What do we know about BA’s new ‘Club Europe’ on DOMESTIC routes?

In the annual Investor Presentation to the City back in November, British Airways revealed plans to re-introduce Club Europe on UK domestic flights.

This is almost certainly linked to the introduction of ‘buy on board’ catering from next Wednesday.  BA’s biggest nightmare is that someone paying £7,670 for a fully flexible Club World ticket from Edinburgh to Tokyo decides to switch to a Middle East carrier or KLM because they are insulted at paying £2.30 for a cup of coffee on the connection.

Since November, however, there has been radio silence on the subject.

This is an easy change to implement.  At present, BA sells a product called ‘Business UK’ which is a fully flexible domestic economy ticket.  If you buy one of these you get lounge access, fast track security and 20 tier points each way but no seating benefits – it is still 3 x 3.

Bringing in Club Europe only requires ‘middle seat’ blocking and the loading of a few Club Europe meals – there is minimal capital investment apart from some IT and website changes.

british-airways-ba

The most likely scenario would appear to be:

Business UK is discontinued – which means that you could no longer get lounge access and Fast Track on a domestic economy ticket unless you had status

Club Europe introduced, offering 40 tier points each way (compared to 20 for Business UK) and lounge access – although note that Iberia only offers 20 tier points each way on its domestic Business Class tickets

There is clear upside here for those travelling on Club World Avios redemptions from regional airports as the connections would book into Club Europe.  It might even make the prospect of changing planes in Heathrow a little more appealing.

Another upside is that the minimum number of Avios seats per domestic flight would increase from the current four to six, as there would be a minimum of two Club Europe seats released as well.

There is also clear downside for travellers who can buy fully flexible economy tickets under their corporate travel policy and so get lounge access and Fast Track.  They may lose this because their employer will not pay for Club Europe, even if the price is the same – bar the additional Air Passenger Duty.

As far as timing goes, no-one seems to know.  I have heard March banded about on public and private forums but there seems no real proof.  It would have made sense to launch it next week alongside buy on board although that clearly isn’t going to happen.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

11am update: Contingency plans for the BA strike next Tuesday and Wednesday
IHG's UK Flash Sale is better than it seems, especially in London
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Rob. Thanks My December flights have now come thru at 20 points. Both these and the November flights(when I got 40 points) were Iberia Express so it seems to be pot luck what you get

  2. Good timing of article as was just wondering about this. We are Silver members and have cash Club Europe flights in April with domestic connections. When looking on MMB yesterday, I noticed that one of the domestic flights is on an ex-BMI A321 and I could select seats in what should be the Club World cabin. Just coincidence, or trialling of domestic business?

  3. OT: I’m sure this has been asked before but sorry I can’t find it.
    If after I’ve earned and used a 241 I get a refund to the BAPP which brings the yearly spend below £10,000 what happens?
    What would happen if the card had been cancelled?

    • Not sure I follow exactly. The fee is not part of the £10k spend target

      • Oh – now I understand. If 241 has been used I believe nothing will happen. Avios would get deducted as normal. If cancelled, just call up Amex for the refund to go to your DD account / a cheque be sent.

  4. chris1922 says:

    Reply to Stephen at 12:18 pm:

    Then yes, you should click the link and apply. You’re not getting the advertised and promised level of service.

  5. I’m generally outraged at everything BA does these days, however as long as I can still go in the BA lounge at Manchester before a domestic connection to a CE flight, I can manage for the 35 minutes down to Heathrow with no coffee or biscuit.

  6. Am I right in saying if you book a CW or F redemption ticket from LHR, you get a free domestic connection thrown in??

    • Correct.. Did this last year coming back from San Francisco. You will have to call customer services to arrange it.

      One issue to bear in mind is that it took us well over an hour at SFO to get them to agree to check our bags all the way through to Glasgow!

      • Wow, really? Never had any issue getting bags through-checked before.

        You can also book connecting flights fine on BA.com, you don’t need to call them.

        • Hi Alan, the issue was caused due to our flight out of SFO being delayed by 4 hours. This obviously meant they needed to rebook us on a later onward domestic connection.

          What’s weird is that while the flight connection was rebooked for us without any issue this appeared to freak out their systems so they claimed there was no way they could do it.

          They were saying things like it’s a ‘reservation’ not a ‘booking’ whatever difference that makes!? They told us to call the UK call centre until I told them it was 3am there and closed. We had to calmly argue about this for ages, I wasn’t going to back down! Finally a manner came down and signed it off… Ask so stupid.

          What annoyed me most was that while I’m perfectly happy to stand my ground and stick up for myself others may not be and would have definitely missed their onward flight.

          Anyway, it’s not just BA, common sense seems a very rare commodity in all walks of life these days!

          • Ah OK, sounds like they’d added the flights to the booking but hadn’t revalidated/reissued the ticket (so there was no payment coupon attached to the reservation). Sadly can be a bit hit or miss at outstations for level of service but always worth standing your ground. I managed to get AA to change a return ex-EU ticket from Dublin to Edinburgh after they delayed our flight for 10h overnight (hellish time in JFK, definitely wasn’t going to then be stranded in DUB!)

    • the_real_a says:

      Well – you get a free Avios connection, but you pay FULL taxes on the domestic segment. One way LBA to LHR cost me £50 ish

    • barnaby100 says:

      No, you don’t. You pay taxes which is often almost the same as the flight price but don’t get any miles or tier points.

  7. Going back to the BMI days, on a Friday evening, it wasn’t uncommon for the curtain to be close to the back of the plane on the 18:xx flight to Edinburgh. Unless my memory is playing tricks on me, I’m sure on one occasion I was sat within just 2 rows of economy seats at the back of the plane.

    Oh for the Friday evenings when you’d have BMI check-in staff waving £50 notes (or a £100 flight voucher) at the queue enticing people to take a later flight.

    • Oddly it is the 18XX that BA now plays most games with, particularly in winter schecules. More than once I’ve found myself with a 3h+ unplanned layover awaiting the flight around 2100.

      • If they are going to cancel a flight anyway, making you wait is cheaper than putting those on the last flight in hotels.

        • The problem I have is that they sell the flight for up to a year( knowing full well that they are going to cancel it. It happened in winter 14/15 and 15/16 IIRC, however, I believe they kept it this winter but I haven’t checked.

  8. About time BA rembembered their customer base outside of London and provided a decent product, after all, when they pulled the remaining schedule from the regional airports they left us few options, go via LHR, EasyJet, Ryanair or FlyMayBe!
    My wife and I were in row 1 (as 2 Golds) 2 weeks ago before jumping on a CW flight to JFK, had the ‘pleasure’ of a father with a very distraught babe who was screamed and wriggled for the entire flight. He was unable to control the child and neatly kicked me several times. Why BA had not grouped the the family together (mother was on another row) I cannot understand. Even more so to out them on row 1? The concept of CE on domestics is one that should have been in place for May years – you may even get some recognition from the crew!

    • the real harry says:

      shall we deconstruct this?
      the baby was on its father’s lap – it was young, let’s say 8 months
      the baby screamed & wriggled – I guess its ears hurt, the noise was horrible, the crowd of people was threatening, the light was too bright, I’m hungry, I wet myself, I pooped my pants, I can’t sleep – it was all natural & to be expected
      the baby kicked you – so does an 8 month old baby deliver much of a kick? (outside the womb, mums! 🙂 )
      dad couldn’t control baby – right, 8 months old, control? you mean stop it from crying & wriggling – impossible without drugs if the baby is so minded
      you resent dad & baby (‘these people’ – disparaging) sitting next to you in Row 1 – they paid for their ticket same as you, they can sit wherever allocated, you deserve no special treatment as you are not better than anybody else
      you were never a baby so can’t empathise with what it’s like to be a baby
      you were never a parent so can’t empathise with what it’s like to be a parent
      you think Row 1 is for special people like you – no it’s not, it’s often for people who grab Row 1 early, they might have status which makes it easy but flying frequently does not make you superior to other people, you just know flying
      you resent not getting recognition – I’m guessing they recognised you & treated you accordingly 🙂

  9. I fear that Club Europe catering is going to become free items from the BoB offer, and this will be announced at the same time as Club Europe coming in on domestic routes.

  10. The contrast between ridiculous extravagance (buying a £7670 plane ticket) and absurd penny pinching (£2.30 for a drink!? I’m changing my entire route from now on) never ceases to amaze me!

    I know, I know, it’s “the principle”.

    • There is no contrast. If you’re paying that much you expect the bells and whistles.

      • +1. 🙂

      • Exactly – surely it’s precisely because you’ve paid that amount you shouldn’t be asked to pay more!

        Really surprised BA didn’t nip this all in the bud by having a barcode voucher for free drink + snack for pre-existing bookings and CW/F connections.

        • the real harry says:

          I’ll take them to the cleaners if I don’t get my 30x 1000 Avios for existing bookings

          doesn’t cost me much

          I can do all sorts of stuff that will be painful

      • Your replies are all covered by my flippant “I know, I know, it’s “the principle”…

        If it’s about the amount you pay as Allan suggests, and you’re happy to pay £7670 for the ticket but £7673 (or even £7700 if you want to throw the boat out) is far too much then what a weird life you must leave.

        • Surely though, Callum, you can understand that it is the fact that customers with premium tickets are being asked to pay yet more money after forking out that much in the first place that people are annoyed about? BA would be better to put the price up (if they really needed to, they clearly don’t!) but give it to them for no extra charge once on board for the improved perception.

  11. Could be a problem when there is a high number of bookings in J -if the curtain is back to row 13 that would be the loss of 24-26 seats….

Trackbacks

  1. […] appears that British Airways might.  Via the ever-traveling Michael Jennings who posted this link on his Facebook […]