Trip Report: British Airways (A380-800) Club World LHR-BOS

The Details

  • Flight: BA213
  • Aircraft: A380-800
  • Class: Club World
  • Seat: 56E and 56F
  • Route: London Heathrow (LHR)-Boston Logan (BOS)
  • Distance: 3,258miles
  • Duration: 6hrs 23min
  • Departure: 1:06PM
  • Arrival: 2:29PM

Runway 27L

Runway 4R

The Preflight

After arriving at Terminal 5 over an hour late due to the previous flight delays from Vienna, we had only an hour until boarding was scheduled to begin for our flight to Boston. We arrived at Terminal 5 at 10AM from the bus gate and quickly made our way to the security checkpoint. Security was a disaster with multiple passengers requiring secondary screening on their bags. A passenger in front of us, English not being their first language, had security called on her due to an argument with the baggage screeners. We finally got through twenty minutes later which left us five minutes past the scheduled boarding time of 10:15AM. Since the flight was departing from Terminal 5C, we had to take the underground rail connecting Terminal 5A to 5C which took another 15 minutes.

We got to the gate at 10:35AM, only to find that boarding had not yet even begun. We caught our breath and I enjoyed the view of our A380. The A380 today, registration G-XLEG, was delivered brand new to British Airways in September 2014. During COVID-19, she was stored in June 2020 and then reactivated in November 2021.

Boarding began at 10:45AM, thirty minutes before our scheduled departure time of 11:15AM.

The Flight

British Airways offers an enormous 469 seats on board their A380s across two levels. There are two Club World cabins, one on the main deck with 44 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration, and one on the upper deck with 55 seats arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration. We were seated in 56E and F in the middle of the cabin on the upper deck.

The British Airways Club World “Stretch” seats were introduced in 2010 and can be found onboard the BA A380s, B777s, and B787s. Each seat was 20 inches wide and when fully flat 72 inches long. There was a small divider screen that could be raised for privacy.

The Club World seats are arranged in a “ying-yang” configuration which meant the seats alternated between forward and backward facing. My fiance was seated in the backward-facing middle seat while I was in the forward-facing aisle seat.

British Airways has a terrible business model of charging business class passengers for seat selection. We refused to pay the $150 per person fee for a seat selection and during check-in, we were assigned our seats automatically by the BA system. Lucky me, as my seat was directly adjacent to the lavatory. Aisle seats are particularly terrible on British Airways as there is no privacy whatsoever. I felt very exposed.

To convert to a flat bed, there was a small footrest that could be lowered. It was not sturdy enough for another passenger to sit on.

The 15.4″ IFE screen folded out from the middle wall but had to be stowed for taxi, takeoff, and landing. The quality of the screen was decent.

Below the IFE screen was a simple bifold tray table.

Underneath the tray table was a literature pocket, 110V outlet, USB port, and small shallow drawer.

Straightforward seat controls were located underneath the privacy screen. There was also a button to raise and lower the privacy screen.

When raised, the privacy screen was effective at preventing any unwanted eye contact between passengers. However, my fiance felt like she was sleeping in a coffin when the screens on both sides were raised.

Next to the seat was the IFE remote, headphone jack, RCA port, and another USB port.

I found the padding on the seat to be comfortable and appreciated the headrest. There were two leather armrests that could be lowered. Awaiting us at the seat was a comfortable pillow, headphones, and zipper bag containing the comforter and blanket.

The BA-branded headphones were fairly basic.

I greatly enjoyed the pillow and found the bedding by The White Company to be excellent.

15 minutes after we boarded, our cabin crew came by to offer us a predeparture beverage. I went with a glass of champagne.

Next, she came by and provided us with an amenity kit. Contents included The White Company branded lip balm, moisturizer, and facial mist. There was also a pair of socks, an eyemask, a toothbrush, ear plugs, and a pen.

Our cabin crew member was amazing and prior to departure ensured that our drinks were never empty. A bottle of still water was also handed out.

The menu was also handed out and meal orders were taken on the ground. Unfortunately, by the time we were asked what we would like, the Chicken tikka masala had run out.

At 11:38, the captain came over the intercom to introduce himself. He then went on to apologize to us that we would be facing a significant delay of approximately 45 minutes. None of the checked bags had been loaded since there was a shortage of ground staff. During this time, apparently half of the IFE screens were non-functional and the cabin crew had to re-set them all twice. The boarding doors were closed at noon but we ended up waiting another 40 minutes after that. Finally, at 12:38PM, we pushed back an hour and 30 minutes late.

Our taxi to runway 27L took another 27 minutes and finally at 1:05PM we were bound for Boston.

Service was slow to start and 45 minutes after take-off a beverage service was offered. I had a glass of champagne with packaged nuts.

Lunch was served 90 minutes into the flight. The entire meal was brought out on one tray with the appetizer, main, and dessert. My fiance had the ricotta mezzaluna which she enjoyed. There was a side salad of avocado and lettuce, dessert of tiramisu, and two slices of cheese. The bread was served warm.

I went with the Welsh lamb shank served with a sweet potato mousseline. The lamb was terrible. Incredibly overcooked and dry without much flavor. Personally, I enjoyed the two slices of cheese (cheddar and red Leicester) with the chutney and crackers.

After lunch, I had a glass of black coffee which came with a Lindor truffle.

Halfway through the flight, the entire row of seats stopped working. The electricity to the seat was lost somehow and I was unable to recline the seat fully flat My fiance, who had already turned her seat completely flat could no longer raise it upright. Cabin crew members tried to troubleshoot the seat but were ultimately unsuccessful. The lead cabin crew member made a note on her IPad and I submitted a complaint form to British Airways a few days after our flight. For compensation, we received a total of 80,000 Avios and a $400 future flight voucher with BA.

There were a total of three business-class lavatories for Club World passengers on the upper deck. The two lavatories at the front of the aircraft were massive. Toiletries included The White Company branded hand balm and hand wash.

A staircase leading to the First class cabin on the main deck separated the two lavatories at the front of the cabin.

There was also a smaller lavatory directly next to my seat in the middle of the business-class cabin. As with most things on this aircraft, the sink also malfunctioned during the flight. The water would not stop running and almost overflowed in the sink. Cabin crew members had to manually turn off the sink and made the lavatory non-operational.

I managed to watch a few movies for the remainder of the flight including Top Gun Maverick which was entertaining.

The cabin crew also set up a small snack area for the passengers in the middle section.

As we neared Boston, afternoon tea was served.

My fiance had the vegetarian afternoon tea set with a pickled cheese and hummus red pepper sandwich. The sandwiches were not good and dry.

I went with the coronation chicken and prawn Marie Rose sandwich. The scone was served warmed which I appreciated. There was also a coffee and walnut cake which was very sweet.

We soon began our descent into Boston and the cabin was prepped for landing half an hour out. An hour after our scheduled arrival in Boston, we landed on runway 4R at 2:30PM. The taxi to gate E12 took 10 minutes and soon we were on our way to Global Entry and clearing customs.

Thanks for the flight!

Overall, I found the British Airways Club World experience severely deficient. The equipment (seat, IFE screen, and lavatory) were all malfunctioning. The food was terrible and the delays made the whole experience even worse. While I loved flying the A380, especially on the upper deck, British Airways would not be my first choice for flying across the Atlantic.

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