British Airways Club Suite vs First Class – What’s The Difference?

British Airways announced its new business class product in the first half of 2019. Now that the product has made it on to the aircraft, it seems right to evaluate the differences between this and its first class offering.

British Airways, Club Suite, First
British Airways has introduced a new business class product on its Airbus A350. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

British Airways’ new Club Suite is the airline’s first new hard product in business class for 13 years. Comparing the new suite to the old business class offering is like comparing a new iPhone to a Nokia with snake. However, onboard the new Airbus A350, the carrier has removed the first class cabin. Additionally, BA has not upgraded First on its Boeing 777s due to be refurbished, given currently available knowledge.

The cabin

Let’s start by looking at the cabin. Here you find arguably the biggest difference: exclusivity. Think about it; the business class cabin onboard the Airbus A350 has 56 seats, with the cabin divided in two with a smaller section of 12 in the rear. However, compare this to the carrier’s largest first-class cabin, which contains just 14 seats.

British Airways, Club Suite, First
The first class cabin has a much more exclusive feel. Photo: British Airways

By purchasing a first-class ticket, passengers benefited from a much smaller cabin filled with much more exclusivity. This could be a must for celebrities, and others who wish to maintain their privacy on board a flight. In December a Korean Air flight was delayed after passengers bought a ticket with no intention to fly just to see some celebrities.

Different hard and soft product

The soft product offered in business class and first class on British Airways also differs considerably. The soft product includes things such as food, bedding, and amenities, while the hard product refers more to the aircraft’s seat. In First, the soft product offered is significantly enhanced over that of business class.

British Airways, Club Suite, First
Passengers in First get an upgraded soft product. Photo: British Airways

The seat also differs, although in some respects the new Club World suite trumps the first class seat. The new Club Suite is just that: a suite. As such, it has a closing door meaning that personal privacy is second to none. According to The Points Guy, the First seat has a bed length of 78-inches, while sporting a width of 22-inches.

The new Club Suite, however, has a bed length of 79-inches, while the width is 21-inches. In my opinion, the Club Suite seat is almost directly comparable with the First seat currently installed.

British Airways, Club Suite, First
The lie-flat bed is an inch longer on the new Club Suite than in First. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Which should you pick?

Firstly, if you travel on the Airbus A350, you will have no choice but to pick the Club Suite as British Airways has ditched the First cabin on these aircraft. However, the choice becomes harder on the retrofitted Boeing 777s.

Personally, I would pick the Club Suite given the choice. With the difference in fares between Club World and first, I don’t think the additional cost is justified for me. Having experienced the new Club Suite myself, I know I would happily sit in it for a long-haul flight.

British Airways, Club Suite, First
The highly sought 1A is a business class seat on the Airbus A350. Photo: British Airways

However, other passengers could give a different answer, and at the end of the day, it is down to personal preference. Are the improvements to the soft product, tied with lounge access and more exclusive cabins worth it for you?

Which cabin would you pick? Let us know in the comments!