British Airways 747-400 Business Class Review LHR to SEA
There’s not a lot of 747s left in the world and BA is one of the few still flying to Seattle. Coming back from London, I took the chance (while I still could!) to get on the Queen of the Skies before she becomes even rarer. Plus, that coolness factor of being on the upper deck of a 747 cannot be replicated. The A380 doesn’t feel as exclusive upstairs simply because it is a little too much (even multiple classes – Qatar Airways…?). But with the 747, you still have that feel of your own private jet. Also, having been on BA’s 777 First Class a short while back, I was keen to see what Biz was like on their flagship.
- Good side storage bin at window seats
- Both armrests are adjustable
- Friendly, professional service as always with BA
- Coolness factor of 10 for being on the upper deck
- Awkward positioning always looking at seatmate when the divider is down
- Power port is down at the feet – not an ideal location
- Transition from seat to foot area for bed mode did not meet properly
BA fly twice a day to Seattle, one with a Boeing 777 and the other with the 747. The latter departs in the afternoon and arrives towards evening in Seattle. My seat was 62A, which is actually a backwards-facing exit row. As I mentioned before, this J section is on the upper deck, where there are just 20 seats in 5 rows at a 2-2 layout. The only other people you’re sharing the space with is the pilots, which is pretty neat. The seats are arranged in a staggered forwards/backwards pattern. This means that all the window seats face backwards and the aisle seats face forwards. It also means that during takeoff and landing, you’re going to be face to face with your neighbor.
The seats extend flat and have around 6′ of pitch when fully extended. Seeing as I had an exit row, I had a bit extra leg room. There is loads of storage around the seat, especially in the space next to the window due to the curvature of the upper deck. There’s good adjustability for the seat, with different modes available on a touch panel. Unfortunately, the way they’ve positioned the foot rest means it doesn’t quite match up with the seat in bed mode. It was a day flight though, and I still managed to get a good few hours sleep.
There is storage room everywhere around the seat assembly, but it wasn’t as thoughtfully located as other airlines I’ve been on. Another issue was the location for the power port which is down at your feet – not really the best place. The amenity kit was simple and not nearly as terrific as SQ or EK, for example. However, all in all, it’s not a bad seat and the fact that they’ve made sure everyone has aisle access is definitely the way to go nowadays.
I’ve been fortunate to experience some pretty great Biz cabins and honestly, BA falls a bit short here. The seat itself is comfortable (despite the intimate neighborly layout), and I did get some decent shut eye. But really the cabin was looking dated and it showed in some of the features. For example, when I put the IFE back into its stowage position, it shook the entire pair of seats.
I can’t go on enough about how nice it is to be on the upper deck. It’s really like being on an exclusive first class jaunt back in aviation’s Golden Age. The BA cabin crew do an excellent job too, as always. They were friendly and professional and it certainly added a personal appeal to the flight.
The food was good too, although they didn’t have my meal selection, which was fine. A decent selection of drinks and cocktails are available throughout the flight. BA also have a snack food station where you can grab fruit and chocolates, as well as drinks at any time. Overall, while it’s not as good as their First Class product, BA’s J on the 747 hits most points for a comfy Trans-Atlantic flight.
Which Seat and Why
One thing to keep in mind is that in the BA 747, there is a Business cabin on the main deck as well as the upper deck. I would definitely avoid the main deck as you’re (bizarrely) squeezed between the Premium Economy and Regular Economy cabins. Also make sure you avoid the last rows on both the upper and lower deck.
The lavs are located both forward and aft on the Starboard (K) side of the cabin. My seat (62A), and also 62K, 63B and 63J have the best leg room. If you enjoy privacy, make sure you grab a window seat, because the aisle seats lack any privacy whatsoever.