Readers travelling on BA’s London-Cairo route in the next few weeks and expecting wide-body comfort must prepare to be disappointed.
At the present time BA deploys a B787 Dreamliner for this route – it has already announced plans to lease one of Air Belgium’s A340s this autumn, to cover the service while precautionary inspections are carried out on the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines on some of its B787-9s.
But it’s now been confirmed that from July 9 right through until July 19 inclusive (July 10-20 for the return legs), a short-haul A321 neo will be operating London-Cairo.
The flights in question are:
- BA155 London Heathrow to Cairo, departing 1715 and arriving 2315
- BA154 Cairo to London Heathrow, departing 0800 and arriving 1210
So what does it mean for the passenger? Simply put it represents a downgrade on standards in terms of seating, space and catering.
Instead of a three-class long-haul (business, premium economy and economy) B787 product the short-haul A321 is configured two-class.
Economy seating is denser and business class is what you would find on a short flight inside Europe rather than a five hour sector to Cairo.
Flight details have been added to ba.com, however when Business Traveller attempted to book a business class ticket we were shown availability only for ‘economy standard.’
That would suggest either that BA dare not charge the Club World (long-haul business class) price for what is an inferior short-haul product or it might mean business class is fully booked.
I would imagine the former is the true reason. Using the A321neo means the catering service might consist only of cold meals owing to limited galley space (seeing the A321neo is deployed within Europe where buy-on-board has led to reduced galley space).
We contacted BA’s press office, who confirmed that the flights will operate “a Club and Traveller cabin”, whilst also stating that further details on the catering for each cabin are not yet available.
BA also said that:
“Like a number of airlines around the world, we are carrying out detailed precautionary inspections on Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines which are fitted to our Boeing 787s.
“To facilitate the engine inspections and any associated maintenance we have had to make some adjustments to our schedule and we’re in touch with affected customers.”
“Customers currently booked into Club World on the affected flights will be rebooked into a Club Europe seat and offered a partial refund. Anyone still wishing to travel on this route in Club World will be permitted to change to the nearest flight operating with this cabin.”