BA0027 London Heathrow to Hong Kong in Club World Business Class Review
I have prepared myself for this: an exposed flat bed in a cramped cabin, subpar dining experience and potentially someone (crew) shouting at me for not conforming to certain health and safety regulations. But surprisingly, British Airways pulled out a solid decent show – the bed was surprisingly comfortable, the food was good to very good, the flight was smooth and the crew was almost as friendly as the purser I encountered on my previous segment. While I was spoiled by Singapore Airlines by their luxurious five-course meals and Cathay for their reverse herringbone designs, BA did not fail to impress. I enjoyed the non-nonsense approach to meals, which maximised my time to rest. I appreciated the attentiveness of the crew, who offered me tea right after I woke up. And the inflight entertainment was decent.
So I got off the previous flight from Munich and headed towards the transit security. The staff initially declined me fast track access (probably testament to my causal wear) but after I insisted that I was flying Club World and showed them the boarding pass, they let me into the fast track. I guess the way this lane was fiercely guarded (which was unwarranted) led to how empty it was:
I wasted no time and got out of security. I headed to the Galleries lounges where I first had a shower to refresh myself after quite a long day of travelling (more to come!) While this is not my first visit to Terminal 5, this was definitely my first visit to the lounges.
After a hot shower, I am in need of some cooling down: as I headed to the Galleries First lounge (not for First Class passengers, but for OneWorld Emerald cardholders), I opted immediately for some Henriot Rose Campagne, and some Highland Spring Sparkling Water (60p in Sainsbury’s!) Pleasant enough…
I have read elsewhere that frequent flyers are disappointed that BA no longer serves Taittinger Rose in Galleries First, but I must confess that I like the Henriot a lot.
On offer in the a la carte menu was: BA Burger, Smoked Salmon Bagel, Cauliflower Salad, Mozzarella and Basil Gnocchi, Chicken Curry, and Ice Cream.
I had a spa treatment scheduled later, so I planned to have two courses before dessert!
I have heard good things about the BA Burger and I was not disappointed!
I then went to the spa for an eye treatment that was supposed to make my eyes feel better. It was a good massage but 15 minutes was too short!! Either way, I think that this is good provision for Business Class passengers that can put BA above some other carriers, even in intra-European routes!
I went back for more – and here’s the Smoked Salmon Bagel, which was equally delightful. To go with my Bagel, I had a French white, which was surprisingly good (I have never had good wines in lounges before, champagne is usually decent where it is offered – you cannot really go wrong with the latter, but you can with wines!)
Always time and room for some dessert:
I then went around the lounge to look around (guilty actually: I was looking for some more champagne!) Here’s the champagne bar:
The Rose Champagne which I liked a lot a lot:
Makes me feel slightly sad that I have to go soon to my gate (at this point, I am still not expecting much from my maiden Club World experience)
One thing I liked about this lounge was how not busy it was during the Friday evening:
With another dinner yet to be served on board, I decided to walk off some of the food and aid the digestion:
Not my chariot…
I reached my gate around 5 minutes before boarding. The gate was filled with so many people (a 777-300ER’s worth of people) and I had to fight my way through to the priority boarding lane, which was confusingly set up at gate B48, still showing for boarding a flight to Mumbai. Some frequent flyers told the staff off for the confusing signs, but the ground staff decided to shout back and justified his action by saying “I have done this for many years.”
Once I boarded, I settled into my seat 10J, which was an aisle seat on the first row. This is considered to be one of the better seats in the 777 Club World cabin, because no one would be climbing over you to go to the loo. Being in the first row also means that you will be served first for both meals. Yet, being an aisle seat would mean that the crew would still have to serve over you.
Soon enough I was offered pre-departure drinks by the crew. Champagne, OJ and water were on offer:
Then I was headed the menu for the evening, which reads:
I chatted with my neighbour throughout the delay (we were on the ground for another hour despite that we finished boarding on time). But then we both got a bit tired by the time the flight took off, we just watched TV and the screen went up.
I put on the inflight map:
Hot towel was then offered prior to the drinks cart.
I took a champagne and some pre-packaged nuts. I did not like the drinks cart, which felt like economy class, but the I guess it was more efficient that way as dinner service then started very soon.
Then I had the Kir Royale
Starter came soon enough after one finishes the nuts. One of the male crews was in charge of clearing the table once a passenger finished his/her nuts.
The cart came back with starter choices, and I chose the smoked salmon starter. Well done to BA for giving us choices in starters! The starter was quite good, so was the bread. My only complaint would be the lack of a bread plate, but I guess the cloth was clean enough.
For main course, I went for the Chinese option and the French white. The pork was flavourful but the rice was slightly overcooked and dry. It felt good though to be having rice after being in Europe for a long while.
With a very good dessert being served, the crew serving me asked me for my tea/coffee preference. I wanted de-caf tea with milk, but the seat belt sign was on so it could not be served. I ended up falling a sleep so the tea never came!
When my table was cleared, I fell asleep immediately as I put my seat into the bed. I did not get up until 2.5 hours before landing, which meant I slept for 7 hours straight, which was really, really decent. I found the bed, the duvet and the pillow very comfortable, and the fact that I slept for so long was a testament to that.
When I woke up, the crew came back to me and asked whether I would like the cup of tea I never drank. I said I wanted caffeinated tea this time, and I was served immediately.
Already in China when I woke up
Watching the Big bang Theory in anticipation of breakfast!
A light start to breakfast: it was good, but unremarkable. I would like more fruits and those fruits presented better.
Still full from dinner and I am arriving into Hong Kong in dinner time, I did not opt for the traditional English breakfast option. Instead I opted for the smoked salmon muffin, which was absolutely delicious – one of the best dish I have had in the skies.
A remarks on the BA approach to serving main courses: like Cathay, BA shows you the main courses before asking for your preference, but unlike Cathay, BA does not put all the main courses on a cart and push it around the cabin. Rather, a crew would have one of the four main courses each on a tray and asks for our preferences and go back into the gallery for some fresh mains every now and then. This is a good approach, I think, as the mains were still warm even if you were last to be served.
Breakfast service was quick, efficient, and no-nonsense, concluded 55 minutes before landing, and with more tea / coffee to be offered.
In sum, this was a solid showing from BA. It was not the most luxurious experience in Business Class, but it gets the job done. The bed, despite its lack of privacy, was long, wide enough for some movements while sleeping, and was comfortable for sleeping (the padding was extremely good). The catering was good: it was efficient but not overly simplistic. BA retains some class from its English origin. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience on BA’s Club World Business Class.
Food could be better. With regards to the seat, I think it was decent for the price I paid, but I agree that BA could use a new, updated seat design featuring much more storage, privacy and direct aisle access.
In December, I will be flying the same route on Cathay and I look forward to seeing how Cathay fare.