British Airways 777 First Class LHR to SEA [Review]
BA First = an amazing Business Class product?
I’ve been lucky enough to fly British Airways First Class a few times now, mostly because I find pretty good award availability from US cities to London when you get inside that 5-7 days before departure zone. What I appreciate about BA is that there is a very clear distinction between First and Business, and it’s one of the more attractive cabins you’ll sit in — I tend to prefer dark color schemes over light or shiny ones (I’m talking about you, EK!) because it feels more conducive to sleep and relaxation. So why am I calling it an “amazing business class product,” you ask?
- I almost always enjoy the BA cabin crew in first class
- great pajamas, which I actually saved (as I did on Cathay Pacific First Class)
- the styling of the seat, lamp, window/window shades and lighting scheme is great, perhaps my favorite cabin from that standpoint
- sometimes it feels more like a really, really good business class product, rather than true first class, given the cabin density
- power ports are poorly positioned
- I may be one of the few people who doesn’t like the dial used to adjust the seat recline
- seats could be more private
Probably the main issue here is cabin density, which incidentally is also why BA Business feels like the world’s best Premium Economy product (kind if like UA 777/747). It’s not as bad as the nose of BA’s 747, but it’s no A380 or 787-9. I also note that while the seat is comfortable and I can sleep well on it, it feels like a business class seat, and indeed resembles many reverse-herringbone cabins you see out there (Cathay, Delta, Qatar, American, Finnair, KLM, new AF, and so on….). Also, the Concorde room is great, but it, too, is somewhat condensed and often feels a bit crowded (review coming next month). But, I’m being a cabin snob no doubt, and everything else about the BA experience feels First Class, so I’m never disappointed when I spend points on a BA flight, and you won’t be, either.
Getting BA First Class on Points:
American Express just devalued its Membership Rewards transfers to British Airways Avios, so my recommendation if you want to score an award on BA with CC points would be to stick to Citi or Chase. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is my go-to from Chase and seems to get a lot of press in the points blogger world, but lately I’ve been liking the Citi cards. The Citi Prestige card is great if you don’t mind the yearly fee (I find I get that fee back pretty quickly!), but if you don’t need/want the Admirals Club access etc., then the Citi ThankYou Preferred card is a good option and as of this posting no yearly fee.
The Bottom Line:
The late-booking bird gets the worm here, so if you can be flexible you’ll find good BA First award availability on late notice. And when you do that, you ultimately will not be disappointed with your First Class flight experience, especially if you can enjoy some of your ground time in the Concorde Room. If you want to impress your significant other with a crazy First Class experience, though, you might want to consider hopping on Lufthansa, Swiss, and if you’re a lucky FlyingBlue elite, Air France’s slick new First Class Cabin (review coming in August 😉
Have you flown British Airways First Class before? Did it blow you a way or did you feel like it was missing something like I did? Let me know in your comments below.