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Is this the new British Airways A350 Club World seat?

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An image appeared on Flyertalk yesterday which appears to show the new British Airways Club World seats for the forthcoming A350 aircraft.

I have not reproduced the image because it has been stolen from an internal British Airways IT system and, if genuine, is obviously under BA copyright.

You can, however, see it in the first post of this Flyertalk thread.

British Airways A350

The first thing you will notice is that the standard ‘ying yang’ layout has been retained.

Note the comment on the slide though – “Direct aisle access for every seat”.  This would be a major step forward for the Club World product if confirmed.

It isn’t fully clear how BA intends to do this.  The Emirates solution is to make the aisle seats shorter than the seats by the windows or in the centre of the middle block in order to create a gap for the other person to get out.  The person who published the slide implies that the cabin may have one fewer row of seats in order to accommodate this.

You shouldn’t get too excited by any of this.  British Airways only has 18 A350 aircraft on firm order with an option for 18 more, and they won’t start arriving until 2018.  It has already stated that the new Club World seats used on these aircraft will not be fitted on the A380, 777, 787 or 747 fleets.


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Comments (49)

  • James67 says:

    Very disappointing, by 2018 it would not be urpriing if even the likes of Air Asia X were introducing better business class seats than this.

  • Paul says:

    The competition must be delighted. 8 abrest seating maintained by cramped world does not improve simply because of aisle access. Even today there are a number of seats which provide this. Vuelingisation of BA continues.

    • Mark says:

      Don’t forget that Etihad’s acclaimed Business Studio is 8 abreast in a narrower cabin where Club World is only 7. Even taking into account the larger seat pitch to allow direct aisle access the overall seat density is not that far off BA.

  • Simon says:

    Could some mechanism exist whereby the window seat tilts or swivels in a way to allow access to the aisle?

    I can’t see a real reason for BA to do things differently, there is a lot of moaning but CW seems to be pretty successful as it is now. They obviously could choose to compete by making a better product but they must have decided that the costs outweigh the benefits of doing so. I mean, even if they could match the hard product of others there is no way they could match the soft product.

    • Rob says:

      It is possible, by accident, that BA is ahead of the game. The Emirates CEO said last week that business class fares are on a permanent downward trend. Not even Goldman Sachs is happy to sign off £6k for a fully flex CW to JFK these days. We have seen what Qatar is doing on pricing. If yields do fall sharply, more airlines may end up increasing seat density up front.

      • Barry cutters says:

        We are also forgetting that Ba executive club is the best for earning miles. I always use Ba for work for the sole reason they give me the best points earning potential to then use for for my personal flights. Club Europe may be bad value , however what other option is there? Club world may not be as good as Qatar or Emirates , but it’s good enough for me – I can still sleep, eat reasonable food and and earns me status and a good chunk of miles to use for myself and partner/ kids. Combined with the Ba credit card and Amex earning opportunity we have a pretty good situation.

        • John says:

          Agree. As nice as QR may be, it doesn’t fly LHR-HKG or LHR-TYO which is what I need.

          QR J may be ridiculously cheap if you are happy to change planes twice in each direction, but that’s for when the destination is the plane itself and the lounge in DOH, not when you need to get somewhere quickly and rested.

          • Genghis says:

            +1.

          • Kipto says:

            +1

          • Alex says:

            +1

            Though given the choice I’d always do JAL to TYO / CX to HKG. Either case, though, you better like Asian cuisine – the “western” options on JAL are meager in comparison to the Japanese meals and CX catering sucks in general…

          • John says:

            Yeah, I would choose CX and JL too, but they usually don’t have good ex-EU deals. I can’t afford ex-LHR J fares.

            Perhaps I should have said, a weekend break in a European city followed by a direct BA flight the next day is preferable to changing twice with QR when I have things to do at the destination.

      • will says:

        If I were paying and something like BA club world was priced competitively I’d always fly in a cheaper dense club world bed than something like QR.

        The real problem is that at the moment QR have a better product and a lower price.

        At the end of the day, once you have a bed on a long haul flight the rest is really a marginal improvement for a lot of cash (ie the cash price from CW to First).

        A couple of thousands of pounds gets you a lot in terms of hotels and activities on holiday relative to a slightly nicer meal and seat on the plane.

        BA seem to be getting the best of both at the moment, high density and high prices, long may London’s new runway be delayed for them!

  • Godfrey says:

    All a bit irrelevant as by 2018,IAG will be part of Qatar and we will finally get a great product from BA

  • CV3V says:

    At least with CW you know what you are going to get, with only some variation in the seat between aircraft that a lot of less well travelled would spot. A lot of the ME3 aircraft are still fitted out in a 2-3-2 configuration, some with angle lie flat beds, where the window seat and middle seat still require you to step over the other passengers. There have been some great Qatar fares recently, but you always need to double check the aircraft config to know what variant of business class you are likely to get (barring aircraft changes).

    The CW flights I have been on have been full or nearly full, would like to know what the split is between corporate travel, reward seats and personal cash tickets.

    • James A says:

      A lot of Emirates aircraft (almost all the 777s) are fitted with the seats you describe, but afaik no other aircraft in anyone else’s fleet is?!

      • CV3V says:

        EK 777’s are mostly/all 232 layout, and it’s being retained for their new business class seat. Others have a 222 layout with a mixture of seats, so no direct aisle access if in a window seat and the Qatar herringbone seat arrangement isn’t on all their aircraft. KLM operated an old business class arrangement of 232 (with an angle lie flat seat), whilst refit was carried out (think complete at end of 2015?). My real point is that people compare BA CW to the best seats available on ME3 carriers (i.e. on a 787 or A380) whilst they use a mix of seat designs.

        • Andy says:

          Well EK have staggered 1-2-1 seating on their a380s, similar with EY on their widebodys apart from their a380s which are a more evolved 1-2-1.
          QR have 2-2-2 on their 777s and a340/330s and 1-2-1 reverse herringbone on their a380/ 787/ a350s.
          I would rate them all as superior to CW, and I am a BA fanboy!

          • CV3V says:

            Of the 252 aircraft that Emirates have, 79 are A380s with a 1-2-1 configuration – so you are much more likely to be on a 777 with a 2-3-2 config.

          • Rob says:

            Emirates is hugely reliable though – if they say A380 you will be on an A380. Out of London it is a certainty.

          • Mark says:

            It always amuses me that people talk about Emirates and Etihad having a 4 abreast layout in the context of BA’s 7 or 8 when they actually have overlapping rows that make them 8 abreast in practice.

            I think BA is missing a trick here – alternate odd and even row numbers on the aisle and non-aisle seats and people will then think they are 1-2-1.

    • James67 says:

      A BA FA told me once that on predominantly leisure routes the CW cabins are dominated by redemptions, BA crew and their nominated beneficiaries.

      • CV3V says:

        I flew on a staff ticket to Las Vegas with Virgin many years ago, there were 12 staff passengers, in various classes on the flight, the return flight was much worse with 28 staff passengers all on standby tickets! We all got on, best £70 I ever spent..

  • dps says:

    BA could match or even beat key elements of the longhaul Business Class soft product such as catering, IFE and blankets, pillows etc (at leas that of westbound carriers such as AA and DL) in a matter of weeks if it wanted to – but clearly prefers to rely on its corporate deals, regular fare sales and unrivalled network and frequency ex LHR to retain volume and revenue market share.

    A bolder decision would be to abandon First on all but the10(?) routes where there’s inherent demand;, then reduce the density (by providing aisle access) but add net 4(?) rows in CW on most of the 747 and 777 fleet. However, with senior management irrationally preoccupied with the “threat” from EasyJet shorthaul and Norwegian longhaul, the opinions of BA’s CC and loyal passengers will probably continue to fall on deaf ears (just like the call bells in Club World)..

  • Godfrey says:

    Wouldn’t Brexit remove the 49% ownership rule …. and Willie is very much in favour of its removal

    • Bob says:

      Surely Brexit would be more likely to trigger the rule – so that IAG (then based outside EU) would no longer be allowed to majority own Iberia, Aer Lingus or Vueling… forcing their disposal or IAG listing move to EU 🙂

      • Rob says:

        You and I are very likely to be dead by the time all 21,000 pieces of UK legislation which must be changed to leave the EU are rewritten ….!

      • Daftboy says:

        IAG is a Spanish company, listed in Spain and in the UK

  • Nick says:

    If BA had to go 1-2-1, it would. It’s CW cabin is normally full, so it doesn’t. People will always moan, but the new seat looks like a winner to me. A window seat with direct isle access and no foot coffin is a winner. I already prefer the older Qatar seats to the new 1-2-1 herringbone because they dont taper; BA will be offering that with direct isle access and more privacy. If they can serve the window seats direct from the isle and add some storage, it will be very popular. Obviously BA needs to go some way to improve cw food too, but as a seat it looks good.

    What it will mean, though, is that the window seats will be far preferable now: they are by a window (always cool to have a view); they are more private; and I suspect they will be longer to allow for isle access. The biggest pity for me is that they didn’t find a way to have the screen permanently facing the seat. I like my ife and having none for take off and landing is always a pain, especially when not in a window seat.

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