Hi Frugalistas! If you’ve been following me on Facebook and Instagram you’ll know that I’ve recently been to Portugal. But more of that later. I’m starting my posts on this recent trip with a British Airways Business Class review. Lisbon is a bit tricky for Australian travellers, and the flights on my preferred airline Etihad and other options such as Emirates and Singapore, were all terribly expensive. Fortunately, British Airways offered a competitive Business Class option, so British Airways it was. It was many years since I’d flown British Airways and I’d never flown the British Airways Club World, so given the very competitive price, I was keen to see how it compared. British Airways Business Class review
British Airways Business Class check in
British Airways Club World offers a dedicated check in at Sydney airport, provided by Qantas ground staff. It had been my birthday a few days prior to my departure, so I thought it a nice touch that the staff wished me a happy belated birthday. She was also not interested in looking at the size of my hand luggage, which again I appreciated. British Airways Business Class review
I’m also checked in all the way through to Lisbon, so no need to recheck or fiddle around at Heathrow.
British Airways Business Class on the ground
In Sydney British Airways use the Qantas Business Class lounge. It’s a large lounge used by multiple airlines, and has never impressed me. I therefore decide to pass and spend a pleasant 45minutes waiting in the American Express Platinum lounge that I have not tried previously.
We have a short stopover in Singapore both to and from London, and while there is a dedicated British Airways Lounge at Changi Airport, again I pass. I’d rather have a walk and do a little shopping.
On the way to Lisbon I’m waiting in Heathrow Terminal 3 which has a small but rather nice little British Airways Lounge. It’s set up into a series of “rooms” and does remind me somewhat of a gentleman’s club. It’s early morning and there is a good choice of breakfast options and decent coffee.
On the return, BA uses a commercial lounge in Lisbon. Normally I hate these lounges, but this one is OK. The staff are surprisingly friendly, seating is comfortable and while there is not a large variety of food options, what is there is tasty. I particularly enjoyed a smoked salmon roll, and the Nespresso coffee.
Now Heathrow Terminal 5. There are two British Airways lounges – one at the South and one at the North end of the terminal. I have a long layover to wait for my flight back (about 6hours) so of course I’m not sure which lounge to use. I do some shopping, and just pick the one I end up at. It’s Friday afternoon/evening, so of course flights are busy. There are also many, many delayed flights for some reason, so the lounge is crowded. I’m impressed at how well the noise level seems to be kept down, and how quickly tables are tidied. There’s an excellent selection of English newspapers, the wifi is fine. Food is quite carb heavy, but the wine and spirit options can’t be beaten.
British Airways Business Class in flight
The first thing I notice on boarding my flight (in my case a Boeing 777) is what can best be described as the rather idiosyncratic seating layout of the British Airways Club World cabin. Half the seats face backward.
Yes, you read me correctly, half the seats face backwards. Including all the window seats.
The other thing that somewhat surprises me is that the 2-4-2 seating arrangement still means you have to step over your neighbours’ legs if you are on a window or internal seat. And because of the awkward partitioning the flight attendants have some fancy manoeuvring to pass food and drink to window and internal seat passengers. British Airways Business Class review
On my Sydney to London flight I’m on an aisle (and have no one on my inside who needs to step over). But on the way back I’m in an internal seat. So I’m facing backwards. It’s really no different to facing forwards and once leveled out in flight I honestly can’t tell the difference. But the having to climb over the legs of my neighbour and the awkwardness of the meal service is annoying on a 20+hour, two leg flight.
The seat itself is a comfortable enough and is genuinely lie flat. While the cotton duvet looks and a bit worn and uninspiring it is actually quite warm and comfortable. Pillows are a bit on the low side for me, but I do manage to get comfy and sleep well on all legs. British Airways Club world review
While I hope no one books their flight on the basis of any amenities kit, I do look forward to seeing what is on offer. And I must say the British Airways Club World amenities kit is a winner. Offered in a draw string bag (rather quaintly referred to as a “wash bag” by the crew) it comes with the standard toothbrush & paste, socks, eye shade and ear plugs. But what sets it apart is the quality of the Elemis moisturising products. The face cream is a delight, as is the hand and body lotion. The lip balm is probably the best one I’ve tried – ever. British Airways club world review British Airways Business Class review
Food on all legs is generous, but really quite patchy. My steak is rubbery and decidedly overcooked. It actually tastes stewed rather than grilled. I find the lighter, cold dishes far more flavourful and successful. Wine lists are short, but the choices are interesting and I do like everything I try.
Food service is done “airline style” rather than restaurant style, with trolley runs for both food and beverages. It’s all pre prepared and pre packaged, and certainly not like a premium offering. Bread on the sandwiches for our afternoon tea can only be described as stale. Which is a real shame, as the little raspberry tart and opera cake that accompany the sandwiches are very, very good indeed. Top ups on drinks are not offered, but are provided with a smile upon request.
I must say the British Airways in flight entertainment system is one of best ones I’ve seen. Plenty of choice, and plenty of recent release films and television to catch up on. I’m particularly thrilled at the BBC television content and pass plenty of time enjoying a number of first release shows.
Service from the British Airways cabin crew is cheery and friendly. But it’s patchy and lacking in finesse. I have to be given a glass of water when a member of the crew can’t find where the water bottles are stored. Cups of tea outside the meal service are served without a biscuit – although when I ask they are provided with a smile. While there is nothing wrong with the service, to me, it’s little things like this that separate the great flying experiences and the great service from the ordinary.
My opinion of British Airways Club World Business Class
I think British Airways Club World is OK rather than great. There’s nothing really wrong with it, I just think others do it better. I suspect British Airways Club World is loved by people who’ve never flown any other business class, but in reality it just doesn’t compete with Etihad, Emirates or Singapore Airlines. Having said that, it was significantly cheaper for me for this flight. If you can book it at a keen price, and you know you are not going to get the absolute best Business Class on offer, then I think you should be satisfied, if not thrilled with your choice. British Airways Business Class review British Airways club world review
I booked and paid for my own flights on British Airways. As always, all opinions are my own. British Airways Business Class review British Airways club world review
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