How to tell from the outside if your BA plane has Club Suite
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British Airways unveiled its much-needed and anticipated upgrade to its long-haul business-class product with the introduction of Club Suite in early 2019.
The first flights with the new product took to the skies in August, flying to Madrid up to twice daily on BA’s new Airbus A350. These flights were largely crew familiarisation flights and have now ended. The A350 with Club Suite is now flying to Dubai and Toronto and will be rolled out to Bangalore and Tel Aviv as BA takes delivery of additional A350s. You can read a full review of the BA A350 Club Suite experience here.
Whilst the older Club World seat will be flying until 2023 when the last Boeing 747 is retired from the BA fleet, the airline is starting to update existing aircraft in the fleet — starting with the Boeing 777 and eventually making its way to other long-haul aircraft like the 787 and A380. Such upgrade programme is no easy task for the airline, which has nearly 150 long-haul aircraft.
Early October saw the first refurbished Boeing 777 taking to the skies, operating a mid-day service to New York (JFK). The aircraft, G-RAES, had spent the past six weeks in BA’s maintenance base in Cardiff undergoing the cabin refurbishment.
There are a number of ways of finding out if any of your upcoming flights has the new Club Suite product installed. Firstly, you could check the seat map on ba.com or ExpertFlyer — if the Club World cabin is in a 1-2-1 layout, you are in luck and will have the new seat. Secondly, you could check the list of published routes of where BA expects to deploy the A350 and refurbished 777s in due course. Finally, there’s a way to tell from the outside if your Boeing 777 has been refurbished or not.
As was the case when British Airways previously updated its cabins, such changes mean that some windows cannot be used in the new layout. With the refurbishment of the 777, this is particularly the case, as the first-class cabin is shrinking from 14 seats over four rows to just eight seats over two rows.
The below photo is a BA 777 prior to the refurbishment. Note how there are single whitened out windows after the first four and then every third window.
The below is G-RAES, the first refurbished 777. Note that it has four whitened out windows after four normal windows. Presumably, that’s where the smaller first cabin ends and the forward mini cabin of Club Suite starts.
Doing homework on routes, schedules and seat maps in advance will help you score a seat in the new Club Suite. In particular on the 777 routes, there will likely be last-minute swaps and changes. Spotting those windows above means the 777 has been refurbished and even if you don’t end up flying on it, it’s a fun game for AvGeeks to play ‘Spot the refurbished triple-seven’.
And if you’re flying an A350, there’s no window spotting involved. All British Airways A350s will have the new Club Suite installed, and spotting these is relatively simple — just look out for the distinctive cockpit windows and the beautiful upward wingtips.
Featured photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.
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