British Airways was the first airline to introduce lie flat seats in business class. A design consultancy called Tangerine were tasked with coming up with the ambitious Club World cabin and it was a huge success.
Internally named Project Dusk, the task was to keep eight seats abreast in the cabin while providing far more space than before. Its introduction took the aviation world by storm.
Ambitious And Successful
The first version of the lie flat Club World product was introduced in 2000. Featuring an innovative yin yang arrangement, it managed to fit as many people across the cabin as before.
This lounge in the sky concept resulted in a fully flat bed for all passengers. People at the windows and in the middle seats faced backwards, a first in commercial aviation.
Updating The Design
From 2006, a large redesign of the product occurred. Gone was the fan shaped divider between the seats. Replaced with an electrically operated sliding screen, it offered more privacy for business class passengers.
Other refinements included a larger entertainment screen and more storage space. This version is still in service today across the entire British Airways long haul fleet.
A New Product In 2019
Coming in 2019 is a brand new Club World seat. Rumours are that it will be an off the shelf product, one used by other airlines but customised for British Airways.
My personal hope is that it will be a new iteration of the current design. The only real downsides are the lack of fixed entertainment screen and the fact you need to step over people to get out of window and middle seats. Otherwise it still does a decent enough job.
A truly ambitious project transformed business class seating on international flights. Designs have gone from strength to strength, with many airlines opting to do away with first class altogether as business class is just that good.
British Airways truly innovated around the turn of the century, with a product that was the best in the world. The full story about how it originally came about is at this excellent article at Airline Interiors International.
What do you think of Club World and what do you think the new one will be like? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
All images via Aircraft Interiors International.