Aircraft cabin interiors are designed to be a showcase of the airline you are flying. The interior elements such as seat design and choice of upholstery usually reinforce the brand.
British Airways have decided to have their new Airbus A320neo cabin feature two types of seats. Up front are the current seats and about half way down the are the new lightweight space saving seats. No big deal, right?
Inconsistency on the A320neo
When I board a flight, I can usually tell which airline I am on. Qantas have a very specific look to their cabins, as does any airline. All the seats look the same in economy class, though some may be upholstered differently.
Have a look at the picture here. This shows the transition from the elegant seats currently in use, to the new space saving seats that have been installed.
What were they thinking? While I can live with the reality of space saving seats for short flights, leaving it looking cheap is not particularly good.
Surely there would have been some attempt to match the fabric colour to the brown of the leather upholstered seats. Even adding the British Airways Speedmarque to the headrest would help.
When I first saw this picture, I was bewildered by how ugly it looks. Yes, people are going to be sitting in the seats, so you’re not really going to notice it too much when the flight is full. But really?
Enhancing revenue and saving money by using these new types of seats is understandable, airlines are a business that need to make money. However, I think more care needs to be taken when it comes to passenger facing elements of the product.
What do you think of these seats on the A320neo? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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[…] it right to advertise one thing and provide another entirely? Is it appropriate to do so when the difference is very visible? Is it sensible or decent to make it quite so pointed a difference, without any visible cabin […]
Mmm… just flew LHR – LCA on BA’s A320 neo, in those infamous slimline seats. Row 18 seat ‘D’. Now, we fly BA all over the place (mainly short haul), and I can honestly say that this seat is the tightest I’ve ever had with them. I’m 6ft 2in and 14 stone, so not massive – however, my knees were pressed into the seat in front for the full 4.5 hour trip. I say thank heavens they don’t recline (doesn’t stop some inconsiderate so-and-so’s trying though, he he). Anyway, not happy with what appears to be less legroom, and I… Read more »
I haven’t yet had the “pleasure” of those new seats, but I am happy that you took the time and write in your experience with them. They don’t sound great at all, from what you’ve said. I guess the only plus is what you mentioned – no recline. You should let BA know… all customer feedback is aggregated so they will note an increase in complaints, so it’s all worth it. You’re right on the BA crews – I’ve generally always found them to be extremely good. They are very well trained! Thanks for the comment, great to hear your… Read more »
The seats aren’t actually that bad to sit in on a short flight. Yes, they don’t recline but they are semi reclined already. My issue is the tray table, I use my iPad to watch a movie on the flight, that’s the table space gone. So don’t buy anything, there is no where to put it now there isnt a lip in the seat back to hang your device. You know what one of the main problems is with the cabins and the toilets, is that everyone complains on forums, does anyone actually complain to the airline it’s self? And… Read more »
It is the trend, no recline and a more basic seat. A shame about the table and your experience there, When it comes to complaining, I guess online is somewhat worse a place for it and should be taken more seriously as people can search and find the information. I see what you mean though, it may make more sense for everyone to write in. I do believe all complaints are recorded, no matter which way it is received at BA – though, that means you’d have to send it to them to be noticed. It’ll change again in future,… Read more »
Swiss started the decline in seat quality and comfort with their RECARO city bus -style sardine seats many years ago. Since then it’s been downhill for many airlines, with the race to compete in how many sardines they could fit into an aircraft, The race for the hardest and most uncomfortable seats started with Continental’s rock seats in1990’s transpacific flights, which was probably a nostalgic return to the concept of wooden seats in 1800 trains! It seems many airlines in the race for profit and/or survival will ditch the concept of seat comfort. Tradition is out, and remains only as… Read more »
A lot of that is down to the fact the airlines are no longer owned by Government and therefore need to actually make a profit as well as the fact that people want low fares and the cost of aviation fuel. Those three ingredients mixed together have resulted in what we have today. That being said, First Class and Business Class on long flights are the best they’ve ever been. Inflight entertainment is also the best it’s ever been. To have all of that I’d happily sacrifice a little seat comfort. It is certainly interesting anyway! Thanks for the comment!
Well yes they don’t look very nice. Is this a way for BA to differentiate Club Europe from Euro Traveller? After all the current seats are the same with no extra legroom.
Yes, it will be a way to differentiate the product. Club Europe won’t have the tables anymore, as apparently the in seat power that was installed has to be put where the table would stow. So those aircraft won’t have that anymore. Still, it will show the Club seats are better. Thanks for the comment!
Everything a company does adds or subtracts from the perceived value of the product and more importantly, the brand. To me, this screams “cheap”. It says “we get you from point A to point B…be thankful and shut up”. That’s fine if you are a LCC with the strategy of attracting the bottom of the barrel traveler wanting to spen $49 for a weekend gambling trip to Gulfport, MS; but BA wants the business traveler to Tel Aviv and will try charging an arm and a leg for this seat. They are shooting themselves and their strategy in the foot.… Read more »
I agree with you, it doesn’t look particularly great at all. It is definitely a climb down from the current seat, which does look good. Still, people will always go for price over most things, so I guess it’s not going to hurt them too much. I assume some kind of research went into it. Thanks for the comment!
I’m less concerned with the appearance than the comfort of the seats. I agree that it doesn’t look very nice, but I’ll take ugly but comfortable on any plane over the reverse. Sadly, if these are slimline seats, it’s the worst of both worlds.
True, you make a good point. I have not tried the seats myself, but they are the slimline seats. I guess it won’t matter too much on a short sector, but it might be a different story flying 4 hours from London to Athens. Thanks for the comment!
Not only they are “slimline” seats, the armrests are shorter, seats don’t recline and headrests are missing completely. Last two rows do not have windows. Oh and good luck trying to fit into bathroom that’s got jump seat attached to the door, it’s super tiny. I am 172cm 55kg and felt almost claustrophobic in that space. I commute to London Heathrow to work and to my great regret BA is the only airline that flies there. If I had the choice I would be taking my custom elswhere in a heartbeat. Travelling on BA neo aircraft is beyond awfull. And… Read more »
Yes, those bathrooms are the Airbus SpaceFlex cabin. SAS have those bathrooms, as do American Airlines, and Aer Lingus will have them too on their new A321neo aircraft for transatlantic – among others. It’s very small, I tried it on SAS and I’m a similar size to you and thought it was tiny! I guess the only thing you can do if you’re regularly on BA is to get a seat as far forward as possible, where they still have the older normal seats. It’s definitely a different experience if you get the new slimline seats. Thanks for the comment!… Read more »