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All British Airways 777s will have the new Club Suite by the end of 2022


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British Airways has issued an update on the progress that it’s making with retrofitting its new Club Suite to its long-haul fleet and while the news out today is mostly good, some information that’s missing from the update may point to a longer rollout timeframe than was originally envisioned.

The new British Airways Business Class seat, the Club Suite, is one of the biggest upgrades the airline has made to its onboard offering in decades as it offers a markedly better experience than the legacy Club World seat which has been out of date for longer than BA cares to admit.

All of BA’s new aircraft (the A350s and the 787-10s) come delivered with the new Club Suite, but the rest of the fleet has to have the new seat retrofitted and with up to 100 long-haul aircraft in line for an update, that’s no small task.

From the very beginning, the British Airways plan was to concentrate on retrofitting its 777s first, and to then roll out the retrofit to the 787-8 Dreamliners in 2021, the 787-9 Dreamliners in 2022, and if still viable, the A380s in 2023. What the airline didn’t know at the time that plan was put in place was that the world was about to shut down.

The positive news out today is that British Airways now expects to have all of its Boeing 777s aircraft (59 aircraft according to planespotters.net) retrofitted with the new Club Suite by the end of next year and the airline is continuing with its pledge to operate the highly lucrative London – New York route entirely with aircraft fitted with the new Club Suite.

British Airways New Club World Suite - Image courtesy of British Airways
The new Club Suite

The less positive news is that the BA update makes absolutely no mention of the progress (if any) that’s being made in retrofitting the Dreamliners. In fact, other than a single mention of the new 787-10, the Dreamliners don’t get a mention at all.

By now, the plan says that we should be seeing at least some of the 787-8s offering the new Club Suite cabin but the fact that these aircraft don’t get a mention in the update suggests that isn’t the case. It also suggests that it won’t be the case for some time.

Still, by the end of next year the 777 Club Suite lottery should be over and flyers should be able to book any route operated by a British Airways 777 safe in the knowledge that the Business Class cabin they will be walking into will be one of the better Business Class cabins in the skies. For British Airways loyalists that will probably feel quite refreshing.

First Class cabin update

Appended to the Club Suite rollout update came a very brief update on the rollout of the latest generation First Class cabin as well. This is what British Airways had to say:

“The latest generation of the First cabin including the introduction of the First suite door will also continue to be rolled out across the airline’s B777-300 aircraft. The First suites were meticulously designed based on our customers’ feedback, the cabin puts comfort at the heart of the experience and makes the very best use of the generous space designed for just a few customers at a time. The suite includes a fixed 23-inch high definition inflight entertainment screen that can be controlled with an integrated handset.”

Admittedly that doesn’t say much other than to let us know that the airline hasn’t forgotten that it needs to update its First Class cabins too, but at least we know that this isn’t a job that has been put on the backburner as BA tries to get back on schedule with the Club Suite rollout.

Bottom Line

British Airways has said that it expects to have all of its Boeing 777 aircraft retrofitted with the new Business Class Club Suite by the end of 2022. The airline hasn’t made any mention of the progress that it’s making with the upgrades to its 787 Dreamliners and that would suggest that we probably won’t see a meaningful number of those aircraft flying with the new Club Suite any time soon.  Given the events of the past 18 months, that’s not really surprising.

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