With the range of premium amenities and in-cabin comforts now offered to business class flyers by your choice of international airlines, it takes something special to really stand out. With a combination of great service, world-class food and what I think is the most privacy offered in a business class-product, Club World from British Airways stands out. I recently flew from LAX to London in Club World, British Airways’ business class service, aboard an Airbus A380.
On the ground
With dedicated check-in and boarding areas, the process is smooth and hassle-free. Club World travelers also get FastTrack access to faster security screening and immigration clearance as well. In Los Angeles, travelers use the oneworld alliance lounge and there are two lounges at Heathrow for departing Club World flyers. Upon arrival at Heathrow, Club World passengers have access to two arrivals lounges with showers and other amenities.
In the air
The new Airbus A380s flown by British Airways are giant, amazing pieces of technology. The Club World seats are very private with high dividers. Restrooms are plentiful and spacious, the ones at the front of the plane are just huge. This is only my fourth flight on the A380 but I’ve been seriously impressed with the smooth, relatively tubulence-free and quiet ride. The cabin is noticably quieter than the standard Boeing seven-series planes or even the smaller Airbus aircraft, reducing or eliminating a lot of that constant jet roar. Here’s a video tour of my seat, filmed just before landing.
Having a foodie experience at 39,000 feet has become an essential part of business class travel and the menu in the Club World cabin certainly delivered. Meals are served on a schedule and can also be ordered on request, allowing passengers real dining freedom. BA’s little Club World kitchen is stocked with drinks and snacks, available for self-service during the flight. It was great to be able to wake up, go to the little kitchen and get myself a snack (usually yummy British Mars chocolate bars). I also like how British Airways works with chefs, suppliers, nutritionists and even molecular gastronomists to create what the airline calls “height cuisine”. The cuisine is designed to be enjoyed at altitude and the food and drink selections provide their fullest flavors in the air.
Dinner started with some champagne, a delightful Taittinger Brut Reserve NV. This was only one of the three fine champagnes offered, the others a Brut Rose from the House of de Castelnau and a 2004 Grand Vintage from Boizel. The starter was a choice of curried crab salad with cashew, walnut and shallots or a roasted stem-on tomato with cucumber, feta mousseline crostini and balsamic dressing. Next up was a fresh, seasonal salad with a vinaigrette dressing. To accompany these starters, I went with a 2012 Petroni Vineyards Chardonnay from Sonoma Valley which was light and fruity, with a spicy finish. The other wine option was a 2013 Albarino from Spain.
The main course was next, I went with the peppadew-mozzarella filled breast of chicken with baby courgette, baby carrot and an amazing bacon risotto. The chicken was served with a delicious herb jus. Other options included a glazed short rib of beef, rigatoni or a main course salad with herb-roasted salmon. With my main I again chose a California wine, a deep 2011 Pinot Noir from Cambria Estate’s Julia’s Vineyard. This unique Pinot is from the Santa Maria Valley and matched perfectly with my stuffed chicken breast.
Breakfast was light, a warm bacon roll and assorted breakfast pastries. These were accompanied by chilled fruit juice, Special K cereal, a carmelized pineapple fruit smoothie and / or fresh fruit.
Best Business Class privacy available
On the upper deck Club World section of the beautiful new Airbus A380s, the cabin offers a 2-3-2 arrangement. For the middle seat of the middle three, you have a mini private suite. The dividers go up (quite high) on either side of the seat (or bed) offering what becomes a tiny private area.
I noticed a similar situation in the lower deck, where the Club World seating is 2-4-2. The middle two seats of the middle four, also form their own little mini-suite for two. Although the seats face the rear of the plane, those center two seats (and beds) become their own private space, perfect for two people traveling together.
It’s all about the people
As someone who almost weekly finds himself on a long-haul international flight, I encounter alot of flight crews, from different cultures, countries and companies. After four recent flights with British Airways in World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World, I must say the crews have all been fantastic. Professional and on-point, yet friendly and approachable. I’ve learned there are fewer cabin crew members qualified for the new A380s, which means the crews find themselves working together more than the other aircraft types. The camraderie and teamwork really make for a great customer experience.
Follow luxury travel blogger Freddy Sherman on Twitter @luxuryfred and on his blog, luxuryfred.com
Air travel provided by British Airways