View Full Version : BA First v. Club World

23rd Jun 2008, 21:13
For those fortunate enough to have travelled in both cabins, I wonder whether you feel that the experience is sufficiently differentiated (especially since the introduction of flat beds in Club) to justify the higher ticket prices. I'm sure the marketing and revenue people in BA have given this some consideration but what do PPRuNe posters think?

24th Jun 2008, 07:38
Quieter lounge with champagne and bacon sarnies:ok:

If a the service in Club is on form (and occasionally it isnt), then it really isnt much different these days. Better wine, food when you want it

And er, thats about it.

24th Jun 2008, 08:30
I've only benefited from an upgrade to first a couple of times, mixed experience, sometimes the crew can make all the difference. Particularly enjoy it when flying back from the US, the only thing missing is a goodnight story!

24th Jun 2008, 08:38
From my experience, worth it on CX, not on BA.

I fully confess that my first class travel has always been the result of upgrades.

24th Jun 2008, 10:09
Upgraded to BA First (BOS-LHR) last October

One thing I didn't think I would ever hear on a plane..

CC: "would you like me to make your bed for you now Mr XXXXX"
ME: "oh yes please...."

Aside of trying to look all casual and very "it's the norm for me to fly this far up the front" (hard when you are trying to stuff your BA pjs into your hand luggage!!) I would struggle to justify the difference in price between First and Club.

Nice gig if you can though.


Final 3 Greens
24th Jun 2008, 13:44
Is it worth it?

It depends on how much money you have and what you value.

First is quieter, smaller cabin (although the upper deck on the 747 is a nice environment) and more exclusive.

Pax Vobiscum
24th Jun 2008, 14:48
If you can blag an upgrade - being Gold and paying full whack for your Club ticket may help - or burn some airmiles, then go for it and enjoy the experience. But First is like a Rolls-Royce to Club's BMW 5 series. Its purpose is not to provide superior value, but to enable those that wish to do so to shout "look at me, I've got more money than you!" Of course, those with real money just press the intercom on their desks and say: "James, fire up the Gulfstream, we're going to Bermuda for the weekend."

First is quieter, smaller cabin (although the upper deck on the 747 is a nice environment) and more exclusive.
Unless Naomi Campbell's on board (not that that's a likely contingency for at least the next few months) :)

24th Jun 2008, 14:48
I've been in First as a guest of a friend at BA....it was worth it just to have the smug feeling that some of these people had paid nearly 20 times the economy class fare to get to the same place at the same time on the same plane. Totally overrated.

Haven't a clue
24th Jun 2008, 19:37
It's purpose is not to provide superior value, but to enable those that wish to do so to shout "look at me, I've got more money than you

it was worth it just to have the smug feeling that some of these people had paid nearly 20 times the economy class fare to get to the same place at the same time on the same plane

I fly typically 8 sectors a year in F, paid for by me. I enjoy the privacy and the service and I usually manage to avoid people who make the sort of comments above.:E

25th Jun 2008, 08:03
If I could afford it, I would. Instead, I use miles to upgrade. But the difference between Club and first is not as marked as the difference between WT+ and Club

25th Jun 2008, 21:16
No jim-jams in Club (unlike Virgin) and better champagne in First?

25th Jun 2008, 21:23
Yes, but you've got to drink a lot of champagne to make it worthwhile on a purely cost basis (not that I haven't done my damndest to try). HaC is right; it's about privacy.

26th Jun 2008, 18:50
as a BA Gold and Star Gold (and some time ago also a VS gold), have been lucky to travel loads in both BA club and BA first and would summarise as follows:

BA (brand new) club world
- great if you are flying 747 and can get upstairs window, as personal private space is unbeatable
- downstairs no big deal, but still better than any other business class (including the Virgin "coffins")
- negative: flimsy materials so every step and movement is felt
- negative: wine selection no good as they have removed most of the decent French wines, stick to the champers

BA first
- never forget that it was truly revolutionary when it was launched, so you should fly it once just to pay respect to that great and brave decision by BA management (same goes for J as well)
- much better on 777 than on 747 unless you are 1a/1k on 747 (and don't mind people coming to use "your" wardrobe every now and then)
- wine selection is truly SUPERB, your own private cellar
- food is normally excellent, especially exLHR, and remember its prepared by one CC who does nothing else but be your "chef" for the whole flight
- cabin crew normally lovely as well
- negative: IFE is s**t (ancient screens that are half the size of the new ones in J)
- negative: well when you fly the EK/SQ/Jet F class private rooms anything else is a bunk, and even Thai, CX do a great bed; not to mention the Space Odyssey F seats on JAL (get them soon, as they are being phased out)

in terms of value for money:
- lesson one: NEVER pay for F (get an upgrade with miles, promotions, or by buying BA routings starting on the continent)
- fly F for your day flight, so you can completely enjoy the service, drinks, meal, etc (and you can still ask for the jimjams even on a day flight)
- fly J for the night flight as anyway you want to sleep not worry about the service and the J bed is fine

next year BA is bringing in a new F, which is going to be tough given the competition - they have to do something and they can't wait for the BA A380s as these are still a few years away - however as a downside expect F to be removed on some routes (no worries as J is still a great experience apart from the vino)

enjoy !

27th Jun 2008, 11:44
Well worth a grand or whatever of the Company's money... and every time I've been fortunate enough to partake of the pleasure it's certainly been distinctive if not memorable.

But with MY money - forget it... that grand would be spent on something much more pleasurable, memorable, tangible or valuable than a seat on an aeroplane and a lounge in the lounge. :cool:

28th Jun 2008, 12:52

I have done Club world and First on both a 777 and 747 ( one operational upgrade at checkin to F as a BA gold card holder but usually use miles to upgrade from Club). On one flight I paid for F as the difference between CW & F was only 200

jotape does a very good summary of the key differences between F and CW.

The CW on the upper deck of the 747-400 is excellent and an upgrade to F sometimes does not feel that much of a benefit especially on an overnight flight when you spend most of the flight sleeping.
There is a larger difference between the main deck of the CW 747 and B 777 to F ( more privacy and quieter cabin). food is better but as in any flight the cabin crew can make the difference ( I have had indifferent crew in F but excellent CW crew).

At LHR T5 if you are travelling F you have a dedicated check in area ( no dedicated check in desks for CW) and direct access to the Concorde Room at LHR ( if in Club you have to go down the escalators through the shops then back up the escalators to the lounge). The F lounge at LHR is better than the Club lounge ( or Galleries Club) with better food and drinks and more attentive service ( hopefully)
With the current BA CW/F product it would be hard for me to justify the normally large difference between F and CW ( ok with some miles) and CW is a very good product .



2nd Jul 2008, 07:19
A gold card gives access to the BA first lounge anyway. The only real difference between first and club is a set of pyjamas. If the cabin crew offer to help you get into them just politely reply "No thank you young man!".

3rd Jul 2008, 16:59
The Gold Card gives you access to a FIRST lounge, but it doesn't give you access to the FIRST/Concorde lounge. You have to be actually travelling at the front for that. In the old days of T4, that was a crucial difference.

The FIRST lounge in T5 which the Gold Card does let you into is much improved, though.

4th Jul 2008, 11:31
The Gold Card gives you access to a FIRST lounge, but it doesn't give you access to the FIRST/Concorde lounge.To be pedantic BA Gold card gives you access to the First lounge if you're flying BA/OW, and also (under open doors) to the Club lounge if you're not flying BA/OW. But a Gold card holder can only get into the Concorde Room if flying First, and by virtue of flying First rather than the Gold card.

24th Jul 2008, 20:48
With reference to the original question, it's a somewhat subjective calculation, but I would suggest it is considered as being comprised of four elements.

The Club seat is too narrow (although upper deck window seats are no problem), and could be touch longer, but is perfectly comfortable. The First seat has the extra space, in particular the elbow room.

The food in First is preferable, but, as you can expect better in a decent mid-priced restaurant, does not contribute towards the question of value. The wine, although downgraded in recent years, is greatly superior to the very average fare in Club, but again a couple of glasses of 4th growth don't go far in justifying the ticket price.

The cabins vary quite a bit. The 747 First and upper deck Club cabins are the best, next is 777 First, then the 747 main deck and 777 Club cabins, which are too busy with 8 seats across.

Finally you have what we might call snob value - you can put whatever weighting suits you on that.

Personally, I find the calculation relies on the type and flight involved. I don't like the 8 across seating in Club (was happy on day flights in the old cradle seats). So 777 - has to be First. 747 day flight - upper deck just as good as First (preferably 62 A or K). 747 night flight - First is best, but upper deck fine.

Anyone suggesting you should fly First to get into the Concorde room needs help.

25th Jul 2008, 07:03
The best way to spend your own money on First is to use OneWorld round the world tickets. I'm just about to start this itinerary (in parts spread over the next year) all in F (or J where there is no F):

MNL-HKG-JFK (all on CX)
LHR-HEL-CDG (on AY in J)

That's 16 flights, totalling 44309 miles.

The cost including all taxes? US$9083.

That's worth it.

25th Jul 2008, 10:19
Christep I totally agree with you - the oneworld Round-the-world fares are an absolute bargain!

Enjoy your bargain first class travels! :)