British Airways A380 business class overview

What to expect and how to find the best business class seat on the BA A380.

British Airways (BA) has a dozen Airbus A380s in its fleet, dedicated mostly to the long-haul trips between London and the US.

In the Asia Pacific region, you’ll find it flying out of Singapore and Hong Kong. If you’re heading out to the UK, you might well find yourself on a BA A380. And if you’re flying business class, you’ll be in for a treat in BA’s Club World.

Pre-flight privileges

If you’re travelling in British Airways Club World class, you can take advantage of oneworld partner lounges before your flight.

Dedicated BA lounges are thin on the ground in Australia, but your ticket should get you access to Qantas business class lounges around the country.

By flying Club World, you’ll also get:

  • Your own dedicated Club World check-in desk
  • Fast Track security at London Heathrow, London Gatwick and New York JFK
  • Fast Track arrivals at London Heathrow for non-EU passport holders
  • Priority boarding

britishairways_lounge

Frequent Flyer perks

British Airways runs the Executive Club, a frequent flyer program where members earn reward points, known as Avios, for travelling and other eligible spending.

As a business class flyer, you’ll earn Avios at an increased rate, and as you climb the ranks from Bronze to Gold, your earn rate will also increase on eligible flights with British Airways, Iberia, American Airlines and Japan Airlines. Earn rates are increased 25% in Bronze, 50% in Silver and 100% in Gold.

Silver membership gets you some of the business class benefits, even while travelling in economy, such as lounge access and fast-track check-in. And Gold members can enjoy some first class benefits, like first class lounge access, even while travelling in business class.

Space and seating

BA’s A380s seat 469 passengers across four classes, from economy and premium economy to business and first. Unlike other airlines, BA’s A380 has 97 Club World seats spread across both the main and upper deck of the aircraft, so you can choose the ground floor or second floor.

The business class area is divided into three separate cabins, with one on the lower deck and two on the upper. The upper deck is almost certainly going to be the better pick all around, with seats arranged in more spacious 2-3-2 rows, rather than the 2-4-2 found on the lower deck. It’s also further from the engines, making it much quieter. Both the upper and lower decks combine front and rear facing seats that will all be facing in different directions from their neighbour. The exceptions to the rule are the two middle seats in the “4” middle row of the lower deck.

There are no seats by themselves, so you’re going to have a fairly intimate arrangement with your neighbour in most cases. Fortunately, privacy dividers can be set up between seats, with the exception of the same-direction middle seats on the lower deck. But if you’re not directly on the aisle and your neighbour lowers their ottoman footrest during the flight, you might have to clamber over that on your way out of your seat.

britishairways_spaceandseating

What’s the most private A380 business class seat?

There’s no one perfect choice, but the best bet is probably the middle block on the upper deck or a window seat if you don’t plan on getting up during the flight.

On the middle block of the upper deck, you don’t necessarily need to get too intimate with any of your fellow passengers. The same applies to window seats as long as you don’t need to get up. If you do, expect to greet your neighbour as you clamber over to reach the aisle.

Overall, the middle seats might hem you in, especially on the lower deck. Meanwhile the aisle position might leave you a bit exposed. The narrow-ish seats mean you might find yourself bumped by passers-by and dangling into the aisle a little more than you want.

On the whole, you might find seats a little tighter on the A380s than business class on other airlines. However, in the BA seat configuration, you’re looking at an adequate 182cm pitch (the distance between the same place on the your seat and the seat in front of or behind it).

But the lie-flat bed isn’t much longer than that, clocking in at 183cm long. If you’re more than 6 ft tall, don’t expect to stretch out too much. The seat has a cushion width of 50cm, with a bit more space on the sides beyond that.

Storage space varies between seats. For the most part, it’s just a drawer beneath the entertainment screen, access to which disappears with the seat in lie-flat bed mode.

If you wear glasses, you probably want to fight for a window seat and the spacious storage pockets that line the edge of the aircraft. Elsewhere, there’s no good place to put your glasses while sleeping, without the risk of leaving them out of reach, or getting crushed.

You’ll find lighting, screen and seating controls to your side, including a convenient “Z-position” mode that lets you put your seat almost flat without losing sight of the screen, if you’re the kind of person that prefers recumbent viewing.

Amenities

You’ll find an in-seat power outlet, but want to make sure you’re equipped with the right British style power adapter. BA doesn’t usually have too many international adapters available on each flight and doesn’t necessarily loan them out to travellers. Instead, it sells them on flights.

You’ll be given a blanket, pillow and headphones, but these aren’t anything special. If you want in-flight comforts, you might have to bring your own. Expect a generic set of headphones without any particular noise cancelling capability, a thin pillow and a lightweight blanket.

The other amenities are a bit nicer. Business class travellers get a bagged set of Elemis amenities, including socks, eyeshades, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a pen, earplugs, moisturisers and other skincare goods.

britishairways_amenitykit

Entertainment

You can expect a typical selection of newer releases, a range of TV shows with a distinctly British bent and a selection of documentaries, music and audiobooks. The 10.4 inch screens are reasonably sized, but slightly smaller than those you’ll find elsewhere.

Dining and refreshments

You’ll get welcomed aboard with a beverage service offering champagne and other wines and spirits, and can expect all meals and afternoon tea throughout the flight. For your return flights back from London, to Hong Kong or Singapore and other destinations, you can choose your meal in advance for no extra charge.

Club World travellers aren’t restricted to just the set meals though and can also tuck into snacks and desserts between set meal times. There’s a wide wine selection and your flight will be stocked with wines designed to be enjoyed alone, as well as with the in-flight meals that day.

britishairways_dining

Where can I fly?

BA_flying_fleet

The BA A380 plies the long haul routes to and from London. From Australia, you’re most likely to find it when flying to London via Singapore or Hong Kong.

Other than that, it flies between London and:

Boston
Johannesburg
Los Angeles
Miami
San Francisco
Vancouver
Washington

British Airways A380 business class isn’t in the same league as other airline’s A380 business class seats.

BA chose to pack more business class seats into the same space, which comes at the cost of comfort and practicality. Seats are smaller and you’re probably going to be a lot more familiar with your neighbours than you want. The in-flight entertainment and amenities might not compete either. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a practical choice. You still get the all-important lie-flat bed, which is probably the main event.

If you’re ready to pay for comfort and luxury, you might want to look somewhere else. But if you want to arrive at your destination suitably refreshed and have a good enough reason to fly BA, such as cultivating frequent flyer points, then it’s just as good as you need.

Booking a flight with British Airways? Check out our coupon codes to snag yourself the best deal first.

Pictures: British Airways

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