British Airways’ Club Europe Lowers the Curtain

The Club Europe class of service on British Airways is reminding me more and more or the Groucho Marx quote:

I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.

While the in-flight “benefits” of Club Europe are marginal at best, LondonCapeTownAnyday reports that British Airways appears to be in the process of reducing them even further:

For the second time in as many months, this weekend 2 out of the 3 flights I took in Club Europe had no curtain dividing J and Y.

Of course, some might argue that the removal of the curtain separating the cabins isn’t really all that big of a deal. How much privacy does the curtain really provide anyway?

Then again, if you remove the “privacy” of the curtain divider, what benefits are you left with?

  • A guaranteed empty middle seat
  • Ever-so-slightly better food options

That’s about the long and short of it.

And so, several BA flyers are wondering if the removal of the curtain will result in a lower Air Passenger Duty charge, as without the physical separation of the Club Europe seats from the Euro Traveller-class seats it is difficult to argue that Club Europe does, in fact, represent a higher class of service.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Air Passenger Duty (APD) charge, it is a fee the UK government charges on most tickest from UK airports, and the amount of the fee charged to the passenger is determined by the class of service in which the passenger is booked.

You can read more about the APD charge here.

BA flyers disagree as to whether the removal of the curtain could mean the end of higher APD charges for passengers traveling in Club Europe class.

I think this probably what BA had in mind all along – scrap the curtain, and then so long as the legroom is the same in ET and CE (which is now is), you can scrap the higher rate APD. ~andset1191

The removal of the curtain does not in itself remove the requirement to pay the higher rate of APD. Although the wording is very vague from HMRC, the general gist of it is that if it feels like a different cabin, and passengers are treated differently by sitting there then it’ll attract the higher rate. ~jonas123

Read the thread in its entirety: Club Europe no longer advertised as a ‘separate cabin’

Why the curtain?” by Lars Plougmann. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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