Travel

A budget traveller reviews British Airways Club World

It’s always been one of my ultimate dreams to fly in business class.

Given that the end destination is the same, no matter if you turn left or right when you board the plane, it always felt like a shallow dream. When I was younger I’d say confidently, ‘when I go on my honeymoon, I’ll definitely fly first class’. Skip forward a decade or so and as I miraculously landed a job in the travel industry, I realised the true eye-popping cost of those First fares and realised that it really was another world away. But here I sit, on British Airways flight BA2155 from Gatwick to Barbados in Club World and it feels pretty surreal.

As you’ll have guessed by my previous wide-eyed ramblings and excitable Instagram stories (click here to follow me), I wasn’t expecting to be here. But through my job, I was incredibly lucky to be invited on British Airways x Barbados 65 year anniversary MegaFam and on check-in, we had a surprise upgrade waiting.

On the ground

Barbados Megafam check in
London Gatwick Club Lounge

Our British Airways Club World boarding passes also granted us access to Gatwick’s premium security channel, a fast-track lane with no queue that had us whizzing through in no time. From there we navigated the maze-like airport, past my usual spiritual home (Nandos) until we reached British Airways Club Lounge.

This was my first time in an aiport lounge: I had a pass booked as a treat back when I went solo backpacking a few years ago but I spent so long scared-hyperventilating before security that by the time I made it through, I was straight onto the plane. This time, I had plenty of time to savour the huge space which was already pretty full at 9am. Having eaten breakfast at the hotel, I merely selected a pain au chocolat and a glass of fizz (when on holiday, right?) before relaxing with my fellow attendees.

Outbound flight

On boarding the plane, I’m used to a significantly longer walk from the door to my seat in economy but this time, I stopped at Seat 14D and just looked at it for a minute, trying to take in that I’d be spending the next eight hours here. Located on the left hand aisle in the central section of seats, I could easily hop out into the aisle – although those seated in the middle may have to hop over someone’s legs if they’re using their footrest. Compared to economy where I spend a lot of time than trying to navigate my toilet trips around when the person on the aisle is sleeping, this is a small price to pay!

Seat 14D Club World
Middle seats Club World

I was already feeling like royalty before take off. Settling into the lovely wide seat, there was already a huge fluffy pillow and bedding set (both by The White Company) waiting and soon after, the crew come around with amenity kits and a welcome glass of champagne or water. Even watching their celeb-studded safety demonstration was a treat to be honest!

Upon take off the crew were super attentive, first bringing us hot towels before circulating the cabin offering drinks and taking meal orders. Despite already eating a big breakfast and snack in the lounge, I couldn’t wait to try the premium meal service. My food obsession continues! The menu contains three starter and main options with four desserts to choose from, plus a whole host of drinks.

To start, my roasted red pepper and tomato soup was creamy and delicious accompanied with a slightly hard bread roll and beautifully fresh-tasting side salad. For a main, there was just one veggie dish on the menu; rigatoni pasta with four cheese veloute, goat’s cheese and porcini crumb. Basically, a fancy mac and cheese which was absolutely fine by me and the addition of a few sundried tomatoes made it feel a little bit special.

The White Company amenity kit
Club World soup starter

As with most plane desserts, the chocolate and salted caramel mille-feuille was only dinky but really delicious – I had to restrain myself not to wolf it down by taking small bites. All meals were served in china dishes with bespoke cutlery emblazoned with the British Airways Speedbird logo, a cute touch which I love, and a linen napkin covers your tray making it feel like you’re in a restaurant.

After the meal, I decided to chill out and started catching up on Veep on the flip out entertainment screens. The BA branded Bose headphones provided in Club World are great with tons of padding around the head and ears making them super comfortable to wear. So comfortable infact that when the lure of being able to stretch out and lie down on a plane became too much, I dozed off with no trouble at all. The noise cancelling effect doesn’t work completely but they definitely drowned out a lot of the background noise – it always surprises me how loud planes are!

Wander with Laura Club World review

And now here I am, encosed in my cotton blanket with the pillow perfectly supporting my head in my half-reclined seat. It may be the middle of the day but I’m making the most of every second because let’s be honest – I’ll probably never be able to fly this way again! Whenever I board a flight, I always tell myself that I’ll blog en route and for one reason or another, it never seems to happen. However, with a whole seat to myself where I don’t need to worry about taking up too much elbow room, it’s easy to flip out my tray table, pull it towards me and let the words flow.

With just an hour left of the flight and I’m eagerly awaiting the pre-landing snack. Not out of hunger necessarily, but because it’s alluringly listed on the menu as ‘Afternoon Tea’. If there’s ever two words that’ll get me excited, they’re right up there.

Return flight

Wander with Laura Club World
British Airways Club World

Woa! Here we are in the future after an unbelievable five days exploring Barbados with the tourist board. This time, I’m relaxing in seat 10G in the first row of Club World seats – probably the closest I’ll ever sit to First in my life! I’ll keep it short this time but I wanted to share a couple of different things about this journey.

As it’s an overnight flight, the onboard food service was much quicker than on our way out to Barbados but if anything, the food is even better this time! I tucked into a watermelon salad – necessary vitamins after days of the most unbelievable three course meals and 11am rum punches – and a lovely penne pasta dish with asparagus and roasted garlic sauce. I also sipped Brewdog Speedbird 100, the special beer brewed at 10,000 feet in celebration of British Airways 100th birthday in 2019!

Now, onto sleeping. We all know that trying to sleep in economy is pretty much hell on earth, unless you strike lucky with an entire row of seats to yourself. Are you a tray table or upright sleeper? Comment below if you know what I mean!

British Airways Speedbird 100
Club World blanket

The experience of napping in Club World is pretty different: you’re given a full set of bedding to make up your bed if you please including a blanket, duvet and mattress topper. Favouring as little effort as possible, I just whipped out the duvet before reclining my seat to flat and snuggling into the comfortable pillow. Miraculously, I drifted off to sleep for a good few hours before waking up as breakfast service began. I’ve officially been spoilt for life…

I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this review – honestly, it still feels so surreal that I’m even able to have experienced travelling in British Airways Club World I’ll always be grateful to my travels and this little blog for giving me a foot into an industry where this is an occasional perk! I’ve honestly never had a longhaul flight go by this fast so I think it may just have ruined travelling in economy forever.

Laura x

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