B747-400 Bri­tish Air­ways Club World Lon­don-New York

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Tried & Tested -

BACK­GROUND Bri­tish Air­ways is rolling out a new ser­vice in its Club World (long-haul busi­ness class) cabin. This de­buted be­tween Lon­don Heathrow and New York JFK, and in­cludes changes to the way food and drink are served, along with new bed­ding and ameni­ties by the White Com­pany.

The in­ten­tion is for these im­prove­ments to be rolled out across North Amer­i­can routes, with both Bos­ton and Wash­ing­ton DC see­ing the new bed­ding by the end of 2017. By the end of 2018, the changes will have taken place on all Heathrow routes. Gatwick routes will be last, but these will start be­ing up­dated to­wards the end of 2018.

This flight was on a B747-400 con­fig­ured with the “su­per-high-J” cabin – that is, 86 busi­ness class seats split across the main deck and the up­per deck. CHECK-IN This was the 1120 de­par­ture from Lon­don Heathrow to New York, a flight time of 7 hours and 30 min­utes. We took off at 1150, slightly late. BOARD­ING I was di­rected to my seat, which was 20A, to­wards the rear of the mid­dle (main) cabin of the three Club World cab­ins on this B747-400. This is a rear-fac­ing win­dow seat with un­in­ter­rupted ac­cess to the aisle. I was asked if I wanted cham­pagne, orange juice or wa­ter, my jacket was hung and I was given a bot­tle of wa­ter at the same time as the amenity pack. The White Com­pany amenity bag in­cluded a tooth­brush and tooth­paste, a soft eye mask, ear plugs, some lip balm, mois­turiser, plus a balm called Pulse Point that is sup­posed to help you sleep. THE SEAT The new bed­ding was wait­ing at the seat. This com­prised a large pil­low, a smaller pil­low and a large bag con­tain­ing the mat­tress top­per, du­vet and blan­ket. THE FLIGHT The drinks ser­vice has changed, so mer­its spe­cial men­tion. There’s a choice of spir­its and to avoid mess on the ta­bles, the drinks are pre-poured.

The new menu is pre­sented dif­fer­ently. The crew ask for your main course choices, but you choose starters from a trol­ley as it comes through the cab­ins. The crew were ex­pe­ri­enced at this, but it’s an in­her­ently slow sys­tem.

The flight crew were at­ten­tive and en­thu­si­as­tic, en­joy­ing ex­plain­ing the new ser­vice to pas­sen­gers. The choice of starters in­cluded a roasted beef carpac­cio with WHAT’S NEW The White Com­pany bed­ding and amenity bags, and the meal ser­vice. WHAT’S NOT The seat and the air­craft. PRICE In­ter­net rates for a flex­i­ble re­turn Club World ticket from Lon­don to New York in Fe­bru­ary range from £1,840 to £8,294. FLIGHT TIME 7 hours 30 min­utes CON­FIG­U­RA­TION 2-4-2 / 2-2 BED LENGTH 72in/183cm SEAT WIDTH 20.5in/52cm SEAT RECLINE 180 de­grees CUR­RENT ROUTES These new tweaks are cur­rently only on the Lon­don Heathrow to New York JFK (and re­turn) routes. It will fol­low on other North Amer­i­can routes, with Bos­ton and Wash­ing­ton DC next to re­ceive the bed­ding, by the end of 2017, and then the new meal ser­vice. CON­TACT britishair­ways.com horse­rad­ish crème fraîche; smoked red pep­per soup with cheese straws; or a“tapas se­lec­tion”com­pris­ing tuna and to­mato tart, av­o­cado, jamón ibérico and Manchego. I had the carpac­cio, which was de­li­cious, and the soup, which I thought was too salty. Mains were then brought to each seat. I had the her­itage breed beef cheeks, which were ten­der and very tasty. The choice of desserts in­cluded ti­ramisu, fresh mango with vanilla crème fraîche, or a warm cho­co­late souf­flé. There was also a cheese board with Chev­ing­ton, Shrop­shire Blue, Ap­ple­wood Ched­dar, wal­nuts, grapes and ap­ple pear chut­ney. I opeted for the cheeses and didn’t regret it – they were all fresh and de­li­cious.

The wine choices in­cluded three cham­pagnes. The whites were a Pied­mon­tese Gavi or a South African Sauvignon Blanc; the reds were a Cal­i­for­nia Pinot Noir or a Barossa Val­ley Shi­raz. Af­ter din­ing I re­trieved the White Com­pany prod­ucts and re­clined my seat, lay­ing out the mat­tress top­per and mak­ing use of the blan­ket, du­vet and eye­mask. I slept for a cou­ple of hours and found it very com­fort­able.

I woke in time for the af­ter­noon ser­vice. I was too full to do this jus­tice, but the se­lec­tion was much greater than pre­vi­ously, with sand­wiches (ham, egg, cheese or smoked sal­mon) and a dish of prawns, moz­zarella and grilled veg­eta­bles.

We landed at JFK on time and were at the stand and into im­mi­gra­tion with­out de­lay. Tom Ot­ley VER­DICT A huge amount of time and ef­fort has gone into these Club World changes, and they are a def­i­nite im­prove­ment in terms of qual­ity and choice. While the trol­leys make the meal more of an event, they also slow things down. This is a big in­vest­ment by Bri­tish Air­ways both in qual­ity and train­ing, and the White Com­pany prod­ucts are lovely.

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