British Airways is now rolling out the core of its unprecedented A$700m overhaul to the airline's long haul Club World business class service, designed to refresh the soft product such as amenities, service, and food, before the introduction of a new seat in 2019.
Australian Business Traveller joined BA on a Boeing 747 flight from London Heathrow to New York’s JFK International – the first two destinations featuring the new service – to sample the upgraded amenities and meals.
Starting off the soft product upgrade is a partnership with British homewares retailer, The White Company (TWC) for bedding and amenity kits.
While most Aussies wouldn't be familiar with TWC, the brand’s signature plain white aesthetic is very popular in the UK.
The new bedding includes a plush oversized pillow in white cotton pillowcase, with one side designed for “day” use and the other for more comforting “night” use.
You’ll also get a supportive day cushion that provides lumbar support when working, and a soft woven blanket with satin trim.
Wrapping up the offering is a custom made duvet and a padded mattress cover to provide an extra layer of comfort and improve quality of sleep.
This will hold strong appeal to business travellers journeying on BA from Sydney to London, as flights arrive early in the morning London time - therefore, it’s vital to get a solid block of sleep in the second half of the 14 hour Singapore-London fight if you plan on acclimatising to the time zone quickly.
While we had only a short nap during the seven hour flight between London and New York, in comparison to Sydney-Singapore and Singapore-London BA legs we'd flown just a day earlier we could notice the seat, once converted into a bed, was much softer and more comforting.
The duvet was also a step above the usual airline blanket and provided a good amount of heat retention. Best of all, the large pillow actually supports your head and neck unlike the typical small airline pillow.
The new bedding from The White Company will be gradually rolled out across British Airways’ long-haul network by mid-2018, including Australia.
BA's old Elemis washbag also makes way for a much more appealing The White Company amenity kit.
On the food service side, the new BA offering sees passengers enjoying a freshly prepared starter, dessert or cheese board from a new display trolley at their seat...
... while their main dish will be ordered and served individually by cabin crew.
There's also an appealing winelist.
Catering on the flagship London Heathrow to New York JFK routes is done by the highly regarded DO&CO company.
We started our meal with a smoked red pepper soup and tapas selection, served with bread and butter….
... followed by a main course of braised beef cheeks and eggplant…
.. and rounded that out with tiramisu and a cheese plate, both of the quality you’d find in a high-end restaurant…
In order to maximise sleep time, BA plans to provide customers with breakfast ordering cards so they can choose what they would like, or simply request to not be woken.
While BA’s hard product hasn’t exactly been state of the art for a while, the improvements in service and amenities are going a long way in bringing the soft product up to par.
Siddharth Raja travelled to New York as a guest of British Airways