British Airways 747 Club World

British Airways Boeing 747’s are now pushing on at least 25 years old. Known as the queen of the sky the jumbo jet is the workhorse of BA’s fleet. As BA retires their 747’s to the Arizona graveyard over the next 4 years they are replacing them with both the Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 787-10.

The Club World (Read Business Class) seat that is onboard was introduced in 2006, some 13 years ago. If you’ve flown any other business class flight you can tell. Without a shadow of a doubt, the worst business class seat that’s currently operational, which is why BA are replacing it with the new Club Suite. If you have never flown business, however, you’ll probably love it.

Boarding

British Airways like to board in groups.

  • Group 1 for customers flying in First Class or Gold and higher members.
  • Group 2 for Business Class customers or Silver members.
  • Group 3 for Premium Economy Customers or Bronze members.
  • Group 4 for Economy customers
  • Group 5 for Economy Hand Baggage Only customers

The plane started boarding exactly 1 hour before departure but due to a massage that was booked in at the Elemis Spa in the south lounge, a swift run was needed from the lounge to the gate. As we got there groups 1, 2 and 3 had already boarded and groups 4 and 5 were starting to board. Being a gold member meant it was straight onto the plane via Group 1 lane. On every flight I’ve ever flown in business you are guided to your seat by a flight attendant when you board, this wasn’t the case for BA. This does happen in first-class, however.

Main Cabin

Layout

British Airways Club World Main Cabin has a layout of 2 seats by the window, 4 seats in the middle and 2 seats by the other window in a yin and yang formation.

Ideal seats:

  • Seats 14, 20 and 22 A/K are great for solo travelers. Window seats without having to step over anyone to access your seat. Row 14 being the best choice as you’re served first and the cabin is smaller.
  • Seats 14, 20 and 22E/F are best for couples with the same logic as above

Seat

This flight was booked as a treat for my mam, as such we were seated together in 21 E and F facing backward in what I would describe as a pod. Obviously with how BA has the seats laid out if you want to leave your seat you have to step over someone.

The first thing you will notice is you are facing towards someone on either your left or right. Unless it’s someone you know this can be awkward. During the whole of the safety video, taxi, take-off and landing the blind has to be down. A person called Laura was sat opposite me, a consultant who’s been to 53 countries, has a son and daughter and has 2 homes in the USA. I know all of this and more from a conversation I had whilst all of the above took place. My point being, it’s a lot of time.

Next up you’ll notice is the storage or lack of. You get 1 slide-out draw that you can fit a laptop, headphones and a few other things in, that’s it! You still get an overhead locker but again, if, in a middle pod, you’re climbing over someone to get to it.

The legroom is vast courtesy of the moveable footrest which can be set at different heights and angles or just stored in the upright position (more on that later).

The controls were easy to use and handy to access. Though no massage feature the adjustable lumbar support was nice.

There’s a 3 prong British power socket and a USB socket for charging things up.

Screen

It’s okay, nothing to write home about really. The size of a large tablet. Decent quality, probably HD, colours are okay. It was a day flight with plenty of light in the cabin and you could still see it clearly. Acceptable to watch a good 10 hours of movies on.

In terms of media, there were plenty of British BoxSets to watch although they have removed The Night Manager (would highly recommend). A good selection of movies, something for everyone. The music selection was okay, again something for everyone.

Headphones

No Bose here, pretty poor if I’m honest. Whilst a nice light clamping pressure means you can wear them for long periods of time, it also means the cushioning doesn’t really block out any of the aircraft drone. Because of the previous, it means for clear audio you have to have the volume at a fairly high level. They don’t come with noise-canceling either, my recommendation would be to bring your own. If you do, you can use the standard headphone Jack, no adapter required.

Amenity Kit

Just like with the bedding BA have partnered up with The White Company for their amenity kit. I would love to tell you what’s inside but I’ve yet to open one.

Food

British Airways don’t do dine on demand like some other airlines. So instead of choosing at what point in the flight you’d like your starter, then main, then dessert you are simply served all 3 one after another when it is convenient for the cabin crew.

Being the second to last row in Club we were served everything pretty much last. That meant our drinks took 20 mins to be ordered and food 1 hour. It then took another 50 mins for our food to be served.

The initial drink ordered was a mocktail called Citrus Burst which was very nice and delivered with a bowl of coated nuts.

For starters, it was Soup of the day served with a large warm granary roll and butter. The butter was unsalted which is just wrong in my opinion. The soup and the bread were great though perfect temperatures for both.

Next up was the Fillet of British Beef. 👌🏼 oh, it was beautiful. Though I wasn’t asked how I’d like it to be cooked it was served rare to medium-rare with peppercorn sauce, potatoes and a cheese stack with beans. It took the whole of 5 mins to eat.

To finish, a typical cheese board. All in all 3 courses were nice.

Bed?

It turns out that bed is a subjective term. I mean if you are homeless you could consider a park bench to be a bed, just like if you’re drunk you could consider a bathtub to be a bed. In short, it isn’t great but if you’re absolutely knackered you will sleep.

You see the main issue is the stupid footrest. It’s a piece of shit. You put the seat into the flat position, take it back a little bit then have to wedge the footrest into the padding. Its utter bullshit and ends up lumpy and bumpy as hell. Then if you want to get out, your shafted as you cant put more than 5kg of weight on the footrest otherwise it breaks. Whoever designed it needs to have a serious think about their chosen career path and whether they’re up to the job…

The White Company provide the bedding. Judging by ours it was probably provided when the Backstreet Boys were still kicking out music. I can imagine it was nice when new but reminiscent of a baby’s blanket it’s just been used and abused. The matress topper looked like a sanitary towel and was the thickness of some 450gm high gloss photo paper. Then you had a day blanket and a duvet.

The Magnum in bed was nice, however.

Upstairs

Layout

Upstairs is where you want to be. Without a doubt the best Club World cabin you can fly with British Airways. A much smaller cabin with only 16 seats situated in a 2 2 formation. You get less engine noise as your essentially further away from the engines and for some reason landing seems smoother?

Ideal Seats:

  • Seats 62 and 64 A/K again are best for solo travelers with A&B and J&K being good for couples
  • Seats 60 and 63 B/J are good for solo travelers who want to face forward.

Seat

As this was the last return flight of the evening with fewer passengers we lucked out and managed to bag 62J and K. Arguably the best seats in any of British Airways Club World cabins.

The first thing you will notice different to downstairs is the storage. whilst you still get the tray draw, each window seat gets 3 vertical storage cubby holes which are massive. Similar to the upstairs deck on an A380. I had my laptop bag, neck pillow, trainers and bedding all in one of them. and for the none window seats, you don’t have to clamber over anyone to get to the main overhead luggage bins.

You can see why 62K is a coveted seat, ample legroom without having to climb over anyone if you need the bathroom.

Food

With being such a small cabin you do get seen to rather quickly. Within 15 mins of taking off, I had a drink and coated nuts delivered to me.

Another 30 minutes pass by and I have my main, prime beef fillet with vegetables. Speed is everything here That’s why I skipped out on a starter and dessert. When I’m flying home for longer than 5 days I will try and get my body clock to UK time as soon as possible to combat jetlag.

Onboarding you are given a breakfast menu to fill out. You get a choice of a Full English Breakfast wrap which is to be served 75 mins before landing. an express breakfast which is served 60 mins before landing and an essential breakfast which is served 45 mins before landing. Again this is great as they let you pick which you prefer, more sleep or better food. When breakfast is ready to be served they wake you up as they serve you.

Bed

Again, no tv or anything just bed. Quick to make as you can tell by the photo, not ideal but at this point, I was super tired so got a good night’s sleep. A side note to bear in mind though, BA doesn’t offer pajamas to any passengers unless they’re flying first. It can get pretty cold upstairs so travel in some warm comfy clothes.

Summary

I think if you’ve never flown business class, you’ll enjoy it. It’s leaps and bound past any premium economy seat on the market. It’s certainly way down the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to a business class product but that’s the hard product (seat, aircraft, etc). Great staff who are knowledgable and kind are what make British Airways.

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