I thought it would be nice to look back at my experience of Club World on British Airways Jumbo Jet B747 before it went into retirement. I experienced Business Class, or Club World, in the upper cabin of a British Airways (BA) Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet from London (LHR) to San Francisco (SFO).
I am a huge fan of BA, especially its crew. Their professional and British crew always use the same routine for passenger communications. For example, the flight crew always talks over the intercom to the passengers before takeoff and 40 minutes before arrival (no matter how short the flight duration is), and the cabin crew always addresses the passengers following their flight crew colleagues.
This predictable routine (often lacking with other airlines) makes me feel much more comfortable. I also find their pilots very good at explaining and warning about turbulence and weather conditions so that you understand when, why, and, most crucially, how long the plane might bump around.
This flight flew out of Heathrow Terminal 5, a marvel of engineering and my favorite airport terminal. In Terminal 5, I had access to the Galleries First Lounge, which we have reviewed.
British Airways Old Club World Seat Review
British Airways Club World lower deck seats on the B747 feature a yin-yang 2-4-2 layout; window and middle seats face backward, while aisle seats face forwards. Because of this, you must jump over other passengers’ legs to reach the aisle when seated in a backward-facing seat (which is rather inconvenient).
There are only 20 seats on the upper deck with a 2-2 layout, so there is more space for fewer passengers, and it almost feels like flying in your own private cabin. I like the privacy and quiet atmosphere of BA’s 747 upper deck so much that I still prefer it over the more flashy Business Class products of other carriers’ single-decked planes. It is sad the old bird no longer flies.
The Club World seats on the B747 are identical to those on BA’s B747 and A380. Each seat is located within its own cocoon or suite, with a pitch of 72 inches (182 cm), a seat cushion width of 20 inches (50 cm), and in front of each seat, there is a footrest, which acts as an extension of the flatbed. The seat reclines to a 180-degree flatbed, and the overall length is 6ft (183cm). It can also partially recline to a Z-position for relaxing and watching films.
Each seat has its own private entertainment screen, which swings out from one side of the cabin suite. There are also noise-canceling headphones provided, two USB sockets, power, and a video RCA connection for your camcorder, DVD player, or camera. The private entertainment screen is rather small (9 inches or 22 cm) and swings out from the side of the private cabin suite. It also tilts up and down, so watching the screen from the near or fully flatbed position is possible.
There are many movies and box sets to explore, an excellent flight map, and a more unusual opportunity to chat with other passengers on your console.
There are retractable privacy dividers between adjoining seats, which can be lowered or raised. The safety screen must be lowered during the safety briefing, and the crew will lower it when they serve you meals and drinks.
Each seat comes with a thin blanket, a comfortable pillow, and an amenity kit in a drawstring bag (one male, one female) that can double up as a shoe or underwear bag. Products are Elemis in travel sizes and include moisturizer, lip balm, an eyeshade, earplugs, socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a pen.
Best British Airways Club World Seats
The upper deck atmosphere is far superior to the lower deck, so choose an upper deck seat. Window seats are more private and have more storage space on the upper deck. The “honeymoon” center seats on the lower deck, where you’re seated as close to the person next to you as you would be in economy, are great if you’re traveling with someone you want to be that close to, but downright awkward when you end up next to a stranger in that configuration.
Seats 62A, 62K, and 64A on the upper deck are the single best seats since they are the only window seats in the 747 where you will not have to jump over the feet of other passengers (direct aisle access), and they offer more legroom.
64A (my seat for the flight) also has direct aisle access and more legroom, but it is located next to the lavatories, so this may bother some because of the extra noise (it did not bother me, but it was a day flight after all).
Amenity Kit On British Airways Club World
The Amenity Kit is a drawstring bag (one for men and one for women) designed to double up as a shoe, lingerie, and underwear bag. It includes Elemis products to refresh, revive and rehydrate, created in travel sizes exclusively for BA customers. The men’s bag includes Skin Soothe Shave Gel (7ml), a Pro-Collagen Marine Cream (5ml), and an Ultra-conditioning Lip Balm made from Beeswax (4g), along with a Razor, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, and a pen.
The women’s bag includes a Limited Edition Pro-Collagen Marine Cream (7ml), soothing apricot facial wipe, the Ultra-Conditioning Lip Balm (4g), and some Pro-Collagen Hand & Nail Cream (5ml) along with socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, and pen.
After boarding, I was offered the choice between a glass of water, orange juice, or champagne. After reaching cruising altitude, I received a refreshing hot towel, and I was also served a sprite (with ice and lemon) and a small bag containing an assortment of cold nuts.
Soon after, lunch was offered, all served on a single tray. British Airways Business Class food can be a hit and a miss, and this time the food was pretty good and acceptable for transatlantic Business Class. As a starter, I choose the tiger prawns Bois Boudran with Pepquino and crème fraîche. Quite delicious! As an entrée, I had the roasted-corn-fed chicken with pea and broad bean fricassée, sweet potato mash, and Port wine jus. I liked it (maybe a little too much just).
For dessert, I choose the peach Melba Délice delice with raspberry confit. But I received not a peach but a lemon and mascarpone tart with raspberry compote. It tasted good, nevertheless.
Ninety minutes before landing, all Business Class passengers were served afternoon tea, snacks (a selection of sandwiches featuring tomato and herb chicken with basil pesto, prawns with creamy mayonnaise, and Wensleydale cheese), and sweets (buttermilk or fruit scones with clotted cream, chocolate éclair, lemon cupcake, and raspberry cream sponge).
I am not a big fan of BA’s afternoon tea and snacks concept (especially not of the sandwiches served in a plastic container), and it was not different this time. Alternatively, one could choose a mixed Mediterranean vegetable and pumpkin seed salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing instead of the sandwiches.
I love BA’s cabin crew, and during all my BA flights, I never encountered any problem with them or the onboard service. 2 flight attendants serve the upper cabin. On this particular flight, one steward and one stewardess were very kind and competent (not different from other flight experiences, though).
British Airways 747 has a walk-up “Club Kitchen” onboard, where fliers can graze between meals, which is also a highlight. You can choose sandwiches, fine artisan pastries, yogurt, ice cream, fresh fruit, and a chocolate selection. I am a sucker for the ever-so-British offering on British Airways, old or new.
Review by our friends at Luxury Travel Expert
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