For months now there's been rampant speculation about British Airways "next" business class seat, including leaked designs, potential manufacturers and patents. For those eagerly awaiting the update, hoping for a seat to rival the best current, increasingly luxurious offerings, there's a new twist in the plot. It appears that all the speculation was in vain...
Willie Walsh, CEO of the IAG group, which owns British Airways amongst other airlines, was quoted this week saying that their current business class is "the most efficient, we're gunna keep that". That's a highly debatable statement. While business class is always a welcome departure from coach, it's hard to fathom why an airline would settle for an already outdated seat that's very quickly becoming obsolete in todays rapidly enhancing business climate.
The trend in business class is very simple: direct aisle access for all, nearly private suites, increased privacy, flat beds, enhanced airport streamlining services, refined dining, bespoke beverage programs and oversized electronic displays. To achieve this mandate, airlines are moving across the board to four, maximum six seats across almost all aircraft types, creating a "premium" effect. British Airways' current eight across offering is double the density of what's become the new standard. They can make up for some of the offset in service, but there's only so long to consider these seats viable with new and improved products entering the market each year.
This is great news for deal hunters, as the airline will undoubtedly continue to "super" sale its diminishing product, while terrible news for those who've hoped their beloved airline would make the jump into the future of business class. At least for now, it's Club World as you've known it.... for the last ten plus years.