What’s it really like to fly Business Class?

Have you ever seen people getting on board and heading directly for first class or business class? Ever wondered what it’s really like at the front of the plane and whether it’s worth it?

I recently had a chance to upgrade my flight from coach to business class (known as Club World) aboard a British Airways flight from Calgary to London aboard the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

british airways business class club world whats it like how review quality

What’s it really like in business class?

We purchased coach tickets from BA and used Avios points to get the upgrade.

British Airways Club World gets you lounge access

The first perk that makes this worthwhile is access to the private departures lounge. In Calgary, the lounge is operated by Aspire. While it’s not what I’d call luxurious, it is very well appointed with a variety of seating options (from booths, to sofas, high top bar seating and club chairs), a small self serve buffet and a bar.  Everything you might want is included with your ticket. It was nice being able to sit quietly and comfortably away from the crowds.

Board early and enjoy champagne


The next pro of Business Class is priority boarding. Before the majority of passengers are allowed to board, Club World guests go to the front of the line. We’re ushered on board, where there’s a tonne of space to move around and stow luggage. While in coach you’re rushing to get your bag up and slide into your seat, lest you hold up the rest of the line, in Club World you’ve got room to maneuver easily so no one is nudging your behind. Plus, the overhead compartments are huge and there’s no competing to wedge your bag next to dozens of others.

Cozy touches on board

On the seat are a fluffy duvet-style blanket, over-ear headphones, and a pillow. While pillows and blankets used to be offered on regular class flights, I’ve not seen them in about 10-15 years, so this is a nice surprise. A small drawer by my feet is pulled open and I’m easily able to stow everything I want to have handy for the flight; my headphones, Apple iPad, cosmetics case, notebook and my two phones, the iPhone 8 and the Google Pixel 2 XL.

Roomy reclining seats; like a La-Z-Boy in the sky

Speaking of the seats, they’re big, roomy and luxurious. They’re wide, and they recline at the touch of a button and there’s a footrest where I can stretch my legs right out. They also fold fully flat, a feature which I’ll test later on. There’s a table that folds out to a small side table-size or a larger workspace, so you can sip, or work, or do anything at all. Of course it goes without saying there’s power USB plugs available and I’m able to charge two things at once easily.

As I get unpacked, the beautifully dressed BA flight attendant offers me champagne, which I happily accept. Wow. Nice touch. Moments later another flight attendant comes by with a nice vanity kit containing a sleep mask, socks, earplugs, and some assorted lotions, lip balm and a really nice essential oil rollerball. Inhale…… exhale….. champagne… relax. This experience is already growing on me.british airways business class club world whats it like how review quality

Soon enough, we’re asked to belt in and we lift off. I notice right away that the Dreamliner is ultra smooth and quiet.

Relax on Club World with a cocktail before dinner

After takeoff drinks are on offer and there’s anything you could want, from wines, to beer and hard liquor. I order a vodka rocks and am promptly served Ciroc (a new brand for me) on ice.

Privacy if you want it

If you like to sit quietly and enjoy your flight, these seating pods are quite private. Each one has a sort of wrap around the upper portion that shields you from your neighbours, and the aisle. There’s also a privacy screen that goes up between the side by side seats, which actually have one seat facing front beside another rear facing seat.

Special menu & real china

When you fly Club World you’re not only going in comfort you’re also going to eat well. The flight attendant arrives to give me a menu with the choices for a three course meal, and to take my order for dinner.

I’ve chosen grilled Ahi tuna with spring onion and corn salsa and Seasonal salad, Ontario veal Saltimbocca with spinach papardelle and a custard tart.

british airways business class club world whats it like how review quality foodDinner arrives about 45 minutes after takeoff on real china and with steel flatware. The tuna is tender and tasty; a nice light starter. The veal and pasta is good too; the veal is properly cooked and though the meal isn’t hot, per say, it’s just fine for me, especially considering if I were sitting in the back I’d likley be having a cold, flattened sub. Wine is offered with dinner so naturally I accept to taste the wares on offer; a lovely South African red.

Feeling pampered

The dessert tart is tasty and light and a perfect way to end the meal. Soon enough a nightcap is on offer, and I figure, what the hell. Another Ciroc arrives and I sit back, put my feet up and flip through some digital magazines while I sip. I have to say, I feel really pampered. Anything and everything I could want is just a question away. The flight staff is friendly and helpful and does their best to make sure we want for nothing.

After dinner, many of the passengers elect to head right for bed, and the seats start to slide lower. I stay up, wanting to enjoy every minute of this flight, but it’s not long before sleep gets the best of me.

Sleep in the sky: Club World fold flat beds

british airways business class club world whats it like how review quality

The seats in Club World recline to a fully flat position with the touch of a button. To extend them to full sleeping length, you lift your footrest, and voila! a bed in the sky. The padding is nice and it’s quite comfortable both on my back and on my side. The provided blankets are warm, and the pillow is thin but it does the trick. I put my sleep mask over my eyes, my earplugs in to block out the two older professor-types who are giggling and chattering away adjacent, and almost instantly I’m asleep.

Interestingly it’s really quiet on the Dreamliner. There’s a lot less ambient noise and you can hardly hear the drone of the plane.

A scant three hours later I’m awakened by my alarm, which I’ve set so I can enjoy more of the flight experience. No sooner am I vertical in my seat, the flight attendant is taking my breakfast order.

Good morning, London!british airways business class club world whats it like how review quality

Coffee, a smoothie and a breakfast sandwich arrive, pastries are offered too, but I decline. About 30 minutes after the breakfast dishes are swept away, we’re putting rubber to asphalt at London Heathrow Airport (check out our guide to one of the world’s biggest airports by clicking the link) and I’m rested, relaxed and ready for the next leg of my journey.

British Airways business class is beautiful

Overall this has been a really amazing experience and it may just have ruined regular air travel for me for life. British Airways Club World business class is comfortable, well appointed, everything is included and it makes the trip go by much faster.

If you can finagle the upgrade, or have the funds to fork out for this, it makes all the difference on a long trip.

 

*Lest anyone think I have connections, British Airways did not furnish me with either the ticket or the upgrade. I paid my own way, and these are my honest thoughts.