If I’ve learnt one thing during my many long-haul flights between the UK and my hometown in Australia, it’s that a flatbed is worth its weight in gold. If you can afford it; do it. And if you’re not sure if you can afford for it, you should contact our specialist First and Business team, because it’s not as expensive as it used to be. In fact, Business Class airfares are now 20% cheaper than they were in 2011.
Case in point; British Airways’ Club World cabin offers a great-value Business Class airfare, especially when flying to the USA or the Caribbean. Even better if you can book it at a sale price (be sure to sign up to our First and Business newsletter to hear about them first).
I recently had the pleasure of flying with British Airways in said Club World cabin from London to New York and back. Here’s what my experience was like:
At the airport
As a self-confessed sufferer of airport anxiety, the reassurance of a fast-track check-in and peaceful lounge to wait in is, to me, one of the main perks of flying Business Class. When flying back from New York, we got stuck in traffic and were a little late to the airport. Usually this would have been enough for me to dive headfirst into a metaphorical mind-pool of stress. But knowing that as soon as we’d arrived, we’d be able to go through priority check-in and directly onto the lounge, meant I was as cool as a cucumber. And that’s exactly what ended up happening.
British Airways Club Lounge at London Gatwick
Departing London from Gatwick Airport meant I got to experience the new check-in desks in the south terminal and the brand new British Airways Club Lounge (pictured above or watch the video on our Facebook). Spanning an impressive two levels and a generous corner of the terminal, the lounge is incredibly spacious and features a mezzanine, business centre, kids’ playroom and ample seating areas. I found a comfortable spot to get my bits together (checking my passport for the 10th time) before taking a wander around, helping myself to the bar (a G&T of course) and the buffet on offer (that giant chocolate cake was hard to walk by) before sitting down with one of the complimentary glossy magazines. If you’re a plane buff the lounge also has fantastic views of the runway.
British Airways Club Lounge at JFK Airport, New York
Before I get onto the main event (the flight itself), I’d also like to quickly nip ahead in time, and talk about the lounge in New York too – which I experienced on my return flight. After checking in at JFK Airport we breezed through priority security and into the Club Lounge; the size was equally impressive as the one at Gatwick. Inside there was plenty of seating space, TV screens, a buffet, standalone bar and even a separate dining room. As our return journey was an overnight flight, here I filled up on pasta freshly cooked to my liking, prior to boarding the plane.
From the lounge our flight was called and we went straight on into the cabin. The Club World cabin configuration is two-four-two, with the two middle seats enjoying a shared space making it ideal for couples. As I was with friends, I settled into one of the aisle seats, placing my in-flight essentials in the handy storage draw before enjoying a welcome beverage.
The amenity kit
During take-off I inspected the features available to me, eagerly testing out the amenity kit on my seat which featured a sleep mask, pen, toothbrush, toothpaste, ear plugs and a lip balm, all of which came very much in handy. Also on offer were noise-cancelling headphones which made a huge difference when settling into a movie (I watched and fell asleep during La La Land), along with a plush pillow and ultra-soft blanket.
Once we were in the air I was presented with an in-flight menu including Champagne options, as well as a choice of entrees, mains and desserts. On my flight to New York I requested the goats cheese and pesto, followed by the prawn noodle stirfry, followed by the cheese board (don’t judge me). I was delighted as each course was presented to me with real cutlery and crockery, along with drink top-ups and a warm selection of bread to choose from. And just when I thought I was full, the offer of an afternoon tea came to me in the form of warm scones, sandwiches and sweets, which I made room for because, well, it’d be rude not to right?
On my return flight to London I told the attendant I’d already eaten in the lounge and that I planned on sleeping for the whole flight. They didn’t disturb me for the rest of the journey.
After I’d browsed the in-flight entertainment options and indulged in my three-course meal, all I wanted to do was stretch out. I put the foot stool down, readied my pillow and blanket and pressed the seat down button. Much to my surprise it went down, and down, and down, until I was lying completely flat and cocooned by the seat’s wrap around shell. On my way to New York I propped my seat up slightly so I could watch movies (and fall asleep during them), while on my way back to London I slept the whole way, luxuriously rolling around on my side and not waking at all. Is there anything more luxurious than hours of uninterrupted sleep on an overnight flight? Bliss!
Arriving in New York
After eight blissful hours of eating, watching movies and sleeping, we arrived in New York. I thought the perks might end here but much to my delight they kept going. Club World passengers were amongst the first people to disembark, which meant we quickly zipped through immigration (which if you’ve already entered with an ESTA before, is all electronic), collected our priority-tagged luggage, and then we were off into the Big Apple. What a way to start a trip!
Want to experience all of the perks of a British Airways Club World Flight? Talk to our specialist Flight Centre First and Business Travel Experts today for a bespoke quote or check out our current British Airways flights online.