British Airways is a true global airline flying to more than 170 destinations in 70 countries. Since 1974, British Airways (BA) has been a perennial favorite airline for travelers flying between Europe and North America. For the past several years the airline hasn’t been known for having a stellar business class experience, but that is changing with the introduction of its Club World Suites.
From the US, British Airways flies from 26 cities to London and beyond.
What to know about British Airways business class
Business class is available on all British Airways flights, with Club Europe available on short-haul flights throughout Europe and Club World on long-haul flights.
For the purposes of this review, we’ll focus on the Club World experience between London and the United States. The best routes for business class fliers are on the Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 787-10, because these planes are equipped with the airline’s new Club World Suites.
Read deals found by Going British Airways business class
- Seattle to Amsterdam for $2,578 roundtrip
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The British Airways business class airport experience
British Airways business class check-in experience
At major airports worldwide business Class passengers have access to a dedicated Club World check-in line which infinitely speeds up airport check-in. Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby status oneworld members can also use the Club World check-in.
Baggage allowance in British Airways business class
Business class travelers can check up to two bags weighing up to 70lbs./32 kg each. Bags are tagged with priority tags. Customers are also entitled to bring one piece of hand luggage and one personal item.
British Airways lounge experience
BA operates 30 of its own lounges in airports worldwide and has a network of 100 partner lounges. At its home airport of London Heathrow, British Airways offers its Gallery Lounge in Terminal 3 and in two locations in Terminal 5. Its lounges at its flagship airport are open from 5am to 10pm and are by far the nicest I’ve experienced with BA. Throughout the day there is a rotating buffet available, as well as free-flowing beer, wine and spirits. Additional amenities include newspapers, magazines, complimentary WiFi, Internet terminals, printers, TVs, children’s area, and restrooms/showers.
In November 2022 British Airways moved to Terminal 8 in JFK and debuted a new business class lounge experience. The lounge is co-branded with American Airlines and combines its existing flagship lounge and its Admirals club. The old lounge was BA’s busiest in the United States and will be the flagship in America.
Lounges vary greatly in amenities and space depending on the individual airport. For example, at busy Chicago O’Hare, the BA Terrace Lounge seems woefully small and in need of a remodel to update furnishings and improve the dark atmosphere. BA does offer its Sleeper Service on its Chicago to London route, designed to offer more amenities in the lounge and reduce noisy service on the flight. This means the lounge offers a more robust meal service with things like a pasta bar, salad station, and several mains and sides.
The British Airways business class in-flight experience
British Airways business class seats
British Airways is in the process of overhauling many of its routes with its Club World Suites. The process is expected to take until 2025 and in 2022, approximately 79% of its planes have undergone the transformation.
Currently all Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 787-10 have converted to Club World Suites and 86% of its Boeing 777-200 and 50% of its 777-300 have the new suites. Other planes have yet to start retrofitting the cabins. The easiest way to check if your flight is equipped with Club World Suites is to search your flight on a site like Seatguru. If you see a 1-2-1 configuration, the plane has the new business class.
Club World Suites
The new Club World Suites are a major upgrade to the British Airways business class experience. Each suite features a door for privacy, direct aisle access from every suite, a lie-flat seat and an 18.5 inch entertainment screen. Cabin configuration is 1-2-1 reverse herringbone.
When lying flat, the seat stretches to 6 ft. 6 inches. The new Club World Suites also feature:
- WiFi and PC/USB power
- 40% increase in storage space
- Vanity area with mirror
- Luxury bedding by The White Company
- The White Company Restore & Relax spa amenity collection
Club World Seats
The older British Airways business class seats date to 2006 and they aren’t aging gracefully. One of the biggest gripes with the older business class cabin is a cramped 2-4-2 configuration found on every plane that hasn’t been converted to Club World Suites. A middle seat in business class? No thanks. The seats are lie-flat, but narrow with a width of 19 to 20.5” depending on aircraft and a lie-flat length of 6 feet. The amenity kit and bedding are also from The White Company. The entertainment screen, at just 12-inches, is small for today’s business class.
British Airways business class benefits
British Airways business class passengers enjoy priority security screening lanes at airports that offer those, and priority boarding and deplaning. In general large airports in the United States, UK and Europe offer a priority security screening lane. When there are multiple boarding jetways at gates, business class passengers use a dedicated boarding door.
Business class passengers enjoy amenity kits from The White Company that feature products from its Restore & Relax Spa Collection including a moisturizer, skin conditioning cream, pulse point oil and a spa lip balm. A jersey eye mask and slipper socks are also included in the amenities. Bedding includes a day cushion/lumbar support pillow, large sleeping pillow, soft woven blanket and a luxurious duvet.
Dining in British Airways business class
Business class passengers can pre-order meals prior to the flight from the standard menu or to meet special dietary requirements and allergies.
In business class, dining is an experience that harkens back to the golden age of flying with white linens, china, and cutlery. Amazingly, British Airways just went back to this level of dining in October 2022, a full 2.5 years since the start of the pandemic.
Service starts with drinks and nuts to snack on. The three-course meal includes a starter, main and dessert or cheese. The menu varies depending on your routing but some items that could be on the menu include starters like a spicy prawns and caramelized fig salad, and mains like pan seared salmon, grilled filet of beef, or a spinach and oyster mushroom risotto. Desserts could be a lemon tart of a selection of international cheeses. The airline incorporates some British food and drink into the menu.
On long haul flights, a main meal and a breakfast/snack are served. There are also snacks left out in the galley that passengers can grab if needed during the flight.
Alcohol in British Airways business class
Business class passengers are treated to an open bar throughout the flight. The bar includes standard liquor and spirits, beers and a wine selection featuring sparkling, whites, and reds from Europe, the United States, South America, and Australia. In 2022 British Airways won a bronze from Business Traveller Magazine for its onboard wine cellar. Highlights include a French Bordeaux, a New Zealand Pinot Gris and several selections of Champagne and British sparkling wine (try it!). British Airways offers an exclusive British Brewdog Jet Stream beer.
British Airways business class vs. first class
While the business class experience on British Airways offers a luxurious, comfortable way to cross the pond, first class does offer fliers additional benefits. For most people choosing between the two boils down to cost or amount of frequent flier miles needed. The price difference between the two cabins traveling from LHR to JFK is usually about $5,000, but can be as high as $10,000.
First class passengers enjoy three checked bags instead of two, access to a higher level airport lounge, including the ultra-premium Concorde Rooms at London Heathrow and New York’s JFK. The Concorde Room offers waiter-served a la carte dining and $200 a bottle Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne, and the Forty Winks Nap lounge. First class passengers also enjoy priority boarding from first class lounges.
In the air the first-class cabin has personal suites similar to the new Club World Suites the business class cabins are being replaced with. First class dining service was revamped using cutlery by Studio William Cutlery from the Cotswolds, William Edwards Ltd. Pottery, and Dartington Crystal. The a la carte dining menu lets passengers dine anytime during the flight. The first class menu gives passengers more options to choose from at each course and the meal is served course-by-course, as opposed to all on one tray in business class. The same Laurent-Perrier Champagne is available to sip onboard during the flight.
How to book British Airways business class
How much is a business class flight on British Airways?
As always, prices can vary widely depending on where you’re going, when, and when you book. Typical prices from the US to London in British Airways business class range from $2,800 to $4,500 roundtrip. Going often finds its members fares between $1,600 and $2,000 roundtrip between the US and London.
How to upgrade to British Airways business class for free
The days of dressing up or pretending it’s your honeymoon to score a free upgrade to business class are long gone. British Airways does not offer free upgrades other than in the case of an aircraft change or oversold situation. On the rare times that this happens, British Airways will look to upgrade its passenger with elite status.
How much does it cost to upgrade to Business class on British Airways?
British Airways offers promotions to upgrade to business class that can be accessed under “manage my booking.” It’s important to note that you can only upgrade one cabin class so to upgrade to business, you would have to have a ticket booked in premium economy. Without a special offer, passengers would pay the full fare difference to upgrade. You can upgrade at the airport. BA does not offer a system to bid for an upgrade.
How to use miles to upgrade on British Airways
Often the best way to upgrade to business class is by using miles. British Airways offers Avios reward points you can earn through flying and through purchases with partners. The Avios amount required to upgrade is based on the Avios costs for reward flights in the cabins you are upgrading from and to and will depend on whether your flight is scheduled on a peak or off-peak date.
The formula to figure out how many Avios points an upgrade will cost is: Avios for the cabin you wish to upgrade to - Avios for the cabin you make your booking in = Avios required to upgrade one way. For example, London to New York in Business Class is 50,000 points, and premium is 26,000 points so an upgrade from premium to business is 24,000 points (50,000-26,000).
As British Airways plans to overhaul its business class offering, completing the transformation to Club World Suites by 2025, it’s reestablishing itself as a player in premium cabin tickets. With many nonstop flights between London and North America, British Airways is one of the most efficient ways for business class travelers to make the trip across the pond. However, in the 2022 SkyTrax World’s Best Airline Awards, British Airways was ranked 16 out of 20 for its overall business class product.