The Best British Airways Club World Seats

Apr 26, 2019

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In case you missed it, here’s a link to our take on the best seats on British Airways in First Class. BA premium-class seats have become especially attractive with the recent introduction of a 30% bonus when transfering Chase Ultimate Rewards to the British Airways Executive Club. While BA’s long-haul biz class, called Club World, is in a dated seat configuration, it can still be quite an experience with the proper service and soft product.

Now, we continue our series looking at the best seats on various British Airways aircraft.

British Airways offers Club World on all 134 of its long-haul planes as well as a single A318 that it flies between London City (LCY) and New York’s JFK, and 4 Airbus A321s that feature lie-flat Club World seats. The latter are often referred to as mid-haul ex-BMI A321 as British Airways acquired these when it bought British Midland in 2012.

Club World is offered on:

  • 43 Boeing 747s (which will be retired by end of 2023)
  • 18 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners
  • 12 Boeing 777-300s
  • 46 Boeing 777-200s
  • 12 Airbus A380s
  • 4 Airbus A321s
  • 1 Airbus A318s

While Club World was once revolutionary, it has fallen behind the competition in recent years, particularly given its 2-4-2 layout on all of the widebody aircraft. British Airways is launching a new product, Club Suite, on its A350s and will begin updating its existing 777s starting this summer. But until 2023, the older product will continue flying. Given its layout, it’s therefore important to know which seats to pick on which aircraft to have the most comfortable experience.

Best Seating Strategy Across All Long-Haul British Airways Aircraft

Top picks for solo travellers: Window seat in the back row of any cabin

The 2-4-2 layout of the British Airways Club World means that most passengers in window seats need to climb over someone else (who may have reclined their seat into the lie-flat position), and most aisle passengers may find themselves being climbed over. Windows seats face backward and aisle seats face forward.

As a general rule across the 747s, 777s, 787s and A380s, I would therefore recommend that single travellers try to select a window seat in the last row or the row before a bulkhead or an emergency exit. That way, they can leave their seat without climbing over others and those seats typically have a few extra inches of space.

Best British Airways Club World Seats on a Boeing 747

Top picks: 64K, 62A/K, 64A, 20A/K, 22A/K

Image courtesy of British Airways
Image courtesy of British Airways.

Club World is both on the lower deck as well as the upper deck of the Queen of the Skies. British Airways currently flies two versions of this aircraft. Typically, those operating from Terminal 3 have a strange layout where World Traveller Plus (BA’s premium economy product) is located between first class and Club World. Once upon a time, someone at BA tried to be clever and utilise space to the maximum, though this was (and continues to be) unpopular with crew and passengers. These aircraft also have the oldest inflight entertainment system (IFE) to be found on BA’s long-haul fleet, and if possible, I’d avoid these aircraft. Annoyingly, they fly to a set number of destinations (those served from Terminal 3), so avoiding them isn’t always possible. The seat map above outlines this configuration.

The seat map below outlines the other configuration that is used on the majority of 747 destinations. These aircraft have fairly recently been refurbished and have very modern IFE (larger screens that are much more responsive).

Image courtesy of British Airways
Image courtesy of British Airways.

On the lower deck, the 2-4-2 layout makes for a crowded cabin. I would always recommend taking a seat on the Upper Deck where possible. Good downstairs seats, following the above general guidance, for solo travellers are 20A/K as well as 22A/K (where it exists). Those seats allow the occupant to leave their seat without climbing over their neighbour.

Some couples like the middle seats (E and F) as passengers are looking in the same direction (backward) and are close together. For families, putting children into those middle seats can be a good idea.

Any window and aisle seat will also work for a couple travelling together, as the forward and backward layout means you are very close to your neighbour. And if the privacy screen isn’t raised, looking straight at them, which is a major criticism of the seat if your neighbour is a stranger — though the privacy screen can be put up straight after take-off.

If you are able to secure a seat on the Upper Deck, 62A/K and 64A/K are great seats. Window seats upstairs give extra storage space as they have side bins and those four seats allow for leaving the seat without climbing over others. Though 64K is close to the toilet, which gives it extra privacy as it creates a little corner, I have never had any issues with noise. That is my go-to seat when flying Club World — it’s the best seat in BA’s business class in my opinion.

64A is the upstairs basinet seat, so it may not be reservable (and there’s a risk you might get kicked out of the seat if a family needs it). The lack of a wall just behind it may mean there’s light pollution from the stairs, galley and toilet.

64k on the Upper Deck of a B747 - Image by Christian Kramer / The Points Guy
64k on the Upper Deck of a 747. Photo by Christian Kramer / The Points Guy.

Best British Airways Club World Seats on a Boeing 787-9

Top picks: 7A, 7K, 13A, 13K, 7E, 13E

Image courtesy of British Airways
Image courtesy of British Airways.

Unlike on the 747 and 777, the layout on the 787-9 (and 787-8) is 2-3-2, given that the cabin is narrower. That also means the middle seats (E) are a little bit wider with just an inch or two extra on both sides, making them more private and more attractive than any E (or F) middle seat on the larger aircraft.

Following the general guidance for those travelling alone, my top pick would be 7A or 7K, followed by 13A and 13K though, especially on a night flight where views out of the window might be less important. 7E and 13E are also very good seats, as they give extra space without the need to climb over others to get out (nor being climbed over).

For couples, I would suggest a window-aisle combination as there are no two middle seats together like on the 747 and 777.

7A on a B787-9 - Image by Christian Kramer / The Points Guy
7A on a 787-9. Photo by Christian Kramer / The Points Guy.

Best British Airways Club World Seats on a Boeing 787-8

Top picks: 3A/K, 7A/K, 3E, 7E

Image courtesy of British Airways
Image courtesy of British Airways

There is no first class on the smaller Dreamliner. As per the general guidance, 3A/3K and 7A/7K are good seats, and as per the 787-9, 3E and 7E also make for good seats given the extra width, privacy and ability to get out without climbing over any neighbours.

Best British Airways Club World Seats on a Boeing 777

Top picks: 777-300: 16A/K; 777-200 4 Class: 15A/K; 777-200 3 Class: 5A/K, 11A/K; 777-200 LGW: 4A/K

Image courtesy of British Airways
Image courtesy of British Airways
Image courtesy of British Airways
Image courtesy of British Airways

British Airways flies a number of different versions of the 777 — most common is the 777-300 and the four-class 777-200, though BA also operates three-class 777-200s from LHR as well as from LGW with smaller Club World cabins.

The layout on all is 2-4-2, and because of the size of the cabins on the 777-300 and 777-200, they’re sometimes referred to as ‘dormitories’.

I personally try to avoid the 777 in Club World when there are other options (e.g. on the JFK route where there are both 747s and 777s). Window seats don’t have much storage space (unlike on the upper deck of a 747).

The usual standard guidance applies: Where possible, grab a window seat in the final row if travelling alone.

For couples, as on the 747, middle seats can be the go-to seat, though any combination of a window and aisle seat will also work.

Best British Airways Club World Seats on an Airbus A380

Top picks: 53A/K, 59A/K, 15A/K, 53E, 59E

Image courtesy of British Airways
Image courtesy of British Airways

British Airways has 12 A380s in their fleet and flies them to a range of popular destinations. Club World is spread over both decks, with the lower deck in a 2-4-2 layout, whilst upstairs it’s 2-3-2, due to the cabin being narrower upstairs.

Given a choice, the upper deck has a less crowded feel to it as Club World is split over two cabins upstairs, so upstairs would be my natural choice. Similar to other aircraft, the best seats are the window seats at the back of each cabin that allow access without climbing over neighbours: 53A/K and 59A/K. Downstairs, 15A and K are similarly good, though in a bigger and more crowded feeling cabin.

Similar to the B787, given the upstairs layout is 2-3-2, the middle E seats also provide a little bit more space than middle seats downstairs, and those at the back, 53E and 59E, give easy access as well as privacy when the dividers are up.

As with other aircraft, for couples, the downstairs middle seats are popular as they face in the same direction though any combination of a window and neighbouring aisle seat will also be good for couples.

Best British Airways Club World Seats on an Airbus A321

Top picks: ‘Throne seats’: 1A, 2F, 3A, 4F, 5A, 6F, 7A, 8F

Image courtesy of British Airways
Image courtesy of British Airways

When British Airways bought British Midland in 2012, it also bought British Midland’s fleet of ‘mid-haul’ A321s, which were used to its longer destinations. BA has converted most of these into short-haul set ups, but there are still four of these in the fleet largely serving destinations such as Beirut, Cairo and Moscow.

The layout is alternating 1-2 and 2-1, so every row alternating between A and K has a ‘throne seat’ without a neighbour. Those are the ones to go to for solo travellers.

Couples should chose two seats together, such as 1D and 1F or 2A and 2C.

Image by Dan Ross / The Points Guy
Image by Dan Ross / The Points Guy

Best British Airways Club World Seats on the Airbus A318

Top picks: Row 1 for a little bit of extra space. Row 3 for privacy.

British Airways flies a single Airbus 318 between London City and JFK (it used to have two flights a day). It’s special for a number of reasons — it’s a business-class-only set up, it uses former Concorde flight numbers, it stops in Shannon on the way to JFK to refuel and passengers clear immigration there, thus arriving as a ‘domestic’ flight in JFK. It’s well worth a try.

The layout is eight rows of four seats in a 2-2 arrangement.

Image by Christian Kramer / The Points Guy
Photo by Christian Kramer / The Points Guy.

The seats are on the older side but comfortable enough. All window seats require climbing over the neighbour and all aisle seats risk being climbed over. I say risk, as loads tend to be on the lower side, so there’s a good chance of not having a neighbour. Row 1 has a bit more space, so that’s the row I would go for — though it’s close to the front galley, so a row a bit farther back (such as Row 3) will make for a quieter journey.

Image by Christian Kramer / The Points Guy
Image by Christian Kramer / The Points Guy

Featured photo by Nicky Kelvin/TPG

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