British Airway has recently upgraded its business class cabin. The new Club World sees each passenger given a private suite. However, some have claimed that the cabin is better than the first-class offering. Will British Airways update its first-class cabin? Simple Flying investigates.
BA’s new business class cabin is the first hard product upgrade for the cabin in thirteen years. Replacing the 2-4-2 Yin Yang configuration is a new cabin of 1-2-1 suites where everybody has direct aisle access. With a business class cabin that rivals the current first class product, will British Airways be updating first class?
Will business class poach first passengers?
Some have suggested that the new Club Suite cabin could poach some customers from the first class cabin onboard aircraft such as the refurbished Boeing 777 which will have both cabins. At the inaugural flight of the carrier’s first Airbus A350, Simple Flying asked BA’s CEO, Alex Cruz, whether this was something that worried him.
Mr Cruz told us, “No… There is a lot of corporate travel which has its own corporate rules and own corporate agreements.” Before adding: “Based on what we’ve been discussing internally, the data that we have, we don’t think there will be a significant shift. There’ll be some, but I don’t feel it will be significant.”
Should we expect a new first-class cabin?
The answer is no, at least for the next couple of years. Mr. Cruz said that “the newly refurbished 777s will not have a brand new first-class seat.” However, he also mentioned “We are quite centred thinking about the 777-9. That’s when we hope there will be some sort of differentiated service.”
If British Airways was to introduce a new first-class hard product on the 777-9, passengers will need to wait a couple of years. According to the International Airlines Group, BA’s parent company, the airline will take delivery of its new Boeing 777-9 aircraft between 2022 and 2025.
Will people still book first-class?
Despite the gap between British Airways’ business and first-class product narrowing, Mr. Cruz’s predictions will likely be correct. The real difference in the cabins comes down to the soft product. The First cabin is much more exclusive, with cabin crew dealing with up to 14 passengers as opposed to over 40. Additionally, First class passengers will have access to amenities such as the airline’s first-class lounges, and food and drink exclusive to the First cabin.
A British Airways spokesperson told us “In First we have launched new a la carte menus with fresh British seasonal ingredients, new 400-thread count bedding, designer glassware, crockery and cutlery, new loungewear and brand new bespoke amenity kits containing a new range of Elemis products.”
Do you think British Airways will update its First cabin? Let us know in the comments!