British Airways will replace it’s long-haul premium Club World seat and provide fleet-wide Wi-Fi in addition to a £400 million upgrade of its premium cabin service, product and lounges.
Announcing the decision “to move away away from our existing Club seats”, BA chief executive Alex Cruz said yesterday: “We’re falling behind our competitors. It’s time to change.”
BA was the first airline to introduce flat beds in business class 20 years ago.
Cruz gave no details other than to say: “The seat will have full aisle access for all passengers. It has to.”
He said: “It’s going to take some time. Unlike some of our competitors we’re not going to over-promise.”
Cruz also confirmed plans to offer Wi-Fi across BA’s long and short-haul fleets by 2019 and revealed the likely charges to passengers.
Fees for browsing will start from £4.99 and for streaming from £7.99, charged by the hour, two hours or for a flight.
However, Cruz said: “We have no idea how the pricing model will evolve.”
The moves come on top of BA’s £400 million investment in its Club experience already announced.
Cruz said: “We’re changing the overall quality of the experience, starting with the food and drink.
“We’re going to change the service routine to maximise sleep time, to give the longest possible sleep on a route like Boston-Heathrow.”
The new premium dining will be launched on the Heathrow-New York route in September.
Cruz acknowledged criticism of BA’s short-haul catering which moved to a paid-for menu of Marks & Spencer food items 12 weeks ago.
But he insisted sales had risen since a poor first few days.
Cruz said: “We’re a premium airline, but we don’t give up on price-conscious passengers.”
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