From the archive: July-August 2004

30 Apr 2019 by Tom Otley
The original British Airways Club World

As British Airways unveils its much-anticipated Club Suite, it’s a good time to look back at how the airline has previously altered both its seat and service in business class to satisfy some of its most demanding customers.

As many readers will remember, the original Club World seat was introduced back in 2000. I had my first taste shortly afterwards on a Hong Kong trip. On the way out we had enjoyed the old “cradle seat” (pictured below), but then, unexpectedly – to me, at least – the new Club World seat was on the return aircraft. The fully-flat recline was welcome, but the challenge was to maximise sleep time.

British Airways cradle seat

As I reported in our July-August 2004 feature, BA’s New York JFK lounges already offered a full meal but were now providing an improved “sleeper” service with a greater choice of hot food, served by chefs. We tested it out accompanied by chefs Richard Corrigan and Vineet Bhatia and, for the wine, Jancis Robinson.

On board were “larger pillows, thicker blankets and the chance to raid a ‘midnight munchies’ service in the galley”. Flyers had the use of an arrivals lounge at Heathrow T4 featuring showers. We included a table detailing the comparable services on American Airlines, Continental, United and Virgin Atlantic.

British AIrways sleeper service from 2004
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