EXCLUSIVE: Launch information for Club Europe on British Airways domestic flights

I’ve managed to get my hands on the launch date and operational details of the changes to British Airways domestic flights.  As was first flagged in a BA investor presentation last year, domestic flights are going to be split into a two cabin service.

This is what is going to happen.

The launch date for Club Europe and Euro Traveller on domestic flights is 1st April.

From this date, UK domestic flights (excluding Jersey, which already has Club Europe) will begin operating with a two-class cabin.  For those sat at the front, it will be an identical offering to what is offered on ‘Band 1 / Very Short’ Club Europe services at present, such as flights to Paris, Dublin or Amsterdam.

The launch of ‘domestic Club Europe’ is almost certainly linked to the introduction of ‘buy on board’ catering last month.  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.

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 club europe domestic flights

This is what is going to happen to your existing bookings:

Is your current flight booked in classes B, H, K, M, L, V, N, Q O, S, G or X?

You will be seated in Euro Traveller.

Nothing else changes although you will lose any seat allocation you currently have at the front of the aircraft.  If you paid for a seat reservation, you can either ask for a refund or move to a reserved seat elsewhere.

Food and drink will remain ‘buy on board’ except for services from London City which will retain free catering for a few more months.

You will receive the same Avios and tier points as you were originally due.

Is your current flight booked in classes C, D, J, Y, R, I or U?

You will be seated in Club Europe.

You will gain access to the standard Club Europe benefits which were not previously part of your ticket – unless you had a Business UK ticket, in which case you would have already got lounge access, fast track security and priority boarding.

These benefits include – where available – 2 x 32kg checked bags, dedicated check-in, priority boarding, fast track security, lounge access, a blocked middle seat and free food and drink.

If you paid for a seat reservation, you can either ask for a refund or move to a reserved seat elsewhere.  If you paid for an extra baggage allowance, this will be refunded.

The tier point situation is not yet fully clear.  I will let you know if I get clarification.

There is clear upside here for those travelling on Club World Avios redemptions from regional airports as the connections will 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 (Business UK) 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.  It will no longer be possible to get Fast Track or lounge access with any domestic economy ticket.

There is obviously more to come on this, but you now know the main facts.

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  1. I was made aware of this two weeks ago when speaking to BA staff on my last flight. After years of being Gold BAEC I told this person that I had decided to dump BA as by dropping all food and drink on domestic flights when I’m paying 2-4K for a long haul First or Club flight with my connection to LHR from Glasgow I realise I’d be better off (and cheaper) going to Dublin and doing the same routes in Y and being treated better.
    Basically they know fuvked up but only after mistreating elites and for some of us it was anfvrenains the last straw.
    Fuvk you BA! Too late !

  2. “B, H, K, M, L, V, N, Q O, S, G or X”, “C, D, J, Y, R, I, or U”.

    As a double computer-scientist, I regard this use of (any) language as an offence. Abstraction, abstraction, abstraction – retain the essence of the meaning whle stripping away unecessary detail. Here the meaning has been abandoned. The gravest of crimes to me. It is an abuse of language.

  3. 1st April, hmmm

  4. It will be interesting to see if those using a domestic connection to Gatwick or Heathrow as part of a 2-4-1 business booking will continue to have the domestic legs booked as business. If that is the case they should be seated in Club Europe with all the benefits.

    • My guess is that the free domestic connections will disappear at some point following more ‘customer feedback’ so we will not need to worfy about this. They have done it on RFS, no reason to believe they will not do it on longhaul.

    • I’m just back from a 2-4-1 Club World redemption booking and the last leg was booked in to economy and not business UK. We didn’t get ba lounge access after flying from orlando to Gatwick before our regional connection to edinburgh.

      • If the domestic connection was on the same day you were entitled to access regardless of what it was booked in to. I always retain the boarding pass for the long haul sector just in case. You should consider complaining.

      • If your arrival was after 6am the day after departure then they were within the rules denying you access, if not you should complain. It’s only ever happened to me once, at T5 North. Supervisor was called and she supported the reception. I just informed them I’d find the web page and be back. Standing at the rails by escalator I saw supervisor come out a few moments later and descend to the gates. Found the web page, back into the lounge where I received welcome and apology from the dragon who said the supervisor was off looking for me. Personally, I think this 6am rule is harsh and BAs willingness to cause public embarrassment to their premium passenger at lounges even worse. The staff at Thai and most other Asian airlines would be horrified by such manners. I’m not sure but I read 6am rule as relating to scheduled arrival time as opposed to actual arrival time.

        • They weren’t interested in any explaining I had to do about the flight I just came off being business class. The guy literally looked over his spectacles at me and repeatedly said “you are not getting in the lounge today”. He didn’t want to check anything or discuss it.

          I left MCO at 8pm and there was only a 4 hour gap between flights but it was after 6am London time that I arrived in gatwick. Does “the day of travel” include only the day I depart or the day I land in the plane as well?

          • It includes the day you land too. All other things being equal you should have been entitled to lounge access prior to your domestic sector in this situation.

          • Sadly it’s a recurrent issue at the London lounges for those travelling on to regional airports. At least in T5 you can try the other Galleries lounge if no luck at the first one. I’d submit a complaint to Customer Relations, always used to be good for some Avios, although perhaps not nowadays.

  5. It’s incredible how BA have been able to sell changes such as this as benefits. The move to Cul Europe on domestic services simply provides you with a drink, tea coffee and perhaps a light meal for an extortionate fare…… and remember this used to be provided to everyone! Avios seats may become harder to obtain and 18000 for a seat to Glasgow would require you to be soft in the head. I flew CE last week and on my way to the airport now for another CE flight. It’s a pathetic little product and not one I would ever pay for. Everything about BA is simply cheap and rather nasty at her moment and I suspect will be so for a while yet. It will however back fire and passengers will walk. We might get that flying today is to travel like cattle but none of us really want to be treated as such.

    • The number of guaranteed Avios seats per flight will jump from 4 to 6.

    • I completely agree with your comments, and yet every BA flight I have been on (all using points) seems to be full, whatever the cabin. Why anyone would pay cash to fly in BAs premium cabins baffles me when compared to their competition. there are usually non stop flights to the destinations they serve using other airlines out of London, or connecting in Europe instead of London.

      • They are all full and have been for a very long time now. Indeed on my last two flights they were almost pleading for passengers to check in hand baggage for Free!? Why anyone would pay to take a page is beyond me as it seems to be the norm that you can check it in for free

    • Totally agree. I now just fly BA longhaul once a year on a redemption flight. The only attraction of doing so is the cheap flexibility/cancellation rules on avios bookings. This sole flight may now also be under threat as I now believe I’m getting poor value on clubacard-avios transfers for my zobe 7 travels unless I get either a conversion bonus and/or Lloyds/amex voucher. For Edinburgh to London I much prefer the train.

  6. How do they get away with calling it ‘club’ or ‘business’ class when the aircraft seat is exactly the same as a cattle class one.
    Not worth the extra money or avios especially if you have a silver or gold card

  7. Will the seat have more legroom? We flew LHR to Edinburgh last week in row 3 which had legroom akin to Ryanair. Our return was to City Airport in row 3 with decent space (and catering).

    We are flying JFK – LHR in April World Traveller Plus and connecting to EDI. The LHR – EDI leg is selling class J, so will be the new Club Europe arrangement. It looks like WTP and up counts.

    • IslandDweller says:

      @Margaret. No more legroom, but on Airbus services to LHR / LGW the middle seat will be blocked/empty.

  8. I jumped ship to Swiss a while ago, and on short haul they have pretty poor (free) food, alright drink, but most significantly they give out an amazing Swiss chocolate. Love it!

    Add it to the fact that when I look at the LHR boards the LHR-GVA BA flights are almost always delayed, but the Swiss punctuality is noticeably better. I put it down to the fact BA seem to have a policy of sacrificing the short haul services when something goes wrong.

  9. A bit O/T. I need get 30 TP’s in the next month in order to reach silver. Can anyone recommend a cheap day trip or overnight that I can book? Starting from London

    • Look ex Gatwick, 1 way CE and 1 way economy (or Avios).

    • MrHandBaggageOnly says:

      Luxembourg on the 18th/19th or 25th/26th March. Couple of seats at £86 each way out of LHR. Nice city to spend a day/night, if you haven’t been before.

      • If you search when logged in you’ll get an “earning full tier points” option. Day return to EDI or GLA from Gatwick should net you 40TPs for about £180.

        If you want an overnight a one way CE and economy with a Saturday stay should be doable for similar money, if not less.

  10. Already have a BA booking in U from ‘region’ to LHR then onward in CE. Hooray! I can now take part in the coffee & sticky bun beano onboard……!

  11. I have a avois redemption TATL in club connecting to a domestic economy up to Glasgow. Booking class shows as U for the domestic leg so I should get club in theory. It will be interesting to see if this is indeed correct in a couple of weeks.

  12. Looked up my 2-4-1 booking to San Jose, California for this October. It is booked into U Class so according to Rob’s comments above this should convert to a Club Europe booking from 1st April!

  13. How many rows are allocated to Club Europe? I’ve paid and booked in row 6 for a LGW-EDI return in August, is my seat safe?

    • It varies by flight. You might be at risk on a midweek peak time flight.

      • Thanks Rob…..outbound Monday at 11.50 inbound on Thursday at 14.20 Wouldn’t normally mind, but a I actually paid £7 per seat (x2) per flight!

  14. The irony of them coming up with a new ‘Club Europe’ cabin for domestic UK flights to start shortly after the PM is planning to trigger Article 50 – the Breixteers won’t be happy at all! 😛

  15. Now seat allocation for April flights is a complete mess.

    We have booked (family of 3) ABZ-LHR-ZUR on 2 April then ZUR-LHR-ABZ on 7 April
    2 April ABZ-LHR seating plan showing full 3-3 configuration
    On ZUR-LHR sector we are all in one row 3 seats together
    On other 3 sectors daughter is missing seat allocation ……..
    7 April LHR-ABZ seating plan showing 1/blank/1-1/blank/1 configuration up front and wife is allocated one of the ‘Club Europe’ seats in row 6 (??).
    Any attempt to make any sort of seat change results in “technical error” i.e. SHAMBLES

  16. Tarka Meerkat says:

    April 1st start date, how appropriate as BA Shorthaul is becoming a joke. I just flew with Finnair on a new Airbus A350 in business class with lay flat bed seat and a good in-flight service.

    Trying Swiss and Austrian this week intra-Europe so will find out how they are, got to connect via Zurich or Vienna but done that before and it was easy.

  17. Derek Scott says:

    Re the comments about Lounge access from a Club Connection. I had problems twice connecting from a CE to Domestic to EDI in T5, with access refusal, so complained to Customer Relations. They wrote back apologising, access was entitled (as explained in some posts) and promised to re-educate ground staff. Appears that has been unsuccessful.

    I do see a degradation in BA service, down to little things like no longer calling Club passengers by their name and using the lazy “Sir” instead. I had a disagreement with a crew member who kept moving the Club seat divider up and down continuously during meal service instead of reaching around to me in my rear facing seat. The passenger she kept leaning I’ve was getting annoyed too. Again, Customer Relations upheld the complaint, yer nothing seems to change.

    My biggest bugbear is the changes to inflight service and charging for Domestic connections for onward same-ticket flights. with major US, Middle East and even Nordic airlines recognising the benefits of regional long and mid-haul routes, BA seems to be typically bullish and stubborn in remaining a London-Centric airline. AA, UA, DL, QR AND EY all direct from EDI cant all be wrong.

    I’ve been contemplating switching away from my BA Amex, as I just don’t see the value in my Avios points, EC status or loyalty anymore. I don’t believe BA actions demonstrate it either

    • Sorry to hear they’re still not getting CE to Domestic right – a recurring issue but at least Customer Relations backed you up – hopefully with some Avios too!!…

  18. Hi Rob,

    Can you post again when this goes live on ba.com?


  1. […] Head for Points reports that British Airways will be introducing a Club Europe cabin on flights within the UK. Apparently the new cabin will be formally announced next week, and it should be available for travel as of April 1, 2017. The product will be called Club Europe, just like British Airways’ business class product on other routes within Europe. […]