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The new British Airways Club World cabin …. some info emerges

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British Airways is, at last, gearing up for the launch of the new Club World cabin.

A member of cabin crew sent me a memo on training requirements for the new cabin.  What is interesting about this is that it implies a more substantial change to the proposition than simply a tweaked seat – which we already know is coming.

All Club World cabin crew are being called in for a two day training session on new Club World.  Interestingly, crew who have not taken part in this training will be blocked from working in the new cabin.

British Airways 350

British Airways is taking this so seriously that they will be:

temporarily increasing the maximum number of ‘back to back’ trips crew may be asked to undertake from two to three in any 56 day period, in order to have enough qualified cabin crew in the air at all times

mixing Mixed Fleet and Worldwide crew on the same routes – but not on the same aircraft – to ensure that the new service can be rolled out to new routes as quickly as possible

A new role of ‘Club World galley lead’ is being created and is described as ‘pivotal’.  I understand that the reason behind this is that Club World is moving to a ‘dine when you like’ offering which will be introduced alongside a higher quality food offering.  ‘Dine when you like’ obviously has significant implications for cabin crew who are used to cooking up to 70 meals in one go.

And the new seat?

‘Evolution not revolution’ appears to be the name of the game with the new seat.  Accidentally or not, a seating plan showing what appeared to the new seat appeared in the City investor presentation at the end of last year.

Qatar, Etihad and Emirates are not quaking in their boots (well, Qatar might be as they are a major shareholder in IAG).  The current yin-yang layout appears to be staying, with seats facing both forwards and backwards. The real change is that all seats will having direct aisle access.

What is not clear is how this will be achieved.  The usual way is for aisle seats to be shorter than window or centre seats to create a six inch or so gap for the window or middle seat occupant to walk through.

The end result of this is that window seats and middle seats become more appealing (same size, gain aisle access) and aisle seats become less appealing (become shorter, already have aisle access).  Emirates, to be fair, has done something similar on its A380 aircraft with surprisingly less pushback than I expected.

The problem I have with all this is that I would prefer to see the money poured into a market leading hard product.  It is possible that BA is going to try something different – rubbish seat but with higher-than-average quality food and drink.

Economically, this makes perfect sense.  Squeezing in more seats compared to the competition generates thousands.  Doubling your food and drink spend costs hundreds.  The airline is quids in.

The problem with BA is that a few months down the line, someone will decide that cutting back the food and drink spend is a great way to save some money.  We saw it happen on the A380 aircraft, and if you’re as old as me you will have seen it happen company-wide two or three times over the last 25 years.  From the point of view of the passenger, putting in a great seat gives you some degree of confidence in the future because those seats are too expensive to rip out ….

PS.  Qatar Airways is launching its new business class seat at ITB Berlin in seven weeks and the German-speaking half of the HfP team will be there to take a look.   Qatar is ditching a seat which is already substantially better than the BA seat in order to launch something better …..

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There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

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Comments (118)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • barry cutters says:


    Iv got close to 500k of IHG points , i feel as my pot is getting big i should use them.
    Was looking to ski next winter , Whistler has no IHG properties, and the only thing i can find is the HI Tremblant. but i don’t think trembling-Tremblant has much to offer a couple of decent skiers for a week. other options would be to use them at a ski hotel in Europe, however i can’t find anything .

    Would also consider a nice summer hotel if can’t make skiing work.

    Im spire elite ambassador , so normally get a decent room. Also have enough enough Avios to get anywhere.


    • Ben says:

      Intercon Davos?

      • barry cutters says:

        looks a good option. thanks
        Can use my weekend intercontinental certificate for one night too.

    • Trickster says:

      There’s an HI express in South Lake Tahoe, not Nec the best use of points, but Heavenly is a nice ski area.

    • Daz says:

      You could always use the HIX in Hinton AB and ski at Jasper, or then again you could probably buy the HIX in Hinton for 500k!! 🙂

      I stayed at the HIX in Hinton only to meet one of my accelerate targets and stayed in Jasper for my week skiing, building up my BW points as I’m a Diamond member/ or platinum, can’t remember meh.
      Jasper in Jan early Feb is brilliant for quiet slopes and free parking next to the slopes.

      Not quite Davos but Jasper is a dead cert for snow.

      Pity the IC in Berchesgaden is now a Kempinski.

    • James67 says:

      Are you adventurous…Hakuba, Niseko…?

  • RTS says:

    OT – Supercard: i am just look at the rates and it seems you have to pay 2.99% for ATM withdrawals outside of the UK now?

  • TGLoyalty says:

    Has the offer been cancelled or the original transaction related to the merchant in the offer.

    If it’s the latter I expect the cash back is reversed and you are free to use it again, but never know when you get lucky

  • simon says:

    I actually prefer the existing CW seat over the QR 380/787 seat , i have find it more private (by the window) and i actually enjoy a better sleep , The QR seat has a problem in that the table does not fold back or go back enough , and if your slightly bigger than normal its difficult to sleep on your side as i normally do , also the bed could do with a mattress (as in Emirates) .

    The food on both i can take it or leave it , I prefer to eat in lounges or restaurants.

    • AlexT says:

      The bed does come with a mattress on overnight flights over a certain length… Always get it on the way back from Tokyo

  • Richard says:

    “Emirates, to be fair, has done something similar on its A380 aircraft with surprisingly less pushback than I expected.”

    Ignorance is bliss!

  • Terry says:

    My recent BA CW flt to JFK again proves to me that CW just gets worse all the time. Very average food and wine and totally pathetic IFE – honestly the worst selection I’ve seen in any business class. I dislike the seat more each time with having to step over other pax. Came back for the first time in AA business….huge huge difference. Great seat, IFE, food, wine and seat equipment. Surprisingly good cabin crew also….on my flt anyway!

    • Rob says:

      Even my kids hate BA’s IFE and groan whenever I tell them we’re on BA and not Emirates. Heaven knows how they’re going to cope with 2 x 12 hours flights over Easter.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, I got a ping on this. Frankly, getting into The Economist in August was more impressive 🙂

  • Josh says:

    BA Club World is a hopeless joke (as is BA in general recently). It really is sub sub standard. Everybody has a better J now both in hard and soft product, but the seat in particular got old a long time ago. I even dumped my BA Amex because even with doubling the value of FF points with a 2-4-1, I’d rather just use more points on another airline than have to fly on BA. The idea of actually paying real cash for BA CW is just totally ridiculous.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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