British Airways

British Airways "on track" for new A350 Club World business class

British Airways says it's on track for the launch of its new Club World business class seat in early 2019, but has denied reports of abandoning an evolution of the current seat for an all-new design.

Earlier this year the airline's CEO Alex Cruz confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the seat – which will deliver direct aisle access for every passenger – will debut on new Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 787-10 jets from 2019, and may also be retro-fitted to some other aircraft in BA's long-range fleet.

Designs for the next-generation Club World seat – detailed in leaked internal BA documentation seen by Australian Business Traveller – indicate the British flag-carrier will keep the alternating foward-backward layout of its current business class, but with improvements to key aspects of the seat to boost its appeal to high flyers.

Read more: British Airways plans new Club World business class seat for 2019

Cruz has previously tamped down speculation of a radical replacement for the Club World cribs, describing them as not "ultra-revolutionary" and focusing more on incremental changes to the current seat.

Mockup illustrations and diagrams from a BA patent application, shown above and below – while based on an earlier, less-refined seat concept – indicate the seat would allow British Airways to retain its highly-profitable 'high density' cabin layout, although this would see some benefits from the wider cabin footprint of the A350.

Read more: British Airways patent reveals new slant on Club World business class

A spokesperson for British Airways has confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that "the plans are well advanced now, and we haven't changed our tack or design... we’re still on track to deliver the new seat in 2019."

It's been speculated that BA had gone back to the drawing board and was considering other potential Club World designs, ranging from these angled seats in a more conventional 1-2-1 layout...

... to this revolutionary couch-like design, which BA’s mock-up artwork tagged as a 'sofa' rather than a seat...

.. which would see passengers adopt a forward-facing position for the taxi, take-off and landing stages of the flight, but stretch out – with an infill section of the sofa creating a continuous surface between the seat and the ottoman – to relax or sleep.

British Airways launched Club World business class in 1999, and was among the world's first airlines to adopt fully lie-flat beds in business class.

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.


  • Packetman21


    20 Jul, 2017 07:01 am

    This looks good, if you were in 2005. They need a completely new seat. Full stop.
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  • Jay G


    20 Jul, 2017 08:30 am

    yeah whilst its great that they can cram more people into the business class cabin.... oh no wait no that is a terrible idea! 
    never really liked this product and not to mention the lack of all seat aisle access it pretty sub standard these days. any of the side angled layouts would be a huge improvement.
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  • Gary Swift


    20 Jul, 2017 08:37 am

    Get rid of the back to front jig saw!
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  • alexlips99


    20 Jul, 2017 09:30 am

    BA business seats are one of the worst of the major carriers. They are so poorly designed I'm surprised they passed testing stages. Carrying over the same terrible design on brand new 787 aircraft was an abysmal decision. Poor effort BA.
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  • johnaboxall


    20 Jul, 2017 12:02 pm

    Search YouTube for DennisBunnik - he made an excellent review video of the current seats in the BA 747.
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  • cloud-9


    20 Jul, 2017 09:52 am

    Notwithstanding BA have a larger fleet than QR, it is staggering that the rollput of these seats is taking 2 years. QR fitted its new QSuites to its planes in a matter of months: and the seats taken out wete 100 times better than BAs product (new or old)
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  • smit0847


    20 Jul, 2017 05:26 pm

    Umm, Qatar have fitted QSuites into exactly one plane so far. United will take over 5 years to fit Polaris seats into their fleet.
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  • ajstubbs


    20 Jul, 2017 09:52 am

    Two of the major issues are lack of space and lack of storage - I don't know that they're fixable with a bit of evolution! 
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  • Chris_PER


    20 Jul, 2017 11:34 am

    British Airways really is rapidly catching up and overtaking United Airlines when it comes to the worst Business and 'First' options in the sky.
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  • Blair Coull

    Notso Swift

    20 Jul, 2017 01:34 pm

    On track... by virtue of the outdatforward/rear layouts I would think it shows they are off track
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  • turbojezz


    20 Jul, 2017 02:33 pm

    BA should seriously just make all their seats first class, then they would have the best business class cabins in the word!
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  • Fqtv


    20 Jul, 2017 04:11 pm

    I wouldn't choose to fly this product... luckily as I live in Sydney not London I have lots of other options for where I need to go...
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  • smit0847


    20 Jul, 2017 05:29 pm

    What people seem to forget is that BA isn't trying to have the best anything. Airlines like Qatar and Etihad need to innovate and stand out to convince people to fly with them and connect through cities passengers would never dream of visiting. BA have the most slots at one of the most popular airports in the world - LHR. So many of their pax want to either start or end their trip in London they don't need to have the best product, or be the cheapest - pax will still choose them because of their natural advantage. You don't fly them for any other reason than they have more flights to and from London than any other airline.

    BA are excellent at what is most important to them - making lots of money.

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  • langdonfm


    20 Jul, 2017 05:58 pm

    Bang on. If Virgin Atlantic could get more slots at its ostensible home hub at LHR British Airways would be forced to pick up its game. Hopefully this third runway shakes things up!
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  • Jason


    20 Jul, 2017 05:48 pm

    Agree with smit0847.  Whilst it isn't great for us, the flying public, BA has had little motivation in spending hundreds of millions of pounds on a new seat to compete - because it hasn't had to.  The money is in the bank to do it, so why haven't they?  Because in short they continue to fill their aircraft to the brim and generate billions of dollars of profit.

    This approach will only last so long of course - no matter what geographical (LHR) slot restricted advantage they have people will only put up with an outdated product for so long.  And I guess that's what the BA computer modellers have been working on for years - when will the 'tipping point' happen? 
    When will the cost of installing a brand new seat be less than lost revenue due to passengers choosing the competition?  It seems computer says 2019.
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  • smit0847


    20 Jul, 2017 11:54 pm

    The third runway at Heathrow will be the tipping point - suddenly there will be hundreds of slots for sale and BA will be flooded with competition. But that third runway will be at least 10, more likely 20 years away.

    Until then BA are laughing all the way to the bank.

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  • Packetman21


    20 Jul, 2017 07:32 pm

    I was reading a review on "One Mile At A Time" of the BA First Class. His companion (which had only previously flown on Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class) asked the flight attendant, "So, what exactly is the difference between First and Business Class?".
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  • Jason


    20 Jul, 2017 09:07 pm

    Langdonfm - that is something I will never ever be able to understand about Virgin Atlantic and Sir Richard B.  A few years ago Lufthansa the owner of BMI (formerly British Midland) put the airline up for sale.  Although BMI was under performing its slots at LHR were the main draw card for prospective buyers - it held 14% of LHR slots, second only to BA.  This was the ideal situation for VS to DOUBLE its foothold at LHR. didn't put in a realistic bid.  BA did.  VS had counted on 1) LH never selling slots to their arch enemy competitor BA at any price and 2) the competition authorities blocking the sale to BA but instead the competition authorities required BA release slots on a couple domestic routes where they had a monopoly (the short lived 'Virgin Red' took these up then abandoned them).  

    It was a really bad call by VS.  It was their opportunity to make themselves a major competitor to BA and they blew it.

    Saying that VS hardly has a great J class product either.  It has announced just a matter of a year or two after launching the A330 upper class product that they are re configuring the fleet as it is so cramped passengers have walked away in droves.  
    Cost cutting has also been very visible in the onboard catering and crew complements on board.  

    I do however still prefer their product to BA's although they just don't have the network or frequency to grab the big corporate deals that BA has.

    The big issue with BA and VS in terms of their product is that the only markets they really give a damn about is the transatlantic market from europe to the USA.  BA flies to a ridiculous amount of US cities including many smaller ones such as Austin, San Jose, New Orleans, San Diego.  Up to five or six years ago they didn't really have to worry about the competition - the US airlines were a joke in terms of product and service.  BA and VS up to a few years ago were the only airlines on the LHR-US runs guaranteeing a fully flat bed.

    The US airlines have now totally 360'd in terms of their offering and today i'd rather choose AA or DL any day over BA or VS.  I guess they are just waking up to that reality.
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  • Scott Henderson


    21 Jul, 2017 04:07 pm

    Eight across in business class.
    Ummmm, no thanks BA.
    Having flown this dinosaur a few times over the years, including one awful business class flight from LHR to HK during a cabin crew strike where only sandwiches were served, I have sworn never to fly BA business again
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  • bl812


    21 Jul, 2017 04:11 pm

    This is one of the worst business class produc on the market,it's sardine class nothing to do with business when u pay top dollar you expexct to have at least a decent seat not 8 seat in a row!!
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  • rambler


    21 Jul, 2017 05:48 pm

    The BA arrangement of some seats facing forward and some backwards is most peculiar. Not as bad as the old United set-up but still uncomfortably weird. A real improvement away from this would be most welcome with me, as I find BA's service, food, wine, lounge facilities and on-time performance among the world's best. 
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  • Mark McCullough


    21 Jul, 2017 06:37 pm

    I only fly using my own money. I would never again book BA J class unless they abandon 8 across yin yang seats and provide adequate privacy and storage space. IMHO their J product is abymsmal
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18 Jul, 2019 07:44 pm


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