Well, proving that BA Customer Service has come along in leaps and bounds recently, I just received a phone call from their Service Centre, not 24 hours since I emailed them. Bravo!
The lady was pleased to pass on my feedback to the people “who were currently looking at this issue” saying “there had been quite a few people registering their dissatisfaction with the new 2 + 2 layout” and that the policy was “under review”.
The removal of the silly doilies would also suggest this new seating layout has not been the success BA hoped it would be.
No reasons given for the reasons behind the original change in policy to 2+2.
Received opinion is that it’s a combination of factors:
– passengers asking for more personal space
– passengers feeling short changed when seated on the DEF side, especially in a middle seat
– matching the same layout as key competitors (eg Lufthansa)
– the cost and time taken for an engineer to “convert” the seats (this is partly a union thing, partly safety, as an improperly converted seat could perform imperfectly on an impact)
– the fact that EuroTraveller Seats are now the same width as CE means the size of the Club Europe cabin can be changed more quickly (I don’t buy this one at all, as you still have move EuroTraveller pax booked at the front of the cabin).
Most interesting is:
– by not selling the middle seats, which would probably go unsold anyway in the current environment, the maximum pax load of the aircraft is reduced, meaning BA can reduce the number of crew on the plane, while complying with the minimum staff to pax ratio agreements they have in place with the unions.
Either way, it sounded to me like this is a hot issue and especially once loads pick up after the summer, I would expect a formal review and hopefully the ideal outcome, which is converting the seats and not selling/blocking the middle E seat except where there is exceptional demand or three passengers actually prefer to sit together.