Exclusive: British Airways short-haul seating explained

9 Mar 2018 by Mark Caswell
British Airways Pinnacle short-haul seating

British Airways is in the midst of making a number of changes to its seating on both long and short-haul aircraft.

Earlier this week the carrier published photos of the ten-across seating which will gradually be fitted to B777 aircraft operating from both Gatwick and Heathrow.

And next month BA will take delivery of its first A320neo aircraft, which will feature new non-reclining slimline Recaro seating from row 12 for Euro Traveller customers, alongside the airline’s existing Pinnacle seating at the front of the aircraft for Club Europe passengers.

British Airways launched the Pinnacle short-haul seat in 2014 (itself referred to at the time as “slimline”) – for a Tried and Tested review of the seat on the carrier’s A320 aircraft shortly after the launch, click here.

The addition of the Recaro seats will enable the carrier to increase capacity on the aircraft from 169 seats to 180. On the A321neos, which will start to be delivered later this year, the seat count will increase from 205 to 218.

Recaro SL3510 seating

But one place where you won’t find the new Recaro seat is on BA’s existing A320 Family aircraft. It has been reported (and widely discussed on various aviation forums) that the carrier’s existing A320 and A321s are being reconfigured in the same way as the neo aircraft, with a mixture of Pinnacle and Recaro seating.

But British Airways has confirmed to Business Traveller that this is not the case. These aircraft are being reconfigured, but not by adding Recaro seating.

The existing Pinnacle seat will remain throughout the aircraft, but it is understood the carrier is accommodating more seats at the back of the plane, by reconfiguring the rear galley area, removing duty free provisions, and adding smaller toilets. In-seat power is also being fitted.

It’s not clear whether all of BA’s A320 and A321 aircraft will be reconfigured in this way – the carrier currently operates around 70 A320s and 20 A321s. Business Traveller has asked for clarification on this and will post any response here.

Note that according to this Recaro press release, BA’s sister carrier Iberia will be retrofitting its existing A320 aircraft with the new Recaro seating.

BA has a total of 25 A320neos on order and ten A321neos, so the Recaro slimline seating will become relatively commonplace for short-haul customers over the next few years.

And don’t discount the carrier eventually retrofitting existing short-haul aircraft in the future, as and when the Pinnacle seat reaches the end of its life.

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