British Airways will offer business- class passengers a free upgrade to first as it seeks to attract new customers to its most exclusive product.

Club World flyers will be offered an upgrade on one leg of their journey on selected routes between Sept. 4 and Dec. 12, London-based BA said today, bringing access to first-class check-in areas and lounges, fine wines and a concierge service.

British Airways has the highest proportion of first-class seats among European carriers, with 1,200 across 80 percent of its long-haul planes. The International Consolidated Airlines Group SA unit reinvented the luxury cabin by pioneering flat-bed berths in 1996 and spent 100 million pounds ($165 million) on wider seats, leather desks and Egyptian cotton linen from 2010.

The deal will give passengers a “chance to experience our luxurious first cabin and tailored service,” Kate Thornton, BA’s head of product and service, said in a statement.

Club World fares available through Sept. 23 include a 1,400-pound return ticket from London Heathrow to Delhi, and a 2,500-pound return to Tokyo. Upgrades must be requested at the time of booking, the airline said.

British Airways is attempting to lure more people to fly first class as some other carriers scale back their top-end offering. German competitor Deutsche Lufthansa AG is meanwhile selling a discounted ticket that maintains most of first’s perks while eliminating others, such a full flexibility.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kari Lundgren in London at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at

Photo Credit: A first class seat on British Airways. British Airways