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Review: British Airways A380 Business Class (LHR-HKG)

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Review Overview

The soft product in British Airways' Club World was heaps better than I was expecting, though this is a very uncompetitive business class seat in 2020.


While the coronavirus continues to throw its little temper tantrum around the entire world, the best thing we can do to calm it down is stay home. As a student away from family in London, this wasn’t ideal for me. Originally the best idea was to stay put in London, though with an imminent lockdown a college dorm no longer became the safest place for me to live, both for my physical and mental health. With that in mind, my parents flew me home.

They also flew me home at quite a cost. Originally I had myself a roundtrip ticket on British Airways leaving April 2nd and getting back on April 30th,  though talks of an imminent lockdown unsettled my family. I converted this ticket to a future voucher and booked myself a Singapore Airlines one-way in business class, which quickly went out the window after Singapore stopped allowing transit passengers into Changi Airport grounds (Hong Kong has since done the same, as of this morning). So early in the morning of the day before my departure, I booked myself a ticket in British Airways Club World for a hefty £4,500. To put things in perspective, four flights in Qatar Airways’ fabulous QSuite cost just over £2,000. There was no time to complain and only time to pack.

To my reassurance I had done everything I’d needed to in the UK, so the biggest favour I could do for my friends in London was to be one less person for the NHS to worry about.

British Airways Club World Check-In and Ground Experience (Beginning of COVID-19)

So I took an airport transfer to Heathrow’s eerily empty Terminal 5, where I walked to Aisle H and checked in for my flight.

a large airport with people walking around
Heathrow Terminal 5 Check-in

There was no line, and the check-in agent was cheery. He let my 32.9 kg bag slide (British Airways allows no more than 32 kg per bag), and upon being asked if the seat next to me was empty, he replied “so far we’re clear – if Julia Roberts shows up, I’ll put her there”. Hah!

As you’d expect for a huge airport with less than two dozen flights operating out, immigration was a breeze, and I was through in less than 10 minutes’ time. I’d actually expected otherwise – a frenzy of international students trying to get home – so I had a lot of time to kill at Heathrow Airport.

Normally at this point I’d have spent some time in a lounge, though in line with the British government’s requirement to close all public gathering spaces, none of the lounges at Heathrow were open.

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Closed Lounges at Heathrow Airport

Wanting to catch the sunset, I took the transit train to Heathrow T5’s C gates, where I basically had the terminal to myself (social distancing who?). Annoyingly, Heathrow only shows departure gate information 15 minutes before the scheduled boarding time. I got lucky, as my flight ended up leaving from a C gate, saving me the need of an additional transfer.

British Airways almost exclusively runs Terminal 5 (they used to have overflow planes departing from Terminal 3 as well, though not anymore), so it was nice to see some British Airways heavies in the sunset, including a 787 and an A350.

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British Airways Planes during Sunset at Heathrow

British Airways assigns a tail number to every flight a couple of days in advance. I sought out G-XLEK, the A380 operating my flight, parked by gate C63, and correctly assumed that I’d be boarding from there. I spotted a friend at a deserted nearby Starbucks and sat with him until boarding. I have a few issues with Heathrow Airport, though fast, free WiFi isn’t one of them.

As the gate area gradually filled up with people, I started to understand that this wasn’t your usual flight. Nobody went uncovered – everyone had at least a mask on – and a good half of passengers were wearing hazmat suits and lab goggles. I don’t actually think that’s very effective – this gear needs to be taken off, and the virus lasts on plastic for days – but considering we’re dealing with an A380 flight with 450+ passengers that had dealt with five coronavirus cases just last week, I wasn’t too surprised.

The PA for our gate was broken, so boarding announcements were shouted out by a gate agent at around 8:15 PM, behind our scheduled 8 PM boarding time. Since Hong Kong closed all borders to tourists and transit passengers as of midnight today, they had to check that all passengers were either Hong Kong residents, or had a flight connecting out before midnight. I managed to be the first business class passenger onboard the plane, but little did I know that checking boarding eligibility for a full A380 was going to take a while…

Before I actually get into the report, for those who find reports like these too wordy, heed not:

British Airways Flight BA27
Monday, March 23, 2020
Origin: London Heathrow (LHR) Gate: C63 Dep: 21:00 (22:45)
Destination: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 5 Arr: 16:55+1 (18:10+1)
Duration: 11 hr 55 min (11 hr 25 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A380 Reg: G-XLEK
Seat: 59A (Business Class/Club World)

British Airways A380 Club World Cabin and Seat

I boarded through the second door on the upper deck and emerged behind the forward business class cabin. British Airways’ A380 business class is separated between two cabins on the upper deck, and one on the lower deck; the forward cabin on the upper deck features 25 seats. Sometime during the boarding process I asked if I could have a photo in the empty business class cabin, to which a flight attendant replied “yes, I’m snapping away too with all of you guys in protective gear!”.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Forward Cabin

I then walked into the main business class cabin, where I would be seated. This cabin features 28 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. While the cabin’s colour tones aren’t homey or welcoming by any means, they’re so inoffensive that they almost appear sleek under the cabin lighting.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Cabin

British Airways has operated these business class seats on their aircraft for a really long time; while the seats have gone through minor updates, they have faced no major changes since their introduction in 2000. This configuration was the first in the world to feature fully flat beds, and it’s been around for 20 years. As a result these seats are really way past their prime. British Airways is in the process of introducing a new product onboard their A350s and 777s, though in my understanding their new Club Suite isn’t making its way onboard the A380s.

The window and middle seats face backward, whereas the aisle seats face forward. I imagine British Airways flies many solo business travellers to and from London, which makes for non-ideal awkward eye contact between strangers.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Seat Arrangement

I’d prepaid a hefty £111 surcharge to select my seat – another huge downside of British Airways’ business class, as no other airline I know of charges for business class seat selection (apart from Swiss for their “throne” seats, though those are considerably better than their other seats). I paid with the hopes of being as far away from the bathroom as possible, as per my mother’s wishes, though under normal circumstances I would’ve picked the same seat.

I picked 59A, the window seat in the last row of business class, just in front of premium economy. As you can see from the pictures below, the aisle seats in this configuration are totally exposed. You have zero privacy.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Exposed Aisle Seats

The window and middle seats are much, much better. Below is a picture of my seat 59A. As you can see, as narrow as it is, it’s almost completely shielded from the aisle save for the privacy partition.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Seat 59A

Despite being quite narrow, I found my seat to be very well padded.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Seat

I found some basic seat controls to my left, including a few preset positions and the privacy divider controls. (The adjustable reading light was further to the left near the shoulder, but I forgot to take a photo, unfortunately.)

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Seat Controls

The power ports were very awkwardly placed, by the feet on my left; maybe the storage bin below was meant to be a storage compartment for a phone or a laptop, though I would’ve really preferred for these to be within arm’s reach. I used the closed side storage bins on my right as a side table, so at many times found either my phone or laptop cable draped across my feet.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Power Ports

There was a storage bin under that, but I’m not sure if it was meant for shoes or electronics. This is the only storage compartment in British Airways’ business class seat, so there’s a severe lack of shortage in British Airways’ business class (apart from the massive side storage bins, which I accredit to the A380, and not British Airways – a large majority of British Airways’ other planes do not have side storage bins).

a drawer on a floor
British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Storage Compartment

The ottoman could be manually unfolded from in front of me. I’m not sure how to feel about it, as it was certainly spacious and I appreciated the fact that it provided unlimited space for the feet (as opposed to a small foot cubby offered by most airlines nowadays); my main issue was that the ottoman wasn’t sturdy at all, and barely held any weight at all as a cantilever. All too often, it would “collapse”, and I’d have to “click” the ottoman back into place by pushing it back into its stowed position, before re-unfolding it. This wasn’t an issue while actually in bed, though posed a problem while I was trying to get in and out of my seat in bed mode, or while resting my feet on the ottoman whilst reclined. I imagine aisle seat passengers may also have issues with this when window seat passengers clamber over them to access the aisle. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s far from ideal.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Ottoman

Two things unfolded from the console on the left. The first was a largely sturdy bi-fold tray table, which could be moved back and forth (you can’t leave the seat when it’s deployed, however).

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Tray Table

The second was a moderately responsive touchscreen TV screen which was a bit on the small side, and decently high-definition (some of British Airways’ older planes have very crappy low-definition TV screens).

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class TV Screen

As a feature of the A380, I had two large storage bins to my right, which doubled as side tables when they were closed. I was so glad to have so much storage to myself, especially given the lack of storage otherwise. This is a big reason to choose the A380 over the 777 if you can snag a window seat.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Storage Bins

After a quick wipe down of everything at my seat, I was content (and well protected) in my little cocoon, ready to head home.

a person wearing a mask and headphones
Protected in British Airways A380 Business Class

Now, a major caveat in British Airways’ business class is that you have to climb over the feet of the person behind you in order to access the aisle (or be climbed over by the person in front of you, if you’re in an aisle seat). Since I was in the back row, no one was behind me. This meant that I had direct aisle access and zero foot traffic inflight, making 59A and 59K the primo window seat choices on this aircraft (53A and 53K also have this benefit but are right next to the lavatories/galley/the Club Kitchen, so they get a lot of unnecessary light inflight).

a window with a curtain
British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Seat 59A Direct Aisle Access

A perk of row 59 is that you aren’t directly exposed to anyone in the middle seats during the flight due to the way the rows are staggered (this is different during takeoff and landing when the curtains are open – stay tuned), so I had an insane amount of privacy inflight.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Row 59 Privacy

I’d be bereft in my duty of reviewing British Airways’ A380 business class if I didn’t explore the seats on the lower deck as well. I explored these seats after the flight, under the agreement of the gracious cabin crew. These seats are outfitted in a packed 2-4-2 configuration, in a single cabin with 48 seats.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Lower Deck Cabin

There’s not much reason to pick a seat here unless you’re in a group of four (or really, really like large windows). The window seats don’t have side storage bins, and the middle seats are packed depressingly close together.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Lower Deck Cabin

As all of the middle seats face backward, you might even get seated next to a stranger in these “honeymoon” seats if booking last minute, which would be super awkward. There’s enough partition between the seats that spooning isn’t an option, yet not enough to actually shield you from a seatmate that you don’t know. Couples are much better off facing each other in an aisle-window pair on the upper deck.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Lower Deck Honeymoon Seats

British Airways A380 Premium Economy and Economy Class

Being in the last row of the upper deck, I had a clear view of premium economy during boarding. I’d actually flown British Airways premium economy on their 777 earlier in the year. British Airways’ premium economy is very comfortable, and I imagine the same is especially true on the A380, where the fuselage is wide and the window seats have large side storage compartments. Premium economy and business class share the same 2-3-2 configuration on this aircraft, so the premium economy seats are actually wider due to the lack of seat “walls” (they obviously don’t turn into beds, though). British Airways’ A380s have 55 premium economy seats, all on the upper deck.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Premium Economy

Behind the premium economy cabin, these A380s also feature two economy cabins on the upper deck. The forward economy cabin features 72 seats, and the rear cabin is more intimate, featuring 32 economy seats. I’d go out of my way to choose a window seat on the upper deck if flying this aircraft in economy, as even the economy seats feature large side storage bins.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Upper Deck Economy Cabin

I also had a chance to quickly look at the sprawling 3-4-3 economy cabin on the lower deck. British Airways actually has decent economy seats, especially on their 777s, where they retain a 9-abreast configuration despite the industry standard.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Economy Class

British Airways A380 Club World Amenities

Anyway, I was happy where I was on the upper deck. At my seat was a comfortable pillow, as well as a sleep kit featuring a mattress pad and two blankets. There was a lighter day blanket, as well as a quilted blanket with a duvet-type material (the latter wasn’t very thick, though).

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Pillow and Sleeping Kit

There were also some okay headphones.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Headphones

I was also offered a faux leather amenity kit (or a “washbag”), which featured a basic dental kit, pen, eyeshades, socks, earplugs, and some amenities from The White Company.

a black leather case on a white surface a bag with a black case and a black pen next to a black bag with toothpaste and a black object on it
British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Amenity Kit

I quickly popped off to the bathroom to wash my hands after wiping my seat down, and returned to a bottle of water. (I gulped down water and choked, causing steely glares from covered premium economy passengers.)

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Water

British Airways A380 Club World Lavatories

The upper deck features three business class bathrooms. As you’d imagine with the general advice being to avoid airplane bathrooms during this time (which I believe is absolutely unnecessary as long as you’re careful – airplanes have lower humidity and circulated air, so there’s more or less homogeneity throughout the air particulates), there was no queue. There are two large bathrooms at the front of the forward business class cabin, and one smaller bathroom on the right side between cabins. The bathrooms featured toiletries from The White Company.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Bathroom

Being at the front of the upper deck, I also had good reason to check out the A380’s majestic stairs.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Stairs and Entryway

Takeoff from London Heathrow During COVID-19 Times

I settled into my seat at about 8:20 PM. For about 10-15 minutes I basically had the cabin to myself. This is because the gate agents had to check that everyone was either a Hong Kong resident or had a flight connecting out before 12 AM, due to the city closing its borders to all non-residents. This dragged the boarding process out immensely, considering they were dealing with a full A380. As a result, a rolling delay was placed on our departure time, and by 9:45 PM there were 30 passengers left to board (for a 9 PM departure). I personally was fine in my comfortable little cocoon, though imagine that some economy passengers were squirming in their hazmat suits.

We were further dragged out when two passengers no-showed, so they had to spend some extra time fishing out their suitcases. One of the premium economy passengers had a 7 PM connection to make, and was getting restless, repeatedly asking the cabin crew for information that they unfortunately could not provide. Finally, by 10:40 PM, we were ready to go.

a row of seats on an airplane
Empty British Airways A380 Business Class Cabin

Initially I assumed pre-departure beverages were cut due to the current situation, though upon asking was responded with “we can get you a drink, would you like champagne?” by the flight attendant serving my aisle. Alcohol? Disinfectant? Yes please! The champagne was Canard-Duchéne Cuvée Léonie Brut – I didn’t enjoy it too much, as it was very acidic and lacked freshness.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Champagne

By 9:15 PM it was apparent that we wouldn’t be boarding anytime soon, so I reclined my seat for the time being. British Airways’ A380 business class seat does not feature a fold-out footrest (though I found the ottoman sufficient and close enough for resting the feet), though the preset reclined position looks as follows:

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Seat Reclined

I stayed on my phone for a while, eavesdropping a phone conversation of the lady behind me loudly complaining about her “terrible” business class seat and how “if the guy in the aisle seat wasn’t my boyfriend, it’d be super awkward right now”. Whilst I agreed…

At 10:40 PM the captain came onto the PA to announce that boarding was complete and they were unloading the bags of two misconnecting passengers. Seat 59B remained empty – yay! This meant that I was more or less socially distanced, and the most awkward part of British Airways’ business class (facing a stranger during takeoff and landing) was avoided.

The only issue was that during takeoff and landing, an open curtain and the staggered bulkhead meant that premium economy passengers in the middle block of the first row basically had a direct view of me. Personally this was a small price to pay for the privacy I got inflight, though if you don’t like the feeling of being watched you should avoid aisle seats 59B and 59J.

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Awkward eye contact in British Airways business class (peep the hazmat suits in both aisle seats!)

At around 10:45 PM we pushed back. British Airways has released an updated version of their new safety video, with different celebrities (though the format is the same). It’s extremely cringey, though I don’t hate it.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Safety Video

Our taxi was short, and by 11 PM we were off the ground, ready for our late-night trek out of London.

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Taking off out of Heathrow and locked-down London

British Airways A380 WiFi

Around a couple of minutes after takeoff we passed 10,000 feet, and the WiFi was turned on. All of British Airways’ A380s have WiFi (information for the rest of the fleet can be found here on FlyerTalk), and the prices on this flight were as follows:

  • First class passengers get free, unlimited WiFi
  • 1 hour of WiFi cost £4.99
  • 4 hours of WiFi cost £11.99
  • Full flight WiFi costs up to £23.99 – £21.99 on this flight

I purchased the full flight WiFi package. I found the WiFi connection to be extremely stable and reasonably fast, with the only caveat being that you can’t switch between devices. I knew this coming in (I’d flown British Airways’ premium economy before), so I’d pre-loaded work on my computer, buying WiFi on my phone so I could stay connected.

The good WiFi experience is consistent with what I experienced on their 777, and you’ll also be able to find this WiFi on their A350 aircraft, as well as many of their 787s (their A350s used to charge by data usage, though fortunately that has changed in the meantime).

British Airways A380 Club World Privacy Partition

Around 10 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign turned off, and the privacy partitions were unlocked. While I already had a decent amount of privacy, raising the partition gave me full privacy from the aisle. I’d argue that you get just as much privacy than you otherwise would in an Apex Suite, or even the Qatar Airways QSuite. (Don’t get me wrong, there are many things that those two seats get right that this seat just doesn’t.)

a person wearing a mask a small room with a television and a box
British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Privacy Divider

British Airways A380 Club World Meal Service

I went online for about 10 minutes before a crewmember came around for pre-meal service beverage orders. The menu read as follows (I forgot to take a picture of the breakfast menu, sorry):

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Menu

For my aperitif I ordered a Johnnie Ginger, a whisky-based cocktail with orange juice and ginger ale. It was served with some packaged nuts. I’m not going to lie, I’ve had bad experiences with whisky during first term, and just can’t acquaint with it anymore – though I did love the glass it was served in.

a bowl of nuts and a glass of liquid on a tray
British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Drink – Johnnie Ginger

To minimise crew interaction, only the main dish and dessert were served on this flight. This was actually the last flight in the current situation that British Airways was serving hot food – as of March 24, 2020 until further notice, British Airways will be serving packaged food in all cabins.

I was able to pre-order my meal, though didn’t, as I wasn’t sure what I’d be in the mood for (there are no differences between the meal selection online and onboard, other than the fact that you’re guaranteed your meal choice if you select it online). I ended up choosing the Welsh lamb cutlet and braised lamb shoulder, which was a fantastic choice. The lamb cutlet was cooked a nice and tender medium, the lamb shoulder was fork tender, and I loved the polenta and the sauce that it came with (calling the polenta a “gratin” was a stretch, and it could’ve done with more salt, though it was nice nonetheless). I was offered a drink with it, and chose a red wine, which was decent.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Meal – Welsh Lamb Cutlet and Braised Lamb Shoulder

I also loved the puffy side bread, which was flavoured and very delicious.

My main complaint was that the portion was tiny. I wasn’t too fazed by that, despite the fact that I hadn’t eaten much that day, though I heard the lady behind me asking for seconds. She was told that they’d run out of lamb, but still had the pork and pasta options.

I was also intrigued by the pasta dish so also asked for a second. Choosing the lamb was a good shout – while well cooked, the pasta was bland, and only the flavourful cream sauce lent any sort of flavour.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Meal – Truffle Celeriac Ravioli

While I was having my second main the crew came around with dessert. He apologised about having to serve dessert while I was still having my main, as they were wrapping up the meal service. No problem – this meant that I’d get some extra needed sleep.

Though doused in creme anglaise (normally a shortcut to my heart), I didn’t find the dessert to be as decadent as the likes I’ve had on Virgin Atlantic and Qatar Airways. It was…too sweet? There was too much sugar and not enough vanilla, in my opinion, though it was still pretty good.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Meal Dessert – Caramelised Upside Down Apple and Hazelnut Tart

British Airways A380 Club World Service

Over the course of the meal, my order was taken and brought immediately to me after – I don’t know if this is normal protocol or a social distancing measure, though I appreciated the lack of trolleys. The crew operating our flight was a “worldwide” crew, which meant that they were all hired before British Airways’ 2010 labour dispute (as opposed to mixed fleet crews, which were hired after, and are paid much less, sadly); their experience showed, and they were polished, friendly and efficient despite the current situation.

British Airways A380 Club World Bed

At the end of the meal service a crewmember came over asking me to put my window shades down, in order to keep the light down after sunrise. My table was cleared less than 10 minutes after I finished, which is very efficient for a social distancing crew on an A380; after the meal I set my bed.

British Airways has partnered with The White Company to implement better bedding on their flights. I don’t actually think the mattress pad is all that great (it doesn’t even go over the entire seat), though the bedding was more than comfortable enough to get some good rest. From what I’ve heard, this is a massive improvement over what British Airways used to have. The blanket wasn’t impressive by any means, though it was quite comfortable.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Bed

British Airways’ A380s don’t have air nozzles, though the cabin was kept at a comfortable temperature to get some good rest. I slept for a solid 7 hours – very good, though not surprising considering how tired I was – and woke up around two hours out of Hong Kong.

British Airways A380 Club World Club Kitchen

I wasn’t hungry by any means, though to complete this trip report I decided to check out the Club Kitchen. The Club Kitchen is British Airways’ version of a “help-yourself” style minibar, featured on all longhaul flights, and was fully operational on this flight despite coronavirus concerns. The crewmembers were clearing it out for breakfast, though they proactively offered to tidy it up for me so I could take a last photo.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Club Kitchen

The Club Kitchen is located in between the two upper deck cabins. It’s situated right behind seats 53J and 53K, so I’d avoid those seats – I’d pick a window seat without direct aisle access over seat 53K due to the light concerns.

While the cabin was kept dark between meal services, some pretty mood lighting was turned up prior to breakfast.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Mood Lighting

British Airways A380 Club World Entertainment System

While this was happening, I briefly checked out the entertainment system. Now, British Airways’ entertainment system isn’t the most responsive, and it doesn’t feature a huge amount of choice – but I can’t believe I missed out on Frozen 2. I was tired, had WiFi, and wasn’t intending to watch anything, but I’ve been meaning to watch Frozen 2 for a while and was gutted to see it in the selection with only an hour and a half of flight time remaining.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Entertainment System

British Airways A380 Club World Pre-Arrival Meal

Around an hour before landing the crewmember serving my aisle came to ask for my breakfast order. I ordered the sweetcorn pancakes, which were nice, fluffy, and better than what I was expecting. I was offered tea, coffee or orange juice, and went with orange juice.

a plate of pancakes and a glass of juice
British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Meal – Pancakes

The breakfast was served with some stale-looking croissants and a beautiful looking acai bowl. Unfortunately as it wasn’t heated I didn’t touch the acai bowl, though it did look very tasty.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Meal – Acai Bowl

My breakfast tray was taken not long after I finished, and we continued cruising for a while.

Landing into Hong Kong Airport

The captain came on the PA to announce that we were approaching sunny Hong Kong, and that shortly toilets would be unavailable and the inflight WiFi would stop working. 15 minutes later the seatbelt sign went on and the crew prepared for landing, making sure the floor was clear in all business class seats, etc..

We were delayed enough that we experienced the beginning of the sunset from the windows of our A380, with an anticipated arrival time of 6:15 PM, an hour and 20 minutes after our scheduled arrival time.

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Sunset upon Landing into Hong Kong Airport

While it was a clear day back home, we approached Hong Kong Airport over the water, so there wasn’t much in the way of views (apart from a majestic and oh-so-unsustainable fuel dump just short of Hong Kong).

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Landing into Hong Kong Airport

Once we touched down into Hong Kong at 6 PM, it was a short 10-minute taxi to gate 5, where we’d be parked next a Singapore Airlines 787 carrying exclusively Singaporeans back home (since the country has closed their borders to everyone else).

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Singapore Airlines Boeing 787 Hong Kong Airport

Touring British Airways’ A380 First Class

Before I left the aircraft I asked the crewmembers if I could check out the lower deck (you’ll have seen my pictures of the lower deck Club World and economy class cabins above). I first walked through first class, which features 14 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. British Airways’ first class seats are more like glammed-up reverse herringbone seats, though they did look very comfortable.

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British Airways Airbus A380 First Class

It was time to say goodbye to the A380 for now and head to my hotel, where I’d be quarantined for 14 days.

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British Airways Airbus A380 Hong Kong Airport

Signing Up for 14-day Quarantine at Hong Kong Airport

The process of signing up for quarantine wasn’t too complicated, apart from the fact that we had to fill out one of the forms twice. Nobody knew, so everyone ended up lining up twice in order to get through at some point or another. The most depressing part of the experience was looking at the departures board and seeing a once bustling airport departures board reduced to a mere two panels.

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Cancelled Flights at Hong Kong Airport

Conclusion: British Airways A380 Club World Business Class

Let’s start with the obvious. British Airways’ A380 business class seat is nowhere near competitive. I had arguably the best business class seat in the fleet (except for the new Club Suites), and was in a more-than-ideal scenario, as I had side storage space, direct aisle access, and no seatmate; even then there were some caveats regarding the seat’s limited width and the placement of some of the seat’s features. The forward-backward configuration really isn’t ideal for solo travellers, especially for such a business traveller-heavy airline; in addition, the 2-4-2 configuration on the lower deck is simply past its prime at this point. Thankfully British Airways is introducing their new business class product, which seems industry leading, and I have no doubt it’s better than this business class product.

Otherwise I had a very good flight. British Airways has really upped the ante with meals, as I’ve heard bad things in the past; I found the overall quality of food to be good and in line with what I’ve heard from DO&CO catering. Service was genuine despite social distancing efforts, and I was happy with the bedding and amenities provided, even though they aren’t exactly industry leading. British Airways has invested a lot into the business class soft product recently, and it really shows. I also really enjoyed having unlimited, fast WiFi, even though the airline seems to be backtracking on that on their A350s.

I really want to try British Airways on their new Club Suite after this entire coronavirus conundrum ends, as I believe that a good hard product may potentially propel British Airways’ business class to the top of the pack. At this point, though, I’m thinking about how it compares to their competitor Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class product – another airline with a great business class soft product and an underwhelming business class hard product. Although I’ve flown business class on all three airlines operating direct between Hong Kong and London, Cathay Pacific has updated their soft product significantly since the last time I flew them on this route, so I need to try them again. I’ll come up with a comparison post in the meantime.

Have you flown British Airways’ Club World business class before?

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