BA’s excuse to premium seating

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  canucklad 19 Feb 2014
at 15:10

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  • Anonymous


    Many people on this and other forums often debate about the current offering in BA’s First & Club World cabin and how dated it has become, missed opportunity etc. However BA has never responded as to why they still stick with what they have. I am sure BA is well aware of what other premium carriers offer but don’t match or improve on what they have. This question was posted on the BA Facebook page on the 13th February on a post referring to the launch of the A380 on the Jo’burg route.


    “Now our A380 is flying to Johannesburg, you can indulge every one of your senses when you travel in our Club World cabin”


    “Why didn’t BA upgrade their Club World product to a more modern business class seat like CX or AA?”


    “our customers told us they really liked the existing Club and First cabins, so to ensure consistency of experience across our fleet we stayed with the current configuration.”

    Can this be a lie by BA or are customers to blame to say they are genuinely happy?


    I think they are right when they suggest “consistency across the fleet”. There are not many airlines that sell a consistent product across their entire fleet…… I believe there are still some “old club world” seats on some aircraft, but it is quite similar to the current club world.

    However, with regards to ““our customers told us they really liked the existing Club and First cabins” – I wonder who they asked.. Be interesting if there was an independent marketing company who could verify this statement………………


    well, this reminds me AF excuse few years ago to explain why they would not have Biz Class flat beds..” they did not want to
    enter the flat bed game” when in truth were working on it but not ready!
    in the case of BA easy to create surveys/ polls that say what they want. Customers who use Club World only, or for first time, may say they are happy. Those who know other carriers, I m afraid cannot say they like Club world. I think BA is working on a new seat, not ready yet but they are aware they lag behind. Seats redesign/ renewal takes minimum 4 years from budget approval internally to press show off through conception and lining up suppliers and testing…
    BA please don’t hide the truth, just be honest on this one.


    BA have one of the highest density seating configs in business class, which has stood them well when it comes to profitability. Kudos, too, for consistency. Compare them with carriers such as EK or even QR, which have variable products depending on aircraft.

    For both the 380 and 787, they have altered the layout to 2-3-2 (upper deck of the 380), which is a departure from their norm. I have flown the 787 a couple of times and the middle seat in a Club has quickly become the first to go as it is quite a private cocoon.

    No doubt something new is on the horizon. I would hope for something innovative and creative from BA, rather than an off-the-shelf product.


    but surely consistency has to be compromised at some stage, else you are never going to upgrade your product? Im not sure you can use that excuse.


    I don’t get the argument that a new product should be launched just because deliveries of a new aircraft commence.

    I don’t think the majority of travellers book a flight because of the aircraft type, they consider price, convenience, and product.

    So far as product goes (in biz class), the only thing I care about is a consistent flat bed.

    The last time I flew Emirates I had 4 aircraft types and 4 business class seats from cradle (never again) to angled flat (disappointing) to fully flat (satisfactory) to A380 flat (pleasant).

    I wouldn’t bother with Emirates again as my memories are only of the miserable overnight flight in the cradle and I can’t be bothered to book my flights to make sure I don’t get the bad seats. I gather you have the same problem with Qatar, but never tried for the same reasons.


    We’ve seen two ground breaking aircraft launched in recent times, the A380 which after a few glitches seems to be performing well and the 787 which for me the jury is still out on. Both are game changers as will be the A350 later this year.

    No, airlines do not have to launch new products with new aircraft but I think only one airline failed to roll out at least one new premium cabin with the A380 and their premium products had lost a lot of ground on the competition anyway.

    I always wonder about BA surveys that ask about how content customers are. I think they must be like the BAA one I was asked to complete about airport shopping recently where you could only state that you wanted the same or more but not less. So the BA questions are probably something like are you happy, very happy or delighted with our premium offering and they are aimed at people who have never tried the competition so they don’t know what is out there. If all other things were equal, you would not choose BA for its premium cabins.


    After a recent long haul trip in Y with BA I did receive an email after my trip asking me for my views on my experience it was very extensive including my experiences of flying on other airlines, business travel and it also gave areas for personal comment in various sections including changes and suggestions. Also I have received auto mated text messages to ask me to rate the flight minutes after landing rating over all on a scale between high and low.

    What is a concern is if passengers like ourselves are not providing back detailed feedback to the airline how will they ever change?


    I’ve heard from a reliable source that the 787-900 will definitely have a new F product and possibly a new J one.

    The cold hard reality of why BA has stuck with it’s original ying-yang configuration is because it is one of the best generators of £ per square foot out there. If you look at a Business class cabin as a piece of real estate development you will see what I mean.

    BA have had little incentive to up the ante on their aircraft as those airlines that do offer the great luxe F and J cabins are primarily competitors to the east which is not BA’s main market focus. On it’s biggest market across the atlantic the competition has been a lot more forgiving. The US carriers, the European carriers.

    But times are changing. The US carriers have installed new seating. The likes of Lufthansa has been installing fully flat beds. And Air France will be installing their new product too.

    I think it’s time BA follows suit.


    Hi davey_boy

    This topic mirrors the 380 to SIN topic.

    Your comment about feedback and change depends on the mind-set as well as the primary objective of the company receiving that feedback.

    If you start from the viewpoint of minimal expenditure then you take the negative feedback and use it to implement damage limitation changes. In other words what can we do to improve service to stop customers from being “dissatisfied?”

    This is where I think BA’s managements starting point is.

    And rferguson I hope you’re right and your employers really begin to understand the concept of competing in a global market rather than focussing all their eggs on the trans-Atlantic routes.
    IMO this is why BA’s primary negative feedback, on this forum at least is…inconsistency!!

    And as I’ve suggested before, sharing revenue with AA’s superior biz product seems to me like cheating your way to profit!


    Hey canucklad. yes I agree, it’s definitely time for a new J product.

    As per the AA/IB/BA JSA, the revenue/profit sharing ratio was determined before AA came out with their new product in J. I believe it’s along the lines of 60%/30%/10% BA/AA/IB. So you could say it’s AA rubbing it’s hands – it get’s a nice new product and carries less passengers but still gets it’s pre-773 ratio 😉


    But look what happens when the real estate developers refurbish and freshen up property in Mayfair – it appreciates in value and it generates higher income (£ per sq foot) …



    Comes back to my point about being risk averse, BA’s balancing act seems to me , to spend as little as possible, thus lowering their ROI line!

    Having said that, I still believe that it’s the soft product that can reap the biggest dividends if BA invests in their people’s development and morale!

    Cheers for the JSA percentages rferguson. Indeed AA must be happy bunnies

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