British Airways has used the dual debut of its Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 to tweak the design of its Club World business class seat, as well as the cabin layout.
The result, BA says, includes a middle seat that you might actually want to book.
That seat is in the new Club World ‘triple’ on the Boeing 787 and the upper deck of the A380, as seen on BA's A380 seating chart below.
The superjumbo splits its 97 business class seats across the main and upper decks, with the lower deck retaining the conventional 2-4-2 layout with a ‘quad’ in the middle.
“The 787 is a bit narrower than the 777, as is the upper deck of the A380” explains Frank van der Post, BA’s Managing Director of Brands and Customer Experience, as to how the new 2-3-2 layout came about.
However, the middle seat contains more space than its wingmates, “an extra two inches on either side” plus extra storage space and shelving, van der Post told Australian Business Traveller.
This includes a small shelf at the traveller's right where you could stow your reading glasses, iPod or phone during the flight.
“I think the middle seat, which is normally a very unfavourable seat, is going to become the most preferred seat on our A380” van der Post predicts.
Due to the alternating or ‘ying-yang’ pattern of BA’s Club World seats, all middle seats in the triple face backwards while its siblings face forwards.
But sitting in the ‘wrong’ direction (at least for take-off and landing) will mean you get a seat with more space and more privacy says Kathryn Doyle, BA’s Aircraft Product Cabin Interiors Manager.
“If you’re working on private documents on your laptop, or are a businesswoman travelling on your own, you can out both screens up for the ultimate in privacy” she says.
“There’s also an extra area where you can put your laptop, shoes and phone – every Club World still has a drawer but the middle seat has a cheeky extra bit.”
BA has also improved the mechanics of the Club World seat, Doyle says.
“We’ve done some work with the manufacturers on improving the motion of the seat and made it quieter to move” she tells Australian Business Traveller.
“And the footstool is a lot easier to use – we’ve done a lot of what we call ‘naive testing’, with getting Joe Bloggs off the street to have a go at using it.”
David Flynn is attending the launch of British Airways’ Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 in London as a guest of British Airways.
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