British Airways 787-9 New First Class Review – This is What First Class Is All About
If only all BA F seats could be like this!
As one of only two carriers with plans to install a first class product on the 787 (Etihad being the other one), I didn’t hesitate to fly out of my way to get on the British Airways 787-9. Not only is it unique in that it’s First Class on a 787, but BA has always had a very stylish product, and the photos I had seen of this iteration of their First Class looked awesome. I have knocked BA First in the past, but if ever I was going to be wowed by BA, this flight would be it. Knowing that, I hopped on this flight with an open mind, kind of like it was my first time in First…except it wasn’t (I’ve flown BA F many times), and once you turn left when boarding a plane you don’t go back (and maybe you start to become a seat snob), but I still wiped my BA slate clean and was excited to test out this new product. So how did it stack up? Let’s take a look…
- cozy, cofortable seat with decent storage and great design aesthetic
- small 8-seat cabin means a very private and exclusive (first class??) feel
- I’ve always like BA pajamas and bedding, and it’s the same on the 787-9 as elsewhere
- wide and roomy footrest area, and the footrest pulls out and back which is a nice touch
- I prefer the old style closets to the ones in this seat design
- call me old school, but I’m still not wild about the twisty knobby seat recline conrols…weird, I know
- With the way the seats are staggered, you can see your aisle neighbor’s screen
- 1A and 1K will seem noisier than usual because the 789 is quieter than other aircraft, so galley noise is more apparent
I will admit I can be kinda harsh when it comes to British Airways hard products. From the BA 777 First Class to the upper deck Business Class on the BA 747-400, I have generally held that BA seats don’t stand up to the competition. But, I realize that much of that competition includes Asian and Middle Eastern carriers with suites, so maybe the comparison isn’t fair. Regardless, this evolution of BA’s First is excellent, and one can only hope they bring it to other aircraft. While it would be nice/novel to see a true suite, these seats offer great privacy, and BA F seats are great for reclining as you really feel like you sink down into your seat, vs up and forward like some other products. Given the option, I would aim for 787-9 over any of their other aircraft when booking First, hands down.
Speaking of the soft product, I would say I had great service on this flight. In fact, given my recent experience in BA J on the 744, I’d give BA high marks for premium cabin service all around. Was it seemingly telepathic like Singapore? Was there traditional caviar service? No and no, but neither of those are first class must-haves, and this flight felt about on par with one or two Emirates First Class flights I’ve taken in the recent past.
One other thing I’ll briefly note: people might complain about there being only one bathroom for 8 seats, but in practice I don’t think this is much of an issue. Granted, there was only one other person on the flight with me, but I’ve sat in huge business class cabins and never had to wait, while I’ve seen lines in four seat first class cabins, so I’d say this is more theoretical and route/duration dependent than anything.
Which seat and why
Normally I’m a window guy, but I actually chose to spend most of the flight in seat 1F because it was quieter than 1K, and I assumed that it would be quieter than 2K as well (given that seat’s proximity to the J cabin bulkhead and footrests). So ultimately you probably can’t go wrong in row 2, and row 1 middle (E/F) will also be good choices — 1A/1K seemed too close to the galley. Note that there are closets between the first and business class cabins, so any seat movement noises should be mitigated by the extra space. For more seat reviews from other travelers on British Airways, check out this plane’s seat map here: British Airways 787-9 seat map
Ok, so I took a ton of photos on this flight, but I think that’s indicative of how much enjoyed it
British Airways has really done a great job with their new First Class, and I give them lots of credit for installing First class on their 787-9, as most other carriers are sticking with business class only (I think Etihad is the only other airline with a 787 first class). Get on this plane if you can, and pretty much any seat in the F cabin will be good, with 1A and 1K being less desirable from a galley noise standpoint.
What are Your Thoughts on British Airways New First Class?
If you’ve flown BA First on the 787-9, let us know in the comments below! Or better yet, write a review of your seat here: British Airways 787-9 seating chart 🙂