Why British Airways Club World has ruined my life…
I’m sorry, they want how much for a business class ticket??!?
I can’t be the only one who’s had that conversation with the computer screen when flight searching. I’ve been on a number of long haul flights but never considered upgrading a class, choosing instead to maximise the money I spend on the destination rather than the journey.
But actually, when you think about it, if you’re travelling on a nine-hour flight, that’s a whole day of your holiday anyway. Do you really want to spend it suffering? Not all of us can afford business class but let’s assume we can for a minute and review whether it is in fact worth what you pay…
Pro: Well, hello Club Lounge
One of the perks of purchasing a business class ticket is having access to a lovely lounge. A place to snack, to drink, to read, to work, to basically escape the chaos of the departure terminals and take a few moments to relax. If you’re there as a group, you can sit comfortably on the sofas and kick start the holiday chat (or do crosswords with geeks like me). The wifi is free and fast. There are great magazines and newspapers and of course – there’s a fabulous view of the airfield.
Con: It’s not for everyone
It’s not really a con to be fair, at the end of the day if you don’t want to go in the lounge you don’t have to. If you prefer to peruse duty free then that’s fine. The lounge is there if you need it. I think for non-drinkers, the lounge isn’t as glamorous as it is for those who drink alcohol, an open bar really doesn’t mean anything if all you want is a soft drink or some sparkling water. Unfortunately it’s very hard to find a halal-friendly lounge too. Mo and I are huge fans of places like Giraffe that serve amazing pre-flight breakfasts. I’m not quite sure how the lounge brekky would compare, but hey, it would definitely save us some holiday spending.
Pro: You don’t have to rush onboard
After a time out in the lounge, the departure board pops up with the ‘now boarding’ sign and then off you go to the gate. As a Club World customer, you are able to board first. On our long haul flight, we were lucky enough to be on the A380. It meant there was hardly any people traffic through our section so we could take our time getting settled. Once all my things were tucked away in the overhead compartment, I could arrange my little space to fit all my travel accessories and then sit back and enjoy the welcome drink (served in a glass of course) before we strapped our belts for takeoff.
Con: I wish I had packed more hand luggage to take advantage of the extra space.
Con: I was given an aisle seat and I really hate aisle seats
Pro: A Club World aisle seat, is not your average aisle seat
The only reason I hate aisle seats is because I don’t like being disturbed whilst flying and as it turns out that never actually happens in Club World. In fact, the aisle seat was just perfect. I never felt closed in, I had copious amounts of room, yet still felt like I was in my own private pod. No need to get up anytime a ‘middle’ seat needed to get out, everything was very much on my terms. Just how I like it ?.
Pro: Personal space means something here
I’m not usually too bad when it comes to needing personal space. I actually like being closed into small spaces and I don’t mind sitting or being with strangers. But even I like to just be on my own sometimes and it’s usually on long journeys like this. Club World means thats exactly what you get. Plenty of your own space. Even on the short haul journey from Manchester > London, the middle seat was redundant, turned into an extra table. Nice touch.
Pro: This seat is everything. (E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G).
Once I figured out what all the buttons did, I was in my element. My favourite bits? First and foremost – I love that there is a drawer to keep your things in. It was so handy! I could keep all my essentials in there and never had to get up for the overhead locker. The table moves… you can pull it up close when you’re eating, push it away when you simply need to rest drinks whilst you watch a movie, or fold it in half when you just need somewhere to put your glasses whilst you sleep. BUT of course the piece de resistance is the ability to flat bed your seat. Yes, the seat goes all the way down and along with the footrest, becomes a full length bed like structure. Ah yes.
Con: They put the seat instructions in the footrest pocket
OK, once again, that’s not really a con. But for a Club World novice like me, it was torture when I realised the instructions on how to work my super sonic seat were in the footrest pocket and my short arms couldn’t reach them once the seatbelt sign was on. Don’t worry, once we were airborne, my brattiness was satisfied when I finally got hold of them.
Pro: The food menu is epic
Yes, I said epic. Menus are handed out along with welcome drinks as you board. On the way to San Francisco, I went full-on and stayed awake for the dinner selection. Every course was stunning. I was not expecting such sophistication on a plane, the pasta with goats cheese was absolutely delicious, even the tomatoes in it were full of flavour.
On the way back, I was too tired to stay up for any sort of evening meal, but I had thankfully filled in my breakfast card to request a wake up nudge so I could enjoy breakfast. I’m so glad I did too, warm croissant… exotic fruits… followed by a warm waffle with syrup and blueberry compote. Even the afternoon tea on the short haul flight was top quality.
Con: I shall forever judge the soggy mash, three grapes and rock hard butter I’m normally served.
Pro: White Company products are a great choice
I’m glad they chose the White company as they’re amenity kit providers, especially since it’s British of course. A big fan of the brand I was excited to pop the bag open. And even more excited to snuggle into my quilt, blanket and sink my head back into my feather pillow. Along with the seat, these accessories were everything. On the flight back home, it took no time at all for me to slip my mask on and fall asleep under the covers – where I had the best plane sleep I’ve ever had. I miss it already *sigh.*
This was the first time I had flown British Airways in over fifteen years. I do fly regularly, but of course I’m a bargain hunter and usually BA doesn’t come up as the cheapest option. After having flown long haul to Dubai not so long ago and having pretty SHOCKING service on board, this trip made me realise that the extra bit of cash makes all the difference when you’re travelling a long distance. Nothing was too much trouble, and I know I’m probably biased being in Club World, but everyone else we touched base with throughout our journey was just as friendly and helpful.
The entertainment was as good as any other airline, I loved that even though I was in an aisle seat I could still kinda see out the window and I didn’t get bored ONCE.
Is it worth the money? As I said at the start, not all of us can actually afford to fly anything but economy. BUT, if you are able, or if you are travelling somewhere long haul – yes, this is worth the money. It’s the difference between landing at your destination frazzled and unprepared for your holiday. If you’re travelling on business, it could be the game changer to making your business trip successful – being able to land feeling refreshed and well rested. For me, it just meant that once we landed in San Francisco after a whole day of travelling – I was ready to crack on and get straight into my holiday.
Yup, it’s official. British Airways Club World has well and truly ruined my life. I shall never look at my economy seat in the same way ever again…
*** Huge thanks to British Airways for such a wonderful flight experience. And of course to my employers, Clarity, for giving me the opportunity to experience Club World ***