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

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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.

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Comments (107)

  • Callum says:

    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”.

    • Rob says:

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

      • Alan says:

        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

      • Callum says:

        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.

        • Alan says:

          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.

          • the real harry says:

            probably not your money but your employer’s money

            • Alan says:

              Probably not as much corporate money nowadays though, at least not in F or on redemptions 😉

  • Rich. says:

    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….