BA tests new business class seats, all-new first class will follow

By David Flynn, May 6 2018
BA tests new business class seats, all-new first class will follow

British Airways is conducting closed-door tests of its next generation Club World business class seat ahead of its early 2019 debut on the airline's new Airbus A350-1000 fleet.

Speaking at a UK business leaders event in London recently, BA chief executive office Alex Cruz said the mock-up cabin offers "more privacy" as well as better storage built around specific items including water bottles and reading glasses.

“It really is something else," Cruz remarked of the seat, which will include direct aisle access for all passengers.

Has BA dropped this proposed new ClubWorld seat for an all-new design?
Has BA dropped this proposed new ClubWorld seat for an all-new design?

Read: British Airways coy on new A350 Club World business class seat

Cruz also observed that 23 years ago British Airways unveiled the world’s first flat-bed business class seat, “but the bad news is that we still have it," adding that – in a reference to BA's current Club World business class – a "2-4-2" layout was no longer competitive.

This could indicate that BA will revise its high-density business class layout for a modern and more spacious 1-2-1 configuration.

Following the rollout of BA's new business class seat, the airline will turn its attention to an all-new first class.

Cruz suggests the challenge will be "to conceive the new first class experience of the future” – but with less reliance on the 'hard product' of the seat and its surroundings and more on 'soft product' such as meals, drinks and overall service as a differentiator.

[Source: Head for Points]


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2015

Total posts 20

I agree. It really is ‘something else’...

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 100

Lol, agree.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jul 2012

Total posts 118

Something other than a business class seat that is on par with BA’s partners and competitors?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2018

Total posts 13

BA should start paying its’ mixed fleet crew properly if they want to confirm the right service quality and calibre of staff. That would be a great first step.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

14 Mar 2017

Total posts 152

If them move the current club world to Premium Economy, then they might suddenly become quite competitive again.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 462

Won't happen. The minute you start offering a flat bed in Premium Y, you've lost one of the main points of differentiation with J.

BA struggling to let go of their profitable 2-4-2 seating by changing the cover of the old seat.

When it comes to "soft products" they changed their logo "fly to serve" a long time ago to "why bother - punters still buy our seats"

Maybe they are having to think again with the American airlines finally catching up with asia with business class flat seats . It was a good run while it lasted.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jan 2016

Total posts 89

Lets be honest, it's BA, innovation is not part of their world or in their word association game.

However, I understand that flying backwards is not that bad, sort-of, not really...

Happy to be wrong though on both the above points.

British Airways - Executive Club

10 Apr 2015

Total posts 13

Thought they were re-modelling the Emirates A380 seats?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 413

Clancy if amusing that you say that innovation is not part of BA's mantra, a reminder they created and had the first totally flat bed in business. Sure it's due for a refurb but I'd that that was pretty innovative.

Qatar Airways

06 Jul 2016

Total posts 47

"better storage for.....water bottles and reading glasses" Mr Cruz you're spoiling us!

British Airways - Executive Club

20 Aug 2018

Total posts 1

Feels like pulling wool over our eyes. There is only ONE difference: seat access. Anyone worried about reading glasses and water space? Excuse me. Maybe time to change another airline.

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