British Airways Club Suites on the A350 – First Impressions

Monday's media event for the arrival of British Airways' first A350-1000 was a significant as it was the launch of a whole new aircraft range for the airline as well as a new cabin range.

I tried to do some live streaming for my first time, although this was a bit hit-and-miss given with the wifi provided to us, and I wasn't sure that my 4G allowance would handle the upload so I couldn't film in High Definition which was such a pity as the cabin was really nice.

As far as I could tell I was the only person live-streaming so those who were following my Facebook. You can see the 6-minute video below. (As I was using my phone to film I didn’t get as many pictures of seats as I would have liked in the short time we had available, so I'm mixing in some press images where appropriate!)

The cabin

As we knew previously it would be arranged into a 1-2-1 configuration based off the pre-released seat map.

Here are Rows 1-11. As you can see every seat has direct aisle access so no hopping over other people's legs if you are sat in the window or middle seats.

Picture provided by British Airways

Then there is a gap of three numbers, which then goes to a slightly more private second Club World cabin area numbered rows 15-17. If you're a travelling in a larger group (stag do maybe?) and fancy something as cozy these could be the best seats on the plane.

and looking forward while standing in seat 16F.

Separating the two Club World sections is a small galley area which has the Club Kitchen snacks and beverages

And of course the toilets (with appropriate mood lighting) which were surprisingly spacious inside.

I had initially thought the colour scheme would be a slightly more hazelnut colour due to the following press image but in person the seats appeared to be have wider contrast and slightly blue/grey shade than I first thought.

Overall the colour scheme is really nice. The cabin had mood lighting switched on (though I did not notice until someone pointed it out to me!) and everything was very pleasant on the eye. We don't have any press or live images of it at night so this still remains to be seen. Due to the daylight flight times for the familiarisation runs between London and Madrid we will have to wait until September when it flies its first long haul routes.

There is 40% extra volume for stowage space compared to the previous iteration of Club World, and a vanity mirror. There are 2 USB ports and a power socket inside the stowage compartment with the IFE controller.

There is plenty of space within the cubby-hole for your feet even with shoes on. Even with my size 10 feet there was plenty of space and nothing obstructing the way. The 18.5″ In-flight entertainment screen is a good size, though similar to competitor airlines which also use the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seat. I forgot to check whether the screen folds in but looking through my images it looks quite sturdily attached with no obvious buttons or hinges, so I'm guessing not.

The table folds and has different height and distance positions to accommodate for reclined, lie flat or upright seating arrangements, and there is mini screen to control the seat position.

 

The seats do not have individual air vents, so whatever the cabin temperature is preset to is what you will experience the whole flight. There is a small reading light and literature pocket located above the shoulder.

One interesting thing to note is the 3 point harness similar to a car seatbelt which goes across the shoulder. This is to prevent the need of thick, padded waist seatbelts which you might find on, similarly slanted seats, e.g. Cathay Pacific.

In the centre seats the divider window can be optionally opened or shut and there is no need to have it in a particular position due to take-off and landing.

And this is what you would see if sat in the seat with the divider open.

Lie flat mode is very comfortable. In the previous Club World I found the seats a little on the hard side (and hence my backside bones would feel a bit of pressure when lying down. No such issues here. I estimate the padding to be 35-50mm thick and was very comfortable. Shoulder space is plentiful as you can see from my average build, 1.74m (5’8”) height and there was still plenty of leg room before I reached the bottom of the cubby-hole.

Nice, thick bedding and the amenity kit is provided by The White Company.

Every seat has a door for privacy – the top being above eye level so you can work on what you need but not so high to feel completely enclosed.

We were on the media flight on 5th August 2019 (see our review here) to also try out the product in-flight and also the catering service.

In all, I really like this new Club World offering. It's such an improvement to the 8-across Ying-Yang arrangement in the current fleet, and I'll be glad to see more and more of these newer Club Suite seats being installed.

About Tim

Tim Lai is a Chartered Engineer and a typical nerd who analyses every travel deal, travel hack and is one of the world's leading travel experts. He has travelled to around 90 countries and also speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. He has been featured on the likes of CNN, BBC and also broader websites websites like Nomad Capitalist for his deep knowledge of EU travel laws. An accredited journalist, he is happy to speak to other journalists who need expertise on travel topics.

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