TPG reader question: How do I know if my upcoming British Airways business-class flight will have Club Suite?

Jun 13, 2021

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Editor’s note: This article is part of a new weekly column to answer your credit card, points and miles and general travel questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguyuk, message us on Facebook or email us at tips@thepointsguy.co.uk.


British Airways’ Club World business-class product has plenty of critics. Its unusual 2-4-2 layout, combined with very little privacy and an awkward need to face complete strangers during takeoff and landing was revolutionary more than a decade ago. Its competitors have since caught up and then substantially improved on the Club World concept with direct aisle access for all passengers, sliding doors, privacy and plenty of storage in business class.

In 2019, British Airways launched its long-awaited Club Suite product, which was a huge improvement on the Club World seat it replaced. You can read TPG reviews of the Club Suite product on both the new A350 and older Boeing 777 here:

If you have a mid-haul or long-haul flight coming up in British Airways business class, you should do everything you can to try and score an aircraft fitted with the new Club Suite rather than the older Club World cabins.

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This brings us to this week’s TPG reader question:

My partner and I are planning to go to Cape Town. The BA seat map indicates a 1-2-1 configuration, on the Boeing 777.
I wonder if the Club Suite is already installed on all 777 aircraft, and if it is used on the CPT route?

Sang Fung, TPG reader

British Airways has a mammoth job of replacing Club World seats with Club Suite on all of its mid-haul and long-haul aircraft. At the rate it was tracking before the pandemic, this process was expected to take many years. COVID-19 actually helped the process. Not because the installations were done faster, but because many aircraft like the A380 and Boeing 747 with Club World seats were retired or put into long-term storage.

This meant your chances of scoring a Club Suite-fitted aircraft has actually increased dramatically.

With so much uncertainty still remaining because of the pandemic, there are no strict rules as to which routes have Club Suite and which don’t.

Related: The best seats on the refurbished British Airways 777 with Club Suite

There are two ways Sang can be fairly certain if his flight to Cape Town (CPT) will have Club Suite.

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

Monitor the seat map

Read our guide here about how to read a seat map, but if his flight is showing a 1-2-1 layout in business class on either British Airways website or ExpertFlyer, which is owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures, rather than the 2-4-2 layout, that should mean his flight has a Club Suite cabin. This is subject to change, so Sang should continue to monitor this closer to the flight.

For operational reasons, this may even be changed last minute, which is an unfortunate fact of large airlines’ operational logistics.

Sang can also check Google Flights to see if the seat type is showing as “individual suite,” which could indicate that it’s Club Suite.

Check the retrofit status of your aircraft type

Some aircraft, for example, the Airbus A350, were all delivered with Club Suite. So if your flight is operated by this aircraft type, it will have Club Suite seats.

As mentioned above, no Airbus A380s have been fitted with Club Suite, so if — and when — they come back into service, they will have the older Club World seats. This handy thread on the Flyertalk keeps a running tally of BA aircraft with the Club Suite seat, which is currently as follows:

  • B777-200ER: 15/29 (52%)
  • B777-300ER: 4/16 (25%)
  • B787-8: 0/12 (0%)
  • B787-9: 0/18 (0%)
  • B787-10: 2/2 (100%)
  • A350-1000: 8/8 (100%)
  • A380: 0/12 (0%)
  • Total Fleet: 28/97 (29%)

While it’s not a guarantee that Sang’s 777 will have Club Suite (the seat map for the actual flight is a much better indicator), if his flight is operated by a 777-200ER tomorrow, he can see that just over half of the aircraft have Club Suite, so his chances are over 50%.

Related: How to tell from the outside if your BA plane has Club Suite

Bottom line

Having flown both Club World and Club Suite just before the pandemic, they are chalk and cheese, and it is well worth going out of your way to fly the Club Suite. While the seat map for your exact flight is your best friend, you can also get some understanding from the aircraft type and retrofit progress.

Good luck Sang!

Featured photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy.

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