I have a love-hate relationship with British Airways. I find their pilots and their cabin staff to be some of the best in the world. I trust that they maintain their planes and engines well. What I am less keen on, is the continual downgrading of many of their offerings to bring their fares in line with the low-cost airlines like WOW and Norwegian.
I have reviewed European Business Class on British Airways a bunch of times and the good news is that this will remain pretty much the same. I fly about in European Business Class (if you can call it that – it is more like Premium Economy!) using British Airways Avios miles.
I tend to fly out from London in Business Class or “Club Europe” and back in Economy or Coach. This is because outward Business Class flights from the UK take advantage of the excellent British Airways airport lounges at Heathrow and the Business Class Lounge at Gatwick. On the return journey within Europe, the airport lounges you get access to can be pretty ropey hence you don’t see quite as much value flying home in Business Class.
The new Economy cabin layouts have encouraged me to book Business Class both ways simply because the Economy product has been so significantly downgraded from what it was just a few years ago.
Main Economy Downgrades In New European Cabin
Obviously, the food, drinks and snacks have gone from European flights. Now you can buy something from an M&S menu.
The new changes include more seating on the plane increasing from 205 to 218. The first fourteen rows (on the A321; on the A320 it will be the first 12 rows) will retain the current recliner, more spacious seats. USB and standard power sockets have been added. Power sockets will be a valuable addition. There are a couple of times when I have, annoyingly, run out of batteries and could have done with these.
Seats in the remainder of the plane have been replaced by ultra-thin non-reclining seats with a 29 inch pitch, USB sockets but no standard plugs. Additional cabin changes include the removal of the rear toilets which have been replaced by smaller, thinner toilets still at the back of the plane. Two additional rows of seating have been added.
So Why Complain?
Reports are that the smaller toilets are fine and functional, I never buy duty-free and the lack of recline is a good thing in my opinion as there is nothing worse than a passenger reclining into your space on an already cramped seat. But thin seats with less space are a big no-no for me. I get leg ache with the lack of space in the current economy seats, which is less of a problem in Business as you can sit angled. Less space and thinner seats mean leg ache and potential numb-bum syndrome with the lack of cushioning. This is a major problem long-haul on WOW.
Will I be booking BA European Economy anymore? Nope. I’m out! This is the final straw. My Avios and cash will be spent on Business which at least offers a taste of what flights used to be like in my youth.
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