BA Club Europe seating issuesBack to Forum
Anonymous24 Mar 2011
Flew BA CE twice last week, first to Basel, then to Barcelona. First three of these sectors were in the standard CE config with the older seats where the seats are wide, there’s a gap between 1A and 1C where the armrests have been moved together and the recline goes back enought to sleep reasonably well.
However, returning from Barcelona on Monday on a new A319 all the seats were new thin, uncomfortable recaro-style ones with the width the same as economy (ie cramped). In CE they had no headrest covers on the middle seats and curtain at row 5.
Main issues are
a) they reclined about an inch
b) they’re no wider than economy
c) they’re useless when travelling with partner as there’s an entire seat between you both
d) no cocktail tray on the armrest e) the seats are deeply uncomfortable with no padding on the arms.
Now I know that BA tried doing this a year or so ago (making all the seats the same size) and there was uproar from regular CE travellers (like me). Can enyone confirm if they are trying to do this standard (cost-saving) seat configuration trick again?
If so then (other than the food) there’s no difference between CE and Euro Traveller as most of the middle seats were also free down the back! Disappointing and hopefully not the shape of things to come for those of us who have to travel in Europe a lot.24 Mar 2011
I think BA should fit their new premium economy seats on to shorthaul aircraft, in a 2×2 layout.
Failing that, the old PE seats that are being removed when some of the long haul fleet get refurbished or retired will still be a vast improvement.24 Mar 2011
There was a thread that had this info on, some months ago.
IIRC the aircraft were ordered with these seats when the famous seat change was in operation and before the volte face, so people paying a lot of money may encounter these seats on any route, even DME and LCA.
Just another reason not to fly CE, IMHO.24 Mar 2011
Have to say anyone who buys CE fare for a point to point journey in Europe needs their head examing and a serious word from the finance department.
The whole CE product is a shambles once on board a BA aircraft. The ground product at LHR is good and at outstations can be ropey. On flights of more than 2.5 hours it is nothing short of an absolute digrace. (Q VK blind defence of all things BA and CE)
It needs more than just a PE seat it needs a complete rethink. Under 2.5 hours I really cannot see the point but over this it requires a new seat entirely. Dare I say it, but a return to short haul first class albeit with different name…let me think…..oh yes how about Club Europe…. reflecting the quality of the Club World Cabin on a short haul service. A fixed cabin with proper seats is a must and the first step to once again making paying a business class fare in Europe justifiable. The service needs to be top notch and there must be IFE ( especially over 2.5 overs) seat power and some real feeling of space. Decent meals for the time of day, accompanied by reasonable wines again that reflect the premuim nature of the service. It may not be possible to provide table clothes and silver service to CDG or AMS but to ATH LCA IST SVO PRG BUD and TIP ( when they go back) these would frankly be the least you should expect for the point to point fare being charged.
The size of the club europe cabin could reflect the premium, aspirational nature of the product, whilst the rest of the aircraft can get the BA euro traveller treatment with those buying more flexible tickets or who have status, being seated toward the front of that cabin. This is already technically feasible as it happens today. I fear that without a major revamp CE travel no matter the type of seat will be the dwindling preserve of those foolish with their own or others money, WAGS, bankers and BA staff.24 Mar 2011
“I fear that without a major revamp CE travel no matter the type of seat will be the dwindling preserve of those foolish with their own or others money, WAGS, bankers and BA staff.”
And in a few years time, what would you bet against BA (whilst hand wringing) pointing to reduced customer numbers and say it is withdrawing CE in response to customer choice!25 Mar 2011
I do not see how it is practical for BA to have separate seats due to the wide ranging use of aircraft (including UK domestic) and the varying number of rows of club europe based on demand. With a set cabin, this flexibility would be lost.
I have always found the club europe product adequate with having the seat next to me guaranteed as empty. The majority of the food is also fine (though of less importance due to the excellent lounges at lhr if flying outbound) and on the whole I have always had excellent and efficient service with frequent offers of drinks.
Whilst there are maybe less benefits for gold / silver holders, a club Europe fare offers excellent extras for others such as access to the amazing lounges, increased luggage allowance etc.
Therefore, I do not think it is that bad and certainly not compared to other European airlines. Fair enough, United and AA US domestic may have bigger seats, but their onboard service does not compare and I would rather BA’s very edible salad any day.
Having said that, I would agree that the addition of a few extras could make the difference such as a pre take off drink (though due to the size of the cabin this would be hard at times), hot towels, and more importantly laptop power.
As a whole I do not see why European flights cannot have live TV on such as Frontier airlines which shows Direct TV upon boarding.25 Mar 2011
I fail to see why Binman is so angry against CE, sure its not perfect and I am annoyed at the loss of hot towels and the chocolate on the tray, but I still use it for a number of reasons.
I can’t comment on other airlines equivelent product other than Air France between LHR and PAR. Here you get the same width seat as economy with a bolster in between so the centre seat is free and not occupied. The food is served in a plastic tray with plastic knives and forks and is basicly aweful. BA’s short hop salad is far superior. You also don’t get a bar service.
AF lounges are okay, but certainly not as good as T5. I would agree with batraveller2’s enhancements25 Mar 2011
If you wish to see a good European business class service, try Cyprus Airways.
Binman62 is not necessarily angry, but he is telling the truth, as he sees it.
When people do that here, why do BA apologists like VK and yourself feel the need to make personal remarks, based on quasi psychological assessments?25 Mar 2011
Binman, your comment of “Have to say anyone who buys CE fare for a point to point journey in Europe needs their head examing and a serious word from the finance department”, is odd at best and downright rude at worst.
It’s all about a case-by-case basis. Last year, I went on a weekend away (on my personal dime) in Budapest: when booking my flights, I found that the difference in fares between the ET fare and CE was approx £40 in total. I don’t know why or if it was a mistake, but the offer of lounge, meal on the flight, full (and double) tier points and double miles, meant that that was £40 well spent and a far enjoyable experience that the inevitable ET experience returning on a Sunday with stag weekend making the bulk of passengers.
Another example from 2010, was when I (and two other colleagues) had to make a two-week trip to Italy: the best option for our needs – fixed outbound, flexible inbound, was a CE mixed bucket fare, which our travel booker advised was considerably less than the ET equivalent (fully flex both ways). So we went CE, and got all the perks with it. In this case, not only was it cheaper, but our client (who was paying) saved money.
Sometimes CE really is the better option.25 Mar 2011
I agree about the case by case approach; at £40 extra, it is definitely worth paying. Sometimes I will pay a reasonable upgrade fee for a one way if travelling at peak times, when the guaranteed extra space is nice to have.
If you get it bundled with a CW ticket, that is also okay.
But it does not make it a good product per se, IMHO.
I think Binman makes some fair points and am reminded also of the photo that Potakas posted a few months ago, showing the very dirty state of the cabin he was travelling in – that is not acceptable.
As Binman says, CE should reflect he quality of CW in it’s own way.
I really like the CW product, so am not anti BA, but I do not rate the CE offer at the moment, there is not enough differentiation from eurotraveller to pay a full fare, which I believe is what Binman is getting at in his final sentence.25 Mar 2011
The contrast for me (and BA is not the only one doing this, the whole European business class model is relatively poor value) is with Australian domestic routes, where business class means a proper wide reclining seat with legroom, choice of hot food and this is on routes from 1.5 hours to 4 hours, same with Trans Tasman on QF and NZ.
Air NZ Trans Tasman on its A320s has a product a lot like CE – but it is a Y+ product with lounge access, empty middle seat, full economy meal service (which is a choice of two options), extra baggage allowance and marginally more legroom (3-4 inches). This is for routes 3-3.5 hours long.
My view is that if shorthaul C class remains it should be differentiated sufficiently. For all its faults, US domestic F class does have differentiated seats at least, as does short haul C class in Asia.25 Mar 2011
Thanks to everyone who’s commented.
Re Binman62’s comment about getting one’s head examined all I will say is that choosing CE as a travel class is enirely my business and my company’s business (as per a travel policy). It doesn’t warrant criticism.
To the original point though, does anyone actually know for sure if BA are moving to a seating configuration with the same width seats throughout CE and ET across its entire european short and mid-haul operations (much like Lufthansa and AF KLM’s new european business class product)?25 Mar 2011
Disgusted – if I feel that Binman’s comments are angry that is the way I see it from the tone. JordanD says his comment is rude, but I don’t see you making a comment about him. Please leave the snips out, just because you don’t agree.
CE is a different product to CW and it would be difficult on a flight of 1 to 2 hours to replicate the same on a smaller aircraft. On longer distance routes depending on aircraft may be.
There is a lot of comparison to fixed seat operations, but the flexability of the seating arrangements mean it can be adjusted to suit. I doubt that a fixed arrangement would work particularly where aircraft are interworked on a multitude of routes25 Mar 2011
NTarrant : “I fail to see why Binman is so angry against CE, sure its not perfect and I am annoyed at the loss of hot towels and the chocolate on the tray, but I still use it for a number of reasons.”
What is it about the loss of hot towel and chocolate on the tray that turns “Business Travellers” into whingers and whiners?
It certainly puts earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear crises in Japan and war in Libya in the shade!25 Mar 2011