BA’s new short haul Club Europe productBack to Forum
Anonymous16 Jun 2014
So after thousands of complaints from Club Europe pax on the LGW ex-Midland Airbus aircraft with 30″ seat pitch and economy width, that is the seat that BA, in its wisdom, has chosen. Yes…narrow and 30″ pitch for Club Europe.
More seats on the aircraft overall, but no sign of larger overhead bins to accommodate the extra hand baggage….oops they forgot that implication!
At least when they dump Club Europe, when we all realise that there is just no point in CE, they have the aircraft in Veuling configuration already!!!16 Jun 2014
30″ seat pitch in CE is less than Virgin Trains Standard class for similar journey lengths. BA continue the downward spiral to make CE less and less attractive for the money so in due course they will go all Y and then they will wonder why it’s all gone wrong!16 Jun 2014
Think of it as nothing more than brilliant targetting by the ever sharp BA marketing team. They have spotted a gap in the market for flights catering for the needs of customers under 5′ 6”, and are intent of exploiting the untapped demand.16 Jun 2014
This is making the CE product far less appealing. In terms of ET it depends on the design of the seat, I was on a new easyjet A320 last week with the new black slim line seats and the leg room seemed spacious, the same if not better than BA ET. A very clever seat design.16 Jun 2014
The simple truth, as I see it, is this:
(1) Having an empty seat next to you is nice, but doesn’t ultimately enhance your comfort very much
(2) It arguably does mean more overhead locker space, but since the American habit of shoving bags into the first available space (regardless of where you are seated) is now migrating to Europe, and since everyone boards from the front and therefore goes through the CE cabin, that isn’t much of an advantage
(3) The “superior” catering on board for CE isn’t very superior. Apart from the champagne, which is nice, but hardly essential
(4) Yes, service is better, but only really makes a difference if you want something that doesn’t come off the trolley, like Earl Grey tea
(5) It is nicer to be near the front if you want to exit quickly, but frankly how many minutes’ difference does it really make?
(6) The only other benefits are priority check-in, priority boarding and lounge access, and BA’s frequent flyers probably get those anyway
Frankly, of all these benefits, I don’t think (1) to (5) matter to me very much, and as I mentioned I and most of BA’s (and oneworld’s) FFs get all those in (6) anyway. So what is the real benefit of paying extra to be in CE for frequent flyers, the very people BA should be trying hardest to attract? Frankly, bugger all – which, coincidentally, is precisely how many CE flights I will be booking from now on17 Jun 2014
Having just had th opportunity to sit in the new seat, I can safely say it is comfortable and the difference in pitch I’d hardly noticeable owing to the design of the seat.17 Jun 2014
The BA Source website states that the new configurations will be –
A319: All CY132 configuration aircraft will be refitted to CY143.
A320: All CY162 configuration aircraft will be reconfigured to CY168.
A321: All CY188 configuration aircraft will be reconfigured to CY205.
This is an increase of 8% for A319, 4% for A320 and 9% for A321. Wonder why they couldn’t get a higher % increase on the A320 compared to the A319 and A321?
It’s also interesting that the A321 will have a capacity of 205. I thought it would be limited to 200 as I understand going over 200 will require additional cabin crew (5 instead of 4).17 Jun 2014
I use Club Europe a fair amount on travel to and from London. One of the best parts of the CE experience has been the decent current seat.
The Lufthansa group went this route a few years back, and the premium passengers felt “NEKed” (Neues Europa Kabin = The new European Cabin).
With the declining yields in Europe, I have a some sympathy for this move as it provides a couple of advantages for BA:
1. More seats to sell
2. More flexible cabin, all though BA had a pretty good system already
3. My understanding is that these seats are significantly lighter, and accumulating this weight across the fleet x number of flights per annum x fuel prices it could end up being quite the saving.
The really question today is if there a stand-alone premium market left in Europe (excluding connections from long-haul) where a true premium hardware product along the lines of a US Domestic First seat has a profitable market? My layman’s view is no, so with a “scope creep” from LLCs this is another move to true commoditization of the airline business and we have partially brought this on ourselves as the vast majority of consumers purchase on price alone.
Having avoided SAS for a while due to the removal of Business, I recently completed an ARN-ATH-ARN trip in their SAS Plus with a middle-seat for 3½ hours. Surprisingly, I survived… So perhaps I will survive this move by BA as well…17 Jun 2014
The seats themselves are probably fine although presumably narrower than now. They could still introduce them and leave CE at 34″.The reduction from 34″ to 30″ presumably gives them one extra Y seat row for a reduction in pitch in 7 CE rows(approx) excluding the effect of a gain anyway from the thinner seats. So how many of these extra 6 seats will they sell at paid Y fares on flights that actually operate at 100% load factor in Y versus the number they will lose the total fare for CE/CW connecting passengers who can have a wide choice and regional CE passengers who may downgrade to Y. I am not sure I would like to take that gamble if I was them unless the end game is to justify getting rid of CE altogether.17 Jun 2014
Well said, PegasusAir. My modest contributions to BA’s coffers on European short-haul were just that – modest – but we did occasionally pay for CE. Not any more, and in fact for our next flights the rest of the family are flying SWISS (I am stuck with BA due to connection requirements, sadly)17 Jun 2014