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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Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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! 😛

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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!!…

  8. Hi Rob,

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

Trackbacks

  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. […]