On my two-week summer vacation throughout Southern Italy and France, I covered a lot of ground — all amid heat, humidity, peak-season crowds, and with my kids in tow.
In a sharp departure from my typical preference for luxury hotels, I’d booked accommodations almost entirely in non-luxury Airbnb without central air conditioning or a concierge desk.
So I was exhausted at the end of my trip. And I was especially looking forward to top-end service and amenities on the last leg of my journey home: in the Club World Business Class cabin of a British Airways 777 en route from London Heathrow (LHR) to Los Angeles (LAX).
Here’s how my experience delivered against my lofty expectations.
Boarding and Cabin
Heathrow was a zoo during the peak summer travel season, so I was happy to find refuge in the spacious and well-equipped departures lounge, where I enjoyed a full hot breakfast, coffee, and a smoothie before heading to the gate for departure.
I was surprised to find the gate area wide open, with no crowding or chaos ahead of a full transatlantic flight — it felt civilized and orderly. I boarded without any difficulty or delays and went from the gate to the aircraft to get situated.
Once on board, I briefly took a wrong turn and headed to the front of the plane, where I got a peek at the First Class section on this four-cabin aircraft. It looked somewhat similar to my cabin; I learned as I made a U-turn to find my assigned seat in the center section of the next cabin behind it.
The Club World cabin has a one-two-one configuration with direct aisle access from each seat and an attractive bulkhead festooned with a sleek backlit BA logo.
We took to the skies on time and landed a few minutes ahead of schedule. The flight was smooth as could be, with hardly an interruption from the pilot until we prepared to begin our descent.
After a rewarding but exhausting trip — at a time of well-known travel chaos — I was pleased that our flight was so utterly uneventful.
Overall, I found the food presentation appealing and elevated throughout the flight. The drinks program felt elegant, too, with glassware bearing the look of cut-crystal barware and even a proper mocktail menu for those so inclined.
I asked the flight attendant for a wine recommendation to go with the first meal service and settled on Veronique Pichon, Mes Belled Vignes Ventoux Blanc 2022 from the Rhone Valley.
I selected the vegetarian option among the menu fare, and I found it to be filling, inventive, tasty, and a departure from the ordinary.
The first course was a bulgur and carrot salad with lemon labneh. It was served alongside a bowl of artichoke and parmesan soup with rye croutons — creamy and flavorful, a filling standout.
The main dish followed, a fresh ricotta mezzaluna with asparagus, mushrooms, and cream sauce — rich, decadent, and quite good.
I chose the cheese plate from the dessert selections (which also included British apple crumble, fresh seasonal fruit, and chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce) for dessert. I thought I might have a second glass of wine with dessert, but the flight attendant asked if she might tempt me instead with port to go along with the cheese, and I was happy to swap with her tasty recommendation.
A couple of hours before landing came a second light meal. It started with butter and rolls, a starter of ras el hanout-spiced bulgar, and roasted pumpkin salad with lemon labneh and pomegranate seeds. So filling was this starter I didn’t save room for the vegetarian main dish to follow (artichoke medaglioni with cherry tomatoes, artichoke, and cream sauce).
My seat had a chic-looking design and felt seriously spacious, with many dedicated compartments to tuck away carry-ons and essentials (including one eye-level cabinet outfitted with a mirror), an ample side table, and enough clearance to stand up from the seat even with a full meal on the extended tray table.
The seat also featured a suite-like environment, with a sliding door that closes in flight to provide a semi-private cocoon. My 6-foot-6-inch seat was plenty large to accommodate my 5-foot-6-inch frame — and even more generous than my 9-year-old daughter in the seat on the other side of the aisle. The center divider between us slid open or closed for privacy.
Lie-flat seats recline the full 180 degrees, and the sealed package containing the duvet also included a thin mattress pad as an extra layer of softness for sleep — and I did sleep well for about two uninterrupted hours, with an extra assist from the well-made eye mask in the toiletry kit from The White Company.
The 17-inch high-resolution monitor had a comfortably sensitive touchscreen and a corded remote control. And it was stocked with an impressive array of new-release video content.
The library of classic content was excellent, too: I spent a good half of my travel time watching both The Big Lebowski and The Godfather for the first time (finally resolving some key cultural blindspots).
So I could dig through emails to ease my reentry back to work, I also invested 20 GBP in a Wi-Fi pass for the duration of the flight, a fair price for a decent (if not consistently reliable) service.
The British Airways Business Class cabin is sleek and elegantly outfitted, with comfortable, well-equipped seats. Flight attendant hospitality on my flight was professional and friendly, and the meal service was tasty and varied.
The experience placed the 11-hour London-to-Los-Angeles flight home among the most comfortable, luxurious aspects of my summer European travels.