I think it all comes down to market segmentation and economics. The truth is surely that BA isn’t genuinely competing with Asian and Middle Eastern carriers. It’s cost structure and the market from which it recruits is fundamentally different and always will be, so it just can’t.
On its main TA market it can still fill its CW and F offering and make money, and still has some years in which to milk the last out of the current CW set up. It needs to jam pack CW with seats and is able to fill them, so the economics of upgrading them at the current time just doesn’t stack up, (regardless of 787 and A380 coming on line, and that feeling like a very big missed opportunity.) It’s a bit like monopoly – it’s generally better to build up houses on, say, the orange properties rather than Mayfair and Park Lane as on balance the yield and return on investment are better, even though intuitively we always want Dark Blue in our portfolio.
Having observed the forum keenly for a year or so before plucking up the courage to dive in, it seems to me that much of the heat is generated by the fact that many posters want BA to be something different to what it is (and I know I have my own wish list of improvements). At some stage it will need to be different, but it may be that the given wisdom of always innovating to stay in the game can’t always apply in the airline industry for all markets. I guess it’s also to do with national pride. We always want it to be just that bit better. I know I still compare it to B.CAL and the chirpy crews that made flying such fun, but when I do so I know I will also feel a sense of nostalgic disappointment.
Of course in the meantime many of us will exercise our choice and fly on alternative airlines, but the sheer choice of non-stop destinations ex-UK will keep many of us (ok not necessarily those who contribute to this forum) returning for more and against that background the pressure to enhance seating doesn’t yet exist.