British Airways Teases Their New Business Class Seat With Photos

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.

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:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “Gate to gate entertainment”

    Hi Gary – as a frequent flyer I have borderline given up on the in flight entertainment systems. The jarring and unnecessary interruptions (“in flight credit card announcement!”, “seatbelt sign is off!”, “complementary beverage service!”) are enough to make me bring my iPad or Laptop for entertainment – which is “gate to gate” but with zero interruptions. Do you and other feel this way? What should the airlines do? Curious for your thoughts

  2. I hate those seats. I recently flew DXB / LHR and the stewardess kept lowering the divider and leaving it down. It also seeming lowered itself at random.

  3. Terrible layout, by far the worst configuration I’ve ever encountered. The FA has to reach across the passenger on the isle to reach the inside passenger. This is just annoying and should not happen in business. What the pic does not show is that the inside passengers have to literally step over the legs and feet of the isle passenger to get out.

  4. BA might have pioneered the lie-flat beds but they certainly got left behind. Also, the single configuration is the worse concept I have ever seen or experienced. Luckily I chose on a two separate occasions from Calgary to London managed to get 6J which was a forward facing seat and had no interruptions from the customer in the window seat.

    That ying and yang concept needs to be replaced.

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