BA's new Club Suites business class coming to Sydney, Singapore, HK

BA's new Club Suites business class coming to Sydney, Singapore, HK

The good news: British Airways' impressive new business class Club Suites are coming to Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The reason to be patient: we don't know exactly when this will be happening, apart from sometime between the start of 2020 and the end of 2022. That's the expected rollout timeline for upgrading almost all of BA's  international fleet, bar the rattly old Boeing 747s and some Boeing 777-200s which are off to the knackery over the next few years.

But at least we know there's a bright light at the end of the crowded Club World tunnel for the Boeing 777-300ER jets which fly daily between London, Singapore and Sydney (as BA15/BA16) and the Airbus A380 superjumbos which cover London-Singapore and London-Hong Kong.

British Airways CEO Alex Cruz has confirmed that those jets, along with all Boeing 787 Dreamliners and some Boeing 777-200s, are all in line to receive the Club Suites, which will transform BA's inflight business class experience from this...

BA's current and rather 'cosy' Club World business class seat

... to this.

The British Airways Club Suite will make its way across most of BA's long-range fleet

Read more: British Airways' new business class is a suite with a privacy door

"We are absolutely clear that we are committed to introducing the product on all long-haul aircraft, except those that we are retiring like some older Boeing 777s and the Boeing 747s," Cruz tells our UK counterpart Business Traveller.

In fact, Cruz wants to speed up the process, the pace of which is largely driven by the rate at which partner Collins Aerospace can manufacture the seats.

"We want to go as fast as we can. If we have more seats, we will actually stop an aircraft to install them," Cruz says. "We are going to keep working with the manufacturer to try and speed this up, but it’s difficult because of the consideration that goes into the safety of the seat."

British Airways CEO Alex Cruz: balancing speed with safety in BA's Club Suite upgrade program

"No airline of the size of BA has been able to do a programme roll-out like this in less than three or four years. And this has been, and continues to be, the biggest concern I have. We are working as hard as we can to roll it out as quickly as we can, but this is the airline industry. Everything gets quadruple-checked and no sizeable airline in the world has been able to do this quickly."

In the case of the Sydney-bound Boeing 777-300ER, installing those Club Suites will coincide with a revamp for first class – although this will see the primo cabin trimmed from 14 seats to eight, which will allow more Club Suites to be fitted and bring the total business class seat count closer to that of the current eight-across Club World.

BA's first class refresh will refine the already-quite-refined Boeing 787-9 suite

Read more: British Airways plans first class upgrade – new suites, but sans doors?

It's not known if the Airbus A380 will see a similar reduction in first class, but the superjumbo is almost certain to see a cut in overall business class seating as its 97 Club World cubicles are evenly split between the lower and upper decks.

Which raises the question: should BA's business class passengers expect to pay more on a Club Suites flight?

Cruz admits the vastly appealing new seat will be one factor in the overall pricing equation, but rejected the notion of a 'Club Suiute surcharge', saying "the pricing of the ticket does not exclusively depend on the type of seat that there is on the inside of the airplane. No airline does pricing like that."

"We do our pricing on the overall experience, on the markets that we fly to, on demand, on supply, so I don’t believe that the Club Suite is going to be isolated in the decision making of prices."

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.

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