Now Reading
Will British Airways Squeeze More Seats On London City Regional Jets and Finally Introduce ‘Buy On Board’?

Will British Airways Squeeze More Seats On London City Regional Jets and Finally Introduce ‘Buy On Board’?

a plane on the runway

Is British Airways potentially looking to squeeze more seats onboard its fleet of Embraer 190 regional jets, which operate out of London City Airport under a CityFlyer brand – a wholly owned subsidiary of the mainline airline?

As initially reported by the ‘To Fly, To Travel‘ account on X (formerly Twitter), British Airways was said to be hoping to get as many as eight more seats per plane – a feat that will require reducing the legroom or pitch, that customers currently enjoy.

a seat in an airplane
British Airways

BA’s fleet of 21 strong Brazilian-made Embrarers are laid out in a two-by-two seating configuration with a seat pitch of approximately 33 inches at most seats but nearly 40 inches at the overwing exits.

In contrast, the airline’s newest single-aisle Airbus aircraft like the A320neo and A321neo, have been configured in a three-by-three configuration with seat pitch range from 30 inches to just 28 inches and up to 35 inches at the emergency exit rows.

By refitting its CityFlyer regional jets with two additional rows of seats, however, British Airways would have to increase the passenger capacity from 98 to 106 seats – which would require hiring additional crew members.

In its current configuration, the Embrarer 190 jet can be operated with just two pilots and two cabin crew, but by going over the 100-passenger seat threshold, BA would have to deploy a minimum of three cabin crew, regardless of how many passengers are onboard.

To offset the extra costs of an additional crew, aside from the additional seat sales, there’s online speculation that British Airways will finally introduce its ‘buy on board’ service on CityFlyer flights.

BA originally introduced the controversial buy-on-board concept in partnership with upscale food retailer Marks & Spencer back in 2017, although it switched back to a complimentary service for a short period during the pandemic to reduce contact between crew and passengers.

Buy on board was, however, never introduced at CityFlyer. In part because the operation was too far-flung in the Docklands for BA’s buy-on-board supplier to bother with, as well as a tight fit in the plane’s galleys.

Instead, Economy Class passengers travelling on BA’s CityFlyer services still get to enjoy a substantial complimentary snack and free drinks, including alcoholic beverages.

That, though, could soon change. If the online rumours are true, then BA plans to start refitting its CityFlyer regional jets early next year. This could, however, just be a rumour – within hours of posting on X, the otherwise reliable ‘To Fly, To Travel‘ account had deleted the post without an explanation.

View Comments (2)
  • This rumour has been going around on and off for the last few years . It is unlikely to happen and adding 8 seats really isn’t going to make much money then now especially with the additional costs associated with this . There also used to be a union agreement that no cityflyer plane can have more than 100 seats unless that has now changed . Buy on board would be unlikely to work that well at LCY as well hence them not doing it . If they really wanted more seats onboard it would have happened a long time ago . Also embrarer planes are not big so there is not really room for more seats it isn’t going to happen I feel anytime soon

  • I flew this month and it’s hardly a “substantial complimentary snack” – it’s a bag of ready salted crisps and a drink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2023 All Rights Reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.