Savvy Review: British Airways - Club World Longhaul
We recently had the chance to fly longhaul in British Airways Club World from Seattle to London-Heathrow and back. The flight was at the peak summer travel period, and even with two non-stop double dailies, the Boeing 747-400s used for the route were packed.
In both directions our expectations were met on the ground - with fast and courteous check-in, lounge access, priority boarding and luggage tags. Both at SeaTac and Heathrow our Club World boarding pass gave us access to fast-track security screening lines - a blessing especially at congested SeaTac. The BA Galleries Lounge at SeaTac is located in the remote S satellite terminal and is prone to congestion. However at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, Club World passengers have access to two very spacious lounges with all the perks you’d expect - including showers.
The configuration of Club World in the Upper Deck is spacious, with a 2-2 seating arrangement. However on the Lower Deck, the situation is a bit more congested with a 2-4-2 fish bone configuration. The middle seats are rear facing and parallel to each other - good for couples but slightly awkward for solo travellers. We also found that cabin crew have difficulty accessing these seats during meal services and that it’s tougher for them to spot glasses that need refilling. Overall the pod seats are extremely comfortable, both in takeoff and landing positions and in lie-flat mode. The bedding is supplied by The White Company (however the bedding sets are bulky and somewhat complicated to arrange). Headsets are provided but are not fully noise cancelling nor comfortable. Toiletry sets are manufactured by The White Company as well and come with everything one might expect - including lip balm, moisturizer, pulse point, toothbrush and toothpaste, earplugs, socks and an exceptionally comfortable eye mask. A sliding drawer below the TV screen is convenient and secure for storing electronics, wallets and other personal items (electronics can be charged via a power outlet or via a USB charging port)
We were happy that the inflight-entertainment system was fully available throughout the entire flight, including during takeoff and landing. However, the screens need to be stowed away during taxi and takeoff. The screens are large, exceptionally easy to use and with enough movies, TV, and other content to keep the most-demanding customer pleased. We especially liked the multi-mode inflight map and the updated BBC World news updates.
In both directions a nearly similar menu was offered (Dinner/Breakfast on the outbound; Lunch/Afternoon Tea on the inbound) and the wine selections were identical. We ordered the Pan-roasted fillet of beef for dinner and found it to be underwhelming (however we do appreciate the the flight kitchen at SeaTac is a challenge for airlines). What made an impression was the cheese board, which included generous quantities of blue, bucheron, cheddar and farmhouse chutney. Before landing in Seattle as part of the Afternoon Tea we sampled the Tapas plate and found it to be wanting. However the Scottish Smoked Salmon with pickled shallot and horseradish cream (offered as a starter during lunch out of Heathrow) hit the mark completely, in terms of presentation and taste.
In both directions the wine selection featured two whites and two reds, in addition to Champagne Canard-Duchene “Cuvée Leonie” Brut NV. We indulged in the 2015 Teanum “Otre” Primitivo and the 2014 Tyrell’s “Rufus Stone” Shiraz from Australia.
The overall inflight service was what one would expect in Club World. However on the outbound flight we concluded that cabin crew could have been more attentive with meal service cleanup and refills.
As our Seattle-London flight arrived before 2pm we were able to take advantage of the BA Arrivals Lounge, located curbside in T5. A wonderful way to refresh, it features shower pods and complimentary pressing.