British Airways reveals new business class design

British Airways reveals new business class design
British Airways reveals new business class design

British Airways has revealed a major overhaul of its business class seating after being accused of lagging behind rival airlines.

Club Suite will feature direct access to an aisle, a door for enhanced privacy and flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.

There will also be 40% more storage space, a vanity unit and mirror, Wi-Fi, an 18.5-inch entertainment screen and power sockets.

British Airways has come under fire for its current Club World business class offering, with some eight abreast seating layouts resulting in passengers having to step over each other to reach an aisle.

The new design will arrive on the carrier's first A350 plane in July, when the aircraft will be used for short-haul flights between London and Madrid to enable crews to become familiarised with the new layout.

Club Suite will be used for long-haul flights from October 1, with another three A350s joining the fleet and two Boeing 777 jets being retrofitted with the new cabin.

It will be rolled out on further long-haul aircraft from the beginning of next year.

British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz said: "The arrival of our first A350 featuring our new Club Suite is one of the most exciting developments in our £6.5 billion investment programme.

"Each new suite has direct aisle access and comes with a personal door – design features which were incorporated as a direct result of the feedback we've had from our customers.

"We've worked hard to ensure every aspect of the Club World experience – from the lounges we've refreshed, to the new gourmet menus from Do&Co on flights from Heathrow and the luxurious bedding we've introduced from The White Company – exudes the very British style and quality customers expect from us.

"At British Airways we have one of Europe's largest long-haul fleets and most far-reaching global networks so it will take some time to make the cabin available to everybody.

"We hope that as more customers have the chance to experience it, they'll enjoy travelling in it as much as we've enjoyed designing it."

Aviation analyst John Strickland said it was vital the airline overhauled its business class product as it is "so important to them as a revenue source".

He told the Press Association: "In recent years, BA has fallen behind. Not due to complacency but everybody else has picked up.

"They cannot afford to stay in that position given the importance of this cabin. They realised they had to catch up and preferably get ahead."

He added: "They've had seating where people have had to climb over other people to get out to the aisle. They've drawn criticism for that.

"Having straight to the aisle access for everybody will be a big plus. That will put them back on a more level playing field."