Which is better? British Airways’ Club Suite or First class?

Aug 14, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

There’s been a huge amount of attention given to British Airways’ new — and much improved — Club Suite, which debuted on its new Airbus A350 aircraft last year. BA also plans to install the new product on some of its Boeing 777s. While the Club Suite will be the highest (and best) class of service on BA’s A350s, the 777s will also feature a slightly refurbished, smaller first class, which will be quite similar to the existing first product.

But with such an improved Club World product in Club Suite, which product will be better?

Related: A350 suite showdown: British Airways’ Club Suite versus Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Suite

First of all, the similarities between the products are substantial. Both products feature:

  • A 1-2-1 layout seating in a reverse herringbone layout, meaning each seat angles into either the window or the centre of the plane
  • Direct aisle access, so no climbing over a neighbour to get to the aisle
  • Smaller, intimate cabin with dedicated crew, though the Club Suite cabin is significantly larger than the first cabin.

The big X factor of the Club Suite product and the biggest benefit it has over first class is that each Suite has a sliding door. This provides far more privacy than any other class on British Airways.

Related: Suite Escape: A Review of British Airways’ Club Suite on the A350 From London to Dubai

**STRICT EMBARGO** LONDON, UK: New Club World seat developed through Project Vector, photographed on 10 Decemeber 2018 (Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)
New Club Suite. (Photo by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

So, why pay more for first? The difference is in the soft product (i.e. the food, drinks, bedding and service), which was updated earlier this year. TPG reached out to BA directly to ask about the specific differences, and the airline provided the following list:

  • Speedier check-in and security at Heathrow Terminal 5 thanks to the new First Wing (vs. Fast Track for Club)
  • Three-bag luggage allowance (vs. two bags in Club)
  • Concorde Room lounge access at London Heathrow Airport with an la carte menu and spa treatments (vs. limited buffet in Club)
  • Temperly London loungewear, slippers and amenity bag with Elemis skin care products (vs. basic amenity kits in Club)
  • Meridian headphones (vs. basic non-noise-cancelling headphones in Club)
  • Increased privacy because of a much smaller cabin
  • Dine on demand (vs. fixed meal times in Club)
  • Higher standard dining and fine wines with crockery, cutlery and glassware from William Edwards, Studio William and Dartington
  • A larger bed with a foam mattress and microfibre mattress topper and 400-thread count bedding (vs. a basic flat-bed with basic bedding in Club)
(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

British Airways insists that all these elements combined mean that the first experience is significantly better than the Club Suite experience, and therefore justifies the higher price tag, whether in cash or Avios. While British Airways does not currently have the best reputation in either class against the likes of Qatar and Cathay Pacific, the carrier continues to invest in its soft product to bring the quality up to that of other world-class carriers.

Related: Approaching perfection: A review of Qatar Airways’ Qsuite business class on the 777-300ER, Doha to JFK

BA offers first on many long-haul routes, while the Club Suite will be slowly introduced on some routes beginning with Madrid, Dubai, Toronto, Bangalore and others to follow. Ultimately, whether Club Suite or first is better is up to you and what you value most given their differing soft and hard products.

Related: New routes added: How to fly the British Airways Club Suite

Featured image by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below 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.