British Airways has unveiled its highly-anticipated new business class seat - 'Club Suite' - and confirmed it will arrive on the first of its A350 aircraft in July. It is standard practice for aircraft manufacturers to advise an airline 30-days in advance of the specific delivery date of a new aircraft so British Airways will announce the date the A350 will join its fleet in June.
The airline's sophisticated and newly-branded 'Club Suite' offers direct-aisle access, a suite door for greater privacy and luxurious flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Boasting 40 per cent more storage, including a vanity unit and mirror, WiFi, enviable 18.5-inch inflight entertainment screens*, high definition gate-to-gate programming, and PC / USB power; every aspect of British Airways' Club Suite has been designed for today's customer.
The A350 aircraft itself will also promote a feeling of well-being, space and calm due to its reduced noise levels, high ceilings and ambient lighting which is intended to compliment the time of day and outside light. Customers will leave their flight feeling rested thanks to higher levels of humidity and refreshed air as the cabin pressure is equivalent to an altitude of just 6,000 feet. There are also environmental benefits to flying on the state-of the-art A350 as 25 per cent lower fuel burn significantly reduces CO2 emissions.
As well as a new 56-seat Club World cabin, the three-cabin A350 will feature the latest World Traveller Plus cabin (56 seats) with new furnishings including a plush new pillow and warm quilt, new amenity kits and an enhanced service and an improved dining experience. The World Traveller (economy) cabin offers 219 seats. Customers will also benefit from high-speed WiFi, allowing travellers to browse the internet on their personal electronic devices.
The airline, which is marking its centenary this year, will roll out the new suites in a carefully managed programme designed to minimise disruption to customers.
During phase one, the first A350 aircraft will start some short-haul flying between London and Madrid to allow the airline's teams to perfect their customer service delivery and familiarise cabin crew with the aircraft layout.
In phase two, from October 1, 2019, the aircraft will begin long-haul flying. During this period another three A350 aircraft will join the British Airways fleet and two Boeing 777 aircraft will also be retrofitted with the new cabin.
At the start of 2020 phase three will begin which will see British Airways rolling out its Club Suite on further long-haul aircraft across the network.
Alex Cruz, British Airways' Chairman and CEO, said: "The arrival of our first A350 featuring our new Club Suite is one of the most exciting developments in our £6.5 billion investment programme.
"Each new suite has direct aisle access and comes with a personal door - design features which were incorporated as a direct result of the feedback we've had from our customers. We've worked hard to ensure every aspect of the Club World experience from the lounges we've refreshed, to the new gourmet menus from Do&Co on flights from Heathrow, and the luxurious bedding we've introduced from The White Company exudes the very British style and quality customers expect from us.
"At British Airways we have one of Europe's largest long-haul fleets and most far-reaching global networks, so it will take some time to make the cabin available to everybody. We hope that as more customers have the chance to experience it, they'll enjoy travelling in it as much as we've enjoyed designing it."
As part of British Airways' £6.5 billion investment for its customers, the airline is also delivering changes to its First, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins, delivering exceptional new restaurant-style catering from Do&Co, rolling out industry-leading Wi-Fi on board and opening new lounges across the world. New routes being launched this year include Osaka, Pittsburgh and Charleston.
*The Inflight entertainment system size varies slightly by aircraft type and will be between 17 and 18.5 inches.