this paid off a couple of years ago when our flight to GCM was full and we were allocated seats in the F cabin, which isn’t normally used on this route. It’s a 12 hour flight (and had a longer than usual stop in NAS), so the extra comfort was much appreciated!

    Do they not let you out to stretch your legs at NAS?

    NorthernLass

    @Aston100 – no because you haven’t completed the Bahamian immigration requirements. They did bring us boxes of Dunkin’ Donuts, though 🤣
    The delay was because a private jet crash landed on the runway and had to be cleared away before we could take off again (no casualties!) – first world problems!

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