Consistency is key. British Airways gets a lot of flack for their current business class seat, and rightfully so. Their hard product is ancient and while some seats are solid (like the upper deck of the 747), a vast majority aren’t up-to-par with the competition.
The release of British Airways’ new Club Suite seat is turning a lot of heads and frankly, is a long-time coming . The biggest upside to this seat once rolled out across the fleet (which will take a few years) is that it will finally create a consistent business class hard product where one seat isn’t significantly better than the other.
First, The New Club Suite
The new seat will be a reverse herringbone seat (used by many airlines) with the added bonus of a private door.
- 1-2-1 configuration with direct-aisle access
- A suite door
- 40% more storage than the current seat, including a vanity unit and mirror
- 18.5-inch inflight entertainment screens with HD gate-to-gate programming
Here are the press photos.
I find it interesting that British Airways decided to use a male model with such broad shoulders which highlights the narrowness of the seat.
The Hidden Benefit Of The Club Suite Seat
I’ve only flown Club World once — on the upper deck of the 747. I had a much better than expected flight. In fact, it was quite pleasant. Going into it, my expectations were pretty low after reading from bloggers about the abomination it was going to be. That flight made me realize it wasn’t only about expectation vs. reality, but also about the exact location of your Club World seat on a specific aircraft.
I had direct aisle access and had a window seat. However, that can’t be said for a vast majority of British Airways’ Club World seats. Middle seats are annoying anywhere, even more so when you’re paying a premium in business class.
While blog readers and frequent flyers may know some of the tricks to picking the best seat on a seat map, most of the general flying public doesn’t. The new Club Suite seat is evening out the seat selection playing field by creating a product that’s consistent. A reverse herringbone-style Super Diamond seat (with a door) will basically be the same seat for everyone. No one will win or lose. Of course, some locations near the lavatory or galley might be an exception.
Tiffany over at One Mile at a Time probably put it best in her review of her Club World seat on a Boeing 777-200.
That being said, I felt like it was very private. I think this is almost entirely due to the location of my seat, and that the crew left the divider up for the entire flight. If either of those things had been different, I would probably have been borderline-twitchy from the feeling of exposure.
That said, the new seat will create more confusion in the short term with two different types of Club seats concurrently for sale. Once installed, however, those seats will all be similar so there won’t be any seat map shenanigans. This new suite will benefit flyers with not only a solid hard product, but also a consistent one too.