The British Airways A350-1000 takes the BA Club World business class product to a whole new level. I was greatly impressed by my flight to Madrid.
While the A350 is destined for longhaul service, BA is testing it out on flights between London and Madrid for the next couple of weeks. I managed to snag an award seat about 24 hours in advance, which seemed a better option than a media flight to get a sense of the new product. Interestingly, there were at least nine business class award seats available and the flight went out with several open seats in all cabins.
British Airways chose reverse herringbone seats with closing doors for its new Club World Suites. The preimium-heavy aircraft contains 11 rows of business class in the front cabin and a mini-cabin behind lavatories and galley with three more rows.
While the seats look similar to many other reverse herringbone seats, I found the padding thicker and more comfortable. Plush pillows are provided on short-haul flights, but longhaul flights will have the full BA bedding.
Menus were handed out after takeoff with a choice of three dinner items. I chose roast chicken and was very pleased with the substantial dinner, including appetizer, cheese, and dessert, for a two-hour flight. The Union Coffee, however, leaves much to be desired.
My IFE did not work…not all. In fact, 7A, 8A, and 9A were non-functional the entire flight. The crew did several reboots and resets, to not avail. One tremendous veteran flight attendant, Colin Fischer, claimed that it was the first time in his career that he been unsuccessful in reseting a Panasonic system.
Although not provisioned during this short flight, the A350-100 is equipped with a nice self-serve buffet in the galley between the two business class cabins.
I’ll have many more photos and commentary in my full report. I do want to say that perhaps more than anything else, I enjoyed seeing passenger reactions to the new business class cabin. You should have seen the looks of amazement, especially from those who are used to BA’s current rather cramped business class seat. The flight was full of aviation junkies taking pictures and videos, but it seemed just about every passenger was taking pictures of the swanky new cabin on BA.