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British Airways has unveiled its new business class seat – the Club Suite. In advance of its debut in July, we take a look at the future of business class flying with the airline

Tom Otley

The new British Airways Club Suite is coming any day now. Details have been released about the roll-out of the seat on the new A350-1000 aircraftthat the airline will begin receiving from July, and the retrofit of the product starting with the B777 fleet. This year you will find it on four A350-1000s and two B777200s, first on a few short-haul flights to Madrid in August and September, and then on select services to Toronto and Dubai from October.

For BA passengers used to flying in business class (or simply walking through it on the way to premium economy or economy), what’s initially striking is the new configuration. All seats face forward in a herringbone layout, replacing Club World’s familiar forward/backwardfacing yin-yang formation.

Herringbone takes its name from the angled look of the seats when viewed from above on a plan. Many airlines use this configuration since it allows seats to face forward while at the same time efficiently using the limited space in the business class cabin. The seat is the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond, which can be found on several carriers – we took a look at these in the business class seat guide in our previous issue, and the feature is available at businesstraveller.com to subscribers.

The current configuration of eight seats across (2-4-2) has been replaced by 1-2-1, but perhaps most surprising is the addition of a door, allowing BA to call the new Club World seat the Club Suite. British Airways’ in-house designers and product development team have been working on the seat since 2016 in close collaboration with Collins Aerospace at Winston-Salem in North Carolina.

BA boss Alex Cruz says: “We had a choice between a 100 per cent bespoke seat, an evolution of the existing Club World seat, and what we have selected [a bespoke version of the Super Diamond]. Each of those choices offered different types of challenges, but probably the criterion that overruled everything was speed to market, as well as it being a great product for our customers. As much as I’m not in love with the roll-out process, we will continue to work with the manufacturers to see if we can speed it up.”

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July - August 2019