BEST FOR: A sense of privacy, attentive service and A350 luxurious comfort
PRICE: Roundtrip business class fare started at $4,136
FLIGHT TIME: 7 hours 10 minutes
VERDICT British Airways Club Suites are leaps and bounds ahead of the old Club World push-me-pull-you product. If you haven’t experienced a BA business class product recently, you’re in for a “suite” treat.
CHECK-IN Fortunately for me, Toronto Pearson’s Terminal 3 hosted both my domestic arriving flight and the departure for British Airways Flight 92, so connecting was easy. Check-in was effortless and once through security, we made our way to the Plaza Premium lounge on Concourse B. Here on the first class side, customers can dine from an a la carte menu, while the business class lounge offers a tempting buffet.
BOARDING As this was an inaugural flight for the A350-1000 service out of Toronto, press got to board a few minutes early to explore the other cabins prior to general boarding. In addition to the new Club Suites class, the new aircraft also features the World Traveler and World Traveler Plus cabins British Airways introduced last year.
THE SEAT There are 56 Club Suite business class seats aboard the new A350s. The interior design emphasizes the cabin’s spaciousness, and the appointments of the Club Suite pods are quite stylish – rich gray with accents of natural wood and brushed aluminum. A touch screen in the armrest provided the seat controls. Most important, the tufted seat was amazingly comfortable at any angle.
The “suite” part of Club Suite is a sliding door that closes off your pod from the aisle and the rest of the cabin. While not totally private, it does give that extra sense of seclusion. One note: During take-off and landing, the doors are locked open, so you won’t have any luck sliding them shut until the crew comes around to unlock them.
THE FLIGHT After finishing the pre-flight Champagne, I looked through the menu for the evening meal, as the ever-attentive cabin crew took dinner orders and served drinks. I decided on the intriguing slow-braised bison as my main course. The texture was beefier than beef, and its robust flavor paired well with my excellent California cabernet.
After dinner, I settled in for a few minutes entertainment. The new 18.5 inch touchscreen was a marvel, very responsive, with crisp video and a wealth of inflight choices. As this was an overnight flight, I was determined to get at least some sleep. We were experiencing a good deal of choppiness, so I wondered how much rest I’d get. However the A350 is an aircraft that seems to walk over the bumps; I stretched out the bed, slid the door shut and went to sleep. I had thought closing the door might make the suite feel claustrophobic, but the effect was rather one of being cosseted.
ARRIVAL As we approached LHR, I was awakened by the smiling flight attendant (how do they do that after an all-night flight?) for a cuppa tea. Arrival at Heathrow was uneventful and we soon found ourselves bound up in London morning traffic, vowing to take the Heathrow Express back for our return flight.