CW, what am I missing?

Old Jul 12, 14, 11:16 am
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CW, what am I missing?

Flew 777 CW yesterday. Seat comfort was OK when flat, food was edible, and service was quite good. Lovely wines, too. But is this really BA's attempt at a modern business class service?

- Climbing over people, or being climbed over, is awkward and passť
- A mere 6' bed length, no good for tall people unless they get one of very few longer seats
- Claustrophobic when seated upright for wide people
- Aisle seats have no privacy from aisle traffic
- Absolutely no storage whatsoever -- not even a place to put glasses when sleeping (the laptop drawer is all there is, and it's nearly impossible to access when the seat is in bed mode)
- Horrid footrest thing that's impossible to use, has a mind of its own, and randomly collapses when any weight is put on it
- Club Kitchen nearly empty an hour after meal service, and entirely empty two hours before landing

My previous CW experience was a window seat on the upper deck of the 747, which was a little better -- it at least had more width and some storage space. But the 777 was pretty grim.

Is there a consensus about when BA will upgrade to a modern J product with some personal space and decent ergonomics?
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Old Jul 12, 14, 11:23 am
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The product is definitely showing its age, but remember BA had fully flat beds long before the competition, most airlines still haven't gone fully flat throughout their fleet.

I think the product is fine as a business class product, something where you can sleep, work in private or relax. I think of business class as functional rather than fancy. First is more about luxury and being pampered.

Of course I have no objections in areas of improved comfort and luxuriousness and would like to see improvements but the BA product still does its job well and BA customers have been able to benefit from it for many years.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by SJC AA View Post
But is this really BA's attempt at a modern business class service?
See countless other threads on this exact topic.

If you don't like it then you are of course free to fly with another airline. If everyone did so then BA wouldn't have much of a business. But clearly lots of people do consider it worth paying for given that BA continues to operate CW profitably.

Yes, there probably are better seats out there and the consensus seems to be that a new CW seat will come with the A350.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 11:33 am
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Originally Posted by layz View Post
The product is definitely showing its age, but remember BA had fully flat beds long before the competition, most airlines still haven't gone fully flat throughout their fleet.
True, but that doesn't sell tickets today. I'm shocked to see the same product still being installed on new planes.

Originally Posted by layz View Post
I think the product is fine as a business class product, something where you can sleep, work in private or relax. I think of business class as functional rather than fancy. First is more about luxury and being pampered.
Fair enough, but having a place to put my glasses when sleeping is about function, not luxury.

And BA's primary alliance partners (AA/US and CX) have far superior J hard products (on new planes, in AA's case, but soon to be rolled out more widely).
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Old Jul 12, 14, 11:38 am
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For transatlantic, my preference is for BA's JFK-LCY service where the CW seating is different. The appeal is the 32 pax max capacity of the A319.

After that, its AA 77W. BA is behind the curve on this but their strategy is still to focus on maximising the number of passengers in premium cabins. Time will tell if this will works. The 1-2-1 seats offered by on the AA 77W, CX and QR 787/A380 planes win hands down but the number of seats offered are fewer.

The one constraint that BA has which airlines do not have is operating out of LHR where capacity for BA to add more flights has been max-ed out. That may be part of the reasoning for BA's call.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by TabTraveller View Post
See countless other threads on this exact topic.

If you don't like it then you are of course free to fly with another airline. If everyone did so then BA wouldn't have much of a business. But clearly lots of people do consider it worth paying for given that BA continues to operate CW profitably.

Yes, there probably are better seats out there and the consensus seems to be that a new CW seat will come with the A350.
CW remains profitable despite having a pretty lousy J product because of:
(1) By far the best schedule in and out of London
(2) Entrenched BA loyalty in the UK market that keeps people on BA even when there is a better option (for FFs, there isn't really another viable option if you have a mix of European and long haul traffic)
(3) Its biggest international competitor, VS, isn't a member of one of the big three alliances
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Old Jul 12, 14, 11:46 am
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CW being as dated as it is, I don't understand why BA isn't at least upgrading the soft product. BA's catering is not exactly among the best either. I find myself increasingly flying Skyteam carriers when connecting to go west. No need for a second security check at CDG or AMS, and the service, seat and food are on par with or better than BA.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 11:58 am
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Originally Posted by gordon0808 View Post
CW being as dated as it is, I don't understand why BA isn't at least upgrading the soft product. BA's catering is not exactly among the best either. I find myself increasingly flying Skyteam carriers when connecting to go west. No need for a second security check at CDG or AMS, and the service, seat and food are on par with or better than BA.
There's no need for it but at present you will still get a secondary security check connecting in either direction through AMS.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 12:02 pm
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I like the consistency of CW, excluding some old 767s the product is the same throughout all the fleet so you don't risk anything. Service is sometimes dependable on crews but I've never had a disappointing flight on BA.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 12:07 pm
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Originally Posted by sts603 View Post
CW remains profitable despite having a pretty lousy J product because of:
(1) By far the best schedule in and out of London
And this is the reason I took it -- the 7pm departure is a fantastic time to fly westbound, sleep half the flight, and still sleep in my own bed the rest of the night.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 12:33 pm
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There are lots of threads on this and it's getting a little boring now to be honest.

BA will have to up their game at some point, but for various reasons already mentioned here and on the countless other threads, they're not in a rush to do so. They're clearly thinking about their options however, as evidenced by private presentations given to key customers earlier this year. Some images possibly given at these presentations were leaked to someone I know earlier this year - basically a BA styled Cirrus seat.

Is it the 'best' (whatever that means) thing to do? Maybe not, but it's proven (and therefore safe) to be profitable and has no signs of changing in the short term.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 12:40 pm
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Is it so difficult to get out of the non-aisle CW seat if you do not have mobility issues?

BA are able to squeeze in more CW seats by having the current layout. On many of my recent flights CW was completely full. I can understand the reluctance to reduce the density by having other designs.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 12:41 pm
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Don't think you've missed anything.

If you think other airlines offer better then you'd be silly to fly BA again.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 12:44 pm
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LH doesn't have fully flat business class seats, and neither does EK on its 777s. I think CW compares well overall.

BA has the patent for the yin-yang business class pattern, and no other format fits so many seats in the space available for a fully flat bed. There are downsides as the OP mentions, but I think BA would be very reluctant to forego the competitive advantage its patent allows.
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Old Jul 12, 14, 12:49 pm
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
Is it so difficult to get out of the non-aisle CW seat if you do not have mobility issues?
It certainly isn't the simplest manoeuvre especially for those of us not as young as we were. The double whammy is the fact that increasing maturity also means a need to leave your seat more frequently.
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