Inside BA’s new A320neo aircraft with its super-thin seats (and power sockets)

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As I mentioned earlier in the week, the first brand new Airbus A320neo short haul aircraft is now in service with British Airways.

This is the aircraft with the super-thin seats in the rear half as well as no video screens and – in Club Europe – no console table.  It has gained power sockets, with full plugs and USB sockets in the first half and USB sockets towards the rear.

I have been sent a few official pictures which give a better impression than the photo I ran earlier in the week.

Here are three shots of the new style seating at the rear.

The first picture is the key one.  You can see from this image how amazingly thin the seats are:

British Airways A320neo

and

British Airways A320neo

and

British Airways A320neo

Here are the power sockets, at the front (USB and 3-pin):

British Airways A320neo

and at the back (USB only):

British Airways A320neo

and one of the two narrow loos:

British Airways A320neo

At the moment this aircraft is mainly operating out of Terminal 3, but more are on the way so you will find yourself on one sooner rather than later.  For Summer 2018, airlineroute reports that you will find the aircraft flying:

  • London Heathrow – Budapest
  • London Heathrow – Lisbon
  • London Heathrow – Madrid
  • London Heathrow – Warsaw

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Comments

  1. I’m excited to see some carbon reducing measures going in that hopefully won’t affect comfort much. What strikes me is those routes are all fairly long and presumably have strong demand to fill the extra seats.

    Slightly OT, but one thing i always liked about the Avios booking site was the ability to Carbon offset your flight during the booking process, i don’t think BA offers it yet.

    • Chris Palmer says:

      Ha, yes. Carbon offsetting. The ability to buy an indulgence so you can keep on sinning.

    • CO2 emission from global aviation account for under 2% of total man-made C02 emissions. Agriculture account for circa 51% (specifically due to meat consumption).

  2. It’s a shame they removed the adjustable head rest! British Airways is loosing its appeal! I would rather pay a bit extra to get better seats in economy. How hard is it to start an airline? ????

    • You need to get in rows 1-12.

      • Peter K says:

        But that costs extra…. Oh yeah, I forgot, though people say they would pay extra for a better service they in reality won’t…

        • Not necessarily. Club Europe probably doesn’t go far back even at maximum rows. Am I right in thinking the number of CE seats is constrained by the catering provision on these aircraft?

          In reality of course you’d probably be lucky to get one unless you select seats before check-in (especially if you’re on an HBO fare and don’t get a choice at check-in). So that means either status or paying…. bronze or equivalent status will have some value here for the free seat selection 7 days out.

          Row 12 is the best place to be, more than ever now. IMO worth the premium seat selection price on longer routes if you don’t have status.

        • Yes CE capped at 7 rows.

    • Andrew says:

      I’ve yet to be in a BA economy seat where the headrest worked properly. I’m 6’3″ so like to put it up – they always immediately drop back down again.

  3. Jonathan says:

    I always wondered what it would be like having a poo with my legs up. Guess I’ll need to try this plane to find out ????????????

  4. Catalan says:

    I’ve travelled on easyJet aircraft with those Recaro seats. They were surprisingly comfortable despite having no recline.
    With BA the disappointment for me is the removal of the centre console table in Club Europe. It was a differentiator when it came to Euro business class. Now they’re like the boring unimaginative Lufthansa, Finnair, Air France crowd.
    I wonder if they’ll have a rethink?

    • With the removal of the console table, I’m assuming it’s been replaced with another seat?

      • Seat will not be sold.

        • GUWonder says:

          … for now.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if BA tries to fill in those middle seats with passengers at some future point. SAS has already charted this course when it comes to the short-haul forward/forward-most premium cabin passengers.

    • Stephen Lee says:

      I see no point in paying extra for Business Class. I went to Budapest not so long ago by BA Club Europe. What benefit was there for me ? I did not need the food as I had eaten in the lounge. I could have access to a different lounge being an HSBC card holder. The seats were the same divided by a curtain. I could board earlier. um…..

    • flyforfun says:

      I too have flown Easyjet on the seats and it really depends on the length of flight. 3 to 4 hours going to Greece and Cyprus on them, it wasn’t comfortable after the 2nd hour. I take with me an inflatable headrest (especially as often these are 7am flights and I’m still asleep while boarding!) and ended up using the inflatable as a back pillow to get some relief.

      On flights to Amsterdam of less than an hour, I’ve got no issue.

    • There is a weight issue with the new planes so probably not.

      • kovacsi76 says:

        They should have taken out the middle seats along with the console tables, would have saved a few more kilos 😛

    • Lady London says:

      I’ve travelled on those seats and believe me 2 hours is the limit.

  5. I’m curious to know what the club Europe seats look like without the console table.

    What will be the benefit of flying club Europe then?

    • There always was a seat there, just covered by a tray insert, which will now just be an empty seat in the Club section. There will still be a seat-back tray in the middle seat which could be used but would have to be folded for the window occupant to get out. Club benefits remain as now – 4 per row instead of 6, more luggage space (or less luggage in the same space), additional tier points/avios, free food and drink as well as priority boarding/check-in/lounge access (assuming you don’t already have any of that from status).

  6. David Passmore says:

    It would seem you need to be a contortionist to use that toilet. I feel sorry for any ‘person of size’ who would need to use the loo.

  7. I don’t know why BA don’t just put in some of the old bottom-punishing bench seating that we had in third-class train carriages in the steam age, and be done with it!

    • Excellent idea. If they remove all the armrests (maybe except for the one at the aisle-end), not only will they save all that weight, but – just like those old trains at rush hour – I’m sure a seat designed for three people could be made to fit four. Instant 33% increase in passenger capacity. Yay. Never mind the quality, feel the width! Prrobably only needs one seatbelt across the whole bench, too, so more weight-saving. Ker-ching! (No-one at BA reads this forum, do they? Oh…. Oops. Sowwy 😉

    • Lady London says:

      ThamesLink have come close to that. Even the ride to Gatwick can be punishing if you’re not well padded.

      But commuters don’t have to worry – most of them will be standing not sitting.

  8. Graham Walsh says:

    Looks like it will be fun using the toilet with me sons. An adult and a 5 yr old in there at the same time!!

    • Stephen Lynn says:

      The two of you will not fit. It’s that simple.

      • Yes, and can anyone (or did anyone at BA) foresee many parents having to attend to young kids with the door open as a result! This could result in more unpleasant odours than normal near the toilet, as well as potential safety concerns due to access blocking. Oh, yes, and wet toliet floors too!

        • Catalan says:

          The toilet is designed and fitted by Airbus. Perhaps they don’t have children

        • The cabin crew are able to merge the two rear loos into one for passengers who require accompaniment and/or space to move around. But again, don’t let facts ruin a good rant!

        • Should an overweight person really need to get the cabin crew to convert the two loos (not a five second job)?

        • ankomonkey says:

          This happened to me on a Thomas Cook flight with my 5 year old last year. He did an absolute stinker and we couldn’t both fit in the toilet. I had to hold the door shut from the outside and periodically check on him. The toilet was right near the galley where they prepared the food!!!

      • Lady London says:

        And to cover their a$$ against being accused of not catering for the disabled, they do have 1 toilet that’s closer to the space people actually need.

  9. Looks uncomfy, let’s hope nobody gets the big guy next to them for the duration of the journey! ????

    • @mkcol says:

      As the seat width hasn’t changed, I don’t see how that will be any different.

      • Lady London says:

        Er… some people are wider than the space left around the seat in the new ‘tiny loo’.

  10. Stephen Lynn says:

    This plan is flying LHR to Warsaw this morning. The new power sockets work well. Hard to say on the new seats on the back half of the plane as we are in the second exit row. Exit row leg room is great. Feels more than it was?

    The toilet is very small and unless you are very slim hard to move around in. The water from the tap appears to be mixed with air or there is air in the pipes.

    The first twelve rows have adjustable head rests.

  11. Looks tight to get in there.

    Is the seat pitch also narrowed?

  12. If my flight is showing 30 rows on an a320 (I think in the seat selection page they call the aircraft type 32A rather than 320) on my flight back from Budapest, will thus be the new plane? The outbound only has 28 rows

  13. Nick Haste says:

    I flew home on this aircraft last night

    Dreadful.

    Uncomfortable, cramped and for me another step towards the letters BA meaning Budget Airline.

    Something peculiar, normally a Gold Card holder can book decent a seat, the flight was booked 3 weeks ago and I could only reserve an aisle in row 18 at that time, all other seats closer to the front were blocked – although a non frequent flying colleague was assigned a seat in row 9.

    My ticket was hand luggage, are BA changing the seat rules for this plane configuration?

    I’m a regular flier on this route, perhaps it’s time to Take Another Plane (TAP) and use this service instead.

    All, please do not be excited by this 320neo, it’s another step backwards for an airline I cherish. This is the first time I’ve contributed on this website – last nights experience was woefully bad.

    • Gavin T says:

      Not really sure what in any of that is so bad that is actually about the aircraft?

    • Lady London says:

      Got a feeling HBO can’t book seats. Regardless of status.

      • You can now, changed last year. Massive issues with companies who insisted on lowest fare then left status holders in middle seats at the back – so they defected.

        • Lady London says:

          Haha. So British Airways does listen to some people then.
          Well, to corporates at least.

      • RussellH says:

        I surprised myself by being able to book exit row seats on an A320 in both directions LHR-NCE-LHR 7 days before flying; hand baggage only fare in O class. Only just made bronze so very new to this sort of thing!!
        🙂

    • Isn’t row 9 the worst row on the plane? The one without the overhead vents? Or maybe 3 weeks ago 9 was in club, there wasn’t enough passengers in club so it got reconfigured with fewer club seats so HBO passenger got auto assigned that row

  14. Andy S says:

    It’s Thameslink in the air!

    I wish Deutsche Bahn would finally start a train service from London to Germany. Sitting on a comfortable ICE 3 is far more attractive than this!

    • Gavin T says:

      Have you tried it then? As someone else said, EasyJet use the same seats (just for the whole plane, not half of it) – they look odd but I certainly wouldn’t describe them as uncomfortable.

    • Gavin T says:

      Agreed on the train though.

    • Aeronaut says:

      I think DB have given up on the train to London, for now at least.

      • Lady London says:

        Very nice deals if you buy rail to German through Thalys, though, last legs will be on the ICE it seems which can be nice.

        • Bahn.de sell a”London Special” ticket that includes Eurostar from Brussels (maybe even Amsterdam now) plus 1 or 2 sectors in the ICE trains. It been a while since I checked but I think it started at €89 one way in standard and €129 in first.

          Pretty long journey if you’re heading to eastern Germany though

        • RussellH says:

          The London Special can be an excellent deal. Book well in advance and you can get First for around €30,– more than Second. It does have to be DB all the way (so no Thalys connections out of Bruxelles allowed), but AFAIK you can book to anywhere.

          I have done Leipzig->London and Stralsund->London in First; yes, it is a longish trip, but far more comfortable than flying. No comfortable aircraft seating offered on that sort of distance.

      • RussellH says:

        From what I read, they say that they have not given up, but I think that is now just lip service (sadly, I no longer have any contacts at their Surbiton Office).
        Running through trains from St Pancras to Germany was never the problem. This is, as long as our politicians are paranoid about controlling the physical frontier and so insist on being a complete PITA to anyone wanting to (re)enter the country (rather than using intelligent means to prevent entry of those few who really are undesirable), the fact is that DB will not be able to run a train from Frankfurt or Düsseldorf to London, as they need to make intermediate stops in Köln, Aachen and Liège, as a very minimum, in order to make the service commercially viable.

        • Lady London says:

          @Lumma I did that special from Munich to London in First Class a couple of years ago for 99euros.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      But BA get you there. Thameslink will happily leave you stranded 🙂

  15. GOONFACE says:

    I’ve tried these seats on an AirAsia flight and they aren’t bad and do provide some comfort. However, the slightest miniscule touches from the passenger behind is felt, making the whole chair move.

    It also appears that there is better leg room too, not much but enough to notice.

  16. Reckon same as Easyjet and other LCC’s. OK for 2/3 hours.
    New trains coming into service the same.

    • Lady London says:

      There used to be something called “The First Class Sleeper”.
      I have one somewhere. It was originally to help people sleep on long haul flights in Economy seats. It looks like it can’t possibly work. I can’t normally sleep on planes but I slept the 9 hours or so from takeoff in Singapore to landing in Auckland in mine the one time I used it.

      I’m going to dig it out and start carrying it on these new planes now.

  17. I had the the displeasure of being on BAs 3rd flight of the NEO to Lisbon on Monday . It was a full flight and the experience was grim! Crammed in like sardines and I gave up trying to work on my laptop in the end.

    Thankfully the flight back yesterday wasn’t the NEO!

    I fly ABZ to LHR very frenetic and dread these coming/ seat conversions.

    On a positive note, it was shiny and new!

  18. Does anyone else remember the fuss BA made over the ‘iPad holders’ when they introduced them? Wow that lasted long!

  19. Volker says:

    Maybe a reason to fly from/to/via LCY in the future? Until the Embraers are fitted with the thin seats, too…

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