British Airways plans "evolution" for A380, Boeing 787 business class

By John Walton, September 13 2012
British Airways plans

British Airways has scotched hopes of an all-new Club World business class seat for its new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft.

However, a BA spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller that the airline would roll out "an evolution of the current seat", which is fully flat in a forwards-backwards configuration.

Detailed work on the redesign is currently underway at BA HQ.

BA has a dozen Airbus A380s on order for delivery beginning in 2013, with the superjumbos slated for flights to Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and New York.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner order stands at eight of the standard 787-8 model and 16 of the stretched 787-9.

The first 787s are intended to open up new direct flights to Asia, providing a useful oneworld connection for Qantas passengers even after the full joint venture partnership with BA ends in April 2013.

BA recently carried out minor upgrades to Club World on its newest Boeing 777-300ER planes, upgrading the entertainment systems and making the seats a little more sturdy.

If "evolution" sounds a little disheartening, don't despair -- it's not nearly as bad as "enhancement"!

Qantas upgraded its first-generation angled lie-flat Skybeds to the much improved fully flat version you see on Qantas' A380 and revamped Boeing 747s today.

And BA challenger Virgin Atlantic also recently "evolved" its Upper Class business class into a new Dream Suite, which we reviewed earlier this year. Both were good news for business travellers.

Overall, we rate the existing seats on the Boeing 747 British Airways flies from Sydney to London less comfortable than Qantas' A380, but still superior to any of the angled lie-flat seats that many other airlines use.

For more on the latest trends in travel, aimed squarely at the business traveller, follow us on Twitter: we're @AusBT.

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.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2012

Total posts 121

Good news. Look fwd to the new BA A380 coming into service SIN-LHR next year. IMHO I alway thought the BA J product was better, it's been fully flat for a lot longer than others for a start.  Any idea of the BA's planned seat config for their A380's?

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 527

BA's J product  is awful so it's a real shame that they are not taking the opportunity to completely renew it with something fresh. 

09 Sep 2012

Total posts 139

With BA's seats it depends entirely which aeroplane, which deck and which seat you get. Their 747-400s have some really excellent seats upstairs.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1378

I thought that for the 787 Boeing was restricting the airlines to a limited choice of seat manufacturers and standard off-the-shelf designs with limited customisations (to make certification simpler)

Given (AFAIK) BA is the only one using a forward-back configuration, isnt this a specific customer design (much like the QF Skybeds)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2207

I believe they are encouraged to shop off the shelf, but I'm fairly sure airlines can put their own seats in - it's just a lengthier process.

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 666

As I understand it, Boeing has restricted the number of seats you can install on the line as the plane's constructed. Of course, BA has its own facilities to install others.

For example, if memory serves, BA's new 777-300ERs are delivered with economy and premium economy "pre-installed", and the planes then head over to the UK to have business and first put in.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2012

Total posts 58

I've always loved the BA 747 Upper Deck Business Seats.  I am a window seat traveller and BA was the first (to my knowledge) to introduce a seat where I didn't have to crawl over my seatmate in the middle of the night.

I stopped travelling on BA when they consistently refused to issue a seat assignment until 24-hours before flight time, which meant I was often downstairs in a centre row, all the good seats having been allocated to tix booked on BA, not OneWorld. 

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on British Airways plans "evolution" for A380, Boeing 787 business class