BA confirms fully-flat seating on Bmi A321s

British Airways is to fit former Bmi A321 aircraft with a fully-flat “Club World” seat, although it will differ to that already offered by BA, and will be configured in a staggered 1-2, 2-1 layout.

These revamped aircraft will come online in the new year, and will serve mid-haul routes including Heathrow-Tel Aviv.

The move had been rumoured for sometime, and has been discussed on our forum here.

A spokesperson for BA confirmed that while the A321 business class cabin will offer fully-flat seating and will be marketed as “Club World”, the product will differ to that familiar to long-haul BA passengers.

The seat will be configured 1-2 in the first row, then 2-1 behind, and alternating in this way to the back of the cabin.

Similar to seats launched by Finnair in 2009, the two seats positioned either side of the single seat in front of it will have their leg space under the side tables either side of the single seat (see this report and image on the Finnair seat for a better idea).

No images are available of the new seat as yet, but BA has given Business Traveller the following information on the new economy and business class seats which will appear on the A321 aircraft:

  • Business class: 23 Thompson Aero Seating 78” lie-flat beds with 45” seat pitch – a revolutionary new seat offering greater personal space, setting standards for comfort
  • Economy Class seat: 131 Geven “Piuma” economy seats with 31” pitch – state of the art design and new stylish appearance
  • IFE: Thales i5000 AVOD system to all seats
We have also been given the following LOPA (layout of passenger accommodation) image:


The news was confirmed as BA announced the next part of its integration of Bmi into this winter’s operations at Heathrow. Key points include:

  • A new three times-daily service to Rotterdam from December 9
  • Three flights per week to Alicante from October 28
  • BA flights to Gibraltar will increase from seven to nine flights per week
  • The carrier’s Tel Aviv route will increase from 14 to 20 services per week, with the new A321s serving flights from the new year
  • Bmi services to Dammam will cease on September 16, with routes to Bishkek and Khartoum stopping on October 1, Yerevan on October 13, and Amritsar and Casablanca on October 28
  • Bmi services to Cairo, Moscow, Riyadh and Jeddah will cease, although BA’s flights to these destinations will continue
  • BA’s flights to Riyadh will be served with a B747 rather than the current B777

For more information visit

Report by Mark Caswell

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  • To clarify, these are generic images of the Thompson Aero seat – BA has yet to release specific images of its new seating. Several carriers including Swiss, Brussels Airlines and Finnair (as detailed above) use this style of seat.

    Business Traveller has been invited by BA to go and see a mock-up of the seat closer to the launch date, and will publish further information on this site.

  • I find it strange that BA would do away with Premium Economy on the LHR-TLV flights. They always seemed very popluar on the flights I’ve taken.

  • This really is typical of the – well, whatever the opposite of ‘joined-up thinking’ is – at BA. Gifted with a smartly-fitted fleet of 321s ideal for mid-haul services like TLV, CAI, LCA, DME where no-one really needs or expects to SLEEP but would appreciate a huge comfy seat and some working telly instead of those battered and clapped-out 767s … what do they do, butcher them not to introduce the existing and much-appreciated Club World product, but an expensive new design more suited to widebodies.

    VintageKrug you’ll tick me off for slagging off your beloved BA, but it does make you wonder what sort of Tristans and teenagers are sat round the design table at BA HQ …

  • Small point JohnnyFox – the seats were ordered and delivered before BA actually took over BMI. If they didn’t install them, they’d either have to send them elsewhere or let them rot in the hanger at EMA.

  • It is about time for business class passengers to enjoy what they had paid for when flying single aisle aircraft (mostly A320&A321) for more than 2 hours within Europe or to the Middle East and Africa. Lufthansa,Austrian and Air France have been flying passengers in business for years squeezed in a narrow 17 inch wide coach class seat with seat pitch not more than 34 inch for 4 hours or more.They call this “European” class .

    There are very good examples of how the successful Gulf carriers made it to the top while the European carriers are crying foul about lack of business.As the Americans say:build it and they will come.

  • The picture of actual bmi seats has been publicly available since at least 18 July:

    I’m really encouraged by this mid-haul seat, less so about the confusion which will be inevitable by branding this Club World on the BA booking page. Club World Regional or similar might have been better for describing the cabin, just as Club World London City has a slightly different designation for the specific seat used, while the service maintains the Club World branding.

    I understand the seats were purchased some months/years ago, but never fitted to the aircraft; bmi had effectively already paid for them and they were sitting in a warehouse in East midlands airport, costing money to store. So it makes sense to use them like this.

    A proper Mid-Haul product has been a long time coming, and this is great news.

  • Here’s my take:

    October 28 BA launches 3 flights a day

    • Best news: 3 flights a day from TLV to LHR and return. New Airbus aircraft with plenty of space for carryon luggage, much nicer business class with longer better beds and more room. New, more comfortable seats in economy. More headroom, Brand new inflight entertainment with plug-ins for your own stuff. Power at every seat.Say bye bye to those ancient 767s with 90’s seats and no room for carry on.

    • More flights…. From TLV: Early morning, late afternoon, and evening flights– so you can get a whole day of work done in Israel and still arrive at 10 30 PM. From London early morning, late morning -so you can now connect from the US and Asia Pac flights without having to do 2 red eyes in a row. Or spend day in London and take the late flight back.

    • Great new lounges and facilities.

    • The good news: Better US transfers because flights will be going to Terminal 1 with faster connections to all terminals. Now that BA is taking over BMI, they are going to have faster, better transit to and from all terminals. Plus no train transferring to get to the tube or express to town.

    • T1 should have less lines with fewer massive airplanes landing there, so get off get through customs and get going, With three flights a day – meaning extra capacity so it will be easier to travel when you want.

  • Anybody knows if they new A321 will also be flying to BEY??? If I check seatplan for 1 OCT LHRBEY it show the 1-2 layout, while on the 3rd of October it’s standard 2-2 but with Emergency Exit at Row 6?? Kind of confusing…

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