This article was first published in the summer of 2019 as part of a 100 part series on the history of British Airways and its predecessor airlines, Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA. You can browse the full series of 100 stories in numerical order, by theme or by decade.
One of the indicators of the development of BA in the 1980s was the launch of branded cabins such as Club World and Club Europe.
Although “Club” is used uniquely by BA, it is now synonymous with business class.
It traces its origins to BA offering a separate cabin between First Class and Economy/Tourist Class for passengers buying full fare economy tickets on Boeing 747 aircraft operating to the USA from 29 October 1978.
In March 1981, BA introduced its first dedicated branded long-haul business class cabin “Super Club” on flights to the USA.
These were expanding seats in a 2-2-2 configuration with a folding table in the middle of each seat pair for drinks and personal items. BA promised it was the widest airline seat available with 24 inches between arm rests.
By 1984, this was extended to all BA long-haul routes and was the subject of this TV advert by Saatchi & Saatchi:
The “Super Club” branding was retained until the introduction of Club World in January 1988, which did of course evolve into the most important cabin, dubbed “the profit engine” of BA.