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1. AN INTERESTING FEATURE OF
THE CLUB SUITE IS THE THREEPOINT
2. CLUB SUITE PASSENGERS WILL
ENJOY 18.5IN IFE DISPLAYS – A
BIG INCREASE FROM THE CURRENT
12IN, THOUGH THE VIEWING
DISTANCE IS GREATER
016 JUNE 2019
After nearly 20 years since its last major business class hardware announcement,
British Airways is launching a new long-haul business class seat on the A350
British Airways (BA) is an innovator in long-haul seating, having
launched the first fully flat bed in first class – and indeed any class – in
1995. That seat was followed in 2000 by Club World, featuring the first
flat bed in business class, an astonishing design at the time, which
paid for itself within the first 12 months of operations, and which has
performed well financially for the airline since. The distinctive ‘yin-yang’
layout has remained largely unchanged over the years, largely because
it is a LOPA that is hard to beat in terms of cabin efficiency; however,
recent years have seen rivals introduce increasingly luxurious business
class experiences and the airline needs to stay competitive.
July will see the airline launch A350 operations as part of its
GB£6.5bn (US$8.2bn) investment program, complete with a new seat
that answers two main criticisms of the current Club World, namely
that it does not offer 100% direct aisle
access, and that some passengers find
making eye contact with opposite-facing
neighbours during TTL a little awkward.
Thus all 56 seats in the A350 cabin
will offer direct aisle access in a simpler
1-2-1 forward-facing configuration and,
as their name – Club Suite – suggests,
they will also feature doors for greater
privacy from the aisle. The centre doubles
also feature a sliding privacy divider.
The seat is a customised version of
the Super Diamond platform
manufactured by Collins Aerospace,
which also offers 40% more in-seat
storage space than the current model,
and luxuries including a vanity unit.
Alex Cruz, BA’s CEO says that the
direct aisle access and personal doors are
design features incorporated as a direct
result of feedback from customers.
From an objective point of view, it is
slightly disappointing to see BA select
a standard seating platform, but
subjectively speaking it will be positive
for the passenger experience, with
increased privacy levels more in line with
those of other international airlines.
The Club Suites will be rolled out in a carefully managed programme
designed to minimise disruption to customers. During phase one, the
first A350 aircraft will be used on some short-haul flights between
London and Madrid to enable the airline’s teams to practice their
customer service delivery and for cabin crew to become familiarised
with the aircraft layout.
In phase two, from 1 October, 2019, the aircraft will begin long-haul
routes. During this period another three A350 aircraft will join the
British Airways fleet and two B777 aircraft will also be retrofitted with
the new Club Suites.
Phase three will begin at the start of 2020, with Club Suite
installations on further long-haul aircraft across the airline’s network.
Visit aircraftinteriorsinternational.com for in-depth articles on BA’s A380 and B787 cabins