Video Tour of the New British Airways First Class

British Airways

It may have been almost two months since BA brought me out to London, but I still have some good material waiting to see the light of day. Today it’s a tour of the new British Airways First Class which is being rolled out to the fleet as we speak. I visited a mockup in the airline’s seat testing center in an overgrown hangar at Heathrow. Please excuse my horribly corny jokes, which were even worse than my usual corny jokes thanks to my not sleeping very much on the flight over the night before.

As you can see, it’s really well-done. The most impressive thing to me isn’t the seat but rather the ambience that they’ve managed to create in the cabin. The window shades just really change the feel for the better, along with several of the other touches. BA specifically avoided the completely private suite with walls like many competitors. Some will like that while others will hate it. Of course, most of us will only see the inside of this cabin if we’re redeeming miles, but if you’ve got ’em, this looks like a good way to spend ’em. (If it weren’t for that pesky fuel surcharge . . .)

Get Cranky in Your Inbox!

The airline industry moves fast. Sign up and get every Cranky post in your inbox for free.

22 comments on “Video Tour of the New British Airways First Class

  1. As I always say, I don’t mind the BA YQ. I always redeem with the Amex 2-4-1 voucher and can fly First class on BA for less than I would pay for the same seat in Economy. What’s more the generally have excellent availability!

    As for the seat, I personally like the new BA First and am pleased they opted to stay away from the Suite concept.

  2. Since you were on the ground, to bad they didn’t have brighter lights inside so the product could be seen better in the video.

    I’m sure the coach passengers will be happy to know that high fuel surcharge BA charges which is one of the highest in the industry is put to good use paying for all the extra power equipment in first class so those folks don’t have to lower and raise a window shade by hand or adjust their seat using human power. A lot of extra weight in F class that needs more fuel to fly it around.

    1. Oh, tell me about the fuel surcharges. Recently had to get a last minute DEN-LHR ticket on BA – not flown them for years because of the fuel charges. $480 in taxes!!

    2. They did have brighter lights – a full range of lighting but I wanted to have it more like it was supposed to be onboard.

  3. “Actual room to store very small children on the bottom as well; actually, that is a good benefit.”

    (Awkward British Silence) “right…..”

    Great trip video nonetheless. There’s not a whole lot of information on the new F cabin on BA’s website. It’s almost as if they want to keep it a mystery.

    I just need to get over the fact that there’s an ~US$285 surcharge one way on top of the airfare/miles.

    1. I must admit that that is my favorite part of the movie.

      I wonder with the window that is covered up, is it plugged from the exterior? or only covered up on the interior?

  4. Wow, I love the windows… sort of gives the cabin a luxury train-like feel. Great “trick” from interior design… making the shades/drapes much larger to give the illusion of a big window behind.

  5. Remember that not all of the BA surcharge is kept by the airline. Air Passenger Duty in the United Kingdom is now very high indeed: GBP120 (~US$190) for a flight to the USA from London in a premium cabin and it applies regardless of fare paid.

    Am I right in thinking that in the US tickets are subject to a excise tax which is included in the fare, so if the fare is $0 because of redemption, excise tax is also 0? I appreciate other fees can then apply…

    1. It seemed really simple, but I wouldn’t say I really know for sure without having to experience in in person. (And that ain’t happenin’.)

  6. BA fuel surcharge is outrages since it goes by mileage and class of service. And British taxes overall on some of the highest also.

    Right now if you were using BA LAX-DEL-LAX in First or Business class the fuel surchase that goes to BA is USD954.00, in Coach USD440.00. You are better to book partner AA for USD490.00/USD390.00 in fuel charges.

    It pays to check what fuel surcharges are for each airlines since they vary, it could save you a lot of money. Is paying almost $1000.00 worth pushing a button to have your shade go up or saving hundreds of dollars on another airline and just raise the old fashion way by hand.

  7. Hi Cranky Brett, this was so nice and wow I sure am missing my airline days. I lost my job as Emirates SkyCargo Sales Manager in the Central South last September. I think you know my son, Troy Filson formerly of HP. I too am former HP as Sales Rep for them in Houston as they first landed at IAH. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your essays – they’re just great.
    Ellie Moore Banda

  8. It’s a nice layout though the window position leaves a lot to be desired if you like gazing out the window. It appears you have to lean forward to really look out properly.

  9. This complements the lounge experience at T5 very well. British Airways has always been one of the best at adapting to the needs of its premium passengers.

    1. I don’t really give a monkeys about BA (haven’t flown them in 10 years), but in terms of adapting to needs of it’s passengers, you might want to check out a documentary series with Heston Blumenthal (mentalist chemical TV chef) who’s been advising BA on dramatically improved in flight meals (complete with nasal douches). Looks tasty…

  10. I flew this first class last year like the week after they rolled it out. It was really nice and like you I liked the ambiance. It was very sleek and the there was plenty of rooms I slept on the flight and while the bed was a bit thin, it was comfortable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cranky Flier