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Is the old British Air A380 Club World Really the WORST Business Class Seat? (Spoiler Alert: Never Flying it Again)!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


This past spring was a mess for me.

We lost my mom after years of dementia.

Best-laid travel plans were tossed out the window. The result was all my booked Delta One flights had to be canceled. Trying to re-book was, well, not an option. Why? As Forbes points out (and Delta PR rep tries their best to deny) most Delta biz class awards are WAY out of whack compared to all the other airlines up in the air.

Thus I turned to my bag of travel points and found the cheapest choice to fly business class home from Sweden early this summer was on BA. Plus, I have never been on an A380 and really just wanted to fly it once.

Beyond that I wanted to see if the much talked about BA Club World business class seat was as “bad” as everyone says.

Let’s take a look.

The BA web site showed the cabin just about full when I went to pick seats (and never opened up). But once onboard the upper deck cabin was just about empty and stayed that way. The seats did, at first glance, look rather densely packed.

The 2-3-2 configuration is not a good one and this middle seat – oh my. I can not imagine paying to fly and sit here.

Not only is it miserably tight but you are flying backward. Now I know, statistically, flying backwards is safer in the case of an emergency – but it just feels strange to me.

Maybe you, dear reader, have had a chance to experience this middle seat? Was it as bad as my mind made it up to be (not having flown in that seat myself mind you)?

On to my choice.

We chose the last row just before the Premium Economy section. My wife in the window seat.

And I had the one facing forward. Now, I did like the fact that I was facing my wife and it made chatting much simpler.

That is about where anything positive I can say about this seat ends.

Screwed to the seat in front of me is the footrest and what becomes part of the fully flat seat.

The major problem is that the passenger in the window seat in front of my wife has to climb over this thing when in the lowered position.

What a joke.

My wife, being in the last window row, had no such obstacle to get out of her seat. She even said the area felt large and spacious and she really enjoyed it. Then again she is a tiny person.

For me, my aisle seat was miserable. I like shoulder space and this seat felt awful the entire flight over the Atlantic. The power ports are in the wrong place. But wait! you say Is there another set?

Well, yes. But…

These are better but rather hard to get to and unless you have a very long USB cable you may not be able to use them with your device.

But at least there is plenty of storage?

Uh…

Just enough to hold my tried and true Noise Hush headphones safe and sound but not much else. Many gripe that Delta One seats have limited storage. But compared to this they are dreamy!

What about the amenity kit?

Meh.

This kit is on par with what Delta gives you in Premium Select! I am really starting to understand why so many avoid this “business class” experience.

What about sleeping?

My flight was a daytime flight but I made up the empty seat next to mine to show you what to expect. I will leave it to you to comment on what you think.

On to the food. Maybe that was better.

The meal choices were beef, chicken or not. I was not in the mood for chicken or not so both my wife and I choose the beef.

First up a drink and some nuts. An interesting presentation and so far so good.

The first course was respectable other than the flimsy plastic tray placed under the cloth. I removed it and for good reason (more on that in a bit).

The beef was sad. It was destroyed and chewy and floating in sauce. The potatoes were equally mush other than on top.

I was happy I was not very hungry.

I chose the cheese plate as my dessert option and it was tiny but the best thing I had placed in front of me. My wife had the flan and said it was also good.

I did not get a shot of the final service before landing. I had tea and a scone; but due to that tiny plastic tray that returned with the next service, I missed the edge and placed my teacup down on it — resulting in tea all over my seat and me.

I flew the remainder of the flight wet and sitting in the open seat next to mine.

I will say the A380 is an amazing aircraft. For such a beast it climbed gracefully and was a sweet ride over the Atlantic. If I had a good seat and good food, it would have been marvelous. Lastly, the British Airways flight attendants were delightful and attentive. They made me feel welcome and well cared for.

Also, spending off-peak Avios (and a few hundred bucks) vs. hundreds of thousands of SkyMiles really saved my frequent flyer account totals.

Have you had a chance to fly this old British Air Club World seat? Was your experience better or worse than mine? What do you think of this old business class seat? – René

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

5 Comments

  1. We flew ORD-LHR-FCO-VCE-LHR-ORD three years ago on BA and actually didn’t think it was nearly as bad as everyone complains about. It was during the promotion where 27k Avios got something like $700 off the fare. We were able to stack the $400 AARP discount on an already sub$2k fare to get round trip for around $750+27k Avios.

    On the way to London we had upper deck on the 747 and the way back we had the two middle seats on the lower deck. I actually got a great 6 hours of sleep on the way there (helped by champagne and Ambien). We ate in the PACKED lounge before the flight so didn’t dine onboard.

    The way back we actually really enjoyed the middle seats on the 747. Traveling as a couple they feel very private when the windows between seats are up. Like most “honeymoon seats”, they’d be downright creepy if sitting next to a stranger.

    I have no delusions that BA J is anywhere near the top of business class products out there. Just on the ORD-LHR route I’d choose it last if I or my company was paying going rate. But I think the product is good enough for some of the cheap fares they tend to run. And honestly, they offer the best award space on most flights. I look at the 57.5k AA miles + $500 fuel tax as my backup plan to get to Europe in J. Sure, it’s not as good as flying AA. But if anyone can find a Friday night flight to Europe on AA during the summer at saver levels please do let me know 🙂

  2. Rene,
    As a primarily Oneworld flyer am very familiar with BA’s business class product. While I’m starting to fly Delta more (why I read your blog- keep up the good work) your post exactly illustrates my reluctance to go “all in” on Delta/Skyteam. I’m not spending 400k points for a Delta One seat, ever!! While quality matters, award availability and decent pricing completely trump whether my seat has a door. I hate surcharges as much as you do, but a surcharge with 57.5k points is WAY better than 400k points per seat.

  3. Benny Kim

    Rene, I actually just flew that flight and exact same seat as your wife last weekend and I have to say I really enjoyed it. While not up to other business class products it was much better than I expected given the reviews and comments I have seen online. The window seat (59K) had TONS of storage space and privacy. I highly recommend any of the window seats in the last rows of Club World.
    I was also saved by recommendations of getting a special meal rather than the normal choices on board. I chose low sodium and it was not too bad. Not great but not inedible. Definitely get your fill of food before getting on the plane because you won’t love what you get on the plane!

  4. “Maybe you, dear reader, have had a chance to experience this middle seat? Was it as bad as my mind made it up to be?”

    The rear-facing seats window seats, are great. The upper deck middle on the A380 I’ve flown once, and didn’t mind it. I’d have preferred a window, but the single middle wasn’t uncomfortable in anyway.

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