Is this the Club World business class seat we'll see across British Airways' new Airbus A350 fleet?
If so, then BA is set to ditch the current forward-backward layout of Club World for a new 'herringbone' design which gives each passenger direct aisle access plus an oversized seat that's closer to a one-person couch.
BA reckons the design is sufficiently unique to have applied for a UK patent (GB2510765A) which was filed on May 19, 2014 but surfaced only last week.
That patent application provides a sneak peek of what could be the airline's next-generation Club World seat, which has been created for BA by London firm PriestmanGoode (company director Nigel Goode is listed on the patent as the design's inventor).
It's not a sure thing, of course: this may be one of several concepts which BA is considering, and this particular design might never see light of day.
All the same, it's worthy of close examination. So what does BA have up its tailored sleeve?
Update: we now have photos of BA's new concept Club World sofa-seat – here's one to whet your whistle, click the link for more!
In detail: British Airway's new Club World concept
The new design sees each passenger ensconced in a slightly curved cubicle, seated close to the window with their feet facing towards the aisle.
It's a familiar starting point: Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class and Business Premier on Air New Zealand follow similar lines, while Cathay Pacific business class has also popularised this angled 'herringbone' layout.
However, the relatively high wall and wide bench-like seat are more akin to Singapore Airlines' latest Boeing 777-300ER business class.
That's intended to allow the passenger to sit, sleep or spread out as they choose.
Here's the standard forward-facing mode for eating, working or just gazing out the window.
You can swing around to nestle into the corner of the seat – notice that this 'dining service' illustration also shows an alternative position for the meal tray.
Finally, stretch out and grab some sleep.
A swing-up portion of the seat, marked in the diagram below as 3, fills the gap between the seat and the ottoman to create the fully-flat bed.
While the individual window seats are angled towards the centre of the plane, the two seats in the middle face out towards the aisle.
(BA's patent application includes seating layouts for not only the Airbus A350 but also the Airbus A380 superjumbo, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 777 and even the venerable Boeing 747, although we doubt the ageing jumbo will ever see this upgrade.)
Here's an entire whole Club World business class cabin showing the 1-2-1 herringbone layout.
Naturally, the airline proposes a slide-up privacy screen between the middle seats, but it allows that these paired seats are often booked by two people travelling together.
In a nod to this, BA suggests that the bulkhead facing the first row of middle seats could contain a super-sized video screen of around 40 inches (100 cm) "to provide a larger viewing screen or private cinema for the occupants of the double seat."
Seat pitch in the proposed cabin layouts varies between 42- 43 inches, while bed length is listed as 74.5 inches (1.88 metres) with a total width of 26.3 inches (66.8 cm).
The inflight entertainment screen is built into the wall of the seat enclosure and faces the passenger so you can continue to watch movies or TV shows during the taxi, take-off and landing stages of your flight.
However, the screen swivels out from the wall and also tilts up or down...
... so that passengers can find the 'optimum viewing angle' no matter what position they're in.
One of the main criticisms of BA's current Club World seat is the lack of stowage for inflight odds and ends – there's just one slide-out drawer down near the floor, which is largely out of reach of the passenger.
This new design aims to turn that around with plenty of cleverly-designed storage space.
First up, each set has a small side table which doubles as a cocktail tray. Under that is a hanger for noise-cancelling headphones plus a recess for a bottle of water.
Under the ottoman (marked as 4 in the diagram below) contains a large slide-out drawer (labelled as 8) which has been divided into several different-sized compartments.
These are handy for phones and tablets, books and reading glasses and even what appears to be a deeper recess suitable for an amenity kit or small purse.
If you'd like to persude the patent application for yourself, we've made it available for direct download: click here [1.6MB PDF]
In all, it's a fascinating look at where British Airways business class could be headed: shifting from a measured evolution of the current design towards what would be an outright revolution – and probably a very welcome one – for current Club World travellers.
It's also a significant step away from the current 'high density' Club World layout, which provides an eight-across array on the airline's Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A380 flagships.
As BA notes in the patent application, "there is intense competition to provide ever-greater comfort and space for aircraft passengers." And for British Airways, this could be the seat which delivers it.
Click below to see our full set of mock-up photos of BA's new concept Club World sofa-seat.
Read more stories about new business class designs on Australian Business Traveller
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Cathay Pacific will launch all-new seat designs for its Airbus A350 fleet from early 2016, with Porsche Design Group crafting new business class seats codenamed ‘FB3’. Read more...
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Scandinavian airline SAS adopts Thompson Aero Seating's Vantage XL – the same platform as the Qantas Business Suite – for its new international business class. Read more...
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.