Back in 2015, I reviewed the Qatar Airways ‘regional First Class’ service.
Qatar Airways First Class on short-haul uses 2 x 2 fixed seating, rather like the Virgin America First Class seat I flew in 2014:
Leg room was more than acceptable – remember that I am 6’2′:
Why am I mentioning this today?
Because this aircraft – possibly this exact aircraft – is coming to a British Airways Club Europe service near you!
British Airways mixed fleet cabin crew have announced a two week strike from 1st to 16th July. For clarity, this will only impact flights from London Heathrow. Gatwick and City are unaffected.
During previous strikes BA has pulled together a random mix of crewed charter aircraft to provide cover. However, at the moment, Qatar Airways has a lot of short-haul aircraft sitting around doing nothing following the ban on flying into Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other regional centres.
British Airways has agreed, subject to CAA approval, to lease nine of these Airbus short-haul aircraft for the duration of the strike and up to six weeks afterwards. Qatar Airways will be providing the crew, which is a little surprising as I would have doubted they have enough short-haul (as opposed to long-haul) crew who can legally work in the UK.
Food and drink will be provided by British Airways.
It is not all good news. These aircraft only have 12 First Class seats. This means that a lot of passengers will be downgraded from Club Europe to Euro Traveller at peak periods.
Ironically, this is a potentially risky move for BA because once Club Europe passengers have seen what Qatar Airways offers its passengers for the 45 minute hop to Dubai, they may start questioning why BA offers them its current Club Europe seat for flights of up to 5 hours …..!
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