An intriguing hint about the new British Airways Club World seat

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As most Head for Points readers know, British Airways is launching a new Club World business class seat this year.

It will debut on the A350 fleet when they are delivered, with retrofitting commencing at the same time on the Boeing 777 fleet.  By Christmas there will be six aircraft with the new seat.  Oddly, they will not be used to fly on ‘flagship’ routes such as New York because there is no First Class on the A350.

(EDIT:  The BA order is entirely for A350-1000 aircraft and not 50/50 -900 and -1000 as I wrote originally.)

My expectations for the seat are not high.  My money has been, at best, that we get the Iberia seat on their A350 fleet which I reviewed here.  BA has confirmed that the TV will be fixed to the back of the seat in front, which supports the Iberia thesis.  Everything we know about the way British Airways behaves leads to that.

And yet …..

British Airways has launched a questionnaire via its Future Lab customer panel to shape the name of the new seat.

Let’s ignore, for a second, the fact that asking people to suggest names for something that they haven’t seen is not necessarily sensible.

Four concepts are presented:

Name it in a way that describes the product

Name it with a model number, like an iPhone (eg Club World XIX as it will launch in 2019)

Name it using a random word pulled out of the air (eg Club World Vector, Contrail, Ventral)

Name it using an evolutionary phrase (eg New Club World, New Generation Club World)

 Here are the examples for the first option:

This is very interesting.

We have to assume that whoever set this questionnaire has seen the new seat.  This means that ‘Club Suite’, ‘Club World Suite’ and ‘Club World Space’ are being seriously considered as names.

Now, there is chutzpah and there is chutzpah.  I doubt even the most confident marketing guru would call the new Iberia business class seat a ‘suite’.  The same goes for the American Airlines seat.

Yes, they are very impressive.  Yes, I like to fly them and I would be happy if British Airways introduced them, but they are not ‘suites’ in the sense the word is used now.

In 2019, a ‘suite’ on a plane, if you follow the definition used by Qatar Airways with their business class Qsuite:

Qsuite

….. has a door which opens and closes.

See also the new Emirates First Class Suite which – spoiler alert – I am flying on Thursday and am quite excited about:

Emirates First Class Suite Boeing 777

Whilst it seems hard to believe, there is a chance that British Airways is really planning to launch a Club World ‘suite’ with a door.  And that is a phrase I never expected to write.

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Comments

  1. Jon Martin says:

    Stop dicking around with meaningless names that people not familiar with BA will not understand (“World Traveller”. WTF? this could be literally any class from a private apartment to in the hold.)

    Give your potential new customers the info’ they want when booking. Call them:

    First Class
    Business Class
    Premium Economy
    Economy.

    You’re welcome BA. I expect a consultancy fee of at least £100,000 for this deep market insight.

    • New Card says:

      Hear hear!

    • A bit of a side track, but I understand that when Glaxo merged with Smithkline Beechams, they paid consultants around £1 million to come up with the new name GSK. You are pitching too low Jon.

    • I have had folks asking me if Business is better or worse than First Class, so I don’t think your plan would work. I’d suggest:

      First Class
      Second Class
      Third Class
      Fourth Class

      • First Class
        Tesco Class
        Pleb Class
        Scum Class

      • First Class
        Tesco Class
        Pl€b class
        Scùm class

      • Stuart_f says:

        That’s not as daft a question as it might seem. On the Chinese high-speed trains it is the other way around.

        Second class > First class > Business class

        There were a lot of Wendy Wu customers who thought they were getting lie-flat seats with their First class ticket and were really annoyed to find out they were in standard reclining chairs for the 8 hour journey and should have booked Business for the better seat. Thankfully A&K were on the ball and had told us the difference.

        • It’s like with skiing pistes – in Asia and the US the colours are misleading to what we get used to in Europe

        • And with command levels between police and military. Tactical and Operational levels are the opposite way round. Very confusing

    • Prins Polo says:

      +1

    • Bonglim says:

      Cochester Hospital decided NOT to use a consultancy firm for it’s name change when it became a foundation trust. Instead it allowed open suggestion and votes from the staff (we all know where this is heading….). anyway the top voted choice was:

      Colchester University Nhs Trust.

      Unsurprisingly the board went in a different direction. (Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust).
      Democracy is the biggest loser.

    • ankomonkey says:

      “WTF?” Which World Traveller variant is this?

  2. Down the Back says:

    Was on a BA flight this morning and mentioned the BA future labs choices for seat name to the CSM, he seemed to think I was on this but I had only seen it on here. He then asked if I had seen the new seat yet, I told him no but that I thought it would be the Iberia seat. He told me that it isn’t that but another one world carrier, after a few guesses he told me that it is the Qsuites, told him I would be very surprised if it was due to cabin density. He then explained that moving forward there will be much less first class seats, small percentage of these are revenue they are more Avios, and various types of upgrade(POUG, AUP, GUF1,GUF2, Staff, Spouses of staff etc) and there will only be 8 1st Class seats on the 777 when they get refitted with the Qsuites and not all 777 will get 1st Class. Also said 747 will not be refitted either. He seemed very plausible and was a 20 year BA employee. Fingers crossed

    • I would be truly gobsmacked if BA had the Qsuite. The world is not ready for BA to up it’s game that much!

      It would mean their business class product was better than their first class product, which is just silly.

    • Well they can’t refit the 747s, the Upper Deck would have to become 1-1 which is anything but economical. That would be astonishing…

      QSuites is a *MASSIVE* upgrade, that would be wonderful. May you speak the truth!

    • J being better than F would be a problem in the short term, if they had new J and old F on the same plane.

      I’ve only flown once in F. 5 people, 8 seats, four of us on 241 redemptions. (Didn’t talk to the 5th passenger). And on the return F appeared to be empty.

      Who pays to fly First? If you are seriously rich, you probably fly in a private jet. IF BA First has a future, surely it has to be an ultra premium product? Chauffeur connections at both ends, a more luxurious on board service, better privacy, caviar, better washrooms. And – dare I say this – no reward availability!

      I don’t imagine anyone paying for a F ticket would be happy to learn that a fellow passenger was flying for £600 + points.

      More J seats, paid for, with higher occupancy (achieved through service improvements) is probably the more profitable option on most routes.

      • Company paid for it once from NY when it was cheaper than J

      • Chris L says:

        ‘No reward availability’ only makes sense if every seat on every flight is always sold out. Reward seats in F are those BA doesn’t reckon it will sell. They’d rather a loyal customer be rewarded in return for some of their hard-earned Avios. I wouldn’t mind paying a higher Avios price for a genuinely special experience, which is what F should be.

        • Upgrade genuinely loyal customers. I’m not a loyal customer. I have no status. I only fly BA on redemptions. Much as I enjoyed my F experience, I would have thought it would make better business sense to offer free or cheap upgrades to people who have achieved Gold on BA flights.

          Avios isn’t really a frequent flyer scheme. You can easily accumulate a large Avios bslance without flying.

      • Sussex bantam says:

        I’ve paid for F. Was £400 more expensive than CW AND turned the ticket into a fully flex

  3. I don’t know a 777 from a 350, but I will hopefully be booking 3 CW redemption seats to a US city (flexible on destination of course!) at the end of April, to travel mid April 2020. Can anyone tell which routes, if any, will feature the new seat by that point?

  4. About ‘effin time too. Having flown a Turkish 777 to Chicago in business with a configuration 1-1-1-1 BA.s forward/backward 2-2-2-2 is an absolute joke.

    • So fly Turkish.

    • Turkish doesn’t have any such config… they are only getting reverse herringbone seats on the 787 and A350s, which haven’t started arriving yet.

  5. BA manages to fill its “dense” CW cabins with very good load factors, so it would be insane for BA to halve the number of CW seats, which it would have to in order to have a “luxurious” 1-2-1 CW layout.

    People buy the existing CW seats so I just don’t see anything that reduces revenues. CW’s seat is good enough for most paying passengers,

  6. Don’t know if anyone has posted it amongst the many comments (and OT) but Flybe are unsurprisingly dropping Avios at the end of April

    https://www.flybe.com/avios/faqs

  7. John Doe says:

    Well, I hope you loose your BA Futurelab access. I was wondering why they sent a reminder to keep things private …

    • Rob has stated on many occasions that he’s not in BA Futurelab.

      • I’m not. We see virtually everything. Remember when we got the scoop on the design of the new VS credit cards because a reader got a tour of the manufacturing plant?

        I have the full details on BA’s 1st Feb ‘big announcement’ now but tempted to not publish tomorrow to show willing.

    • Lose not loose. Rob already said he doesn’t have access and was sent it.

  8. Someones Upset BA!

    Dear Members,

    Unfortunately it’s been brought to our attention that there has been a breach of our Non Disclosure Agreement, with privileged content from our recent Club World activity having been shared outside this community.

    • I wouldn’t be as upset about that as about the massive customer data breach…

      • Quite! They seem more bothered about this than all the customer data they didn’t properly look after!

  9. Seaty McSeatface

  10. Bonglim says:

    Club Recline And Pamper
    Any other good acronyms?

  11. O/T was booked 1st class (Avios) to Newark on 777 in May. BA emailed today to say the flight had been replaced with Air Belgium (business class) due to ongoing engine issues. We only booked to Newark as that’s where the availability was but they rebooked us to JFK in 1st in 747 with no fuss after a quick call. In any case, I though it was the 787 having engine issues not the 777, or is BA using this as a general excuse for any plane changes now?

    • 787 does fly to Newark, so maybe this was an equipment change such that they would have switched it to a 787 if it was available, but therefore it got the replacement Air belgium plane instead.

      • Makes sense. Would’ve liked to try 1st on the 787.

        • very few 787 have first; it has to be 787-9 rather than 788-8 (often shortened to 788).
          I have flown out on 777 and back on 787 and could not really tell the difference.

        • 787 F is great IMO. Small intimate cabin with only 2 rows, and cabin looks very classy. Flown A380 F too and I for one felt like 787 was a nicer product.

  12. why is no one thinking the ‘skysuite’ JAL type config – ideal for BA – dense and direct aisle. 2-3-2

  13. Phil Duncan says:

    A ‘suite’ in business class for BA would instantly make it a better offering than their current first! I think their suggestions for a name can be taken with a large pinch of salt. It will be something densely packed and not up to current standards.

    • Maybe it was a typo and actually refers to the new dress code, a “business suit”.

    • Does having a door really make it instantly better than first?

      If it was like the EK/ SQ suites, then yes, Q-Suite/ Delta Squite, then no…

  14. Wallace says:

    Spoken to a crew in F class on my Christmas holiday flight out to HND. He did mention that crew training are already under way. Every seat will have direct isle access as well as a door. He did say that it is not a big, but huge step up.

    • Direct aisle access, like they technically have in CW, which includes stepping over someone’s legs from the window when the ottoman is down. BA is a joke with one of the worst hard and soft products around. Why do people ever even choose to fly it??

  15. OT re BA standard Amex. Just referred my partner for this. She now has the card. If she adds me for a sup card now will she be credited with 3k avios or is this an offer that isn’t always applicable and we should wait?

    • Did just this the other day and got the 3k almost straight away.

    • Charlieface says:

      I beleive it’s 1,000 for BA standard, as per this page
      (for some reason nobody ever quotes it? Rob???):
      www dot americanexpress dot com /uk/benefits/supplementary-cards/index.html
      It always seems to go through without a specific offer, no reason why it shouldn’t work for you

  16. BillyBobTheToadCatcher says:

    Name ?

    Sardines…
    Livestock…..

  17. BillyBobTheToadCatcher says:

    Probably the qatar style seat in biz followed by a qatar style seat with sliding door in F.

    I would love to think it would go someway to making it The Worlds Favourite Airline again – but I doubt it 🙁

  18. BillyBobTheToadCatcher says:

    Its probably the Ryanair stand up style and will be some as an ‘enhancement’.

  19. boobaholic says:

    Name it……………………The Bexit.

  20. boobaholic says:

    Or the BEDxit….!

    Or simply the Brexit.

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