British Airways has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000 with the new club suite.
This was the second attempt to get on board. The original event was delayed after bad weather in Europe and an air traffic control glitch caused chaos at Heathrow. The airline decided that its priorities were to clear passengers whose flights had been delayed or cancelled, especially at the start of a busy holiday season.
Taking a valuable landing slot with an empty aircraft was not a suitable option. British Airways will take delivery of 18 A350s. They will have a three-class layout – 56C (Club World)/56PE(World Traveller Plus)/219Y (World Traveller).
The Club Suite features a highly-customised Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seat. This was developed by the in-house British Airways design team and the Collins industrial design team, with no external agencies involved. It is the first application with a sliding privacy door.
The 1-2-1 configuration allows direct aisle access for every seat, which is 21in wide and converts into a 79in fully flatbed. A duvet, mattress topper and blanket will be supplied.
A small touch screen is used to control the seat, footrest and lighting, with three buttons alongside that will move the seat to one of three fixed positions – take off/landing, relax and fully flat. There is also a hand controller for the Panasonic IFE/wifi system, which has an 18.5in monitor.
Storage space has been increased by 40 per cent, including a vanity unit and mirror. Power and USB ports are inside the stowage so devices can be charged out of sight. If the passenger is asleep, the device must be visible but the seal on the lid is flexible enough to wrap around cables so the surface remains flush.
A large bi-fold table pulls out from under the monitor and slides down to lock in a horizontal position. The seat fabric has been supplied by AW Hainsworth, a well-known supplier of British military uniforms. At the Door 2 entry, galley equipment has been concealed and there is a bar area with drinks and snacks laid out in cruise.
The 18.6in wide Recaro CL3710 seats in this cabin are in a 2-4-2 configuration at 38in pitch. There is an 8in recline. The seatback has been customised with a 12in monitor, literature pocket, stowage pocket and water bottle holders. The tables have been moved to the armrest. As well as a footrest, there is a calf rest, while there is now a six-way adjustable headrest.
This cabin also uses the RECARO CL3710 seat, this time 17.8in wide, with a 5in recline. They are laid out at 31in pitch in a 3-3-3 configuration. There is a 10in monitor.
British Airways started operations with the new aircraft flying between London and Madrid to allow the airline’s teams to perfect their customer service delivery and familiarise cabin crew with the aircraft layout. In phase two, the aircraft will begin long haul flying to Dubai, followed by services to Toronto, Tel Aviv and Bangalore by the end of this year.
During this period another three A350 aircraft will join the British Airways fleet and two Boeing 777 aircraft will also be retrofitted with the new cabin. At the start of 2020, phase three will begin, which will see British Airways rolling out its Club Suite on further long haul aircraft across the network.
Visit britishairways.com for more information.