13 February 2010

British Airways, Less Could Be More

BA is finally coming round to accepting its fate. The airline is making noises similar to that of its close cousin Qantas prior to the latter slashing premium seats on its fleet.

So three new stories should give some context to BA's future positioning with regard to its premium products.

Firstly - First is having a Makeover. BA unveiled its new first class "demi-suite" this week on a 777 used to and from Chicago. The new seat allows for the same number of seats in the cabin (although I have not been able to confirm this) while upgrading the onboard experience. There is a wider bed, a closet for your jacket (more self service from BA) and a better set of seat controls and "unique personal windows"!!!! One thing is for sure. There will be a lot less First Seats out there by the time the roll out of the new first class is complete in 2 years.

Hot on the heals - of this announcement - Open Skies will be flying Paris to IAD. Providing a premium service between the French and US capitals would seem to make sense. Although I have to question whether any government personnel from either country would be flying on a British Aircraft.

Finally Willie Walsh has been spouting off that he will see a reduction in short haul premium seating. Frankly I have noticed of late that the front cabins of the Airbus European Fleet has less of the full seats and more of the convertible seats.

So BA is moving down market. It has to. That is where the market is. Anyone willing to pay 600 Euros for a one way Biz seat in Europe must be off their heads (ok guilty but I had no choice!!!).


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