After last Friday’s troubled day at London Heathrow Airport (that led to the cancelation of the scheduled press event), British Airways today presented their brand new Airbus A350-1000, and we were there to check it out!
The latest addition to BA’s fleet features their new business class product, branded as “Club Suite”. It also features a new iteration of their premium economy World Traveller Plus seat.
Although the plane arrived to Heathrow last Saturday, BA put on quite a show today to present it to the press. The plane was towed meters away from where we were standing on the tarmac, and there was a photo-op with the crew that brought it from Airbus factory in Toulouse.
The Business Class Cabin and the Club Suite
The new club suite is a radical improvement from the current business class product. The cabin consists of 56 closed suites in a 1-2-1 configuration. The cabin is split by the galley, with 11 rows in the front cabin and 3 rows in the back mini-cabin. Wood panelling and grey tones are predominant, resulting in a relaxed, yet elegant atmosphere.
The old Club World seat was a revolutionary product when it was introduced back in 2000, but since then better products have come to the market. For me, the weakest points of the old seat were the lack of privacy and aisle access in that 2-4-2 configuration.
The new suite addresses all these issues with an all-aisle access configuration where all seats face forward (no more awkward staring at fellow passengers). In terms of privacy, each suite features a privacy door that may be used after take-off and up until landing. Central suites also come with a privacy divider that can remain closed during take-off and landing, also assuring complete privacy.
The seat itself offers a 76” pitch x 22” width. For a small guy like me it is more than OK, but I can see it being narrow for passengers with bigger body frames.
In terms of storage space, the suite offers plenty. The overhead bins are spacious, and there’s also storage space underneath the IFE screen and in the lateral panel.
Also in the lateral panel, there is a small cabinet (with enough space for your amenity kit or a small personal item) and a vanity mirror seat .
Each seat also offers 2 USB power ports and 1 AC power port, both on the side cabinets.
The seat position is controlled through a touchscreen panel. There are 3 pre-set positions, but the seat is adjustable to each ones desires.
IFE features a 19” Panasonic touchscreen. A remote control is also available on the side cabinet.
Two of the suites were set to “sleeping mode”, featuring the complete bed set that will be offered onboard.
Some other features of the suite:
The World Traveller Plus (Economy Plus) Cabin
The economy plus cabin features 56 seats, 7 rows in a 2-4-2 configuration. In terms of pitch and width, the new seats are similar to those currently offered on their fleet. The main improvement include in this iteration is the addition of extendable foot rest in addition to the classic foot rest mounted on the seat in front.
Each seat offers a 12.5″ IFE screen and adjustable head rest. There is 1 USB power port and 1 AC power port per seat too.
The World Traveller (Economy Class) Cabin
The economy class cabin features 280 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. Here are some pictures:
The new Club Suite is simply gorgeous. The seat is comfortable in terms of the padding and the size, and the went for state-of-the-art features. Their business class product needed an update, as the Club World seat was not competitive anymore. Closed suites are definitely the future of all business class products and BA adopting this configuration shows that the market will inevitably tend that direction. Now, I’ll have to try it on a long-haul flight to test how comfortable it really is!