New BA Club World ….. some info emerges

British Airways is, at last, gearing up for the launch of the new Club World cabin.

A member of cabin crew sent me a memo on training requirements for the new cabin.  What is interesting about this is that it implies a more substantial change to the proposition than simply a tweaked seat – which we already know is coming.

All Club World cabin crew are being called in for a two day training session on new Club World.  Interestingly, crew who have not taken part in this training will be blocked from working in the new cabin.

British Airways is taking this so seriously that they will be:

temporarily increasing the maximum number of ‘back to back’ trips crew may be asked to undertake from two to three in any 56 day period, in order to have enough qualified cabin crew in the air at all times

mixing Mixed Fleet and Worldwide crew on the same routes – but not on the same aircraft – to ensure that the new service can be rolled out to new routes as quickly as possible

A new role of ‘Club World galley lead’ is being created and is described as ‘pivotal’.  I understand that the reason behind this is that Club World is moving to a ‘dine when you like’ offering which will be introduced alongside a higher quality food offering.  ‘Dine when you like’ obviously has significant implications for cabin crew who are used to cooking up to 70 meals in one go.

British Airways 350

And the new seat?

‘Evolution not revolution’ appears to be the name of the game with the new seat.  Accidentally or not, a seating plan showing what appeared to the new seat appeared in the City investor presentation at the end of last year.

Qatar, Etihad and Emirates are not quaking in their boots (well, Qatar might be as they are a major shareholder in IAG!).  The current yin-yang layout appears to be staying, with seats facing both forwards and backwards. The real change is that all seats will having direct aisle access.

What is not clear is how this will be achieved.  The usual way is for aisle seats to be shorter than window or centre seats to create a six inch or so gap for the window or middle seat occupant to walk through.

The end result of this is that window seats and middle seats become more appealing (same size, gain aisle access) and aisle seats become less appealing (become shorter, already have aisle access).  Emirates, to be fair, has done something similar on its A380 aircraft with surprisingly less pushback than I expected.

The problem I have with all this is that I would prefer to see the money poured into a market leading hard product.  It is possible that BA is going to try something different – rubbish seat but with higher-than-average quality food and drink.

Economically, this makes perfect sense.  Squeezing in more seats compared to the competition generates thousands.  Doubling your food and drink spend costs hundreds.  The airline is quids in.

The problem with BA is that a few months down the line, someone will decide that cutting back the food and drink spend is a great way to save some money.  We saw it happen on the A380 aircraft, and if you’re as old as me you will have seen it happen company-wide two or three times over the last 25 years.  From the point of view of the passenger, putting in a great seat gives you some degree of confidence in the future because those seats are too expensive to rip out ….

PS.  Qatar Airways is launching its new business class seat at ITB Berlin in seven weeks and the German-speaking half of the HFP team will be there to take a look.   Qatar is ditching a seat which is already substantially better than the BA seat in order to launch something better …..

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Comments

  1. If they drop F they’ll lose their celeb VIP flyers. Can’t see movie stars etc being happy to fly in a dense Club World cabin. They are probably the only people paying the most expensive, last minute, First fares.

    • Lady London says:

      Er no, they seem to get ‘comp’d’ and I bet at least some of the time don’t actually pay… Or depending on who books it for them then there are deals.

      I’ll always remember seeing one, at that time quite well-known, British actress throw a ‘hissy fit’ when there wasn’t a seat available for her in First on a flight to UK. From the language used she was expecting to be comp’d

  2. If the seats are different lengths will we have to declare our height on booking?

  3. Personally all the hard product is missing for me is direct aisle access.

    I’d rather have decent prices than a little shelf to put nothing on.

    I also actually get more of a feeling of space of space from the current CW seat than I do from the foot coffin and fixed screen and plastic wall right in front of my face.

    Direct aisle access coupled with the privacy of the current widow seat would place the CW seat ahead of all other One World offerings ‘for me’.

    An improved soft product, same prices and BA will no longer be under par

    • Except the prices are not decent? BA more than double the price of Qatar…

      • TGLoyalty says:

        the direct ‘premium’

        People in Doha generally pay more to far eastern destinations that we do from AMS/CDG etc

    • JAL business class already offers more privacy than CW with aisle access and no Ying yang

      • Hi Alex

        This is my favourite Business class seat at the moment.

        Its a fabulous design from B/E Aerospace called Apex and its really what BA needs to be looking at as a standard to match if not better

        Of course we will have to see what Qatar lunches in Germany in a month or so.

        But investment in the hard product for BA new J class, must be at the top of Sr Cruz list.

        R

      • The JAL seat is great (had it flying on a 787 HEL-NRT) but the bed length is far too short for me (shorter than the BA seat). The sense of privacy is really good though and they are well built – you are not bothered by the neighbour over the wall bouncing around like with the BA seat.

    • I hear what you’re saying. Perhaps BA get rightly slammed but if you strip it down to just the comfort of the seat itself I think it is one of the most comfortable. Certainly more comfortable than the way overrated cofin seat that Qatar operate with the narrow footwell.

      Sure almost everything else is superior on other airlines.

    • I do hate the foot coffins/cubbys – flew Swiss business a few years back and couldn’t turnover when lying flat, felt almost claustrophobic! CW great for legroom.

  4. barry cutters says:

    O/T

    Iv got close to 500k of IHG points , i feel as my pot is getting big i should use them.
    Was looking to ski next winter , Whistler has no IHG properties, and the only thing i can find is the HI Tremblant. but i don’t think trembling-Tremblant has much to offer a couple of decent skiers for a week. other options would be to use them at a ski hotel in Europe, however i can’t find anything .

    Would also consider a nice summer hotel if can’t make skiing work.

    Im spire elite ambassador , so normally get a decent room. Also have enough enough Avios to get anywhere.

    Thanks

    • Intercon Davos?

      • barry cutters says:

        looks a good option. thanks
        Can use my weekend intercontinental certificate for one night too.

    • Trickster says:

      There’s an HI express in South Lake Tahoe, not Nec the best use of points, but Heavenly is a nice ski area.

    • You could always use the HIX in Hinton AB and ski at Jasper, or then again you could probably buy the HIX in Hinton for 500k!! :)

      I stayed at the HIX in Hinton only to meet one of my accelerate targets and stayed in Jasper for my week skiing, building up my BW points as I’m a Diamond member/ or platinum, can’t remember meh.
      Jasper in Jan early Feb is brilliant for quiet slopes and free parking next to the slopes.

      Not quite Davos but Jasper is a dead cert for snow.

      Pity the IC in Berchesgaden is now a Kempinski.

    • Are you adventurous…Hakuba, Niseko…?

  5. OT – Supercard: i am just look at the rates and it seems you have to pay 2.99% for ATM withdrawals outside of the UK now?

  6. TGLoyalty says:

    Has the offer been cancelled or the original transaction related to the merchant in the offer.

    If it’s the latter I expect the cash back is reversed and you are free to use it again, but never know when you get lucky

  7. I actually prefer the existing CW seat over the QR 380/787 seat , i have find it more private (by the window) and i actually enjoy a better sleep , The QR seat has a problem in that the table does not fold back or go back enough , and if your slightly bigger than normal its difficult to sleep on your side as i normally do , also the bed could do with a mattress (as in Emirates) .

    The food on both i can take it or leave it , I prefer to eat in lounges or restaurants.

    • The bed does come with a mattress on overnight flights over a certain length… Always get it on the way back from Tokyo

  8. “Emirates, to be fair, has done something similar on its A380 aircraft with surprisingly less pushback than I expected.”

    Ignorance is bliss!

  9. My recent BA CW flt to JFK again proves to me that CW just gets worse all the time. Very average food and wine and totally pathetic IFE – honestly the worst selection I’ve seen in any business class. I dislike the seat more each time with having to step over other pax. Came back for the first time in AA business….huge huge difference. Great seat, IFE, food, wine and seat equipment. Surprisingly good cabin crew also….on my flt anyway!

    • Even my kids hate BA’s IFE and groan whenever I tell them we’re on BA and not Emirates. Heaven knows how they’re going to cope with 2 x 12 hours flights over Easter.

  10. BA Club World is a hopeless joke (as is BA in general recently). It really is sub sub standard. Everybody has a better J now both in hard and soft product, but the seat in particular got old a long time ago. I even dumped my BA Amex because even with doubling the value of FF points with a 2-4-1, I’d rather just use more points on another airline than have to fly on BA. The idea of actually paying real cash for BA CW is just totally ridiculous.

  11. should the story be updated since MF and WW won’t work on the same AIRCRAFT but on the same ROUTE.

Trackbacks

  1. […] pulling off a dine on demand product offering in business class of the type outlined by Head for Points, which wrote about the news earlier today UK time, is complex and […]

  2. […] some interesting details are emerging about the soft product, per Head for Points. The first interesting thing is that British Airways is apparently introducing a new service […]