British Airways Club World will be getting a number of upgrades on the airline’s long-haul routes. The new Club World service will initially be rolled out as “soft” improvements before new seats are eventually introduced. The new seats are expected to begin introduction next year. British Airways is clearly taking the improvements to their business class product rather seriously, as the airline is reportedly investing £600m on the upgrades. Given the current pace of introduction that British Airways is following, it is likely that the changes will take quite some time to be fully rolled out across the fleet.
JFK Route Debut
The upgrades that British Airways is reportedly looking to bring to Business Class have been trialled on the airline’s New York JFK route. Beginning in September 2017 BA rolled out a new restaurant-style catering service. A month later in October 2017, the airline went on to introduce a new bedding on the route. The rollout of the bedding was supposed to coincide with the catering roll out. This was, however, delayed as the bedding was reportedly the same colour as the carpet, posing a trip hazard during emergency situations.
Changes To Initial Improvements
It appears as though British Airways has identified some issues while trialling the new soft improvements. The teething problems identified by the airline will reportedly be removed from the service offered from the 28th October 2018. A British Airways spokesperson reportedly told Business Traveller that the following changes are to be expected:
- Priority order at beginning of service;
- Separate meal and drink order (as per the original service routine);
- Starter order to be taken with main meal order;
- Starter and dessert delivery fully hand-run;
- Special meals delivered at the same time as standard meals;
- Removal of the service trolley, etagere, wine bowl and associated equipment.
The airline had been taking the food down the cabin with the use of a trolley, allowing the customer to see the food before selecting it. While it was good that the customers were able to see what they were choosing, the process was rather time-consuming. British Airways said that the biggest passenger complaint was the speed at which the cabin was being served.
“Our £600m investment in Club World including the new catering and The White Company bedding is proving incredibly popular with customers and driving fantastic feedback around the quality and comfort of the experience. We can’t be complacent though, and look to continuously improve by testing changes to the service style.”
Direct Aisle Access
British Airways, as part of the rollout, will be introducing new seats to the Club World cabin. The biggest improvement being introduced is the addition of direct aisle access for every single Club World seat. This will be a boon for passengers who will no longer need to hassle others to leave their seat. The introduction of direct aisle access is something that many carriers such as Aer Lingus are adding to their business class product. While it is arguably one of the most important current trends in the cabin, British Airways has taken their time to implement it.
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