Soo Kim, The Daily Telegraph, June 18, 2014
British Airways has announced a “dramatic” redesign of its short-haul aircraft, which it promises will “maximise personal space and comfort”.
Innovations include an eye-level tablet holder in seatbacks and smart leather upholstery, but less likely to impress is a reduction in the seat pitch in Club Europe Business Class, from 34 inches to 30 - the same as one would find on Ryanair. The changes will make room for additional economy class seats.
Club Europe seats in the middle block will also have a “central console table” shared between the two aisle seats, but will retain its 2:2 configuration with the middle seat left unoccupied. This side table aims to provide “a more useful and functional space” for passengers, and features leather mats where drinks, snacks and personal devices can be placed, while the main seatback table is designed for work or a meal.
The new short-haul cabins will also provide LED lighting systems with “blue tones for boarding, a relaxing, candlelit mood for dining, and a restful gentle white for cruising and landing”. The airline is also hoping to provide Europe’s first ground-based 4G broadband network, beginning with its UK domestic routes, allowing passengers to access the same high-speed internet connection they’d find on the ground while in the air. The new cabins are also said to deliver an estimated five per cent reduction in carbon emissions per passenger/km.
The instalment of the BA’s new short-haul cabin features begins this week, with a full refit across the airline’s fleet of 95 Airbus aircraft expected to be completed within the next 12 months. To celebrate the launch of the new design, the airline is offering a million flight seats from £39 one-way, as part of a return fare, for 22 destinations in Europe.
The latest cabin design was inspired by the airline’s most recent aircraft including the A380 “superjumbo”, where first-class passengers are able to stretch out in 14 suites which are 30 per cent more spacious than on other BA aircraft, and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which took its maiden long-haul commercial flight in 2012 and was billed as the “world’s most advanced airliner”.
Earlier this year, Airbus announced plans to offer a new 11-abreast seating configuration on board it A380 “superjumbos”, which would be made possible by raising the floor two inches in the widest part of the aircraft, giving airlines the option of an extra 35 to 40 economy class seats on board its biggest model, without sacrificing space in premium sections.
The aircraft manufacturer was also the first to introduce on-board showers, offered to first-class passengers on A380 flights with Emirates. Passengers are able to refresh themselves in 25-minute slots inside a shower cubicle which is cleaned by an on-board clearer after each use.
Last year, the Dubai-based airline also launched its own private jet service, where the aircraft is divided into two main zones, including a dining area and executive lounge seating up to 12 passengers and a second zone comprising of 10 private suites each with a fully lie-flat seat, a marble-finished “Shower Spa” equipped with heated flooring and a fully-functioning shower.
This article was written by Soo Kim from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.