After removing the first class cabin entirely from designs for some new aircraft and focusing instead on improving the Club World cabin, British Airways leadership has confirmed that updated first class seats are in the works. The new designs are said to be based on the first class seats found on the airline’s Boeing 787 aircraft.
After public comments seeming to suggest that British Airways would rely on service and in-flight amenities to drive the first class cabin experience rather than installing new seats, CEO Alex Cruz appears to have reversed course, promising that updated and more luxurious first class seats are in development. He warned, however, that the seat manufacturer’s production woes could stymie progress.
Earlier this year, while discussing the rollout of BA’s new Club World cabin seats, Cruz indicated that moving forward, the first class cabin would likely be differentiated from the business class cabin not by “hard products” such as seat size and private suites, but will instead involve upgrades to the “soft products,” including menus, cocktails and stepped-up service. He admitted this was the airline’s focus as it worked “to conceive the new first class experience of the future.”
The airline confirmed earlier this year that the carrier’s newest Airbus 350-1000 aircraft will be configured with three cabins, dropping the first class cabin entirely. Executives indicated that adding first class seats at some point down the road would not require extensive retrofitting and would instead likely rely on using the existing Club World lie-flat seats.
Speaking with the travel site Turning Left for Less this week, however, the CEO revealed that a newly redesigned first class seat will now be a big part of that first class experience of the future. Cruz noted that updated first class seats would be based on the seats currently in use on most Boeing 787 aircraft. The airline is said to be working on some minor enhancements to the design.
Cruz also reportedly admitted to “frustrations at getting new seats fitted, which is down to delays by the seat manufacturers.” He told the interviewer that he would be open to pulling planes from service to install updated seats “but they can only fit them as quickly as they are delivered.”