BRITISH AIRWAYS: to remove ‘convict class’ with new seats for A380 including Business and First
According to a report back in July 2023 by John Aldridge in the Sunday Times – which I accessed on Apple News, British Airways is going to invest millions in the refurbishment of its 12 A380’s, including removing convict class. It will be introducing new seats in the A380, which suggests they might be flying with the airline into the 2030s. He criticises former CEO Alex Cruz along the way.
‘Hundreds of millions of pounds will be spent refitting BA’s 12 A380 double-decker superjumbos. This is an aircraft so popular with passengers that most airlines make it their flagship — but, under Cruz, it became BA’s most dated jet. It will have a new first class — perhaps on the upper deck for the first time — the popular new business-class Club Suite, also upstairs, and new premium economy and economy cabins.’Sean Doyle, CEO British Airways
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The BA A380s uniquly (?) have business class and economy on both decks of the superjumbo plus First Class on the lower deck, and Premium Economy (World Traveller Plus) on the upper deck.
Different airlines with the A380 use different decks for Business and first. Singapore and Qantas have first class on the lower deck, and business on the upper. ANA on the other hand devotes the lower deck to Economy, and houses all the premium cabins on the upper deck. Emirates is similar, but with Premium Economy downstairs.
The new Business Class seats for British Airways are known as Club Suites, and incorporate doors, replacing the head to toe sardine or ‘convict class’ that still exists on much of the BA longhaul fleet. The Club Suites not only have a sliding door, but also more space and direct aisle access. It’s expected that these, or an updated version will be fitted in the A380s.
As for First Class, expect an update to the relatively new First Suite, which also sports a sliding door. That version of the Suite is now being installed on the Boeing 777 fleet
The A380s were scheduled for an interior update this year, 2023 through until 2025. That all went out the door during the pandemic, as the A380s were grounded, and threatenend never to fly again.
That plan too has changed with the A380s back in the sky, and continuing to be the workhorse of airlines while there is huge travel demand
Personally, I expect that the A380s will see a reduction in First Class seats, as has occurred on other airines as they refurbish. I’m thinking Singapore Airlines. When the first cabin moved upstairs it changed from 12 suites to six, admittedly larger suites. Maybe BA’s First Suites will shrink in number accordingly from the current 14. We shall see if they are any larger.
I’m glad they are planning to still fly the A380s into the 2030s. As they admit it is immensly popular with travellers, and that includes me. Although I have never been a fan of the Club World ‘c’convict class’ business onfiguration.