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This Is British Airways New Club World Suite

British Airways has unveiled its new Club World Suite which will be fitted to new deliveries of Airbus A350-1000 aircaft this year.

London Air Travel

British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has unveiled its first radical redesign of its long-haul Club World business class cabin in nearly 20 years.

It was in 1999 that details first emerged of BA’s plan to unveil its first fully flat bed in business class, with a “yin-yang” rear and forward facing configuration.

Whilst the seat has been progressively modified over time, the fundamental layout of the cabin has remained the same. It is a layout that has served the airline well financially due to its space efficiency. However, it has by BA’s own admission and in the view of many frequent flyers, fallen behind its competitors which all offer direct aisle access to all passengers. Please see here for a history of Club World over the past 40 years or so.

BA has now jettisoned the yin-yang layout with an entirely new seat and cabin layout.

This will debut on the Airbus A350-1000 which will operate select flights from London Heathrow to Madrid this summer and selected long-haul flights to Toronto from 1 October 2019 and Dubai from 8 October 2019. BA will confirm the exact start date for short-haul test flights in June. There will be 56 Club World seats on the Airbus A350-1000.

The New Club World Suite

Here are details of the new seat:

– All seats have direct access to the aisle

– All seats are forward facing, albeit at a slight angle

– The seat is 79″ long when fully flat

– All seats benefit from greater privacy with a partial door to the seat

– Personal storage is improved significantly, with 40% more storage than the existing Club World seat. Storage facilities include a personal storage drawer and vanity unit

– There is a much larger 17″ – 18.5″ TV screen. It is now possible to watch the in-flight entertainment “gate to gate” as it does not have to be stowed for take-off and landing.

British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Club World Suite
British Airways Club World Suite (Image Credit: British Airways)

Continue reading “This Is British Airways New Club World Suite”

British Airways Returns To Dammam

British Airways will fly daily from London Heathrow to Dammam, via Bahrain, from Sunday 1 December 2019.

London Air Travel

Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Dammam, Saudi Arabia (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways is to return to Dammam, Saudi Arabia, after a break of more than seven years.

BA will fly to Dammam daily from London Heathrow Terminal 5 from Sunday 1 December 2019.

The route will operate as a “tag on” to BA’s existing service to Bahrain. These have gone out of fashion in recent years in favour of direct flights or local codeshares. Readers may recall BA used to fly to Doha via Bahrain.

The route will be operated with a four class Boeing 777-200 aircraft and flights are on sale now at ba.com

BA previously flew to Dammam up until September 2012 after inheriting the route from bmi British Midland.

London Heathrow – Bahrain – Dammam

Flight BA125 Depart London Heathrow 11:30 – Arrive Bahrain 20:55
Flight BA125 Depart Bahrain 21:55 – Arrive Dammam 22:45

Flight BA124 Depart Dammam 00:30 – Arrive Bahrain 01:10
Flight BA124 Depart Bahrain 02:20 – Arrive London Heathrow 06:40

Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 19 March 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel

iPad Air with smart pencil
iPad Air with smart pencil (Image Credit: Apple)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin, published every Tuesday at 06:00 GMT.

The news over the past week has of course been dominated by events in New Zealand the role of technology in amplifying extremism and distributing footage of terrorist acts.

Much has been already said about this. The promises of Facebook et al that they will clean up their act are starting to wear very thin. Like any business, they need to decide what it is they stand for.

Apple Unveils New iPads

Apple has unveiled two new iPad models.

Apple has launched a new iPad Air with a 10.5″ Retina display and support for Apple Pencil. This is intended to be a more affordable alternative to the iPad Pro.

A new iPad mini with a 7.9″ Retina display also includes support for Apple Pencil. Both are on sale now priced from £479 and £399 respectively.

On a related Apple note, the company is expected to unveil details of its new streaming TV service on Monday 25 March. Apple is reported to have completed filming of five series and another six or so are in production. (New York Times)

Spot The Difference…

Two stories in the Telegraph, about a month apart…

Telegraph Travel
Telegraph Travel

Also of note this week:

Trouble at BBC Radio 4 over budget cuts and adapting to changing listening habits. (The Times)

Brexit makes the cover of The New Yorker.

Two senior executives depart Facebook. (Facebook)

Rupert Murdoch is expected to complete the sale of his media & studio business, bar “toxic assets” such as Fox News, to Disney today. (Los Angeles Times)

Spotify hurls a brickbat at Apple. Apple fires back.

Our weekly Travel Media & Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 GMT. If you have any comments or suggestions, please e-mail us at mail [at] londonairtravel.com

What Else Is Happening With Club World?

As British Airways unveils its new Club World Suite, here’s what else to expect from BA long-haul business class in the coming years.

London Air Travel

British Airways Refurbished 52 Club World Seat Aircraft, November 2018
British Airways Refurbished 52 Club World Seat Aircraft, November 2018 (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways officially unveiled its new Club World Suite today, Monday 18 March 2019.

This is the first radical redesign of the Club World cabin in nearly 20 years. It will make its debut this year on new deliveries of Airbus A350-1000 and refurbished Boeing 777-200 aircraft. Please see here for full details of the new suite.

However, it is going to take some time before it is retrofitted to the existing fleet and for new aircraft to be delivered with the new seat. If history is anything to go by, it will be aircraft on Heathrow routes with the some of the highest premium demand that will be retrofitted first. For the next 2-3 years at least, the majority of BA long-haul flights will operate with the existing seat.

Of course, there is also more to Club World than just the seat. There is a lot else happening to the existing BA fleet. Here’s a quick precis of what else to expect in terms of aircraft, lounges and in-flight service in the coming years.

52 Club World Seat Boeing 747 Refurbishment

Last year, BA began refurbishing its 16 remaining 52 Club World seat Boeing 747 aircraft.

These regularly operate on routes from London Heathrow to Accra, Cape Town, Denver, Nairobi, Phoenix and Vancouver. They have long been known for their relatively poor interior condition.

Some aircraft have received a modest refresh with new carpeting and seat covers. Others have received a more substantial refurbishment with a new in-flight entertainment system to bring the aircraft in line with the 86 Club World seat aircraft. As more 52 Club World seat are refurbished this year and others are retired, the chances of flying on a non-refurbished aircraft should diminish.

Gatwick Boeing 777-200 Refurbishment

BA is about half way through a two year project to refurbish its Gatwick based Boeing 777s.

As far as Club World is concerned the main changes are that the size of the cabin is being reduced from 48 to 32 seats on 3 class aircraft. The cabin interiors are being refreshed and a significantly improved in-flight entertainment system installed.

At the time of writing 7 Boeing 777-200 aircraft have been refurbished. They regularly operate on routes such as Antigua, Cancun, Fort Lauderdale, Kingston, New York JFK, and Tampa. An 8th aircraft is currently in Singapore for refurbishment.

Continue reading “What Else Is Happening With Club World?”

Monday Briefing – 18 March 2019

Welcome to our weekly briefing on air travel in London and around the world, published every Monday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel

British Airways Club World logos from the late 1970s
British Airways Club World logos from the late 1970s

Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 18 March 2019.

Stand By For BA’s New Club World Seat

As has been widely trailed on social media over the weekend, BA will be officially unveiling its new Club World seat at around 10:00 GMT this morning.

Much is known already. It’s an entirely new seat and cabin layout with direct aisle access for all passengers. Unlike the existing Club World seat it is not an entirely bespoke design for the airline.

There will be gate to gate in-flight entertainment for the first time. Privacy and personal storage will also be significantly improved.

There is also an important element of expectations management. It is going to take some time for new aircraft to arrive with the new seat. The first 4 of 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft will arrive this year. Next year, BA will begin to take delivery of 12 Boeing 787-10 aircraft and 18 Boeing 777-9 aircraft from 2022. It will also take time to retrofit to the existing fleet and many aircraft will not be retrofitted.

The importance of Club World to BA cannot be overstated. It is not dubbed the “profit engine” for no reason. History has shown that the financial performance of the airline is inextricably linked to volumes of Club World traffic.

It’s also worth remembering how very reluctant BA has been to give up the existing 2-(3/4)-2 layout. Up until a couple of years ago IAG was adamant that whilst the seat would be updated for the Airbus A350 it would maintain the existing cabin layout because of its space efficiency. Market forces have dictated otherwise.

Here’s our history of Club World from its humble origins as a curtained off section of economy in the 1970s, to Super Club, and Club World.

Virgin Atlantic is also expected to reveal its new Upper Class cabin for its Airbus A350-1000 in the next few weeks.

Boeing 787 Woes Continue For BA

There are signs that the Trent 1000 engine Boeing 787 Dreamliner issues are not going away at BA.

It will continue to wet lease an Air Belgium A340 aircraft throughout the summer on selected London Heathrow – Toronto flights. BA has also instituted blanket cancellations on Mumbai and New Delhi.

Continue reading “Monday Briefing – 18 March 2019”

AA & BA Increase Heathrow – Miami To Five Times Daily

American Airlines and British Airways will operate five daily flights from London Heathrow to Miami from Sunday 27 October 2019.

London Air Travel

Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Ocean Drive, Miami Beach (Image Credit: London Air Travel)

American Airlines & British Airways will jointly operate up to five daily flights between London Heathrow and Miami from Sunday 27 October 2019 to Saturday 28 March 2020.

The increase has been achieved by American Airlines reinstating a second daily flight for the winter season and BA maintaining a third daily flight it added last year.

It’s a route where you can certainly adopt a “pick and mix” approach as far as aircraft are concerned.

At the time of writing, American Airlines timetables are showing a Boeing 777-300 on both of its outbound flights from London Heathrow, but a Boeing 777-200 and 777-300 on the inbound flights. However, this may change. We have recently reviewed American Airlines Boeing 777-200 and Boeing 777-300 business class.

BA will operate the Boeing 747 on two flights and one flight with the Airbus A380.

Flights are on sale now at aa.com and ba.com

Continue reading “AA & BA Increase Heathrow – Miami To Five Times Daily”

The Evolution of British Airways Club World

As BA introduces its new Club World seat, how the concept of “Club” long-haul business class has evolved in 40 years.

London Air Travel

British Airways Club World Outdoor Advertisement 2000
British Airways Club World Outdoor Advertisement 2000

British Airways is about to officially launch its new Club World seat. This is the first radical redesign of its long-haul business cabin in 20 years.

It is by some margin the most important cabin for the airline. The financial performance of BA is inextricably linked to the volume of long-haul business class traffic. Here’s how it has evolved, both in terms of cabin design and marketing, since the very first origins of “Club” 40 years ago.

The Origins Of “Club”

Which airline deserves credit for the introduction of long-haul business class depends on who you ask.

Qantas claims to be the first airline to introduce a dedicated long-haul business class cabin in 1979.

However, it was in May 1977 that British Airways introduced an “Executive Club” cabin on its Boeing 747 flights to New York. The relatively large size of the aircraft allowed for the introduction of new cabins. This was a separate cabin for economy passengers paying the full fare, divided by a not particularly attractive curtain.

A year later this became known as Club, a word which has become synonymous with business class. The Club cabin was soon extended to all transatlantic routes, and then worldwide.

Super Club

In March 1981, BA launched “Super Club” on transatlantic routes

These were expanding seats in a 2-2-2 configuration with a folding table in the middle of each seat pair. BA promised it was the widest airline seat available with 24 inches between arm rests.

The “Super Club” seat was extended to all long-haul routes worldwide, as illustrated by the 1984 advert below where the aircraft had to be opened up to fit the seat in it. This was one of Saatchi & Saatchi’s earliest TV adverts for BA and you can see the cinematic influence.

This is one iteration of the “Super Club” seat. Before personal TV screens were introduced in the 1990s, personal at seat in-flight entertainment amounted to in-flight audio only.

British Airways Super Club Seat
British Airways Super Club Seat

Club World

British Airways Club World Ticket Wallet
British Airways Club World Ticket Wallet

It was in January 1988 that BA introduced the “Club World” brand.

Club on short-haul flights was also rebranded as Club Europe. For the first time Club World had a dedicated cabin crew as well as new a “slumberseat”.

The launch was marked with this TV advert. A group of colleagues in London think they have set up a colleague seconded to New York to fail by despatching him on a red rye flight to London in business class. “Like a lamb to the slaughter, gentleman”.

Whilst the advert emphasised how the Club World cabin addresses the needs of the business traveller, such naked male one-upmanship is not something we would see in airline advertising today.

Continue reading “The Evolution of British Airways Club World”

British Airways Mumbai & New Delhi Cancellations

British Airways has put in place blanket cancellations from London Heathrow to Mumbai and New Delhi from April to June 2019.

London Air Travel

BA Boeing 787 at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff

British Airways has put in place blanket cancellations from London Heathrow to Mumbai and New Delhi from April to June 2019.

BA143 from London Heathrow to New Delhi is cancelled from Sunday 31 March to Monday 15 April 2019.

BA142 from New Delhi to London Heathrow is cancelled from Monday 1 April to Tuesday 16 April 2019.

BA139 from London Heathrow to Mumbai is cancelled from Friday 14 June to Sunday 30 June 2019.

BA138 from Mumbai to London Heathrow is cancelled from Saturday 15 June to Monday 1 July 2019.

No specific reason has been given for the cancellation other than “operational reasons”. It is likely that aircraft availability due to ongoing maintenance issues with the Boeing 787 fleet is the cause.

Passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to a full refund. Passengers should also be able to rebooked on alternative BA flights between London Heathrow and Mumbai (BA199/BA198) and New Delhi (BA257/BA256).

Affected passengers can check the status of their booking on ba.com and should contact BA or their travel agent.

Air Belgium to operate Heathrow – Toronto for British Airways

Air Belgium is to operate one of British Airways’ daily flights from London Heathrow to Toronto from 9 June to 17 August 2019.

London Air Travel

Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft Air Belgium Airbus A340 aircraft (Image Credit: Air Belgium)

Air Belgium’s Airbus A340 aircraft will soon become a firm fixture at London Heathrow Terminal 5 for almost a year.

It is covering selected flights from Heathrow – Dubai until the end of March, and Heathrow – Newark from April to early June. Air Belgium will now also cover one of BA’s twice daily return flights from Heathrow to Toronto Pearson.

One return flight, BA93 & BA92 from London Heathrow to Toronto, will be operated by Air Belgium from Sunday 9 June to Saturday 17 August 2019.

The flight will be operated by an Air Belgium A340-300 aircraft.

The overall service standard should be similar to that of BA.

Rebooking Options

All passengers have the option of rebooking on to BA’s alternative return flights from Gatwick or Heathrow to Toronto (BA2271/BA2270 BA99/BA98) as close to your original date of travel as possible.

Full refunds are not available to any passengers, except First Class and Club World passengers, unless allowed by the original fare rules.

First Class Passengers

There is no First Class cabin on Air Belgium aircraft.

Unless passengers rebook on to an alternative BA service, they will be downgraded to business class and receive a partial refund of their fare.

Passengers will still have a First Class baggage allowance, earn the Avios and Tier Points of the First Class fare, and have access to First Class ground facilities such as the Concorde Room at London Heathrow.

Alternatively, passengers can request a full refund.

Premium Economy Passengers

There is no premium economy cabin on Air Belgium aircraft.

Unless passengers rebook on to an alternative BA service, they will be downgraded to economy and receive a partial refund of their fare.

Passengers will retain their original baggage allowance and Avios earning entitlement. Some passengers may also be upgraded to business class.

Passengers can check the status of their booking using the Manage My Booking tool on ba.com

Affected passengers should contact BA or their travel agent.

American Airlines Codeshare

This flight is codeshared with American Airlines under flight numbers AA6207 and AA6210.

As American Airlines does not have regulatory approval to codeshare on BA flights operated by other airlines, AA passengers will have to rebook onto an alternative BA operated service between London and Toronto.

The Atlantic Update – Wednesday 13 March 2019

A weekly bulletin on transatlantic travel, published every Wednesday at 06:00 GMT.

London Air Travel

Vessel, Heatherwick Studio, Hudson Yards, New York
Vessel, Heatherwick Studio, Hudson Yards, New York (Image Credit: Hudson Yards)

Welcome to the The Atlantic Update for Wednesday 13 March 2019, our weekly update on transatlantic travel from Europe to North America.

Hudson Yards New York Opens This Week

Hudson Yards, a $25bn mixed use development on Manhattan’s west side that is cited as New York’s most ambitious real estate development since the Rockefeller Center, officially opens to the public this Friday.

Much of Hudson Yards’ towers of office and private residential accommodation will be out of bounds to the public.

However, there will be a new public arts centre The Shed opening in April and an Equinox branded hotel opening in June as well as many shops and restaurants.

There are many UK influences. One restaurant “Wild Ink” will be operated by the Rhubarb hospitality group, it’s first location outside the UK.

The biggest draw for visitors to the city is likely to the Thomas Heatherwick Studio’s structure “Vessel”. Dubbed an “infinite staircase”, the work is a 16 storey, cyclonic shaped structure of hexagonal platforms that spirals upwards. It will no doubt be a source of many thousands of Instagram posts a day. Pre-booking will be required.

Mondrian Los Angeles Refurbishment

The Mondrian hotel in West Hollywood Los Angeles was one of first examples of the “urban resort” hotel.

The Mondrian Los Angeles is owned by Morgans Hotel Group which was originally founded by Ian Schrager and Steve Rubbell, famous of course for running notorious New York night club Studio 54.

The hotel was known for its Philippe Starck designed interiors, “see and be seen” bars, and celebrity filled launch parties. As a guest of the couple of years ago it has to be said the experience for hotel guests was not so great. It’s a very popular hotel for private events. It may have been unfortunate timing but it often felt that hotel guests came secondary to hosting events in its bars and restaurants.

With an experience like that, logic dictates to chalk it up to experience and stay somewhere else next time. However, the hotel has recently undergone a $19m refurbishment and it certainly looks tempting to give it another go.

Also of note this week:

Dirty Lemon opens a shop in New York’s Tribeca neighbourhood where payment is voluntary. (New York Times)

Late Post Publication Updates

[Reserved for updates during the day.]

The Atlantic Update is published every Wednesday at 06:00 GMT. If you have any comments, suggestions or tips then please drop us a line at mail [@] londonairtravel.com