British Airways is to introduce its “Club Europe” business class cabin on all of its UK domestic routes from Friday 31 March 2017.
Currently, all UK domestic routes operate with a single class configuration on board. From Friday 31 March 2017, all UK domestic flights will operate in a two class, Club Europe business class and EuroTraveller economy configuration.
(Note, BA’s official guidance says that Club Europe launches on Saturday 1 April, but ba.com is showing it as available from Friday 31 March.)
This means passengers in Club Europe will benefit from seating in 2-2, rather than 3-3 configuration on all Airbus aircraft from London Gatwick and Heathrow as well as complimentary food & drink (though this is likely to be limited given the relatively short flying times).
This will be particularly beneficial to passengers connecting to/from long-haul flights in Club World and First Class who will at least be guaranteed a seat towards the front of the cabin and complimentary food and beverage.
BA has historically offered a form of business class on its UK domestic routes known as “Business UK” which affords ticket flexibility as well access to business class check-in, lounges and priority boarding, but with no differentiated service on board or increased baggage allowance.
From an initial scan of ba.com one way fares do seem very high with one way fares in excess of £300. However, return fares seem more reasonable.
What happens to existing bookings?
If you have an existing booking on any BA UK domestic route from 31 March, whether you are upgraded to the new Club Europe cabin will depend on the booking class of your fare. If you have booked a Business UK ticket or one of the more expensive economy fares, you will be upgraded to Club Europe.
If the booking class is J, C, D, R, I, U your booking will change to Club Europe.
If the booking class is Y, this should be changed to J, which is now a Club Europe booking class.
If the booking class is B, H, K, M, L, N, Q, S, G or X, you will be booked into the EuroTraveller economy cabin.
It is also worth checking your seating assignment as the front rows of the cabin will be allocated to Club Europe and any existing seating assignments towards the front of the aircraft may be lost. Historically, the size of the Club Europe cabin varies by flight and the number of rows in the cabin allocated to Club Europe is set 72 hours before departure.
If you have paid for seating on a UK domestic flight and your seat selection has been changed you should be entitled to a refund if alternative choices are not satisfactory.
If you will be travelling on a UK domestic flight in Club Europe you should also benefit from an increased checked baggage allowance of two pieces.
If you have an existing booking, it is also worth checking whether there are any fixed price upgrade offers on the Manage My Booking tool.
What food and drink will be offered on board?
The food and drink offer should be broadly similar to Club Europe on flights to mainland Europe.
On early morning flights to Scotland and Northern Ireland a hot English breakfast or vegetarian alternative will be offered. On early morning flights to Manchester and Leeds-Bradford you will be offered a bacon roll, a selection of fresh fruit, bread and croissants and a dairy product, such as a yoghurt with fruit compote.
On mid-morning flights you will be offered a plate of continental cold meats and cheese or a hot sandwich.
For lunch and dinner you can choose between a fresh salad and a hot sandwich. And finally, in the afternoon, you will be offered sandwiches or a Ploughman’s salad, both served with cake.
There will also be a complimentary bar on all flights. There’s more guidance on ba.com
What UK domestic routes are operated by BA?
BA flies to Glasgow and Edinburgh from both London City and London Gatwick. BA also flies to Belfast, Manchester, Leeds-Bradford, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness from London Heathrow.
Flights are on sale now at ba.com