British Airways' new Airbus A350, boasting its also-new Club Suites business class, takes a lot of the sting out of choosing the best seat.
Let's face it: with direct aisle access, sliding privacy doors (around 1.1 metres high) and a 1-2-1 layout which does away with the backwards seating and crowded dormitory of the old Club World cabin, it's hard to go wrong.
And the easiest answer is that there's no 'wrong' seat. All of BA's A350 Club Suites are good. But some are a little better, and others should be your last choice. Here's the skinny on the seatmap.
|1A, 1K, 9A, 9K, 10A, 10K, 15A, 15K||Each of these seats has two windows instead of just one|
|2A, 2K, 5A, 5K, 6A, 6K, 8A, 8K, 16A, 16K||Each of these seats has 'one and a half' windows instead of just one|
|Any paired middle seats (E and F)||Best for couples travelling together if you pull back the privacy divider|
|1K, 15A, 15K||These seats have baby bassinet mounts, so anywhere near them runs the risk of a noisy infant|
|Row 1 (1A, 1E, 1F, 1K)||Expect noise, commotion and light from the galley kitchen in front, plus foot traffic to and from the WC|
|Row 11 (11A, 11E, 11F, 11K)||Expect noise and commotion from the galley kitchen behind, plus foot traffic to and from the WCs|
|Row 15 (15A, 15E, 15F, 15K)||Expect noise and commotion from the self-serve snack bar, possibly noise from the exit doors in front|
|Row 17 (17A, 17E, 17F, 17K)||Potential for noise from infants in the World Traveller Plus premium economy cabin's baby bassinets, located just behind you|
British Airways had divided the A350's business class cabin and 56 seats into two sections. The main cabin spans from row 1 to row 11; behind this is a much smaller second cabin covering rows 15 through 17.
The window seats (labelled as A and K) face towards the window while the paired middle seats (E and F) are oriented inwards, towards each other.
Seats for two
Any of the middle E/F seats an obvious choice if you’re travelling with a partner, colleague or friend and want to be sociable in the sky – just slide back the divider and chat away.
However, with that divider in place, either of the middle seats provide ample privacy if you’re on your own.
Seats with a view
The best spot for solo flyers, of course, are the window seats.
With the A350-1000’s wings sweeping back from the last row of business class, every window seat will have an unobstructed view.
In fact, some of the window seats have two windows: those are 1A, 1K, 9A, 9K, 10A, 10K, 15A and 15K.
(Toio slow to select one of the double-window seats? Rows 2, 5, 6, 8 and 16 have 'one and a half' windows each.)
We're also pleased to report that there are no slabs of fuselage where internal ductwork replaces the window, leaving passengers sitting next to a blank wall.
Seats to think twice about
There's always a dash of brag value in being in row 1, and especially seat 1A.
Unlike the front-row seats of some other airlines, the Club Suite foot-cubby at row 1 is no larger than other rows.
Expect noise and commotion from the main business class galley kitchen directly ahead of row 1 – this is also where crew tend to gather and chat, which can be especially bothersome when you’re trying to sleep during a long international flight – plus foot traffic to and from a toilet at the front of the aircraft.
Seat 1K also has a baby bassinet mounting facility on the bulkhead wall.
As you work your way towards the rear of the main A350 business class cabin, similar rules apply for the last row as the first: you're in front of a galley kitchen area and, this time, two toilets.
Rows 15 through 17
In theory, there's an intimate vibe about these smaller business class cabins. In practice, of the 12 Club Suites in this mini-cabin only the four in row 16 might be the best pick here.
Row 15 abuts the Raid the Larder self-serve snack area and is also close to two exit doorways, which can generate a little extra noise during the flight – as might infants in a bulkhead-mounted crib at seats 15A and 15K.
Row 17 is the last row in BA's Airbus A350 business class, with the World Traveller Plus premium economy cabin right behind it – and, for good measure, the threat of vocal infants in the baby bassinets.
So what seats should you choose?
Taking the above cautions into account, pretty much any BA Club Suites business class passenger in rows 2 through to 10 will be sitting pretty.