British Airways has confirmed that it now doesn’t expect to complete the rollout of its new Club Suite Business Class seat across its Heathrow-based fleet until the end of 2026, around a year later than originally planned.
The new rollout schedule was revealed during the annual Capital Markets Day of BA’s parent company, IAG, although a detailed breakdown of the new rollout schedule wasn’t forthcoming.
British Airways unveiled its Club Suite product in early 2019, marking a major shift in the premium passenger experience with direct aisle access at every seat, privacy doors, increased storage and space and gate-to-gate inflight entertainment.
For the first time in decades, British Airways bought a generic seat, but in doing so, the airline did become the launch customer of a revamped version of the Collins Super Diamond seat featuring a new privacy door.
The Club Suite debuted on the Airbus A350-100, which started flying for British Airways in late 2019, and every A350 delivered to BA since has come with the seats installed factory fresh.
The same applies to BA’s fleet of Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, which only started to be delivered during the pandemic.
British Airways has also concentrated on rolling out the Club Suite across its Boeing 777 fleet and now guarantees that all flights between London Heathrow and New York JFK will feature the seat.
The rollout has, however, been delayed across the rest of BA’s fleet. The Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner fleet is expected to start the retrofit process by the end of the year, although it could take a couple of years for all of the fleet to be upgraded.
The same applies to the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet, while BA has also confirmed that its Airbus A380s will also get the Club Suite as part of a major upgrade of the ageing superjumbos.
British Airways says it intends to spend £7 billion to improve the passenger experience over the next two years between 2024 and 2026, although this does include new aircraft deliveries, which will likely take up the bulk of the budget.
The airline will also spend £750 million over the next three years to improve its dilapidated IT systems, which will include ridding BA’s website and app of bugs and finally introducing full online serviceability.
Much of BA’s woes with the delayed rollout of the Club Suite can be traced back to the pandemic and the continuing supply chain issues that plague the airline industry, especially with premium seats.
In some aspects, it’s pretty impressive that the full rollout has only been delayed by 12 months – especially when you compare the rollout to Lufthansa’s Allegris seat upgrade project.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.