The British Airways Boeing 787-8 fleet will be the next to get its latest business class seat as the Club Suite rollout progresses.
Some beady-eyed FlyerTalkers spotted the changes on flights to Baltimore and Montreal for later this year. The seat maps are showing a 1-2-1 layout, which would indicate a Club Suite refurbishment, and British Airways has confirmed the move to us.
Club Suite is BA’s new business class seat, first unveiled in 2019 on the brand new A350s. It is a big step up from the now dated yin-yang layout first introduced in 2006. Our full guide to Club Suite is here.
British Airways is installing Club Suite on Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners
The Boeing 787-8 is the smallest variant in the Dreamliner family, and a whole 11 metres shorter than the 787-10, the largest variant.
BA uses its 787-8 for long, low volume, routes, predominantly to the United States. It is also often the aircraft that British Airways uses to launch new routes such as Cincinnati, which is new this year.
According to Cirium, British Airways currently has 787-8s scheduled to fly to the following destinations this summer:
- Buenos Aires
- New Orleans
- Rio de Janeiro
- San Jose (California)
Looking at the new seat map for the Club Suite refurbished 787-8 aircraft, British Airways is reducing the overall seat count in favour of installing additional premium capacity:
- 31 in Club World (business class) – down from 35
- 37 in World Traveller Plus (premium economy) – up from 25
- 136 in World Traveller (economy) – down from 154
As before, the 787-8s do not feature a first class cabin.
It is not entirely surprising to see the business class cabin shrink by three seats, as Club Suite is marginally less dense than the old yin-yang style seat. It also makes sense to bump up the premium economy cabin as this is usually the most over-booked cabin on British Airways flights, and indeed the most profitable across many airlines.
How long will the Boeing 787-8 Club Suite refurbishment take?
BA has 12 Boeing 787-8s in its fleet. At current rates, it would take just under a year for those aircraft to be refurbished, although I’ve been told that we can expect a significant ramp-up of Club Suite seat deliveries this year as supply chain issues start to resolve themselves.
That said, British Airways has fallen short of refitting the entire Heathrow based fleet of Boeing 777s in 2022, which it committed to at the end of 2021. As of right now, there are nine aircraft still awaiting their makeover.
With that in mind, I thought I’d recap where we stand with BA’s Club Suite refurbishment program.
How many aircraft have Club Suite now?
Here are the latest fleet numbers as of January 2023, courtesy of travel and data analytics expert Cirium and Flyertalk.
British Airways currently has 53 long haul aircraft with the new Club Suite cabin:
- 13 brand new A350s delivered between 2019 and 2021
- 5 brand new 787-10s delivered last year
- 25 777-200ERs that have been refitted
- 10 777-300s (which also feature the new First Suite)
This equates to 51% (53 of 104) total long haul aircraft that currently have Club Suite installed, which is an improvement from 36% in October 2021. It also includes a number of new A350 and 787-10 deliveries, which have helped to increase the Heathrow fleet size from 97 to 104 aircraft.
Still outstanding is the 787-8 fleet (12 aircraft), the 787-9 fleet (18 aircraft), the A380 fleet (12 aircraft) and the remaining nine 777s.
How do I know if my flight features Club Suite?
By far the easiest way of checking whether you are in Club Suite is by checking the seat map on ba.com.
If the Club cabin is in a 1-2-1 layout like the image below then it is currently scheduled to have Club Suite.
All flights operated by an A350 or 787-10 are guaranteed to have Club Suite. Your chances are also extremely high if you are on a Boeing 777 from Heathrow, as almost 80% of the fleet has now been refurbished.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 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:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
Run your own business?
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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.
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.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.