British Airways Has A Secret Airbus A321 Business Class Cabin

British Airways has a secret business class cabin aboard four of it’s Airbus A321 aircraft. While not widely published, four of the aircraft have business class in a staggered 1-2, 2-1 configuration.

British Airways, Airbus A321, Long Haul, Secret Business Class
One of British Airways’ four long haul Airbus A321s. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

There are two typical business class configurations onboard British Airways aircraft. Short-haul aircraft are fitted out with regular economy seats where the middle seat has been blocked. This guarantees every passenger a window or aisle seat. With this configuration, the size of the business class cabin is easily changed. In fact, Simple Flying has observed as many as 13 rows of Club Europe on a standard Airbus A321 before.

On the other end of the spectrum, the carrier has lie-flat beds on long haul flights in business class. The airline’s new business class seat even turns into a fully functioning suite. However, in between this, the carrier has four aircraft. These Airbus A321s have a secret business class seat which is more than an economy seat, but less than a lie-flat bed. Let’s take a look:

The seat

With the long haul layout Airbus A321, there is a solid division between the business and economy class cabins. This is unlike the standard A321s, where the curtain is moveable. As such, the aircraft has a fixed number of seats in each cabin. This stands at 23 ‘Club World’ seats, and 131 World Traveller seats.

British Airways, Airbus A321, Long Haul, Secret Business Class
The ‘Club World’ seats on British Airways’ Long Haul Airbus A321s. Photo: Anthony Biddulph

The seats are laid out in an alternating pattern of 1-2, and 2-1. The exception is the emergency exit row which is 1-1. The seats have an electronic recline function, allowing passengers to get some sleep on some of the longer flights it serves. According to British Airways, the Airbus A321 flies on the following routes:

  • Aberdeen;
  • Cairo;
  • Edinburgh;
  • Glasgow;
  • Manchester;
  • Moscow;
  • Newcastle;
  • Tel Aviv.
British Airways, Airbus A321, Long Haul, Secret Business Class
BAs long haul Airbus A321 seating map. Image: British Airways

The Airbus A321 with the “throne” seats, as they are commonly referred to, typically operate on the longer A321 routes such as Moscow, Cairo, and Tel Aviv. However, the aircraft can be substituted onto other routes depending on the operational needs of the airline. For example, one flew from Paris (CDG) to London (LHR) on Wednesday.

The Airbus A321s

British Airways has a total of four Airbus A321s with the long-haul cabin fit-out. The airline told us that these aircraft are registered as G-MEDF, G-MEDG, G-MEDJ, G-MEDU.

All four aircraft were previously operated by BMI. G-MEDF is 17.6 years old, G-MEDG is 17.5 years old, G-MEDJ is 15.5 years old, and G-MEDU is just 10.3 years old. It looks like these aircraft, especially G-MEDU, still have some work left in them yet. However, British Airways could one day replace the cabin interior. (Aircraft data via Planespotters.net).

Have you flown on one of BA’s long-haul Airbus A321s? What did you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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