A320 Business Class feature image

British Airways A320 Business Class Review

I’ve just flown business with British Airways from Belfast to London. British Airways famously uses A320s on its short haul routes, with just a handful of A319s and A321s, so it was no surprise to see this aircraft type waiting by the gate.

Did you know that Airbus introduced the A320 in 1984? That makes this small yet reliable aircraft over 40 years old.

It is a real backbone of the short- to mid-haul flight industry and is used by other airlines such as United Airlines and Spirit Airlines. If you’re flying Business short haul, chances are you’ll find yourself on an A320.

For the sake of this article, though, we’ll focus on flying on the A320 with British Airways. The A320s at British Airways have that classic layout, with two sets of three seats, making up six seats across, broken up by a single aisle.

Hold fire if you are weighing up whether to take the plunge and book a Business Class experience on an A320.

I’ll give you a rundown of my experience with British Airways and what you can generally expect from this aircraft type. I’ll pool all the facts together for you so that you can make the best call for you.

Snapshot Verdict

It goes without saying that the Business Class experience will vary across airlines. Therefore, Business Class in an A320 with British Airways will vary from Business Class in an A320 with United Airlines. You should check with the relevant airline before booking.

As a general rule, though, Business in A320 aircrafts will have four or six-seat rows with a single aisle. The aircraft is tailored towards short-haul to mid-haul flights. You’ll sit at the front of the plane with more comfortable seating, although not typically reclining flatbeds or suites, which are reserved for long-haul flights.

When focusing specifically on British Airways A320s, the middle seats are blocked with an extra table space or simply left empty to give you more room.

You sit at the front of the aircraft with seats identical to the economy seats; they just have extra room thanks to no middle passengers. There are no suites on A320s with British Airways.

The Layout Of An Airbus A320

Now that you have a general idea of what A320s are all about, let’s take a more detailed look at their most typical layout.

After all, if you’re paying or upgrading to Business Class, you’ll want to know what you’ll experience for your money. Personally, I like to get a sneak peek before flying as well, so you aren’t alone there.

An Airbus A320 holds between 140 and 170 passengers when offering Business Class seating. It has twin engines and, as you know, was officially launched in 1984.

An Airbus A320 offers Business and Economy seating, meaning no First Class – book long haul for that. The exact number of Business Class seats per row may vary per airline.

However, generally, with A320s there are 7 Business Class rows followed by 22 Economy rows.

A single aisle runs throughout the plane, with toilets at the front and back of the aircraft. Emergency exits are at the front and back, and two in the middle by the economy rows 10 to 12.

When it comes to food service, there are two food preparation areas: one at the front and one at the back. The one at the front typically only serves Business Class, while the one at the back is responsible for the Economy seating.

The two fare areas are divided by curtains drawn once the aircraft is stabilized in the air.

My Experience Flying BA Business Class In An A320

I’m really familiar with the A320 aircraft, as I grew up in Europe, and it’s by far the most popular plane for short-haul travel.

When flying around Europe, you are never more than 4 or 5 hours away from your next destination, usually only a couple at maximum.

This means that the A320 has historically ruled the skies and, to be honest, continues to do so. Nearly every European-serving airline has the A320 in its fleet.

In this particular experience, I flew from Belfast to London Heathrow on an A320 with British Airways. The pre-departure experience had all the typical Business Class inclusions, including fast-track security, access to Belfast City Airport’s Club Aspire Lounge, and priority boarding.

This is the overarching similarity between flying business in an A320 and other aircraft types —- the pre-departure inclusions obviously stay the same.

When it came to boarding, passengers were directed to front and back boarding. In Business Class, I was directed towards a boarding tunnel at the front.

BA’s seven-row Business Class configuration has six seats per row. However, as you can see in the picture below, the middle seats are blocked to give extra space.

There’s some controversy about the set-up, saying that the seating is identical to that in the Economy, with the middle seat blocking a bit of a low-effort upgrade. However, I did like the extra space.

It feels a bit like you got lucky with a half-empty plane. And on a short-haul flight, I think the A320 provides great space for Business Class, given its single-aisle size.

I also prefer this layout to having four seats per row and having to sit directly next to someone. Call me an introvert, but that personal space buffer feels worth its weight in gold.

Would it be better to have reclining flatbed seats or suites? Absolutely. However, I think the A320 is creative when it comes to making the most out of a smaller aircraft space.

It’s worth noting that there’s no onboard entertainmentbuilt into seats either; bring a book or connect to the Wi-Fi to work or relax as you fly. Chargers in each seat turn on once the seatbelt sign pings off overhead, so you can use your mobile without worrying about draining its battery.

A320 Business Class seating

The overhead luggage storage on the A320 is fairly standard (the official British Airways cabin bag guidance is 22 inches x 18 inches x 10 inches). There’s also more than enough room at your feet for a small bag I used for my laptop bag. 

Of course, when flying Business Class, you also tend to get complimentary checked luggage. British Airways offers 2 x 32 kg checked bags, but I was flying light for a weekend, so I stuck with a cabin bag and a laptop bag.

Luggage-wise, the A320 felt spacious, and with British Airways offering so much complimentary hold storage, you can see why. The overhead lockers were practically empty in Business, with most Business passengers simply checking luggage into the hold and bringing a handbag or laptop bag.

It wouldn’t be a Business Class experience without gourmet food, would it? While the food menu isn’t particularly A320-relevant, I will mention a few things about the food preparation area and service.

Given the smaller cabin, with just 7 rows of Business Class slotted between the Economy curtain and the cockpit, you get a really intimate service experience. The A320 has food preparation areas at the front and back of the aircraft, which helps split things into two different experiences.

Since the front preparation area stewards were entirely dedicated to the Business Class seats, I found it a much more relaxing experience. It didn’t feel like the stewards were rushing through numbers, even though the clock was ticking with only an hour in the air from Belfast to London.

BA A320 Business Class Meal

I even got to chat leisurely with a few stewards, and they had the chance to pause and give genuine recommendations for drinks and food options. Having that smaller area made for a more positive dining experience, so that’s a big tick for A320 and its pocket-size Business seat compartment.

Finally, disembarking was equally positive, with passengers leaving from the front and back of the plane. Business passengers were off in less than a minute.

This was helped by only having 28 Business seats and by the fact that only a few people had even bothered with the overhead lockers, thanks to the complimentary hold policy.

To Conclude: Flying In A320 Business Class

Flying in Business Class on an A320 is undoubtedly a more intimate experience. You have a much smaller cabin than you find on long-haul aircraft like the Boeing 777s, with just a single aisle and creatively adjusted seating to maximize space.

Given that the A320 is a short- to mid-haul carrier, you also naturally spend less time in the air.

It is much more tailored to dining than sleeping (with no reclining chairs or suites), but that makes sense. You wouldn’t expect to prioritize sleeping reclined on a three-hour flight.

Instead, you get a gourmet meal and somewhere comfortable to work on your laptop or read.

I’d say that you should definitely level your expectations flying Business Class on an A320. You’ll have a jolting shock if you waltz in expecting twin aisles and spacious suites.

However, when you do your research, you can appreciate the experience for what it is — an intimate type of Business Class experience on a smaller short-haul plane.

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