The Best British Airways Club World Seats
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with information about BA’s Club Suite rollout. It was originally published on 26 April 2019.
In case you missed it, we’ve been looking at the best British Airways seats in all classes. Here’s a link to our take on the best seats on British Airways in First Class as well as World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and World Traveller (economy).
Today, we continue with this series on the best Club World seats on various British Airways. Our top tip shoutouts are intended for solo travellers looking for the best seat.
British Airways offers Club World, its business-class product, on all of its long-haul planes as well as a single A318 that it flies between London City (LCY) and New York’s JFK, and four Airbus A321 that feature lie-flat Club World seats. The latter are often referred to as mid-haul ex-BMI A321, as British Airways acquired these when it bought British Midland in 2012.
What aircrafts’ Offer Club World Seats?
- 43 Boeing 747s (which will be retired by end of 2023)
- 18 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners
- 12 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners
- 12 Boeing 777-300s
- 46 Boeing 777-200s
- 12 Airbus A380s
- 3 Airbus 350 (this will eventually increase to 18)
- 4 Airbus A321s
- 1 Airbus A318s
Whilst Club World was once revolutionary, it has fallen behind the competition in recent years, particularly given its 2-4-2 layout on all of the widebody aircraft. British Airways has launched a new product, Club Suite, on its A350s and has started to update its existing 777s. But until 2024, the older product will continue flying as BA is not updating its 747 fleet, which is due to retire in 2024. So, it’s important to either try to get on the new product — our guide here helps — or if on the old layout, it’s important to know which seats to pick on which aircraft to have the most comfortable experience.
Best seating strategy across all long-haul British Airways aircraft
Top picks: British Airways Club Suite on any of the new aircraft (A350 and 787-10 when it enters service in 2020) or the refurbished 777s, or in the old Club World layout, window seat in the back row of any cabin.
Given that only four of British Airway’s long-haul aircraft currently feature the new Club Suite at time of publication, our seating strategy here predominantly talks about the old layout, though we are of course looking at the new aircraft.
The 2-4-2 layout of the British Airways’ Club World means that most passengers in window seats need to climb over someone else (who may have reclined their seat into the lie-flat position), and most aisle passengers may find themselves being climbed over. Window seats face backward and aisle seats face forward.
As a general rule across the 747s, 777s, 787s and A380s, I would recommend that single travellers try to select a window seat in the last row or the row before a bulkhead or an emergency exit. That way, they can leave their seat without climbing over others and those seats typically have a few extra inches of space.
Best British Airways Club World seats on a Boeing 747
Top picks: 64K, 62A/K, 64A, 20A/K, 22A/K
Club World is both on the lower deck as well as the upper deck of the Queen of the Skies. British Airways currently flies two versions of this aircraft. Typically, those operating from Heathrow’s Terminal 3 have a strange layout where World Traveller Plus (BA’s premium economy product) is located between first class and Club World. Once upon a time, someone at BA tried to be clever and utilise space to the maximum, though this was (and continues to be) unpopular with crew and passengers. These aircraft also have the oldest inflight entertainment system (IFE) to be found on BA’s long-haul fleet, and if possible, I’d avoid these aircraft. Annoyingly, they fly to a set number of destinations (those served from Terminal 3), so avoiding them isn’t always possible. The seat map above outlines this configuration.
The seat map below outlines the other configuration that is used on the majority of 747 destinations. These aircraft have fairly recently been refurbished and have very modern IFE (larger screens and are much more responsive).
On the lower deck, the 2-4-2 layout makes for a crowded cabin. I would always recommend taking a seat on the Upper Deck where possible. If you can’t score a seat upstairs, then good downstairs seats following the above general guidance for solo travellers are 20A/K as well as 22A/K (where it exists). Those seats allow the occupant to leave their seat without climbing over their neighbour.
Some couples like the middle seats (E and F) as passengers are looking in the same direction (backward) and are close together. For families, putting children into those middle seats can be a good idea.
Any window and aisle seat will also work for a couple travelling together, as the forward and backward layout means you are very close to your neighbour. And if the privacy screen isn’t raised, looking straight at them, which is a major criticism of the seat if your neighbour is a stranger — though the privacy screen can be put up straight after takeoff.
If you are able to secure a seat on the Upper Deck, 62A/K and 64A/K are great seats and should be your first Club World choices on the whole aircraft. Window seats upstairs give extra storage space as they have side bins and those four seats allow for leaving the seat without climbing over others. Though 64K is close to the toilet, which gives it extra privacy as it creates a little corner, I have never had any issues with noise. That is my go-to seat when flying Club World — it’s the best seat in BA’s entire Club World fleet in my opinion. Keep in mind that other savvy travellers may have their eyes on this seat as well so try and select it as early as possible.
64A is the upstairs basinet seat so it may not be reservable (and there’s a risk you might get kicked out of the seat if a family needs it). The lack of a wall just behind it may mean there’s light pollution from the stairs, galley and toilet.
Best British Airways Club World seats on a Boeing 787-9
Top picks: 7A, 7K, 13A, 13K, 7E, 13E
Unlike on the 747 and 777, the layout on the 787-9 (and 787-8) is 2-3-2, given that the cabin is narrower. That also means the middle seats (E) are a little bit wider with just an inch or two extra on both sides, making them more private and more attractive than any E (or F) middle seat on the other, larger aircraft.
Following the general guidance for those travelling alone, my top pick would be 7A or 7K, followed by 13A and 13K though, especially on a night flight where views out of the window might be less important. 7E and 13E are also very good seats, as they give extra space without the need to climb over others to get out (nor being climbed over).
For couples, I would suggest a window-aisle combination as there are no two middle seats together like on the 747 and 777.
Best British Airways Club World seats on a Boeing 787-8
Top picks: 3A/K, 7A/K, 3E, 7E
There is no first class on the smaller Dreamliner, so Club World is the best class on the plane. As per the general guidance, 3A/3K and 7A/7K are good seats, and as per the 787-9, 3E and 7E also make for good seats given the extra width, privacy and ability to get out without climbing over any neighbours.
Best British Airways Club World seats on a Boeing 777
Top picks: 777-300: 16A/K; 777-200 4 Class: 15A/K; 777-200 3 Class: 5A/K, 11A/K; 777-200 LGW: 4A/K
British Airways flies a number of different versions of the 777 — most common is the 777-300 and the four-class 777-200, though BA also operates three-class 777-200s from LHR as well as from LGW with smaller Club World cabins.
The layout on all is 2-4-2, and because of the size of the cabins on the 777-300 and 777-200, they’re sometimes referred to as dormitories.
I personally try to avoid the 777 in Club World when there are other options (e.g. on the JFK route where there are both 747s and 777s). Window seats don’t have much storage space unlike on the upper deck of a 747.
The usual standard guidance applies: Where possible, grab a window seat in the final row if travelling alone.
For couples, as on the 747, middle seats can be the go-to seat, though any combination of a window and aisle seat will also work.
Best British Airways Club Suite seats on the refurbished Boeing 777-200
Top picks: 5A, 5K, 11A, 11K, 12A, 12K
The above seat map shows the newly refurbished 777-200, which features Club Suite. Top picks are seats 5A and 5K, as they are likely to be the quietest, as they’re farthest away from any galley or toilets and the smaller cabin at the front gives a more private feel. Generally speaking, these seats are a vast improvement from the previous Club World, so there are no bad seats. If no seats in the mini cabin are available, I’d probably go for 11A or 11K or 12A or 12K to give a bit of space from the galley.
Ben’s review on Club Suite on the refurbished 777-200 can be found here, and you can find more detail about the best seats on the refurbished 777-200 here.
Best British Airways Club World seats on an Airbus A380
Top picks: 53A/K, 59A/K, 15A/K, 53E, 59E
British Airways has 12 A380s in its fleet and flies them to a range of popular destinations. Club World is spread over both decks, with the lower deck in a 2-4-2 layout, whilst upstairs it’s 2-3-2, due to the cabin being narrower.
Given a choice, the upper deck has a less crowded feel to it as Club World is split over two cabins upstairs, so upstairs would be my natural choice. Similar to other aircraft, the best seats are the window seats at the back of each cabin that allow access without climbing over neighbours: 53A/K and 59A/K. Downstairs, 15A and K are similarly good, though in a bigger and more crowded feeling cabin.
Similar to the 787, given the upstairs layout is 2-3-2, the middle E seats also provide a little bit more space than middle seats downstairs, and those at the back, 53E and 59E, give easy access as well as privacy when the dividers are up.
As with other aircraft, for couples, the downstairs middle seats are popular as they face in the same direction though any combination of a window and neighbouring aisle seat will also be good for couples.
Best British Airways Club World seats on an airbus A350
Top picks: 3A, 3K, 4A, 4K
British Airways currently has three Airbus A350 in its fleet and this number will grow to 18 by the end of 2021.
This aircraft features no First cabin and has the new Club Suite product, which is in a 1-2-1 layout, meaning no more climbing over passengers (or being climbed over), which was the biggest downside of the previous Club World product.
Picking the best seats on this aircraft is more tricky. I generally am not a fan of big cabins, so naturally I would pick any smaller or mini-cabin. However, on the A350, the mini-cabin is at the back, meaning there’s generally more noise, as the toilets and galley are right in front and World Traveller Plus is right behind with the bassinet seats potentially only a curtain away.
Similarly, Row 1 is close to the forward galley and when I’ve sat in this row, it was quite noisy during the meal service. Hence my top pick would be Row 3 or — far enough from any galley or toilet but still towards the front of the aircraft. Service is from the front, and I hear can be slow as no trolleys fit down the aisle so all drinks and meals are hand-carried.
You can read Nicky’s review of Club Suite on the A350 here.
Best British Airways Club World Seats on an Airbus A321
Top picks: Throne seats: 1A, 2F, 3A, 4F, 5A, 6F, 7A, 8F
When British Airways bought British Midland in 2012, it also bought British Midland’s fleet of mid-haul A321s, which were used to its longer destinations. BA has converted most of these into short-haul set ups, but there are still four of these in the fleet mostly serving mid-haul destinations like Beirut, Cairo and Moscow.
The layout is alternating 1-2 and 2-1, so every row alternating between A and K has a throne seat without a neighbour. Those are the ones to go to for solo travellers.
Couples should chose two seats together, such as 1D and 1F or 2A and 2C.
Best British Airways Club World Seats on the Airbus A318
Top picks: Row 1 for a little bit of extra space. Row 3 for privacy.
British Airways flies a single Airbus 318 between London City and New York JFK daily. It’s special for a number of reasons — it’s a business-class-only set up, it uses former Concorde flight numbers, it stops in Shannon on the way to JFK to refuel and passengers clear immigration there, thus arriving as a domestic flight in JFK. It’s well worth a try.
The layout is eight rows of four seats in a 2-2 arrangement.
The seats are on the older side but comfortable enough. All window seats require climbing over the neighbour and all aisle seats risk being climbed over. I say risk, as loads tend to be on the lower side, so there’s a good chance of not having a neighbour. Row 1 has a bit more space, so that’s the row I would go for — though it’s close to the front galley, so a row a bit farther back such as Row 3 will make for a quieter journey.
Featured photo by Nick Morrish / British Airways.
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