In sport, and in the air, records and benchmarks are constantly being shattered. Five years ago, you couldn’t find a business class seat with privacy doors on every seat. Now, you can’t even call them seats, they’re “suites” and there are quite a few. British Airways surprised critics in 2019 by delivering a new “Club Suite” complete with a privacy door.
While it falls well short of a new business class “benchmark”, it’s a very, very nice way to fly, and perhaps spaced out even better on the Boeing 777 than the new Airbus A350, even though the 350 is a nicer aircraft overall. Here’s what to expect on board…
BA Club Suite Pre-Flight
I flew British Airways Club Suite out of my long time home airport, New York JFK. Despite a planned move from Terminal 7 to Terminal 8, where they will cohabit with American Airlines in just a couple years time, the airline refurbed the check in and lounge facilities to a nice level.
Those travelling in Club World or First Class can pull up to the far end of the terminal as the traffic goes, where there’s just a short walk to each respective check in area, before joining the TSA queue. Once through TSA, it’s up the escalator and a quick left and double back left into the lounge areas.
British Airways has improved pre-flight dining, and there’s even a separate area for Gold Executive Club members, in addition to fun features like a rotating wine tasting machine. For such a short transatlantic flight, it’s best to get that stuff out of the way before you board, unless you enjoy walking around London like a zombie – or at least looking like one – the next day…
BA 777 Club Suite First Impressions
Upon boarding, British Airways Club Suite business class on the Boeing 777 looks much the same as it does on the Airbus A350-1000, albeit with more galley space. It’s a remarkable improvement over the 20 year old “Club World” eight across setup found on birds like the Boeing 747 in just about every merit, with the exception of foot space in the sleeping position.
Storage space is exceptionally good, and unlike similar seats, British Airways was able to get this one certified so that you can leave a bag by your feet for takeoff and landing. That’s quite handy for those who want to quickly get into something.
I chose row 8 at the back of the “front” mini cabin, which feels much more personal and boutique than the longer rear Club Suite cabin, which is over double the size. It feels pretty “first class” in size and privacy, by BA standards.
For British Airways 777 Club Suite seating recommendations, I’d highly suggest this mini cabin which comprises rows 5-8. Any seat is great, and couples can face each other in the middle if they aren’t window seat geeks.
Other than that, there’s ample arm level storage along the suite, which lifts up with a click and touch pad access to control the seat along the contoured side. Just don’t forget your stuff, if you leave it in there…
The natural recline position of the seat itself is attractive, and not at all uncomfortable to sit in for meal service or work needs, like typing on a laptop. With your feet up, there’s a real feeling of ease. My favourite setting on this seat is the half recline lazy mode. It’s very inviting.
The flight entertainment system is nice, responsive and the screen is of good quality. I’ve always enjoyed BA’s selection of box sets and find them to be a perfect sleep companion. It’s not ground breaking in any technological way, but it’s an above average setup.
BA 777 Club Suite Privacy Door
Hopefully it’s no surprise to any of you that some things in life are style over substance. On the whole, I’d say that’s pretty much how I feel about this door. It’s there, probably better than nothing, but really not much better. Unlike current benchmark seats, it’s low enough that every other passenger in the cabin is in sight for anyone of reasonable height while in a seated position.
Basically, it’s cool to say a seat has a door, and by my definition, it allows you to call your seat a suite, rather than a seat. I think British Airways tapped into this marketing material and… yeah. If you look at the picture below, you’ll see that you can actually see the headrests above the level of the doors.
Sleep mode is when the door does prove some merit, since you can sleep comfortably, knowing that only someone standing directly above you might see a belly or butt cheek which managed to slip out of your pyjamas. Don’t worry, there’s no judgement here, happens to the best…
BA 777 Club Suite Sleep Comfort
As noted, the seat is “better” on almost all metrics versus its older self, but it leaves one thing on the table. These reverse herringbone style seats require losing the “open” foot area, in favour of a small box of sorts. If you sleep on your side, you’ll find this slightly more finicky than the old Club World as you move around. Shoes off will definitely help here, and they fit below just fine.
This is not specific to British Airways, but just a known element of virtually all reverse herringbone shaped seats. For shorter travellers, or those with small feet, it’s a non issue – but if you’re tall…
One area where there’s room for rapid improvement without needing to modify any seats, is bedding, particularly in relation to these new Club Suite seats, which have different requirements than the old seats.
I’d love to see BA specifically step up sleep comfort for these Club Suites, particularly given their ‘The White Company’ partnership. The bed sleeps well, but there are large divides which are new to this seat, and the little sheet does little to mitigate.
There are certainly other elements of the bedding kit given that could be “enhanced” away. The pillow is great, and the duvet remains mostly very good. For anyone that’s seen the movie Super Troopers, I’ll say the word “enhance” one more time.
BA 777 Club Suite Club Kitchen
Like many British Airways regulars, I’ll always have a soft spot for the Boeing 747, Queen of The Skies. The plane may be old, but it was built with real passenger and crew comfort in mind and that’s never more clear than in the galley spaces.
Crew have ample area to work and prepare service, and passengers even have room to socialise without being too much of a nuisance to the operation.
British Airways has made a point of being a “leader” in densifying aircraft, and space on this aircraft comes noticeably at a premium. The first crew member I encountered instructed me to hang my coat on my seat, since there wasn’t enough galley space. The next then offered to hang it without prompt, so I don’t know what to make of that.
The Club Kitchen is noticeably better on this aircraft than the new Airbus A350-1000’s, but it’s right next to a very active lavatory area and crew station, so it all just feels a bit chaotic. I attempted a visit and very quickly returned to my seat. For an overnight flight it’s a non issue, but if you’re on a longer haul flight and looking to stretch the legs, you’ll see what I mean.
BA 777 Club Suite Food And Beverage
British Airways has done an excellent job with their catering in recent years, particularly on the New York route, serviced by Do&Co. They’re the best airline caterer on the planet, by a Usain Bolt distance at my estimation.
I opted to eat pre-flight on this particular journey, but have eaten on about 10 flights on this sector over the last 6 months and have always been genuinely impressed by the food. For jet-lag reasons, I always advocate fasting on these overnight flights, but I’d completely understand why someone would tuck in.
If you do eat, focus on the appetisers and desserts, which tend to be Do&Co specialties.
For your drinking pleasure, British Airways serves Duval Leroy Brut Champagne, which is a nice entry level bottle used by many airlines these days. Hey, when the price is right. I think BA really knows its customers well on the booze side, and tends to focus on having a staple “old world” red and a staple “new world” white, which tend to be where pop culture drinkers gravitate.
British Airways 777 Club Suite Overall Impressions
A flat bed in the sky with a door to keep your butt cheeks from public display is a privileged way to travel and I think British Airways has done extremely well with this Club Suite. There are things I don’t quite understand, such as the big box of bedding for a semi uncomfortable bed, but they have ticked most of the boxes towards a great flying experience.
The entertainment system is reasonably fast, the screen is sharp, the storage is phenomenal and when you get a good British Airways crew, they’re amongst the best in the skies.
I will always yearn for the days where there was enough space in a galley to do some stretches or at least pillage the snack bar in peace, but those days are mostly over on all airlines anyway, even if BA seems to be going a step further. It’s not QSuite from Qatar or The Room from ANA, but this is a solid top 10 business class experience on the whole, and one anyone should enjoy.
Given the choice between an A350 and a Boeing 777, i’d take the more advanced air systems and cabin pressure comforts of the A350, but I like the setup Club Suite occupies on this Boeing 777…
I’ve taken BA business class on the A350 and this looks much better in terms of privacy (and sleekness). Glad airlines are moving toward the ‘suite’ experience in business class–the first time I tried it on JAL was a revelation. Never thought privacy mattered much to me while flying as I was just grateful to be in a comfortable seat, but privacy certainly enhanced the experience.
I’ve enjoyed good service on BA–it’s not in the same style as Asian airlines, but I don’t think they’re trying to be. They’re polite and efficient, and that’s fine with me.
And afternoon tea in the sky is such a treat!
Enhance. Enhance. Enhance. One of my favorite movies for a good laugh. In fact I might watch it right meow.
I am excited to try this new business class seat out. Any signs of the prices rising with the advent of the new seat (one route cheaper because of the old seats versus this new seat)? I’ve had trouble finding it on the ORD-LHR route (even after April 1).
Meow don’t worry too much about pricing. I don’t see prices rising at all. Infact, I think they’ll continue to drop as carriers enter the market, ie JetBlue doing Transatlantic.
It’s really nice, I think it’s one of the better transatlantic rides and you will enjoy it aog when you get it! 787-10 will do a lot of US work next year, so that’s another opportunity.
I’m freaking out, man 😉.
Thanks for the review. Is there any roll-Out Plan Where routes can be seen the new product is available on? Thanks and save travels.
Has your life even been worth living if you haven’t seen Super Troopers
In my opinion, you simply haven’t discovered what life can be, if you’ve not! It’s like life without Technicolor.
Thanks for the review! Very timely too. Husband and I just booked our trip from JFK-KEF and we are flying through LHR. 747 out and the 777 back both in Club World. We both fight over the window (usually he gets it), so it is nice to be able to get a window seat. I booked 6K and 7K for us, so hoping the smaller cabin is worth it (in my experience it usually is).
If you’re going to do a review, eat the damn food. Otherwise how are we going to know if it’s any good or not. I don’t care about anybody’s damn reputation.
All airplane food sucks, compared to food on the ground. There you have it, a review!
Well balanced article! Although if we’re talking distances, Usain Bolt is a short distance sprint athlete remember 😉
Also.. that looks suspiciously like a dessert from First in the picture!
Thats quite a nice seat and a definite upgrade from their ancient business class.
Absolutely. Huge improvement!
Would the dfw to heathrow flight have the upgraded business class or the older version?? Thank you
Last summer I flew BA Club from Stockholm to Seattle via London. Returned from Denver – LHR – Stockholm also in Club. Overall nothing impressed me. I used Alaska Air for award tickets. The additional fees were ABSOLUTELY ASTRONOMICAL AND THEREFORE RIDICULOUS. Neither flights were full, or even close. Therefore service should have been excellent. FAR FROM IT. BA HISTORICALLY is LOUSY. In hindsight I should have flown Emirates or Qatar.
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