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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How I claimed my €250 EU261 compensation from British Airways
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  1. April 1st?!

  2. JOHN MUNN says:

    Any indication on when Club Europe will be bookable on domestic flights?
    Still only economy option available for revenue and Avios dummy bookings for dates after 1st April

  3. Any benefit in attempting to book those fare classes now assuming a possible Tier Point arbitrage? Assuming the cost difference isn’t massive

    • As you can cancel a fully flex ticket for a refund, it may be worth booking Business UK now in case BA decides to whack up the price next week.

      • I was thinking Y class, this week it’s economy, from 1st April it’s effectively a business ticket

        • My guess is Y class will only count for Club Europe on existing booked tickets as they are currently considered ‘Business UK’ like the J bucket. So perhaps BA will run a script changing Y to J when the Club Europe tickets go on sale and then going forward Y will mean Y!

          Then again I might be wrong and perhaps they offer a free upgrade and lounge access in Y going forward on domestics so that those who have an economy only travel policy (but are able to buy flexible tickets) can take advantage.

          When bmi had domestic business class the full fare economy and business class fares were the same – it was APD that made it more expensive for business class.

          Will BA have to pay APD for all these fares that are upgraded?

  4. IslandDweller says:

    I often take a Friday evening flight to GLA. Almost invariably completely full. Wonder how many rows will be CE (and therefore how many seats are removed by the blocked middle seat).

    • Some GLA flights, such as BA1474 in the morning are full of commuters but also people connecting from long haul. Was on 1474 one Sunday morning and it was full. Id expect a lot of those passengers to have travelled in CW or First, so interesting to see how many seats they make available. Remember they have the moving curtain so can change the seat allocation accordingly but i can just see redemption passengers being bumped into economy.

  5. Looks like my domestic Connection to a first redemption will be down the back then.

    • I would check the ticket class before you say that. Or have you?

      • I currently have two F award bookings.

        On Business: Domestic (V) to First (A) = Down the back
        BAEC Avios: Domestic (U) to First (Z) = Club Europe

        Any info on the blocking of row 1 ?

    • chris1922 says:

      Me too. Domestic to F redemption currently in classes “O” and “x”.

      That’s disappointing.

      • ComeFlyWithMe123 says:

        Different for me. The inbound LHR to BHD leg of our long haul club world flight has been booked in U class. Won’t make too much of a difference as already get lounge access and doubt i’ll each anything on the short flight. Good to have a seat up the front though if nothing else.

    • Intriguing – I have domestic to CW and domestic to F redemptions and all are showing as being in class U…

      Now some folk have already been given their 1000 Avios for the removal of free F and B…

      But now those deposited in ‘CE’ will be entitled to free F and B…

      What am I missing – this seems like ‘I’m up…’

      • chris1922 says:

        To be fair, I did get my 1000 Avios “compensation”, and will be in the GLA lounge prior to the short hop down the the CCR, so can’t complain too much.

    • I have a First redemption myself with a domestic connection. The domestic is off course ‘X’.

      If ‘Z’ or ‘U’ class bookings give a domestic as ‘U’ after the launch date, then that would give cause to get upgraded…not that it would actually mean much.

  6. This is perhaps more of a general question, but does this status allow access to a departure lounge after a connecting flight?

    i.e. If I fly EDI-LHR-KUL in club Europe, can I use the Heathrow lounge before departing to KUL if if I’m booked in WT+ on that flight?

    • “First and Business Class customers connecting on the same day of travel, or before 6am the following day, can access the lounge when travelling between an international long haul (a oneworld international long haul flight is defined as an international flight marketed and operated by any oneworld carrier with a scheduled flight time longer than 5 hours) and an international short haul or domestic flight (and vice-versa).”

      • It looks as thought that point applies on the way back to EDI from KUL, and on the outbound EDI-KUL the following seems to apply: “Lounge access will be determined on the international long haul ticketed flight (either First of Business Class) regardless of the ticketed class of travel on the international short haul or domestic flight.

        • But you’re travelling in W on the international long haul ticketed flight?

        • My booking looks like this:

          EDI-LHR -Domestic (Now CE I think); (Class J)
          LHR -KUL – WT+ (Class T)

          Same on the way back.

          From my understanding, my booking means I can not use the lounge on the way to KUL since I’ll be about to board as a WT+ passenger, but I can use the LHR lounge on the way back to EDI since I’ll be about to board a flight as a CE passenger.

          Is that correct would you say?

        • In fact looks like I may be ineligible completely based on the fact that connections operate differently to ordinary CE returns.

        • @Phil, you are ineligble because your longhaul flight is WTP. If you booked this for cash your chances to upgrade to CW with avios are probably quite good. FWIW IMO the BA T5 lounges are overcrowded and overated. Best to get some food and drink and find a quiet spot to enjoy.

        • The CW and First cabins have been full on the few KUL trips i have done. T5 CW lounges aren’t impressive, you are better off in a pub (better food), just as comfortable, and just as busy. At KLIA the Plaza Premium lounge is ok, but your return flight is in the evening and the airport is quite quiet anyway and there are loads of places to eat (upstairs in satellite terminal).

          For the return KUL flight, as its so late, again in my experience, everybody is queued up waiting on check in opening up (i think its 3 hours before the flight takes off), personally i wouldn’t rush to join that queue. Last time i checked in with 2 hours to go and the check in area was empty.

          btw tourists get a GST refund at the airport, worth keeping in mind if you want to buy any expensive items.

        • Derek Scott says:

          The BGates T5 BA Lounge is much quieter any time I’ve been in it, if that helps.

          I’m pleased to say my Domestic fare classes when connecting onto HKG in First and Returning CW are both J class. Seat me up front, although the main EDI/ LHR 767 flights are usually packed so can imagine the whole of the front cabin will end up being Club seats

  7. Me too. Domestic to J redemption currently in X 🙁

  8. Worth keeping track of your fare class on MyFlights app.

    My redemption flights with a mix of domestic, CW and First are a mix of U and Z classes.

    Also have a GLA flight which is using an old BMed / BMI aircraft, with 1 – 2 seat layout for the first few rows, better than Club Europe!

    • What determines if the domestic flight is U or Z? Originating airport? Time of day? Phase of the moon (which governs things like Easter!)

    • Anybody know if all the a319s are exBMI? I have those on exINV with front cabin still unavailable. It’ll be interesting to see if those becone availabld after CE domestic launch.

      • Don’t know about the A319s, but i have a BA1474 on an A321 which is old B Med / BMI plane. The first 8 rows are a 1 – 2 layout, the first 6 being blocked out. Meaning rows 7 and 8, which are still a 1-2 layout are available for seat selection. In fact Row 7 is 1 – 1 layout as its an emergency row, must be the best short haul plane BA have if you get up front!

        The A321 is a spare plane, no plans to keep it permanently on the route.

        • Never been on it, sadly, and based on map the a319 is standard 3+3 throughout. Got lucky with a longhaul 767 to EDI a couple of times but it was a really depressing cabin and I would not have liked to go anyplace far in it.

  9. BAEC Avios: Domestic (U) to First long haul (Z)
    but in March!

    • U was already a booking code used, it just won’t be a CE code at the time you fly. The aircraft will still only be one cabin

      • Eh…I know. The article makes it very clear the service begins in April.

        Whats your point caller?

  10. BA Sucks says:

    I’m trying not to be negative about this change, however: this is another gold benefit gone – bye bye row one. Remember: seat pitch has been reduced on all other rows. Behind the curtain, there is no distinction now between low cost carriers and BA, except BA have not, and more than likely will not, reduce their prices (e.g.: £14.99 LHR to EDI). For the regions, the only benefit of status now is ‘choose an exit row seat’. And that’s it. There is a bit more to it than just that, but I do feel that the region based flyers are being screwed a bit more by BA than the London based ones.

    • Depends how many TPs we receive for, say, GLA-LHR in future, might be a pay off.

    • Would it be fair to say 2017 hasn’t been great thus far for BAEC Golds who enjoyed a G&T or three sitting in 1A on a domestic flight looking forward to retaining their status by virtue of some TP runs on AA domestic F?

      • BA Sucks says:

        You miss the point: if I’m travelling Club World or First, I’ll get Club Domestic anyway. I’ll get the lounge in EDI or NCL anyway. So, Gold benefit is now First lounge. Trade-off, of course, is: why fly BA Club, when I can fly other carriers business instead? And if latter, then why UK domestic? Not all of us do TP runs. And not all of us live in London. And – in the regions – we are limited pretty much to BA or KLM/Air France.

    • Only status benefit is exit row seats, eh? What about lounge access, extra Avios etc…?

      • BA Sucks says:

        But if I buy Club UK instead of economy, I’ll get lounge access at EDI or NCL or GLA. Extra Avios in CE is minimal on such a short distance. Which brings me back to original point: what is the point of maintaining loyalty with BA? The differentiator now is pretty much an exit row seat if you’re flying economy.

  11. In July I have a domestic (Y) to T flight, so if this truly comes to pass we will be happy as we have quite a long layover at LHR due to a cancellation. Lounge access would be a huge bonus.

  12. OT but BA: just called CS to select seats for a BKK-LHR flight in October. It wasn’t possible, agent believes this is because the aircraft deployed on the route is going to be changed. If true, it will be interesting to see whether it’s an upgrade or a downgrade.

    • Depends what you see an upgrade or downgrade though! Some people think the 747s are leaky, creaky piles of poo, others love them – especially if upstairs. Some are crazy about the A380 because it is quiet, others find it too open. I personally like the 787 in CW but I want the small 2-row cabin in the front ….

      • Yes, I understand and agree. I was thinking more in terms of uograding of downgrading capacity, I should have been more explicit.

  13. A Z class booking connecting to long haul F or J is unlikely to convert automatically but I’d imagine a quick call would sort that-the allocation of class currently is based entirely on inventory, not a specific rule by route. It’s obviously accepted that the principle of connection class is valid, so agents will be able to move you to CE.

  14. Where on the ticket do you find the fare class? Can’t see anything with any letters. On My Flights app, against fare Class Is UBG. (?). We are travelling INV-Lhr -Phx. CW 241 redemption, but because INV flight times are not ‘ connection ‘ friendly we are overnighting with family in London on both O/b and I/b legs.

    • If you go into manage my booking and open your domestic flight then select “more flight information”. You will see the selling class there. Mine is marked as x for my domestic from Glasgow to LHR followed by my F flight to Atlanta.

      • Thx….checked it out. X domestic connecting to U for PHX.However, given that a year ago, when I booked, regardless of main flight, the domestic was all one class economy anyway, with no option to travel CE, surely as its all one ticket, should end up as a CE seat? Our luggage allowance for all flights is 3×32 kgs bags each. Anyway, for a 1hr+ flight it’s not a hardship…or maybe it is with the loss of my G&T !

  15. OT but someone was asking about this the other day.

    The Grain Store now shows up in the Lounge Key app (though it references Priority Pass rather than Lounge Key in the t&cs). Same deal – £15 off the bill.