British Airways “to cap Club Europe business class at seven rows”
Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.
When I wrote about the new Club World catering last week, I mentioned that I had also heard some interesting news about Club Europe changes. I wanted to get some additional confirmation before I wrote about it, and luckily the Club Europe crew we had on Sunday were happy to oblige.
I should point out that whilst the gist of this article appears to be correct, the reasoning for why British Airways is doing it is more speculative.
Why is British Airways apparently about to cap Club Europe at seven rows?
I have written a couple of articles recently about changes to short haul service being driven by the ‘densification’ of the short haul fleet.
What is happening is that the rear toilets are being removed and moved into the back wall of the aircraft. Additional rows of seats can then be installed in their place. BA is also taking the opportunity to introduce a super-slim no-recline seat with a 29 inch pitch which allows even more seats to go in.
At the same, the first deliveries of brand new ‘standardised’ short haul aircraft are about to be made which will have a similar layout. Identical planes are being delivered to Aer Lingus, Vueling, Iberia and British Airways, even though two of the airlines operate two-class services with full catering in Business Class whilst the other two airlines just sell the odd tube of Pringles to a one-class cabin.
What could possibly go wrong?
Unfortunately the story is that the new aircraft about to be delivered, and the refurbished ones coming through, do not have enough galley space. British Airways has already had to scrap short haul duty free due to the lack of space on these new aircraft and Club Europe catering is the next casualty.
We already knew that BA was planning to cap Club Europe numbers – I originally mentioned it back in my January article. It seems that the limit has now been set at 28 passengers, ie seven rows.
The recent stories we have heard about a further ‘refresh’ of Club Europe catering do not appear to be caused by poor reaction to the last set of changes. It is being driven by a more fundamental problem – British Airways cannot operate the current tray-based Club Europe food service if it is to sell more than 28 seats.
This is a tricky problem which is going to take time to resolve. In the short term, my understanding is that British Airways will cap Club Europe at seven rows on flights where a new or refurbished aircraft will, or could, operate it. This will allow the food service to continue to be tray based with the existing crockery.
The way forward is more complex. The trays could be removed completely, with crew putting a table cloth on your drop-down table and manually laying out the settings. Alternatively, smaller items of crockery could be introduced to reduce storage space – the new mugs are particularly large as you will have seen. We will have to see what BA’s creative teams can come up with.
This experiment will also inadvertently give British Airways some interesting insights into CE demand. Can it sharply increase Club Europe pricing now that seats are rationed? Will it hold back seats to sell to last-minute buyers of long-haul tickets looking for a CE connection? How many people will choose to trade down to Euro Traveller and how much will they pay? There is lots of learn – and perhaps BA will even decide that capping Club Europe makes sense long term.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.