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The New Look of British Airways’ Short-Haul Cabins

Jun 18, 2014 5:00 am

Skift Take

We’re eager to see if the new wave of slimline seats will be a hit with consumers’ bottom lines.

— Jason Clampet

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British Airways new short-haul seats.

British Airways new short-haul seats.

British Airways new short-haul seats.


British Airways have just released images of their brand new interiors for their short haul fleet. The airline it has announced it will be refitting 95 (not all) of its short haul fleet with these slick new contemporary designs, which fit closer in-line to their long haul fleet offering. The new cabins will be available on all flights across its European and domestic networks from Heathrow and Gatwick.

The first A320 will be fitted out this week with the new interior as part of a fleet renovation program that will last 12 months. The beady-eyed BA regulars may notice these seats are much slimmer than the current offering, and the charcoal grey leather seats are ergonomically designed to enable the addition of extra seats in the Euro Traveller (economy) cabin. So yes, BA will be adding more rows, but lucky for us, keeping the seat pitch the same on their aircraft. (30″ or 29″ depending on aircraft type)

The new seats are a quantum leap ahead of their current offering, and the contemporary seats offer a host of small, yet perfectly formed Innovations to improve personal space and comfort. The B/E Aerospace seat-backs devised to provide more knee space for the customer behind. Customers can also make use of an eye-level seatback tablet-holder, which can also provide storage for magazines. A four-way moveable headrest provides comfort and support. The seat back table moves in and out to provide optimum positioning.

The airline has decided to keep the traditional European business class offering opting for regular seats with a free middle seat. The new Club Europe, featuring a silver British Airways speedmarque on the front wall, will have seats bridged with a stylish new ‘central console’ table, providing Club customers with improved functional space. This table provides inlaid leather mats for drinks, snacks and personal devices, freeing up the main table for work or a meal.

According to BA’s press release, contemporary LED lighting systems, inspired by the airline’s newest long-haul cabins, will include blue tones for boarding, a relaxing candlelit mood for dining and a restful gentle white for cruising and landing.

Keith Williams, British Airways’ executive chairman, said: “The short-haul landscape has changed enormously in recent years. To stay competitive and keep offering customers choice, great fares and great service, we are giving our cabins a radical makeover. There will be a new look, but the traditional British Airways’ comfort, elegance and value will remain.”

Overseen by BA’s design team, the whole new cabin really is the ‘Best of British’. The new seats are manufactured by B/E Aerospace in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, the leather for the seat covers and pads on the ‘central console’ is supplied by Andrew Muirhead & Son Ltd in Glasgow and the decorative stitching on the Club Europe seats has been developed by Prototrim, a car seat design and dressing specialist based in Milton Keynes.

We love the attention to detail, and whilst in our dream world in-seat TVs and large Business Class seats would lift the carrier above their competition, we really are happy with how BA have managed to bring their product in line with the best in the skies. With British-based Priestmangoode, JPA Design, Honour Branding, Factory Design, Acumen as well as BA and Virgin Atlantic design teams (to name a few) all producing industry leading aviation interiors, the UK really is producing some of the world’s best airline products.

This article originally appeared on TheDesignAir, a Skift content partner.

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