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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)

  • Simon says:

    I have a redemption booking for next August for jfk-lhr-man. The transatlantic leg is in First. The domestic leg was originally showing in business but about a month ago, around the time when they tweaked all the timings on the summer schedule, it moved on My Flights to showing the domestic leg in economy. At the time I did nothing as I knew that fundamentally it meant no change in service – in the name of research I shall now ask for an explanation…

  • chris1922 says:

    I too have a “domestic connecting to first” redemption in May, GLA-LHR-BOS and find it odd that i’m entitled to nothing on domestic, but all the frills of F for the rest of the trip.
    I’ll be interested to see what, if any, changes are in place by the time of my trip. I’m certainly not paying for a drink ! Even with my gratis 1000 Avios, thanks to Raffles.

    • Stu N says:

      Out of interest what class is your domestic booked into? I have EDI-LHR-SEA return in Aug, booked in Aug/ Sept 16 when seats became available. Long haul is First out, CW back and am in X on the domestics. A Club Europe redemption last autumn booked in early summer ’16 booked into U for domestic and euro sectors… X is redemption economy, U is business I believe. (first books into Z).

    • stephen says:

      what was the gratis 1000 avios for

      • chris1922 says:

        Fare classes are “O” outbound, and “X” inbound. Also booked a year in advance when seats became available, and originally F out J back, but upgraded when my flight was cancelled and replaced with an A380. I also had to change my my originally booked domestics to tie in with rescheduled TATLs.
        The 1000 Avios was compensation for the lack of complimentary catering on the domestics, which was an advertised benefit at time of booking.
        Raffles ran an article back in September:
        https://headforpoints.com/2016/09/30/british-airways-buy-on-board-refund-compensation/

        • Gill says:

          We have F tickets to DFW on 19th Jan. MAN connections are booked into X class.
          Are there likely to be any compensation avios?

          • chris1922 says:

            Depends on what the advertised service was at time of booking. Were you advised of complimentary catering, or the “opportunity” to BoB ?

          • stephen says:

            we booked our flights last February and the booking stated tea coffee etc available on the domestic connection.

          • the real harry says:

            I’ve got several screenshots of the pages advertising free food & drinks included when I was booking our 30 upcoming flights in Europe

  • BrianDT says:

    Can I ask you all to spread the word to leave BA as soon as possible. This could be great news for me, many more open seats for Avios redemptions. Thanks.

  • Oyster says:

    For those of you connecting to/from long haul F to domestic just make a point of consuming extra champagne in the CCR to compensate.

    Maybe even tweet a picture to BA with a message comparing the few pounds they’ve saved on the domestic catering against the dozens of pounds you’ve cost them in the lounge!

  • TrollBasher says:

    Ahh, Landor…

  • clarence says:

    that’s interesting. we are coming back to LHR in first from SIN and wasn’t sure if we could you the CCR before our connection to BHD. Can we definitely us the CCR ?

    • Judge says:

      Yes definitely. You can even book a cabana via YouFirst if you have a long enough connection.

    • CV3V says:

      You can, but to avoid any confusion retain the First class boarding pass and hand that over with the domestic boarding pass.

      Don’t recommend the cabanas though, far better off in the CCR or First lounge. If you want to see what a cabana should be google the Cathay Pacific ones in Hong Kong.

  • rowpott says:

    How long has Iberia domestic changed from 40 to 20 tier points.
    I flew MAD to LPA in november2016 and got 40. Awaiting flights just completed, so could be 20. Anyone know when the change was announced

    • Rob says:

      It is more complicated than that. Some planes are technically one class but sell Business tickets and give you different benefits on board. Those are 20 TPs. Aircraft with a separate business cabin are 40.

  • rowpott says:

    Rob. Thanks My December flights have now come thru at 20 points. Both these and the November flights(when I got 40 points) were Iberia Express so it seems to be pot luck what you get