British Airways pioneered lie flat seats in long haul business class. The seats weren’t wide or private, but they were classy with blue fabric and brown leather. I actually liked the old lie flat business class seat that I flew a decade ago (‘New Club World’) more than the current iteration that feels like a sea of impersonal corporate cubes (‘Next Generation Club World’).
The current seat is well overdue for a refresh. The basics of the current seat began rolling out in 2006.
Over the past five years there’s been a cottage industry in predicting what once-innovative British Airways would do next. For instance they patented a new seat design in 2014.
The airline did reveal some time ago that their new Airbus A350s would feature a new seat, and those planes are anticipated mid-year. So we’re getting close. Although expectations have been significantly dampened. Starting about two years ago we started learning that the idea of a true custom product was ditched.
At parent company IAG’s Capital Markets Day in the fall the told us:
- The seat will be larger
- Offer aisle access
- Have gate-to-gate entertainment
By the end of 2019 there could be 4 Airbus A350s with the seat and 2 Boeing 777s retrofitted.
British Airways has teased us with a photo of the arm rest of their new business class seat, which alone seems to signal there’s nothing to get excited about here.
— British Airways (@British_Airways) March 16, 2019
They’ve shared some other similarly un-illuminating photos:
We can expect that the seat will be better than what British Airways currently offers, but I’d be surprised if it’s something as good as joint business venture partner American Airlines’ Super Diamond seat let alone something like Delta One Suites or Qatar Airways QSuites. Lucky guesses it will be a reverse herringbone seat, rather than something staggered.
And when the seat rolls out much of the fleet will still offer this: