Updated: Mar 12
On Monday 29 July, 2019, British Airways finally unveiled their first Airbus A350-1000 to the world, and used it as a platform to show off their brand new Business Class product: Club Suite. AeroNewsX was invited to attend the event, which had been postponed due to congestion and delays at Heathrow on Friday.
During the delivery event, AeroNewsX spoke to Sajida Ismail, the Head of British Airways' in-flight product. She noted that the combination of the groundbreaking improvements provided by the A350, and the new Club Suite which once again puts BA at the forefront of what the world expects in a Business Class product, is a 'game-changer' for the company.
Ismail described British Airways as 'pioneers' in producing attractive on-board products. She mentioned that British Airways were the first airline to introduce a lie-flat bed on board an aircraft in 1999, and this is certainly clear in this new seat and aircraft.
"The club suite is customised to suit the needs of the customer" - Head of British Airways' In-Flight Product, Sajida Ismail.
From the outset, it was clear that BA was focused on the future and this makes perfect sense. The aircraft they introduced is intended to begin the replacement of their Boeing 747-400, the icon of their long haul fleet for more than two decades. In addition, the Club Suite represents a turn in British Airways' business class product in that this new seat allows British Airways to compete with the premium airlines that it now struggles against on long haul flights.
However, it goes without saying that this new seat does not solve British Airways' issue of competition on long-haul flights with low cost carriers in Economy, such as Norwegian. Although British Airways opted to ditch its First Class cabin allowing Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class cabins to be larger, this cabin layout definitely suits British Airways as an airline, in that they are a 'Jack of All Trades' providing a product for all types of customers.
Furthermore, the A350 is an aircraft which certainly attempts to improve the passenger's comfort, whatever class you travel in. The cabin is spacious, both in height and width, and ample legroom is provided even in economy, where you receive at least an extra half a palm of space past your knees. The cabin air supply is renewed every 2-3 minutes, and the cabin altitude is kept at 6,000ft throughout the flight, reducing the effects of dehydration and drowsiness, which flight attendants said were notably different to that of previous generation aircraft such as the 747. In addition, there is an eye-watering 40% decrease in noise on-board the A350, and a 25% reduction in fuel burn, which will compensate for the marked rise in fuel prices and operating costs which have greatly affected airlines across the globe.
The development of a new Club Suite seat, shows British Airways' dedication to innovation, and its continuation to providing a product that its passengers demand.
British Airways are proud of their history, setting standards for other airlines, and through this investment in a new fleet of aircraft and business class product, British Airways look ready to continue that trend.