Moderators: richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
User avatar
newbief1yer
Topic Author
Posts: 644
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

British Airways A350-1000 New Club World Suites - To Madrid and back

Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:04 pm

Image

Video Report

British Airways new Club World Suite Review - A350-1000 (G-XWBA)

Hello A'netters. Hope you are well.

This is bit of a random one. Thanks to The Points Guy, I wanted to try out the new BA A350 Club Suites, and this looked like the perfect way of getting it done. There were a lot of availability, including a Saturday evening departure and a return the same evening. At 17750 points per sector, plus a meagre £0.50 tax, this was a no-brainer and I had to make the most of this opportunity.

5 minutes later, I was booked on to the evening departure and return the same night, on the 5th October, on BA's new A350-1000 club suites! Hooray!

Whilst booking, the system did not allow me to book a return, given the time between the two flights and hence I had to book two single tickets. No big deal.

Route for this flight, thanks to GCMap.

Image


British Airways - BA464
Route: LHR - MAD
Flight Reg:G-XWBA; Delivered to BA on July 2019 (1st A350-1000 for BA)
Aircraft Type: Airbus 350-1000
Seat: 16K
Flight time: 16:45 - 20:05 (17:18 - 20:11)
Actual flight time: 1HR 53 Min
Distance: 773 Miles
Load: Unknown (Special crew flight with the Premium economy section blocked for the second set of crew)
05 October 2019
Booking details: Booked via BA website using redemption points @ 17750 points + £0.50 in taxes
My Log book: 39th Flight on BA / 1st flight on Airbus 350-1000 / 215th Total overall flight


Day before flight, used the mobile app to check in. Was a piece of cake. That being said, there were not too many seats to choose from. Onward to Madrid, all window seats on the main business class cabin were taken. But all seats were available on the smaller section. For the return, I bagged the last available window seat in the main business class cabin. This would enable me to experience both sections of the cabin.

On the day of the flight, the drive to the airport was seamless. It took around 45 minutes as compared to over an hour and half that it usually takes during weekdays rush hour timing.

Parked at the amusing POD parking and took the little pods to the Terminal building.

Always and still amazes me -> Heathrow POD parking
Image

Once at the terminal, I zipped right through security and was in the duty free area in no time. I had an hour of duty free shopping to do and once that was done, the gates had been announced as the flight would be departing from Satellite Terminal C.

I decided to use the lounge at 5B as I have always had a nicer/calmer experience at this lounge compared to the North/South lounges at the main terminal building. This time was no exception to the previous experiences. Lots of places to sit and much quieter and relaxing.

The 'Gate Open/Proceed to Gate' notice was put up an hour before the flight. So made my way to the gates by 16:15, so I could take some pictures of the beautiful aircraft.

Boarding commenced by 16:25.

Heathrow T5 on a Saturday afternoon
Image

Boarding from Gates 5C today, so heading to the lounges at T5B
Image

Image

Thanks for the info :)
Image

Plane spotting at T5B
Image

At T5B BA Lounge
Image

Will be a sad day when she is gone
Image

Quiet time at the lounge
Image

Image

Image

Image

Plane spotting from the lounge
Spotted a couple of BA100 special liveries aircrafts
Image

Taking the walkway to T5C
Image

At the boarding gates
Image

There she is! A beautiful looking aircraft indeed
Image

Image

Image

Image

Spotted another BA100 Special livery aircraft, before boarding the aircraft
Image

Quite a few AVGeeks on today's flight :)
Image

They did not have separate entrances today and all boarding was done from the same bridge
Image


Whilst I was on the aerobridge, I was recording the entrance to the gateway, whilst there was a couple behind me who quipped 'Oohh, bad luck'. I was like 'Excuse me?' He said that he believed that recording any sort of photos or videos on an aircraft is bad luck. I then spilled the beans saying I was flying on this aircraft only to shoot and record the experience and that I was on the flight back, later that night, on the same aircraft. He was completely bewildered. Later on in the aircraft, he came and found where I was sitting and introduced me to his partner saying that I was an influencer and a blogger who was here just to experience the aircraft. He then quizzed me stating what aircraft is this and why it was so special. He was just on a normal business trip to Madrid and had no idea about the aircraft type; which I reckon would be 90-95% of the passengers flying. What do you think?

I felt this interaction was interesting and made me feel a bit like a diva :)

First look of my suite for the next 2 hours
Image

First Impressions

As you all might have already seen the pictures, the cabin is subdued and elegant. The colour pastels, albeit a bit mundane, is one of those classic combinations of dark blue, off white and hues of dark brown. I thought it was a very elegant design understated yet classy; minimalist yet functional.

On my flight to Madrid, I was on the smaller business class section which had just 12 suites. This was indeed cosy but beware that there are provisions for bassinets in this area, which could be slightly problematic if there were noisy kids/babies in this section. Speaking to one of the cabin crew, she thought that they might make this cabin a 'Sleeper' cabin, similar to the upper deck on the 747's on certain routes.

View of the smaller 12-suite cabin
Image

Image

Club Europe menu for the flight to Madrid
Image

Since this was a Club Europe service, there was no welcome drink offered, but a menu was handed for the meal service.

We pushed back almost on time. A short taxi and was airborne by 17:20. A flight time of an hour and 50 minutes was announced by cabin, who was also very excited to invite us on-board this new aircraft.

The A350, as experienced before, is a super quiet aircraft, probably the quietest in the sky right now. Although that could not be said of the take-off and landing. There was a lot of rattling noises and that too from a new(ish) aircraft seemed a bit out of place. A question on the durability of the cabin does arise.

Once we had attained the cruising altitude, the crew came around with the meals. Since this was a Club Europe sector, the dish was served on a tray which included the items shown below.

Taxiing
Image

Over Heathrow
Image

The two sections are divided by the bar area. BA have really missed the plot here. It was their chance to make this area a bit special, but they have retained their existing model - a bare looking drinks and snacks galley area; nothing compared to the social/bar area you have on a lot of other Asian and Middle eastern carriers, Hmm, even Virgin have it, coming to think of it.

I settled into my seat and started playing around with the seat controls and storage areas.

Starting with the storage sections, even thought have a place for a vanity mirror, I think overall there is a degradation of personal storage spaces compared to the old Club world seating, that used to provide a generous slidable storage compartment under the feet. It was acceptable but there were a lot of tiny spaces instead of one large space. It does look good though.

The entertainment is a massive improvement thought. The large HD screens are positioned such that CW passengers can now watch entertainment even during take-off and landing as there is no need to lock the TV screens. The hand held control, tucked away in its storage compartment is also quite good. That being said, I have experienced a similar setup even on Qatar's new Oryx systems, where you could use the hand held device for your moving maps, whilst watching a movie on the large screen. Nevertheless, this is a remarkable improvement from previous BA systems and in the right direction. The storage for the hand held remote also included various charging points which included a full US/EU traveller plug as well as a couple of USB ports to charge all your device at once. Worked well for the entire duration of the flight.


The suite door/divider when it is fully in place; view from the seat
Image

View from outside the suite, with the doors in place
Image

Flatbed mode
Image

Recliner lounge mode. This was very comfortable and the screen viewing angle was not hindered even though the screens could not be tilted
Image

Reading material on board
Image

The seat controls are also now on a nifty little touch screen. It works well. Although, the same cannot be said about the seats build quality. The seats were very comfortable and I tried all the 3 pre-set potions of upright, lounge and a fully flat bed and it felt super comfortable in all positions. That being said, it made a crackling sound as the seat moved to its position. I am sure passengers near me could hear them. Not a very silent motor at all. The beds did feel a lot wider than the old beds, which is a positive.

The privacy door. I really liked this, but once again, I question the build quality of the door. My door (16K), had a problem with it and could not be opened. The head purser had to try for a couple of minutes and it finally started to work smoothly. Once fixed it worked a charm for the rest of the flight and if it was privacy you needed, this is ideal; not so ideal if you are traveling as a couple/family. As seen on other reports, there is a slight gap towards the end to aid air circulation and reduce rattling sounds in case of turbulence.

The new table slide out design. I thought it was very innovative and the slide out worked well (when it does). But once again, I question the build quality as my seats table was a bit loose. It slipped away from its stowage position upon take off. And the latch was a bit glitchy as it did not stay in place at certain times of trying out the sliding mechanism.

I had a chance to chat with the super friendly mixed fleet crew on this flight. Most, If not all of them, were from the 747 crew. Quite a few of them had to give up their 747 rating, since they could only ever have 4 type ratings (A350, A380, B787 and A320). Since this was a crew training run, the premium economy cabin was blocked for the crew. There were 10 taking us to Madrid and another 10 bringing us back from Madrid. Whoever I spoke to were very excited to be on this new aircraft, which is always a good thing since it automatically translates to good soft product in the air. Some of the crew were very thrilled about my plan but few of the more seasoned crew, had already seen few people like me in the past week.

I played around with the entertainment and there were good choices on offer.

I made use of this sector to walk around the entire aircraft as the lighting was better to shoot a few more interior pics as well as experience other classes on this aircraft.

The 'Not so Special' toilets
Image

Really liked the large fixed place screens
Image

This was exactly the meal I had on the flight to Romania recently.. I topped this with a GnSLT.
Image

Hand held remote storage + extra storage space and charging outlets
Image

Relaxed!
Image

Seat controls
Image

Cabin view
Image

The larger/main business class cabin
Image

The premium Economy cabin did feel a lot better than BA's existing service, last experienced on my trip to Japan.. I also ventured into the Economy cabin and a few pictures below. Once again, the main improvement, in the right direction, seemed to be the IFE, where the screen now looks crystal clear and HD.

World Traveller Plus seating
Image

WTP Cabin
Image

World Traveller Cabin
Image

Image

World Traveller seating
Image

Image

Image


Spent the rest of the time speaking to the crew as well as few other passengers who were taking a few photographs and were interested in this new BA setup.

Landed on-time (Almost) and we were parked next an Iberia A330 and an Emirates A380 (The entire gamut of Airbus current long haul aircrafts:))

Sunset over Madrid
Image

Approaching Madrid
Image

At Madrid, parked next to all of the available long haul Airbus aircrafts
Image


Transit at Madrid:

I was slightly concerned about this, since the crew had raised this on the aircraft. I decided to leg it, but then I saw something and thought of giving it a try --> Connecting flights counter!

This was a 2 minute walk from our gates and I approached the counter with slight hesitation. I showed my mobile boarding pass. The lady was a bit confused, but the let me though! Result!

Security check was 30 seconds and I was back into the departures lounge, 3 minutes after exiting the aircraft and was at my gates in 8 minutes! Phew!

British Airways - BA465
Route: MAD - MAD
Flight Reg:G-XWBA; Delivered to BA on July 2019
Aircraft Type: Airbus 350-1000
Seat: 11K
Flight time: 21:20 - 22:25 (21:42 - 22:18)
Actual flight time: 1Hr 36 Min
Distance: 773 Miles
Load: Unknown (Special crew flight with the Premium economy section blocked for the second set of crew)
05 October 2019
Booking details: Booked via BA website using redemption points @ 17750 points + £0.50 in taxes
My Log book: 40th Flight on BA / 2nd flight on Airbus 350-1000 / 216th Total overall flight


At terminal 4S
Image

Back at Duty free in no time; via the 'Connecting Flights' queue
Image

Image


Boarding commenced soon after and I was one of the first to (re)board the aircraft. I was welcomed once again and the crew hinted that I would know where to go :)

Boarding gates
Image

Image


I was in the larger business class cabin this time.

Rest of this flight was the same --> On time, excitable and enthusiastic cabin crew and good food. I did not order any main course this time as I was quite full already.

The only slight issue on the way back was that the temperature was a bit too warm to my liking.

Back again, this time on the main Club World cabin
Image

Suite 11K
Image

Menu on the way back
Image

Cabin view after take off
Image

Various charging points available in each suite
Image

Image


Settled in to watch a movie (Stuber, which I had watched half way previously) and within no time, was back into home territory.

As always, Heathrow at this time was a charm to walk across. Out of the airport in 12-15 minutes after touch down.

A 5 minute POD ride and a further 40 minute drive home, I was well ahead of the expected timeline, I had in mind, of midnight.

Back at Heathrow T5(B)
Image


Out of the airport in 12 minutes
Image

T5 Pods
Image


Verdict

It feels that BA have finally come to join the party --> Direct Aisle, improved privacy, larger HD screens; as it all seems to be heading in the right direction.

The quality of the fittings is a question that will be answered over time as the rattling, during take-off and landing, was akin to being on a 25 year old 747. The new slide out design of the table, albeit very good when it works, it had a questionable build quality and durability to it.

The lack of a proper bar was also a bit disappointing. I have seen bars on other aircrafts and I think it is worth the real estate on a premium heavy aircraft.

The soft product was always a strong point of BA (Club world at least) and combined with this new and updated hard product, I am looking forward to trying these out on a longer sector soon(ish). The crew, albeit excited to on the new aircraft, were stellar on both sectors and would like to thank them if they are reading this.


So that brings me to the end of this report. Hope you liked it. Please feel free to comment or ask me any other questions which I may have missed mentioning and I shall try to answer it based on my experience.

Until next time, happy and safe flying!

Adios!
Last edited by newbief1yer on Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
User avatar
newbief1yer
Topic Author
Posts: 644
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: BA A350-1000 New Club World Suites - To Madrid and back

Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:05 pm

Previous Trip Reports

Linked In Post
Bank Holiday weekend to Romania - BA and Wizz Air
Bank Holiday weekend to Ireland - BA and Aer lingus
Part 4: South American escapades - Domestic Peru on LATAM(s)
Part 3: South American escapades - Bye Bye Chile, Hello Peru!
Part 5: South American escapades - Is there a worse way to get back from Lima to London?
Part 2: South American escapades - Over to Torres Del Paine and back
Part 1: South American escapades - On BA's Longest flight to Santiago
Part 2: Hopping across India on Indigo and Air India
Part 1: Emirates from London Stansted to India and back
One World to Myanmar - BA and Cathay Dragon
Hopping across Myanmar (Burma)
Christmas and New Years at Croatia - 2018
Birthday trip to The Ice Hotel - Swedish Lapland
Part 6 (Final) trip to Kyrgyzstan - Back from Bishkek to London via Istanbul
Part 5 trip to Kyrgyzstan - Air Astana from Urumqi to Bishkek via Astana
Part 4 trip to Kyrgyzstan - Air Arabia from Mumbai to Urumqi via Sharjah
Part 3 trip to Kyrgyzstan - IndiGo from BLR to BOM
Part 2 trip to Kyrgyzstan - Jet Airways from Dubai to Bengaluru via Mumbai
Part 1 trip to Kyrgyzstan - Virgin to Dubai on A340-600 (G-VNAP)
Weekend trip on Austrian to Vienna - A321-100
Oman Air - London to India and back - A333 & B738
Part 5 - Long way to Vietnam - Return from Shanghai on BA B77W Club World
Part 4 - Long way to Vietnam - China Southern - Hanoi to Shanghai
Vietnam Domestic on Vietjet
Part 2 - Long way to Vietnam - Vietnam Airlines A350 to Saigon - Business Class
Part 1 - Long way to Vietnam - BA to Shanghai - Club World
Weekend trip to Budapest on FlyBe (SEN) and BA (LHR)
Part 4 - KLM from Beijing to London via Amsterdam - B787-9 & ERJ190
Part 3 - Spring Airlines - Seoul Incheon to Shijiazhuang - Airbus 320-200
Part 2 - Korea Domestic on Korean Air and Jeju Air
Part 1 - London to Seoul on KLM? No. Air France? No. Korean Air?
Part 5 - Canadian Escapades - Vancouver to London - BA A380-800 - Club World
Part 4 - Canadian Escapades - Edmonton to Vancouver - WestJet B737-800
Part 3 - Canadian Escapades - Toronto to Calgary - Air Canada B767-300ER
Part 2 - Canadian Escapades - Quebec to Toronto - WestJet Encore Dash8 Q400
Part 1 - Canadian Escapades - London to Montreal - BA 787-8
Weekend in Bilbao - BA A320 - Photo + Video Report
Cambodian Escapades - China Southern B787, A321 and A320
Domestic Cambodian Escapades - Sky Angkor - KOS-REP - A320
Weekend in Zurich - Swiss and BA (Club Europe) - Airbus 320-200
Weekend at Cinque Terre - BA to Bologna - Airbus 320-200
Journey to the East (Part 5, Final) - BA B747-400 (Club World)
Journey to the East (Part 4) - China Eastern A321-200
Journey to the East (Part 3) - Etihad 5th Freedom Route
Journey to the East (Part 2) - BA, JAL, Etihad, China Eastern
Journey to the East - BA, JAL, Etihad, China Eastern
Norwegian And Air Baltic To ARN And RIX
London To Muscat On Gulf Air - A332 And A320
Part 4:India Domestic-9W, AI, SG On A321,B737,Q400
Part3: Phuket To India - Bangkok Airways -A320-200
Part 2:Thailand Domestic -Nok Air And Thai AirAsia
Part 1:Qatar Airways - Thailand And India
Part 3:BA Club Europe - LCA-LHR - Boeing 767-300
Part 2:Blue Air - Athens-Larnaca - Boeing 737-400
Part 1: Aegean Air - LGW-ATH-JTR - A320-200
Ryanair London(STN) To Lake Como (BGY)
Weekend In Belfast - Aer Lingus A319-100
BA First - PEK To LHR - Mid J B747-400
China Railway (CRH) - Video Report - SJW - Beijing
BA CW - Upper Deck To Beijing - High J B747-400
LAN Dreamliner (J) Experience - MAD FRA
Weekend In Trondheim - DY/SK - Boeing 737-800/600
Baltic Escapades - VNO/TLL/RIX On W6,BT And OV
South France - EasyJet A320 BA A319
UK To India - The EK Way - B777-200/300 & A380
India Domestic–Jet Airways And Indigo–A320/ATR 72
BA A320/321 - LHR To Berlin TXL - Christmas Day
China Southern - LHR-CAN-HKT - B787/A321
Cool Blue To BOS And Got Blue? To LAS - E190 A320
Mahalo Hawaii, Hello NYC - DL B767-300
Aloha! The United Way - B777-200 And B737-900
VS Little Red To ABZ And EZY Return
24 Hours On A 787! - Final Leg CZ - AKL-CAN-LHR
Part 5 - BHE-WLG-AKL On NZ Beech1900D And A320
Part 4 - MEL-AKL-ZQN On QA And NZ B738\A320
Part 3 - CNS-MEL On JetStar A321-200
Part 2 - SYD - CNS On Virgin Australia E190
Canton Route Part 1 - LON-SYD - CZ DreamLiner/A332
DREAM(liner)ING Of Hainan - China Southern
Panda Calling - BA LHR To CTU - Club World
China - The Low Cost Way - Spring Airlines - SJW-CTU
China United Airlines (KN) - CTU - SJW - B737-700
Norwegian B737 - LGW-TOS-BGO-LGW
Jet Airways: LHR – COK
Barra Trip – that was not to be
Dusseldorf Calling - BA & EZY - Club/Eco - A321
Part 5: PVG-LHR - BA - Economy - B777
Part 4A&B - SHA-SJW-SHA - FM: Eco: B737
Part 3A&B : DXB-HKG-PVG: CX & KA :Eco: A333
Part 2: KWI-DXB - FlyDubai - Economy - B737
LHR - KWI - BA 747 - Part 1 - Middle East -China
Morocco Trip - LGW-RAK-TNG-LHR - EasyJet & Iberia

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos