AIRLINE – BRITISH AIRWAYS
CLASS OF TRAVEL – CLUB WORLD (BUSINESS)
AIRCRAFT – A380
ROUTE – HONG KONG TO LONDON HEATHROW
British Airways celebrated its 80th anniversary of flying to Hong Kong this year, so ScrubySnacks decided to step aboard the A380 to mark this phenomenal achievement.
Boarding the British Airways A380 is always astounding. Considering the sheer size of the aircraft and the number of eagerly awaiting passengers, the process is simple and seamless thanks to their staggered boarding and entry through various doors.
Following a rather chirpy greeting at the cabin entrance, the crew showed us to our pre-allocated seats and swiftly took care of our jackets. Soon after we were handed a refreshing glass of Champagne, a hot towel and the full menu to peruse whilst the rest of the passengers were seated.
Our Club World seats were located on the lower deck, with a 2-4-2 seat configuration and a total of 44 seats.
We had preselected two middle seats in the Club World section, which although is ideal for couples or acquaintances, may be considered a little too ‘romantic’ if you’re traveling alone and seated next to a complete stranger. The seat itself was comfortably wide with a fold-up footrest positioned at the end of the compartment. Unless you are lucky enough to have long limbs, it’s almost impossible to reach the footrest without unbuckling your seatbelt and stretching forward. Once it’s down, you can enjoy the majority of the 13 hour journey taking full advantage of a very generous 183cm (6ft) fully-flat bed.
One thing we have become accustomed to, having flown British Airways’ Club World on previous occasions, is the electronic screen divider that sits between you and your fellow forward facing passenger. I always find this a particularly peculiar feature on BA, considering how overly polite British people tend to be, causing much embarrassment and anxiety over who should press the button and raise the barrier first. Even more awkward is when the person facing you decides to strike up a conversation just as you finally find the courage to hover your finger over the controls.
Luckily, as this was such a late flight, the gentleman seated across from me had fallen asleep well before take-off, making it far less awkward to take the initiative and press the button, raising the screen before he even had a clue. On the plus side, once the screens on both sides of the middle seats have been raised, you can sit back and enjoy the privacy of a your own spacious double compartment to relax in.
Located to the side of the seat, under the flat screen, is a personal folding table which requires a strong push of the silver button and a quick yank using your finger tips. The panel adjacent to the aforementioned passenger partition controls the various seat positions, and there is also a handy USB port and remote control storage unit for the onscreen entertainment. At foot level there is a handy drawer for storage of the essentials along with another charging port.
With yet another push of a button, the touch-sensitive 10.4 inch flat screen is released. Although incredibly easy to operate, the only unfortunate thing is that the screen has to be stowed away for take-off and landing, which can be frustrating if you happen to be enjoying the final moments of a particularly nail-biting thriller. Nevertheless, there are hundreds of entertainment options available including latest blockbusters, film classics, international TV programs, music files, audio books and games. It’s a great time to catch up on any British programs and arthouse films during the long journey ahead, especially thanks to the inflight noise-cancelling headsets provided.
The British Airways Club World amenity kit is probably one of our favourites in the sky. Along with the usual eye masks, foam ear plugs and inflight socks, they also offer a beautifully fresh and fragrant selection of Elemis products, including their outstanding Ultra Rich Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, Skin Nourishing Hand & Body Lotion and Minty Moisturising Lip Balm. All of these treats come in a super handy, cotton draw string bag, which is perfect for storing your shoes in.
The quilted comforter provided always feels like one you’ve had at home for a while, washed numerous times, giving it a soft, bobbly feeling, ready for you to snuggle under, taking the edge off the sometimes overgenerous cabin air-conditioning.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE
After enjoying our ‘welcome aboard’ glass of champagne, printed menus were handed out enabling us to make our meal and accompanying drink choices in advance. We were particularly impressed to see 4 different kinds of Champagne being offered including a Champagne de Castelnau Brut Rose NV, Champagne de Castelnau Vintage 2004, Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain NV and a Champagne de Castelnau Brut Reserve NV.
Around 30 minutes after take-off, more drinks were served along with a small packet of nuts to nibble on.
The menu for the late night flight consisted of a ‘Champagne Supper’ which offered lighter meal options for those eager to catch some shut eye. The starter was a selection of cold canapes featuring seared scallops with caviar oil, beef roulade with blue cheese and avocado and a chilli sushi roll.
For the main I opted for the special 80th anniversary roasted duck breast with kumquat sauce, potato and celeriac au gratin, curry-scented carrots, braised endive, fresh peas and shallots, all served piping hot, beautifully juicy and extremely satisfying.
Not one to pass on dessert, the 80th anniversary theme continued with a warm apple tartin with mascarpone cream which was more of a trendy, deconstructed dessert which I have to admit left me longing for more of a pastry crust rather than a waif of a biscuit precariously balanced on top of some sliced apple.
Thankfully, all was redeemed thanks to a generous platter of Mimolette and Camembert cheese with dried fruit chutney and crackers. Not exactly the light ‘Champagne Supper’ we were planning for, but there were no complaints from our gloriously full bellies.
The Chateau Mon-Redon 2012, Chateuaneuf-du-Pape from the Rhone Valley in France was the perfect accompaniment to the meal, which was full bodied and surprisingly fruity.
Tables were cleared and the lights dimmed, ready for the much anticipated post-supper deep slumber. It was reassuring to know that any late night munchies could be easily satisfied by a short trip to the Club Kitchen galley, where an array of snacks were available to nibble at all times.
Around an hour and a half before landing, the cabin lights were gently brightened and hot towels handed out, signifying the commencement of the breakfast service.
Particularly delicious was the energising banana and mango smoothie, accompanied by a warmed bread selection. This was followed by a slightly greasy Gruyere omelette with bubble and squeak, cherry tomatoes and baked beans which our stomachs weren’t quite ready for so soon after slumber.
Cabins were cleared and our seats were shifted back to the landing/takeoff position just in time to catch the soft velvety Irish tones of the Captain who soon announced “Welcome to a wet and miserable Heathrow!” This statement was one that we were all too familiar with, but luckily we had thoroughly enjoyed the previous 13 hours of warmth and comfort thanks to British Airways’ Club World.
Our experience of British Airways’ Club World on the A380 was a very pleasant one, and we couldn’t have been happier enjoying the luxury of a fully-flat bed for the 13 hour overnight flight.
This was made even better thanks to our pre-booked middle seats located at the very end of the cabin. This meant avoiding having to straddle anyone to get to the washrooms, which is no easy feat if you happen to be vertically challenged. If you’re not keen on jumping over legs in the middle of a flight, it’s best to secure an aisle seat in advance.
Also, don’t be afraid to press that dividing screen button as soon as the seatbelt signs go off. Your forward-facing fellow passenger will probably thank you for it too.
Check out and compare ScrubySnacks’ other airline reviews:
American Airlines Review – Business Class (Long haul)
Japan Airlines Review – Sky Suite II (Business Class)
Hong Kong Airlines Review – Business Class
British Airways Review – World Traveller (Economy Class)
Cathay Pacific Review – Economy Class