Best seats in British Airways' A320 Club Europe business class

Best seats in British Airways' A320 Club Europe business class

British Airways' Airbus A320 Club Europe business class provides all of the typical business class perks – priority check-in, airport lounge access and priority boarding to name a few – except for an actual business class seat!

Yes, fly in Club Europe and the seat you'll find on board is no better than in economy, except with a cocktail tray beside you instead of a seatmate: so choosing the right seat for your flight plans becomes even more important.

Australian Business Traveller scopes out your best options whether planning to work, dine, relax or even nap on your next Club Europe flight.

British Airways Airbus A320 Club Europe business class: the basics

Officially, Club Europe offers a 2-2 seating layout: although realistically, there are still three seats on either side of the aisle – the middle seat is just never sold when business class passengers are on either side.

Business class begins at row 1, but the size of the Club Europe cabin can vary from flight to flight owing to a moveable curtain between business class and economy, with cocktail shelves in the middle seats removeable so that each row can be converted to economy.

On flights that require more economy class seats and fewer spots in Club Europe, British Airways can slide the curtain forward, detach a few cocktail tables and voila – what was business class is suddenly cattle class!

It's for this reason that we always select a seat further forward wherever possible, to minimise the chances of being relocated if the rows further back are switched from business class to economy.

AusBT review: British Airways Club Europe business class

British Airways Airbus A320 Club Europe business class: best seats

The best seats in the house – 1A, 1C: Not only do these seats look great on a boarding pass, but despite what the BA seat map suggests above, many aircraft no longer have a bulkhead wall in front of this row.

Pictured: seat 1C on a refurbished British Airways Airbus A320

Instead, you can stretch your feet forwards as far as you like and can chat with the crew if you fancy during take-off and landing as they're seated opposite. You're also guaranteed to be the first off the plane as you arrive, because the door is quite literally next to your seat.

However, this row does feel quite 'exposed' during boarding as all of the other passengers walk directly in front of your seat (and stand on your toes if you're unlucky), so avoid rushing to board or plonk yourself elsewhere if you value your privacy.

For inflight productivity – 1D, 1F: The presence of a bulkhead wall ahead of these seats means that there's nobody in front to recline, so you're guaranteed ample space to work on your laptop...

... and given that the remaining rows of Club Europe seats feature no more legroom than in economy, this is a much more important consideration than on your typical short flight with Qantas or Virgin Australia, because when a passenger does recline, there's barely any room for your knees, let alone your laptop:

Just note that these jets don't offer AC or USB power, so make sure your gadgets are charged-up before leaving your the lounge, office or hotel.

For high-flying couples – take your pick: With the middle seat blocked from sale in Club Europe, couples, friends and colleagues can take their pick of business class seats, with one passenger choosing the aisle and the other selecting the window in the same group.

For enjoying the inflight meal – aim further forward: With meal service beginning at row 1 and then proceeding rearwards, sitting closer to the front means you'll receive your food faster and will have the best chances of securing your preferred dish.

That's especially so on very short flights like London-Paris where pilots often commence their descent only a few moments after you've been served!

For a sneaky nap – take a window seat: With nobody stepping over you, you're cleared to doze from gate to gate – but even if you can't, there are often some great views to be enjoyed, particularly on flights between the London and Italy.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Australian Business Traveller journalist Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

10 Comments

  • Jason Bird

    Speedbird

    18 May, 2017 07:27 am

    Isn't "Best seat in British Airways..." an oxymoron?? 😈😈
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  • Joe

    Joe

    18 May, 2017 08:49 am

    Surely this article is a joke. "Best" in any category relating to BA is pure PR spin. Club Europe is one of commercial aviations biggest fallacies and rip off in terms of hard and soft product relative to price. Don't even get me started about international F and J.
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    18 May, 2017 09:20 am

    Joe: Our 'best seats' guides simply highlight the most favourable seating options within each particular cabin and aircraft, as we publish regarding airlines around the globe. You'll find more of these here.

    BA Club Europe certainly isn't up to scratch compared with even domestic business class in Australia (and as noted in the article, these seats are practically just economy), but as some of the seats in the cabin are better for business travellers than others, we've published this particular 'best seats' guide to help those travellers select the seat that best-caters for their flight. :)

    (I certainly do miss the old Club Europe seats and legroom, however!)
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  • Luke Self

    Selfie

    18 May, 2017 09:48 am

    Hi @ChrisCh 
    Re: your comment about seats 1A and 1C having unlimited leg room due to the absence of a bulkhead - this is only true for some BA A320s and based on SeatGuru, is likely to be operating on a UK Domestic flight rather than a European one. I've been on many BA A320s (including the newer ones with the winglets) to multiple destinations in the last 3 years (including Vienna, Istanbul and Copenhagen) and all featured a bulkhead in front of 1A and 1C. In this case, the bulkhead can actually restrict your ability to stretch out, as you can't poke your feet under the seat in front. 

    I'd like to add a top-tip for those not in Club Europe (and really, there's no incentive unless you need the tier points or don't already have lounge access, in my opinion). If you can, select a seat in exit row 12. You get lots more leg room than a standard seat (including business seats!) and because this is the second of two exit rows, the exit row in front can't recline their seats into your space. Even if you're not an executive club silver or equivalent (who can choose seats for free on booking), it would be better value to pay for this row compared to club Europe, if you're just looking for a bit of extra space (granted, you may have a seat mate on a busy flight). 
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    18 May, 2017 12:27 pm

    That's interesting re: bulkhead, Selfie. Have flown BA short-haul a number of times and every time there has been no bulkhead on planes with the 'refurbished' seats, including on European routes (the cabin crew always comment that they used to have a closet there to hang your jackets but that BA ripped it out), although there was always a bulkhead ahead of 1A/C on planes which had the old seats and were yet to be refitted. Then again, BA substitutes planes so frequently that even if you book an A320, you could well end up on an A319 (or vice versa). :)

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  • Luke Self

    Selfie

    19 May, 2017 09:38 am

    Were you flying from LGW ChrisCh? That might be why your experiences are different from mine (as GLAussie says below). All of my recent flights have been out of LHR. They've all been A320s (I usually check on flightradar24), they're all refurbished (the last time I saw the old blue leather short haul seats, I was on a 767) and they all had a leftside bulkhead. 

    I have heard that BA are planning to reduce seat pitch on all A320s to squeeze in more seats rows in (not sure if true or not) - maybe this will include the removal of the leftside bulkhead?
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  • AJW

    AJW

    19 May, 2017 09:43 am

    Think you will find that BA's plan to increase seats is to do what Qantas did in their 737's which is reconfigure the rear toilet/galley space for an additional row. That doesn't mean reduced pitch. 
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  • Luke Self

    Selfie

    22 May, 2017 10:06 am

    Are you sure Qantas didn't reduce the pitch in their 737s? I was on one recently and the seats felt very tight - significantly more than I remember and definitely tighter than BA's A320s!
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  • AJW

    AJW

    23 May, 2017 09:21 am

    Yes I am sure, here is a link to an article from this very website that sets out what they did.
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  • Serg

    Serg

    18 May, 2017 10:25 am

    I never though that there is a "good" seat in so-called "eurobusiness", and now we talking about "best" seats! Though you always can say that semi-rotten oranges are far "better" than fully rotten ones.
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  • Blair Coull

    Notso Swift

    18 May, 2017 11:04 pm

    In my experience most euro biz don't even have the middle seat tray... so it is all relative!
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  • Tancho

    Tancho

    18 May, 2017 11:30 am

    Appalling. I would think that there are enough J flyers willing to pay for a proper short haul J product. The Australian domestic business class is leaps and bounds ahead of this.
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  • AJW

    AJW

    18 May, 2017 02:37 pm

    Corrrect Australian Domestic, which is the equivalent of European International is light years ahead of this garbage. Even when I lived in the UK and flew Club Europe, it was better than now, but still ordinary by Australian domestic standards. In 4 years I took about 60 return trips on Club Europe. The only good thing was the number of status credits I earned, and the T5 First Class lounge, which was brand new at the time. I went from LTS to LTG in that time.
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  • Richard Brown

    Richard Brown

    18 May, 2017 11:59 am

    On flights of an hour or so, the seat is not much of an issue, but on three hour flights such as Malta, there is no fun in sitting like this. BA needs to consider some form of onboard entertainment offering too!
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  • J S

    JRS

    18 May, 2017 12:14 pm

    Recently flew KBP - LHR in Club Europe. I struggle to see how they can justify that as business class. Absolutely no leg room, no entertainment for a 3.5hr flight and a average meal that wasn't much better than economy. 

    Agree with row 1 having a bulkhead, so there's no advantage being at the front.


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  • GLAaussie

    GLAaussie

    18 May, 2017 03:28 pm

    @ChrisCh

    The A320s without the bulkhead on the left side are only at LGW (although some A320s based at LGW do have the bulkhead still). All LHR A320s have the bulkhead.

    Also I would say if you want to stretch out 1C is the best on planes with the bulkhead and on the left side it doesn't stretch out as far into the aisle as it does on the right. I used to always pick 1C for this reason on the many GLA-LHR flights I took when it was all 1 class for the domestic flights - now I pick an exit row instead.
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  • AJW

    AJW

    18 May, 2017 11:42 pm

    Unless I am msistaken the LGW ones are the ex BMI ones which would make sense why there is a difference. As I've not heard of any refurb program at BA that has reconfigured the front of the a/c. Just seats. 
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  • Richard Brown

    Richard Brown

    19 May, 2017 06:40 am

    10 of the Gatwick A320s were somewhat strangely all purchased second(or third) hand a few years back from a variety of different airlines, as a plan to speed up the withdrawal of the 737 fleet.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    19 May, 2017 07:16 am

    Right you are. A319's ex BMI, plus a couple of ex BMI/ex BMed A320's and a mix of other second hand A320's. Sounds nasty but then again the 737 fleet wasn't the nicest either. 
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  • Joe

    Joe

    19 May, 2017 01:31 am

    The A321's used to Amman, Beirut, TelAviv etc were ex BMI and have very nice J lay flat seats which in an alternating 1-2 config. Thankfully BA kept the old BMI J configuaration in these birds !
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  • AJW

    AJW

    19 May, 2017 07:11 am

    Reasonably sure the new seats came after BA brought BMI rather than being a BMI product. Though it's possible BMI had started the process at the time of takeover. 

    And when in use with BMI these 7 or so A321's had the British Mediterranean mid haul seats which in themselves were not too bad for the mission at hand. Flew BMed to Ankara a few times in the mid 2000's before the BMI take over. 
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  • Jackotoo

    Jackotoo

    20 May, 2017 05:17 am

    Recently travelled from Berlin to London in BA business. Only four pax in cabin, plus one upgrade. I was third to be offered a meal, by which time the original two choices had become one. Same thing on the reverse journey. Shocking fee to select seats at time of booking. The seats compliment the service!
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22 Nov, 2017 08:10 pm

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