Intra-Europe business class isn’t much to get excited about. On most airlines it’s simply an economy seat with a blocked middle and enhanced service (some airlines in Europe, like Aeroflot, offer a proper product, even on shorthaul flights).

Lufthansa’s intra-Europe business class

Back in the day airlines consistently had little tables on top of the center seat in these cabins. It wasn’t really a game changer, though it was a nice perk, since it gave you somewhere to put things without having to lower your own tray table (or the center tray table). While this might sound silly, it also made you feel like the middle seat was actually your space, rather than just feeling like you lucked out and got an empty middle.

British Airways is one of the few remaining airlines in Europe to offer these middle seat tables. It’s surprising, given that they’re also the European legacy airline leading the race to the bottom. However, AusBT notes that British Airways’ upcoming A320neo and A321neo aircraft won’t feature these tables on the middle seats in business class. British Airways has 35 of these aircraft joining their fleet starting this year (including 25 A320neos and 10 A321neos), and they’ll be used to replace some of their older Airbus narrowbody aircraft.

British Airways’ intra-Europe business class

Fortunately British Airways will continue to block the middle seat (as you’d expect), but they just won’t be offering this feature. What’s their motivation here? Probably one of two things:

  • As minor as it sounds, they can eliminate some weight by getting rid of these tables (which reduces fuel burn)
  • Since the size of the Club Europe cabin can change with each flight, it makes it easier to transition the cabin, since they won’t need to add or remove these tables each time.

The much bigger deal is the other changes British Airways is making to their shorthaul fleet, including introducing seats that don’t recline, offering only 29″ of pitch, and eliminating trash storage and potable water tanks from the rear of the plane, meaning that everything will have to be done from the front of the cabin.

While British Airways hasn’t formally acknowledged this yet, I would guess that they will also remove the tables from their existing shorthaul fleet.

Do you care about the center seat tray table in intra-Europe business class being eliminated?

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