Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Stella Shon
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Airline: British Airways
Aircraft: Airbus A350-1000
Flight #: BA274
Route: Las Vegas (LAS) to London (LHR) with an onward Royal Air Maroc flight to Casablanca (CMN) on the same reservation
Date: July 7, 2023
Duration: 9hr 21mins
Cabin and Layout: British Airways Club Suite (business class); 56 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration
Cost: 57,500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles + $783.20 (available from ~$5,600 one-way)
When suites with closing doors first appeared in business class, this privacy-focused concept took the world by storm. Now, it’s becoming the norm. British Airways debuted its Club Suites with closing doors in 2019, and it is currently featured on some Boeing 777 and all Boeing 787-10 aircraft, as well as all Airbus 350-1000 planes.
I recently flew Club Suites on the A350-1000 from Las Vegas to London and found the experience overall quite good, though there are areas for improvement. Here’s a look at my experience in early July 2023 from start to finish, including how to book and choose the best seat.
I booked this flight as part of an American Airlines AAdvantage award flight from Las Vegas to Casablanca. The full price was 57,500 AAdvantage miles + $783.20 in cash. The high cost of surcharges on British Airways-operated flights can sting — especially in premium cabins.
However, American Airlines considers Morocco as part of Europe in its award chart, saving significant miles against other options I found for my trip. Plus, I had just received the welcome bonus offer from my CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® and was anxious to use those miles. The tradeoff was the higher cash component.
The cash price for my ticket was $5,600. Subtracting the cash portion of my fare, this award provides a redemption value of 8.4 cents per AAdvantage mile. That’s well above the average value of AAdvantage miles at 1.4 cents per mile.
When I arrived at BA’s check-in area in Terminal 3, I noticed a sprawling line for economy check-in.
But there wasn’t a single person in the priority check-in line. This line is available for those traveling in Club World (business class) and those with British Airways or Oneworld elite status.
A separate line, which also was empty, was available for those traveling in World Traveller Plus — BA’s premium economy cabin.
With no one in line in front of me and carry-on bags only, check-in was quick and efficient.Hot Tip:
I had checked in online the day before; BA requires payment for many passengers (even in business class) to choose a seat before check-in time, so I checked in as early as possible to get a window seat. However, I still needed to check in at the counter to show my passport.
A friendly agent jokingly apologized for the wait, confirmed my final destination, and verified that I didn’t need a visa to visit Morocco. She issued my boarding pass, indicated the gate number, and directed me to the security checkpoint.
However, one part was missing: I asked if there was a lounge I could visit. She explained that I could visit The Club LAS lounge by showing my boarding pass. Conveniently, the lounge was next to my boarding gate — E2.
There are 2 The Club LAS locations in the Las Vegas International Airport. In Terminal 1, the lounge is located toward gate D33, between Brooks Brothers and Tumi.
I visited the Terminal 3 location, opposite gate E2. Both The Club LAS locations participate in Priority Pass and accept paying visitors, and the Terminal 3 location also serves as the business class lounge for several departing flights.
When I arrived at the lounge, there was a line. Throughout my stay in the lounge, the line was a near-constant reality. The popularity of the lounge also grew as our flight was delayed, and seating was at a premium.
The lounge had bar-style seating near the buffet and bar, plus 2 separate seating rooms with a glass divider between both. However, the open doorways between the 3 parts of the lounge meant sound traveled easily. This was unfortunate because several groups talked unnecessarily loud, and there was a pair of crying babies.
I was not able to comfortably capture more images of the seating due to the lounge being at capacity, but more photos of the bar and various seating areas can be found in The Club LAS’ gallery.
The buffet offered a handful of hot dishes, including spicy cauliflower and Italian meatballs.
There were also finger sandwiches, hummus and pita bread, and brownies.
There was also soup and a small salad bar. Small signs near the food offerings provided allergen warnings. Water and iced tea were available self-service. Any other drinks (including sodas and alcohol) were obtained from the bar.
Past the third seating area, a hallway led to the bathrooms. You could also put your name on a list at this desk (staffed intermittently) to use the showers.
Restrooms were individual with locking doors, rather than multi-toilet rooms.
Wi-Fi was available and worked reliably, and power outlets near numerous seats kept passengers happy with the ability to charge their devices.
Boarding started late, due to the late arrival of our aircraft from London. Once boarding started, it was chaotic.
Gate agents used the speaker system to announce preboarding for those who needed extra time. However, they didn’t use the speakers after that, making it difficult to tell what they were saying — especially for those not near the desk. They said something about “business class,” but no one knew it. Did they say, “Business class will be next, but please wait?” Did they say, “Now boarding business class?” Perhaps, “Business class line up over here to board soon” was the indication.
Whatever it was, people heard something about “business class” and stormed the gates. Gate agents started barking orders for people to move here or there, and it was disorganized. Whatever the gate agents were hoping to accomplish failed, and multiple people simply shoved past me in a rush to the gate.
Not willing to fight to get onto the plane, I was one of the last passengers in business class to board. At the end of the jet bridge, flight attendants welcomed us inside and provided friendly smiles while directing passengers to their seats.
There was a larger front cabin for business class (with 11 rows) and a smaller, mini business class cabin (with 3 rows); a galley separated the 2 cabins. We boarded through the middle door into this galley. I turned left into the larger front cabin.
Club Suites on the A350 were arranged in 14 rows of 1-2-1 seats in a reverse herringbone configuration.
All seats had direct aisle access, and each suite had a door that closed for privacy. A simple latch opened it, and it clicked closed without needing to push hard.
Rows 1 to 11 were in the larger, front business class cabin. Rows 15 to 17 were in the smaller rear cabin in front of premium economy.
When I arrived at my seat, I found a pillow and bedding kit (inside a zippered pouch) on the seat.
There was bottled water plus the amenity kit in a cubby near the window.
I had seat 8K, a window seat on the right-hand side of the plane.
Let’s take a tour of it.
I am definitely the “push that button, see what it does” passenger on flights. I began pushing every button once I put my bag into the overhead bin. Bins were ample, by the way.
The seat had a dark gray theme, extending beyond the cloth on the seat.
Both the hard shell around the seat and the fabric lining echoed this dark gray color.
And there was a nice section of wood paneling below the armrest on the window/controls side of the seat.
Above this wood paneling, there were multiple bins for storage.
However, they weren’t deep and wouldn’t hold much more than a charger and glasses.
The larger bin (toward the front) held my headset.
The remote for the entertainment system was in here.
There was both a universal outlet and a USB port.
I found the headphone jack and another USB port at the other end of the bin.
I also found the seat control panel, including easy-to-understand buttons for the seated position, reclining, or turning the seat into a bed.
Above the bins, I had a standard window.
Additional storage was in the locker near my shoulder (which held the water and amenity kit). Just over my shoulder, near this cubby, there was a reading light. Pushing it to make it flip open turned it on automatically.
On the other shoulder, I had a shoulder restraint for the 3-point seatbelt. The seatbelt had a push-button connection (like a seatbelt in a car) rather than the metal flap you see on many airlines.
There was a small coat hook on the plastic molding dividing my suite from the one in front of it.
Below this, I had an 18.5-inch TV screen.
The tray table slid out from under the screen, released with a latch under the table. I used hand sanitizer every time I touched the latch because I imagine this is “out of sight, out of mind” for the cleaning crews.
The tray table was released in a folded position, and unfolding it was easy. It was a good size and easily held the meal trays without seeming flimsy.
Under the tray table, I had a large foot well with ample space. It held my pillow and bedding without crowding my feet. When sleeping during the night, my feet (shoe size 11.5) didn’t feel cramped in here, either.
On the aisle side, the armrest could go up and down. This was great for getting comfortable.
A push button under the armrest allowed me to lift or push it down without much force.
I had a deeper storage bin under the bins on the window side of my seat, which also held the safety information card. A blue light was inside this bin, and it stayed on throughout the night. This worked well as a night light, helping me adjust my sleeping position/bedding without turning on the bright overhead lamp.
I mentioned that there are 2 business cabins on this flight. Normally, I would choose a seat in the smaller cabin to reduce the chances of having a loud passenger nearby. Not so on this flight.
I’ll discuss more below, but the middle galley and lavatory were LOUD. Notice that’s in all caps.
You want a seat away from the galleys on this flight. I found the noise bothersome in row 8 (3 rows away from the galley). It must’ve been awful for those immediately beside the galley and lavatory.
Do yourself a favor and choose seats in the larger cabin, as close to the middle as possible. That will put you far from the lavatories and galleys at the front and rear of the cabin. Rows 5 and 6 will be ideal.
If you’re traveling alone, choose seats A or K — the single seats along the windows. If you’re traveling with someone, choose seats E and F — the 2 seats together in the middle of the plane. However, they’re not super close together, and you can’t join the seats like you would in Qsuite, for example. Plus, the reverse herringbone layout means your feet are closer to your companion than your head, so speaking to one another isn’t overly simple.
Before takeoff, flight attendants came through the cabin to distribute menus.
They also provided welcome drinks — a choice of Champagne or orange juice.
Dinner had 2 options for starters, 3 for the main course, and 4 for dessert. There was also an express option, where you could quickly receive a summarized meal service and start sleeping.
The breakfast menu included fruits and pastries for everyone, plus 3 options for a main course. While the drinks menu wasn’t extensive, it had cocktails, mocktails, beer, wine, liquor, sodas, coffee, and tea.
After giving passengers a few minutes to peruse the menu, flight attendants came down the aisle, taking orders for dinner and breakfast, drink options, and whether people wanted to be woken for breakfast or remain sleeping.
My flight attendant confirmed that my special meal (VGML; vegan vegetarian) was on board and took my drink request. She also confirmed that she would wake me for breakfast (if needed) approximately 90 minutes before landing.
Regarding the food, this will be my least-friendly part of the review. I’ve never taken a cooking class, but the food on this flight can’t hold a candle to what I throw together at home. There was no seasoning at all.
My starter was grilled vegetables, which had mysteriously been chilled afterward. They had no oil, salt … nothing. I also received a plain rice cake. I don’t know why anyone thought this would be a good idea.
The coconut milk peach dessert was interesting; I’d never had something like this before, and it bordered on having some flavor. The salad didn’t come with any dressing, and I had to ask a flight attendant to find some olive oil.
Then came the hot dish. If you’re too tired to cook and want to throw something in a pot, wait a few minutes, then eat, you could make this dish. This mash-up of tomato sauce with a few veggies had no seasoning. I ate it, but I didn’t enjoy it.
Breakfast started with a fruit plate and a chia seed coconut milk yogurt. These were the best parts of the meal service during the flight. It’s quite an indictment of the catering team that the best parts of the meal were things they didn’t cook.
The hot dish was a disaster, plain and simple. Over-steamed greens that were runny enough to drink through a straw, some cut-up tomatoes, cooked mushrooms, and some cut-up plain tofu.
If you’ve read this far, you know these had no flavor. And while I was ready to chalk this up to my special meal being a sore spot, I wasn’t the only person who thought their meals had no flavor. I overheard other passengers asking for salt and pepper to season their food and the couple across the aisle from me remarking that their meals had no flavor.
Flight attendants bear no responsibility for the cooking quality, so I simply thanked them for presenting the meals well, smiled as they cleared my tray, and kept my mouth shut. The cooking was sub-par (putting it nicely), but they could do nothing about it.
There was one other option during the flight: snacks in the galley. You could grab bags of chips, popcorn, or nuts, and there were bottles of both wine and water available.
The handheld remote for the entertainment system worked well, and I found this easier to use than reaching for the TV screen. However, the TV was touchscreen, giving passengers 2 options for scrolling through entertainment options.
There was a good range of options, including movies, TV shows, music, and games. Movie options included several recent releases, such as “Avatar 2” and “Black Adam.”
Another interesting feature was the ability to learn about the seat and its controls.
Wi-Fi was available throughout the flight. Messaging plans started at £2.99 (~$3.43) for 1 hour or £4.99 (~$5.72) for the whole flight.
If you wanted browsing and/or video streaming, those plans started at £11.99 (~$13.75) for 1 hour or £19.99 (~$22.90) for the full flight.
Plans allowed for using just 1 device. There was also a note about free Wi-Fi for those in first class, despite this plane not offering first class.
Each seat in business class had an amenity kit located in the cubby before boarding. These came from The White Company.
Inside, I had socks, an eye mask, a pen, ear plugs, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and 3 items from The White Company: lip balm, moisturizer, and “pulse point” for relaxation during the flight.
During the night, when I laid down the seat to sleep, I noticed crumbs in the seat division.
As a bed, the seat was decent. The seat stretched to 79 inches in length (6 feet 7 inches), and the spacing around the bed didn’t feel cramped. It felt roomy in general. It was firmer than I’d like, even with the (ultrashort, ultrathin) mattress pad in the bedding kit. This pad covered only the upper part of the seat (from the division to the head).
The pillow provided good support, but a little more padding in the seat would make for a better sleeping experience. Generally, I can sleep most anywhere, but I found myself turning over repeatedly in an attempt to get comfortable and fall back asleep. The regular noise from the lavatory door also didn’t help.
I mentioned this above, but it bears repeating. The door to the lavatory closed semi-automatically, and it SLAMMED when it closed. Thus, it created a loud banging sound every time someone entered or left the lavatory unless they were holding the door to close it slowly.
The lavatories in business class were standard — matching what you’d find in economy class.
While the lavatories weren’t larger and had no special features, the hand lotion and air freshener were 2 things to set them apart.
My flight attendant was nice and provided great service. She greeted me by name when I arrived at my seat, greeted me by name again when bringing my welcome drink and discussing meal service for the flight, and was cordial throughout the flight.
Flight attendants at the doors during boarding and disembarkation smiled, were friendly, and thanked passengers for flying with British Airways.
I can’t think of any “standout moments” that made for exceptional service, but I also can’t think of any negative moments. I didn’t need to ring my call button for anything lacking, which indicates good service in my eyes.
I was excited to try the new Club Suite as this flight aligned with my travel plans. I’m a fan of suites with closing doors, and this is a decent addition to the market. However, I wouldn’t go out of my way to fly this product again.
The seat lacks the general comfort of similar products when used as a bed. Service from the flight attendants was good, but the catering could use some more pizzazz.
The experience wasn’t bad enough for me to swear off of trying Club Suites again, but (more importantly) it wasn’t impressive enough to leave me longing for another ride.
The information regarding the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
You can find Club Suites on some British Airways Boeing 777 aircraft and all Boeing 787-10 aircraft, as well as all Airbus 350-1000 planes. Other planes do not have this type of business class seat.
Club Suites are individual suites with closing doors for privacy. Club World and Club Suites are business class products on British Airways, but only the Suites have this door.
British Airways departs from Terminal 3. Flights typically depart from gate E2.
The seat map will be obvious. If you see a 1-2-1 layout, this is the new Club Suites. If you see a different map that looks like 2-4-2 or staggered blocks, this is the older business class product.
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Ryan has been on a quest to visit every country in the world and plans to hit his final country in 2023. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publications including AwardWallet, The Points Guy, USA Today Blueprint, CNBC Select, Tripadvisor, and Forbes Advisor.
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