British Airways is upping its game by offering upgrades to its business and first class products.
Known as Club World (or Club Europe for domestic business seats), BA’s business class is already a step up from the economy section. But with its newest upgrade, guests are given even more room to stretch.
Aboard their first class cabins, BA guests are treated to even more luxury. Passengers can expect excellent service with all the modern comforts a premium cabin offers.
If you’re curious how these two products compare, let’s check out the details in this British Airways Business Class vs. British Airways First Class comparison.
- Quick Glance: British Airways Business Class vs. British Airways First Class
- The Details: British Airways Business Class vs. British Airways First Class
- British Airways Business Class
- British Airways First Class
- Best For: Which Airline Class Should You Book?
- Wrapping Up
Quick Glance: British Airways Business Class vs. British Airways First Class
|British Airways Business Class||British Airways First Class|
|Ground Experience||Guests flying from the BA hub in Heathrow Airport (LHR) will get access to the Club World Lounge. BA also offers access to partner lounges for those traveling from other hubs.||Guests traveling from Heathrow Airport (LHR) receive access to the exclusive BA First Class lounge (also called First Galleries). It’s located on the upper portion of Gate 18. However, the real treat is you can also access the exclusive The Concorde Room when flying First and departing from Heathrow’s T5.|
|Seat||On the A350 and 787, BA’s Club Suites feature a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone layout. The 787 Club World seats have a 72/73-inch pitch with a 20/22 inch width. The older Club World product is still found in certain 777 aircraft. Older seats are in a cramped 2-4-2 pattern but will be replaced by the new Club Suite configuration eventually. The seats here feature a 73/78-inch pitch and a 20/22-inch width.||BA First Class seats vary depending on the aircraft. Aboard the 787-9 Dreamliner, there are 8 suites with a 73-inch pitch and 22-inch width. On the A380 and the 777, there are 14 suites (except for the newly fitted aircraft containing 8 suites) with a pitch of 78-inches and a width of 22 inches.|
|Amenities||The White Company amenity kits are given to guests. Inside is a toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask, sock, pen, lotion, and moisturizer.||Amenity kits are exclusively designed by London luxury company Temperley London. The men’s kits are in a black velvet pouch with a colorful lining. Inside is a sock, eye mask, dental kit, a branded pen, earplugs, Elemis facial wipes, Elemis shaving gel, moisturizer, lip balm, tissues, and cream. The women’s are similar except the shaving gel is swapped for a pocket mirror. Temperley London pajamas and slippers are also provided on long-haul flights.|
|Food and Beverage||A menu is handed before takeoff, you can also preselect meals before takeoff on the BA website. Two meals are served, depending on the duration of the flight. Free snacks and beverages are also on display at the galley.||Pre-flight drinks and a four-course meal are offered soon after takeoff. Breakfast is served at least 90-minutes before landing. Meals are served on William Edwards-designed china and crockery with cutlery from Studio William.|
|Entertainment||Fitted with a 12 to 18.5-inch HD touchscreen (depending on the craft) controlled by a remote or by a panel. It’s pre-filled with a selection of movies, music, and TV shows.||Each seat comes with at least a 15-inch IFE monitor. (Size depends on the aircraft). It’s pre-filled with over 1,000 movies and shows. A matching noise-canceling headset is provided too.|
|Lavatories||On the 777, there are 2 lavatories, one in the front and one in the back. The A350 has 2 lavatories at the back while the 787 has 1 lavatory.||On the 777-300, there are 2 lavatories in the aft section. Aboard the A380, there are 2 lavatories in the forward section while on the 787, there’s 1 lavatory at the front.|
|Bed||The seats recline into a flat bed, measuring anywhere from 72 to 78 inches, depending on the aircraft.||A microfiber mattress, 400-thread count bedding, and pillows are provided by The White Company. Turndown service is provided by the crew.|
|Service||The BA crew is always consistent. They are friendly and thoughtful while delivering excellent service to guests.||BA attendants and the flight crew are among the most experienced in the air. They’re friendly, professional, and excellent at ensuring guests are happy in the air.|
|Wi-Fi||Available but not free to business class passengers. Wi-Fi costs about $18 for the duration of the flight without any data cap.||Free Wi-Fi is available to First class guests. However, it’s not airport to airport and only kicks in once the plane is in the air.|
The Details: British Airways Business Class vs. British Airways First Class
British Airways Business Class
Although they’ve received criticism for the cramped layout of their older business class product, BA is making amends by introducing a new reverse herringbone design inside their Club World cabins.
Featuring the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats with a sliding door, these Club Suites will be introduced in some form to all of BA’s fleet eventually.
Club World guests flying out of London Heathrow Airport (LHR) receive dedicated check-in kiosks as well as a security entrance. Before boarding, guests can also access the Galleries Club Lounges found in Terminal 5 at both the North and South wings.
The Club World Lounge at Terminal 5A is right after the security check-in. There’s also an arrivals lounge for receiving passengers after a long-haul flight.
Offering spacious Osborne and Little fabric-covered seats, you can spread out inside the lounge seating areas. During the pandemic, British Airways made changes to its services. Everything is now ordered via a QR code. This means hot meals to an assortment of beverages, can be ordered without getting up from your seat. Instead, the staff will deliver it to you.
Large windows bathe the lounge in the sunshine while offering fantastic views of the tarmac. Shower rooms are perfect for guests looking to freshen up before a flight. Meanwhile, power outlets and USB plugs are also within reach for charging phones, laptops, or other devices.
As mentioned, British Airways is in the process of upgrading Club World seats in all of its fleet.
They first introduced their Club Suites on the A350s and their 787s. Ditching the cramped 2-4-2 layout, these upgraded seats feature a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 arrangement. This means each passenger gets coveted aisle access, eliminating the need to sidestep your neighbor just to get to the lavatory!
Not content with revolutionizing the seat, BA is the first airline to offer a sliding door to a reverse herringbone layout. With a game-changing design, it means Club World guests can indulge in the ultimate privacy regardless of their selected seat.
When it comes to looks, the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond is upholstered in a sleek black fabric, complimenting the white bulkhead and the blue, glowing British Airways logo.
On the 787-10, seats come with a 72 to 73-inch pitch paired with a 20 to 22-inch width. These seats fully recline to transform into a flatbed. Directly in front is a leather-covered footwell and a 12 to 18.5-inch inch HD IFE screen (size depends on the craft). There’s also a small vanity with a mirror, power outlets, sockets, a panel for seat controls, and a counter.
Certain 777 long-haul flights still carry the old 2-4-2 layout. Eventually, they’ll be swapped for the newer configuration but if you happen to catch a flight on these, the seat pitch is 73 to 78 inches while the width is 20 to 22 inches.
International flights heading to North America or the Middle East receive a Club World Sleeper service. The seat includes lush pillows and bedding courtesy of BA partner, The White Company.
Amenity kits are handed out on long flights too. Housed in a sleek, zippered black leather pouch, The White Company amenity kit contains a lip balm, socks, eye shade, and hand lotion, among others. On particular flights, slippers are also given to Club World passengers.
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Food and Beverage
While its true Club World has been criticized for its less than stellar food and beverage program, they’re promising big improvements.
On long-haul Club World flights, guests receive pre-flight drinks and snacks. Shortly after takeoff, the meal service starts. You can choose your main course paired with a starter and your choice of drinks.
Main meals are a choice of poultry, beef, or fish. You can also avail of snacks and beverages in between by heading to the galley. Meals, however, are doled out on single trays and they’re not dine-on-demand like in first class.
Choose from juice, coffee, or champagne for pre-flight drinks. The menu lists more drink options including a respectable selection of beer, champagnes, and wines. Refreshing coffee from London’s Union Coffee as well as tea from Twinnings is also listed.
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Each Club World seat comes with a 12 to 18.5-inch HD touchscreen monitor. The size varies depending on the aircraft. Take your pick from a heaping selection of TV shows, movies, and music to keep you entertained throughout the flight.
Although it’s a touch screen, you can use the remote control for convenience. Waiting on each seat is a prepacked set of noise-canceling headphones for your listening pleasure.
Wi-Fi is available for Club World guests but it’s not free. To connect, it’ll cost approximately $18 for the duration of the flight without any data cap. Depending on the route, the Wi-Fi can get spotty but otherwise, it’s perfect for non-data intensive usage like messaging, checking emails, etc.
The lavatory configuration is different from flight to flight. Aboard the 777, guests can use 2 lavatories located one each at the front and back section of the cabin. However, if you’re on the A380, both lavatories will be situated at the front portion while the 787 provides only a single lavatory for business class passengers.
Get cozy during your flight as every single one of the Club World seats fully recline. The only difference is the length of the beds since these are dependent on the aircraft you’re using. But, you can expect at least 72 inches up to 78 inches of space to enjoy.
These beds also come with a soft mattress topper, plush duvets, and pillows courtesy of British Airways partner, The White Company.
Staff and Guest Services
If there’s one thing BA is consistently praised for, it’s the service. Flight attendants are well-trained, providing consistent quality and friendly service. You’ll find the crew adapting to the formality or informality of the conversation with each guest, ensuring their needs are addressed.
During overseas flights, it’s not uncommon for international guests to find a crewmember that speaks in their native tongue as the airline makes a point to staff an overseas-based crew on most flights.
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Who Is It For?
Business travelers and luxury passengers looking for comfort will love traveling on Club World. British Airways has a solid offering with its Club Suites as it continues to merge both functionality and design into one beautiful hard product.
The seats lie flat and the soft bedding from The White Company ensures absolute comfort. With its revolutionary sliding doors on the reverse herringbone layout, you get privacy and accessibility since there’s direct aisle access.
If you value privacy and aisle access during longer flights, the Club World seat could be perfect for you.
British Airways Business Class Gallery
British Airways First Class
In 2020, British Airways updated its first class cabin with new seats. Although it wasn’t a complete overhaul, they’ve still managed to deliver a dependable product that makes flying in their premium cabin a pleasant experience.
First class passengers get exclusive access to one of the best airport lounges in Europe, The Concorde Room when flying out of London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) or from the John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York.
There’s a separate first class lounge also available at Terminal 5 out of London’s Heathrow. The lounge is termed properly as the British Galleries First Class Lounge. Entry requirements here are looser, allowing Oneworld Gold and Emerald members access.
Inside the lounge, you get a host of seating all spread out with different “themes.” Sit down and relax while waiting for your flight or head directly to the bar area for a sip of soothing champagne or wine.
A buffet spread with hot and cold options is found in the dining section. However, if you’re not feeling the selection, you can order à la carte from the menu.
British Airways recently updated their first class seats, starting with those inside the B777-300.
There are several configurations of the First cabin depending on the aircraft you take. The 787 Dreamliner offers the most intimate setup with only 8 seats in a 1-2-1 setup. The older cabins once housed 14 seats. Couples traveling together can opt for center seats while solo travelers receive more privacy by the window. Seats offer a 73-inch pitch and 22-inch width.
As you settle, you’re offered a welcome drink, often a customary glass of Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle. A gray patterned texture is on the seat and right in front is an adjustable footrest (which also doubles as a buddy seat) with a welcome amenity and blanket ready and waiting.
On the sides is a small closet, a hand dial for seat controls, and easy access outlets to use. There’s a glossy tray table, a stowaway table, and a large, touchscreen monitor pre-filled with shows, games, and music.
Meanwhile, the bigger A380 does away with the bulky overhead, creating a more luxurious feel. There are 14 seats on the A380 lower cabin, although some are updated to only feature 8 seats.
Finally, on the 777-300, the seats transform into suites with the addition of a sliding door. There are three variations of the seats, depending on the type of aircraft. However, these generally offer a 78-inch pitch and a 22-inch width.
To match the luxury of the cabin, BA also made upgrades to their amenity kit. They’re now handing out Temperley London-designed “washbags” filled with basic items like toothpaste and toothbrush, eye masks, socks, earplugs, and high-end Elemis products.
The black velvety zip pouch is given to men with the inclusion of a shaving gel inside while the colorful, zipped pouch sporting the iconic Temperly London “star” is doled out to women with the addition of a pocket mirror inside.
Aside from these, guests on long-haul flights are also given Temperly London pajamas. These are super comfortable and are a hit with guests. It even includes luxurious slippers.
Food and Beverage
It’s not as extravagant as the dining experience in Singapore or Etihad, but British Airways impresses with its fine dining service.
Every single meal is presented in elegantly-designed bone china by tableware creator, William Edwards. There’s dine-on-demand here so you can choose from the menu and feast anytime you want.
From delicious appetizers to a sumptuous selection of cheeses, you can order a sampling of the meal or go full course whenever you’re ready. Their food selection is paired with an excellent choice of wines and beverages – all served in gorgeous glassware. Have a glass or two of their signature Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle to delicious reds like the Chateau Prieure-Lichine, it’s a drinkers delight.
If you want to experience true British luxury in the air, order their Afternoon Tea service. Sip fine tea paired with delectable sandwiches, sweets, or cake.
For breakfast, you can opt for the signature English Breakfast including a helping of fruit and bread in a basket.
The size of the touchscreen monitors changes depending on the aircraft. On the 777-300, you’ll find a 23-inch IFE monitor while on the other aircraft, these measure 15-inches. Regardless of its size, the monitor is touchscreen responsive and contains hundreds of movies and shows to keep you entertained.
You also get noise-canceling headphones and remote control for easy navigation.
First class guests can use free Wi-Fi onboard. It’s worth noting you can only access it once up in the air as it’s not airport-to-airport. However, it is fast and excellent for streaming content or squeezing in work.
Lavatories are on first class cabins and the placement would depend on the type of aircraft you are flying. Don’t expect much, they’re pretty basic, unlike more luxurious lavatories found in carriers like Etihad or Emirates.
The crew automatically does turndown service once it’s time to sleep. You can also ask directly if you want your bed made up while you change into your pajamas.
The seats lie flat along with the armrest so you get extra space around your body when you sleep. For comfort, it’s padded with a luxury topper and 400-thread count linen and pillows. Even better, the cabin temperature is kept cool throughout the night, giving guest’s a comfortable night’s rest.
Staff and Guest Services
Often, two attendants are assigned to care for first class guests. BA is known for its highly trained professional service crew. True to British flair, they have a knack for accommodating guests. They’re attentive, extremely pleasant, and willing to assist with any request.
Who Is It For?
Flying first class is a true luxury indeed. If you want pure convenience or to be pampered during a long flight, flying on First is the best option. While the product isn’t as spectacular as other big-name carriers, it’s nevertheless a great experience worth indulging in if you get a chance.
British Airways First Class Gallery
Best For: Which Airline Class Should You Book?
|Winner||What Makes It Great|
|Best for Food||British Airways First Class||Dine-on-demand is a fantastic option offered only in this cabin. This means you can order anytime you want, even in the middle of the night.|
|Best for Seats||Tie||It may be odd to say business class seats are equally good as the first seats, but in certain Club World aircraft, it is!|
|Best for Ground Experience||British Airways First Class||While you get a decent Club World Business Class lounge at BA’s hub in Heathrow, the option to access The Concorde Room is a real perk only BA First Class guests can experience.|
|Best For Comfort||Tie||Both the newer products on BA’s First and Business are comfortable and great for long-distance travel.|
|Best for Families||British Airways Business Class||Families traveling together might enjoy business class better than first class. Plus, it might be easier in the pocket when traveling with the whole brood.|
|Best for Couples||British Airways First Class||Couples wanting to get seats next to each other can occupy the center aisle in first class where there’s an option to raise or lower the middle privacy shields for convenience.|
|Best for Service||British Airways First Class||No doubt, the first class cabin takes the cake when it comes to dedicated and focused service from the staff.|
|Most Exclusive||Tie||With the newer Club Suites in a reverse herringbone layout and with sliding doors, both cabins now offer great exclusivity.|
Choosing between flying business class or first class on British Airways means considering a lot of factors. There’s accessibility, convenience, price, and of course, point availability (if you want to use points).
While there were hiccups in the previous versions, British Airways continues to improve its offering to measure up against some of the best in the air.
The latest Club World seats in a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 layout give business class guests complete convenience and outstanding privacy. They are spacious, supply excellent storage, and are cozy. If you happen to take the 777-300. you can even enjoy the sliding doors for privacy.
On the other hand, the seats in first class are equally delightful with luxurious black upholstery coupled with all the conveniences you would expect in a luxury cabin.
From ample storage, a buddy seat, stowaway tray tables, high-quality IFE, delicious dine-on-demand, premium drinks, fantastic amenity kits, and more, guests can bask in opulence while up in the air.
Regardless of which you choose, both newer BA products certainly impress. And there are signs British Airways will continue to roll out improvements in the coming years. That’s always something to look forward to.