Best seats: Club Europe business class, British Airways Airbus A319

By John Walton, August 30 2011
Best seats: Club Europe business class, British Airways Airbus A319

Travelling to a European city on British Airways? You're quite likely to be on one of the airline's Airbus A320 planes -- so here's how to pick the best seat in Club Europe, BA's short-haul business class.

The plane

If you're not on the 43-strong A320 fleet (and here's our guide to the best seats on those planes), you're most likely to be on one of the airline's 33 Airbus A319s. They're the slightly shorter member of the same aircraft family.

If you're travelling to Europe on BA from London's second airport Gatwick, you're even more likely to be on one of these planes.

The Club Europe cabin

As standard "Eurobusiness" seats, these are essentially Economy with slightly more legroom, a bit more width and nobody in the middle seat next to you.

Club Europe seats are four across when in Club Europe configuration, with two seats on the left and two seats on the right of the aisle. It can stretch as far back as row 9, but usually isn't extended that much.

A and C seats on the left are slightly wider, as they expand into a narrowed seat B. (If the seats were in economy configuration, all three would be normal size and occupied.) On the right hand, only
seats D and F are sold in Club Europe, with middle seat E always left empty.

With 34 inches of pitch (the space between your seat back and the one in front), there's not an awful lot of room -- but on a short flight, you might not notice too much.

The best seats on the plane

1C: since the bulkhead wall ahead of row 1 doesn't stretch all the way across 1C's legroom, you get extra space to stretch your legs. (Keep an eye out for passengers or crew falling over them, though). On the downside, you're not allowed bags with you during takeoff and landing, and people may stumble over your feet.

1A 1D 1F: other bulkhead seats in row 1 are a popular choice because there's nobody in front reclining into your space -- and that's important with a fairly high-density layout. On the downside, you can't stretch out your legs underneath the seat in front of you (because there isn't one), and your bag must be put overhead for takeoff and landing.

Row 9: only rarely does Club Europe stretch this far back into the cabin, but if you're on a business class-heavy flight, pick these seats for a few inches of extra legroom. (Again, you won't be able to have your bags with you for takeoff and landing, and you'll be at the back of Club Europe when disembarking.)

As a general rule, try to sit as far forwards as possible: there's less noise from the engine and from economy class behind, and you'll be faster off the plane.

The worst seats on the plane

Row 8: avoid these seats since the recline is restricted because the row behind is an exit row.

Row 7: if you enjoy looking out at the European landscape, you're best picking a row further ahead because the view's partially blocked by the aircraft wing.


John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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