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Some more cheerless news about the new ‘densified’ British Airways short-haul aircraft

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We have known for some time that British Airways is moving at speed to add even more seats to its short-haul Airbus fleet.  The exact details are only starting to emerge now as cabin crew are sent for retraining.

A few weeks I reported how duty free is being dropped from British Airways short-haul flights.  This is because a rear toilet in Euro Traveller (economy) is being removed to fit in more seats, and replaced by a loo built into the back wall of the galley.  The loo will take up part of the space formerly occupied by the duty free trolley. The Club Europe loo at the front remains.

Club Europe British Airways

A member of BA cabin crew posted the following additional information on Flyertalk over the weekend, some of which is new.  This only applies to Heathrow services for now, as the A319 aircraft will be moved over to Gatwick:

The first twelve rows of seating (A320) or fourteen rows (A321) will retain the current seats.  USB and standard power sockets will be added.

Seats in the rest of the aircraft will be replaced by ultra-thin seats with a 29 inch pitch.  From March, there will be a substantial benefit in being seated in the first 12 or 14 rows.

The ultra-thin seats will not recline (fine by me, to be honest)

The ultra-thin seats will have USB sockets but no standard plugs.

Sales of Club Europe tickets will be capped on longer flights as there will no longer be enough galley space to store meal trays beyond a certain point.  This is not an issue on shorter flights as the meal is served on one tray.

The new aircraft being received by BA from March will not have drop down monitors.  This means that cabin crew will do manual safety demonstrations and there will be no ‘moving map’ to watch.  This is a fuel saving measure due to weight.

There will be no waste facilities or potable water supply at the rear of the plane, again due to the need to free up space to fit in the loo.  This means that all waste will be carried through Club Europe for disposal at the front, and all requests for free tap water will require a trip to the Club Europe galley.

The Club Europe wardrobe will remain but will also be used for general storage and may not be available for coats – the crew member quoted was not sure

Very little of this is enticing, but apparently we only have ourselves to blame for refusing to spend 1p more than a low cost carrier for our flights.  Even though BA will always cost 1p more than a low cost carrier due to the £19.30 per person Heathrow Passenger Service Charge …..

Here is a picture of a Recaro ultra-slim seat which is possibly the one BA is installing:

In other news ….

There are two more cheerful bits of BA short haul news.

The Qatar Airways planes are coming back.  There is a rumour that six Qatar Airways short haul aircraft will be returning to the fleet for February, March and April.  This is to provide cover whilst the A320 and A321 aircraft are refurbished as well as helping BA meet its obligations to use the Monarch slots at Gatwick it just purchased, but must ‘use or lose’.

The Flyertalk post mentioned above also reiterated – as has been said before – that Club Europe catering will receive (another) relaunch in April.  Let’s hope it is more successful than the last one, which was seemingly designed by a 50-year old ex-public schoolboy who believed that the modern business traveller jetting in from Milan wants a ploughmans lunch.  I am slightly surprised that the crew don’t pass around a jar of pickled eggs. 

Just to keep it very simple for BA …. Pret had sales of £776m last year.  They have already done the market research. If Pret don’t sell it, let’s just assume that no-one wants it and move on …..

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Comments (180)

  • Alastair Mackie says:

    Remember, BA will always remain a premium airline.

  • Graham Walsh says:

    I remember coming back from OSL on a full BA flight. I was in the middle seat and the guy next to me by the window wanted to recline his seat to watch something on this phone. The guy behind him had a go at him for reclining and asked him to put it upright again. Some people are funny about it.

    • Leo says:

      Because at 30″ pitch you can’t recline without bashing someone’s knees. Forget it at 29″. And realistically who needs to recline on a day flight short haul?

      • Alex W says:

        But the pivot point is in the knee area, reclining the seat makes no difference to the legroom!

  • PAL says:

    I wouldn’t mind if the normal upright seat was normal. For some reason, BA think everyone sits like upright soldier formation!

    • Alex W says:

      Too true, plus the head rest pushes the head even further forwards. No way can you sleep like that without reclining.

  • the_real_a says:

    But of course we must understand that USB ports are NOT for charging. They are only for devices to be plugged in whilst in use. Plug your phone in and place it in the netting and you will be met by the matron CSM who pulls it out and throws it at you. All part of the BA service, you couldn’t make it up.

  • AH says:

    They look very similar to seats we get on Vueling out of Cardiff
    Makes the plane feel more roomier.

  • moktar says:

    OT: Has anyone triggered the amex travel £200 off £600 over multiple transactions (aggregated)? I was on chat with an agent, and he said it has to go over a single transaction.. I remember last year, similar offer was aggregated.

  • Tobs says:

    At the end of the day, we are all free to choose the airline we fly with. If you don’t like the new seats/policy you should use another airline. Remember, you are free to choose the airline you fly with! No one forces you to fly with BA.
    Finally, is it fair to criticise a product, when you haven’t had the chance to experience it? You may think it’s bad, but until the product is rolled out, you cannot say that.
    I’ve flown with those slim seats on Vueling and Iberia Express, and surprisingly, the leg room is rather good. And yes, the USB plugs do charge your phone.

    • shd says:

      On IB Express on a dense A320 the legroom is non-existant, and I’m not that tall!

      I’m just about to book QR J to Asia. Half the price of BA and at least twice as good. Win-win! 😀

      PS this isn’t the BA supporters’ club, we can criticise anything about BA we damn well want to 😉

    • John Baldo says:

      Except that so many of the slots at Heathrow and gradually at Gatwick, as well as airlines across Europe are being gobbled up by IAG and standardised.

      Iberia Express seats have no leg room at all. I could only sit at an angle!

      • Stu N says:

        At 5-11 I found IB Express to be horrendous. Easily the worst airline seat I’ve sat in. Fortunately the middle seat was free so I could sit at an angle but on a 3h flight (Madrid-Edinburgh) that was really uncomfortable too.

    • Rob says:

      I don’t actually criticise the seat if you read what I wrote!

      • Stu N says:

        I will reserve judgement too, but if they _are_ the same as IB Express, there will be a real issue. It’s not just the limited pitch, it’s the hard plastic seat back as well. Though the IB Express ones did recline which suggests it might be a different set-up.

      • Tobs says:

        Sorry Rob! I’m not saying that you’ve criticise the seat! but my comment was directed to the readers/commentators that complain/criticise the seat before putting their back on it. I think it is not fair. You may think it’s uncomfy etc, but until you try it, you really don’t know.
        I agree with everyone else, standard A320 in the IB and IBExpress fleet are horrendous. But IBExpress (and Vueling has even more, specially their A321 feel rather comfy) has a few planes with the new slim seats. I’m only saying it’s more comfy than the previous configuration.
        FYI, the worst of the worst are the economy seats (legroom) on the Vueling and IB A319. They are horrendous.

        • Mike says:

          I can assure you guys that the SL3510 which are used now on refitted TAP A319/320 is a disaster. No lumbar support, no legroom, and those small tiny little armrest are totally useless, too small, to short, too low..they just obstruct instead of helping to rest. I think it is the worst product Recaro introduced in last years..

  • Chelseafi says:

    O/T I need lounge access for 4 of us, looking to upgrade to Amex Platinum and get sup card for O/H, will that get all 4 in or will we both need our own Plat account? Thanks

    • Genghis says:

      Good plan. The Plat comes with one free Plat supp who also gets a priority pass. PP gives one free guest so 2 x PP cards = 4 people.

      • Chelseafi says:

        Great thanks, thought that was case and just planning my cards & spend for next few months

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