British Airways will to pair the rollout of its new Club Suites business class with the introduction of a revamped first class suite.
Passengers at the pointy end enjoy an upgraded version of BA's Boeing 787-9 first class, which will take pride of place in the forthcoming Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners and also be retrofitted to existing aircraft as those are wheeled into the hangar to have the swish Club Suites installed.
"When an aircraft is taken out of service to get the Club World seat installed, it will also get new first class seats," British Airways CEO Alex Cruz said in a recent issue of the airlines's internal staff newsletter. "This will be our best, current first class, upgraded".
Cruz' comments amplify those he made during the annual Capital Markets Day presentation of parent company IAG in London on November 2, 2018 that while "the most visible part of the (first class upgrade) will be catering and amenities... the actual seat also will go through an upgrade."
The British flag-carrier's most recent first class foray is that of the Boeing 787-9, developed by London design firm Forpeople specifically for the Dreamliner and launched in late 2015.
With only eight suites, the focus is on intimacy and wrapping these premium passengers in quintessentially British luxury and a feeling of subdued elegance, including gentle lighting and plush quilted seats with stitched leather and machined aluminium elements.
The palette of charcoal, silver and gold takes its cues from the first class of BA's Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A380 flagships (below).
British Airways' first class refresh is more likely to refine this seat rather than re-engineer it to include the likes of a sliding privacy door – meaning the airline will instead seek to double down on the broader first class experience.
However, there will be fewer first class suites on board the Boeing 777s, with BA reducing the size of the primo cabin from 14 suites down to eight during the Club Suites refit.
"We will take... the number of first-class seats from 14 to 8," Cruz remarked during IAG's 2018 Capital Markets Day.
This will also enable BA to increase the size of its business class cabin and fit a near-equivalent number of Club Suites compared to the aircraft's current Club World seats. "We will... actually increase by 1 the number of Club seats," Cruz said.
The Club World-led upgrade to first class will take British Airways through to 2022, when its expected to launch an all-new first class suite on its Boeing 777-9 jets – and few would be surprised if this, like Club Suites business class, took the form of a fully private suite with a sliding door.