BA News • September 2014
As the first of 95 revamped Airbus A320 cabins are put into service on BA’s short-haul network, The Club explores what’s behind the new design
The slimmer seats are the main talking point: the bulky blue banquettes have been replaced by lightweight, slim Pinnacle seats by B/E Aerospace. The innovative design maximises space and comfort, fitting in six extra seats, without compromising space or comfort. “Customers like attractively priced fares such as those offered by our competitors, but they also want to travel in style,” says Robin Glover-Faure, head of short-haul. “If you look at the seats, the leather, trim and cut, and the carpet and lighting, this is a real BA-differentiated cabin environment.”
BA reviewed products from a number of suppliers, then drew up a shortlist. These were put through rigorous customer testing. This involved volunteers sitting in the seats for set periods of time, and the impact on body parts that are most affected by sitting – the hips, knees and shoulders – were measured. The customers then scored the seats in terms of comfort. Kathryn Doyle, cabin interiors manager in the product development team, adds, “This data was run as an analysis set against out short-haul travellers. From that, we were able to derive the most comfortable and appropriate seat.”
Club Europe will have a 2:2 configuration, with the middle seat free. The seats will be bridged with a stylish new ‘central console’ table, providing customers with improved functional space in which to work. Kate Thornton, head of product and service, notes, “In redesigning the cabin and adding the seats that our business needs, we have made our Club Europe seat pitch the same as business-class seats on other established European carriers, such as Lufthansa, while keeping the middle empty, to maintain the privacy that we know our customers appreciate.”
The ergonomic design of moving the literature pocket to eye level – rather than knee level – not only creates more leg room, but also means that customers can view their own in-flight entertainment more easily by mounting tablet devices on to the pocket (if the cover allows) – as seen above.
The new cabin shares the same carpet and curtains as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 fleets that were launched last year. There is also a three-option LED mood lighting palette for different stages of the flight. “With the new seat pitch our aim was to retain a clear differentiation between Euro Traveller and Club World," says BA design executive Francesca Zaccaria. “We also introduced mood lighting in short-haul for the first time, including a ‘rest’ scenario for relaxation after service on longer flights. We selected LED colour lighting schemes inspired by the A380, adding the blue branding signature that complements the more contemporary neutral contrasting colour scheme of the interiors.”