7 little things you'll love about BA's new Club Suites business class

The longer you've been putting up with Club World, the more you'll appreciate some of the smaller Club Suite wins.

By David Flynn, August 19 2019

British Airways' all-new Club Suites business class has plenty to excite the executive traveller – especially those who regularly clock up  many, many thousands of miles flying the Oneworld member airline's outdated dormitory-style Club World cabin.

To them, most of the Club Suites' drawcards are klaxon-horn obvious. Direct aisle access (at long last). A sliding door, although we rate this as a little less about privacy than about a sense of seclusion. Ample storage and working space around the seat.

British Airways' new Club Suite is a stellar upgrade for BA business class flyers.

But frequent Club World travellers will discover, and be delighted by, many smaller Club Suite touches which effectively nuke so many frustrations stemming from BA's current business class seat.

(British Airways' new Club Suites business class are making their debut on BA's new Airbus A350 jet but will also be retrofitted across most of BA's current fleet, including the Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 Dreamliners as well as the Airbus A380 superjumbo.)

1. Gate-to-gate video

There's no way the 18.5-inch HD video screen fitted to each Airbus A350 Club Suite (or 17 inches on the upgraded Boeing 777s) could be described as a 'little thing' you'll love about BA's new business class – especially not when its Club World predecessor made do with a pokey 10.4-inch panel.

And of course, that Club Suite screen isn't just bigger: it's clearer, sharper and more responsive. This comes with the inevitable advances of technology.

However, what we really appreciated during our test flights on BA's A350 was that you can now watch videos from the moment you sit down until when it's time to walk off the plane. With the screen fixed in a passenger-facing position, entertainment is available on a 'gate to gate' basis.

'Gate-to-gate' video means more movie-time on your flight.

Tally up the time you'd usually spend with the Club World monitor pushed back and out of view and we reckon there's almost one more episode of Downton Abbey in there.

Oh, and while we're talking video: the controller has its own touchscreen display and can work independently of the main display, so in effect you've got a second screen that's handy for locking onto the 'moving map'.

Keep an eye on the moving map by using the remote control as a 'second screen'.

2. Get social on your terms

BA's old Club World was perhaps the most social business class in the sky, even if you were travelling solo. You could barely help but be facing your fellow passengers time and again throughout the flight. Hence why 'privacy' is A Big Deal for the new Club Suites.

But what if you're flying with a partner or friend? Book any of the paired middle seats (E and F) and slide back the partition between the seats.

Share the travel experience with a partner or friend.

You'll find the angle of the seats and the width of the partition are pretty much perfect for being able to share the experience without you having to lean awkwardly forward, as is the case with many other middle business seats.

3. Power up

One of the two receptacles in the Club Suite's side shelf contains the remote control, a universal AC socket, two USB ports and the headphone jack.

A place for everything that plugs in.

Smart enough that they'll all in one place. But here's the real cleverness: you can open this nook, plug in your AC charger and USB devices, hook up the headphones (either the BA-supplied ones or your own noise-cancelling cans) and bring out the remote control, then drop the lid without pinching or snagging those cables.

Close the lid without snagging those cables.

Small raised stoppers provide just enough clearance for the cables while letting you continue to make use of the shelf – as a temporary parking space for your laptop or some extra room to spread your documents, for instance.

4. The tray table is stable yet flexible

The almost-hidden table which discretely slides out from beneath the Club Suite's video screen is quite a piece of work.

The tray table extends from under the video screen.

For starters, it's firmly anchored so there's none of the droop or bounce which affects the old Club World table when you're hamming away on your laptop.

But for those times when you want to leave your seat while the table is extended – say, while your laptop is out or during the meal service – just push the table back towards the monitor.

Here's the Club Suites tray table when fully extended.

There's a detent halfway along the railing upon which the table slides, which frees up enough room to pop out of your seat, and pop back in again.

Push it back and there's enough room to step out of your seat.

Need a little extra room to move? Flip the table back to half-size version. It's still large enough to hold your laptop.

Even half-extended, the table can still hold your laptop.

5. More room for bigger bags

While everyone focusses on the seat – and understandably so – it's worth casting a glance overhead, to the Airbus A350's capacious luggage bins.

Where possible, business travellers love to fly in 'hand luggage only' mode – which can sometimes mean cabin bags which really push the limits. But not in the A350, which has overhead window bins large enough to deserve their own postcode.

The ones over the middle seats are smaller, so if your carry-on bag is of modest proportions consider stowing it there; conversely, larger-sized bags should go straight into the above-window bins.

6. But smaller bags stay within reach

The space under the Club Suite's footrest can be used to tuck away a small- to medium-sized bag even during the taxi, take-off and landing stages.

This is where you're likely to find BA's The White Company bedding kit when you first arrive at your seat, but you can fling that into the overhead locker and pop anything from a handbag to a laptop bag or even a small backpack (and we stress 'small') so it's within easy reach.

7. Rest your feet

We're nominating this as perhaps the most easily-overlooked trait of the Club Suite when it comes to comfort. There's an angled section of flooring just ahead of that footrest.

Provided you're of at least average height, this makes a natural and very comfortable place to rest your feet rather than having them flat on the floor.

Added to a slight prerecline for the seat itself and you'll feel relaxed from the moment you settle into your seat. 

David Flynn flew on British Airways' new Airbus A350 as a guest of BA.


David Flynn

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.