Some bloggers call British Airways First Class cabin, the "world's best business class," and having recently tried it on a Boeing 777-200 from Atlanta to Heathrow, I understand why.
There's nothing wrong with British Airways First Class, and it's a beautiful cabin. But neither the seat nor the service is at the level of other major global airlines, like Lufthansa, Emirates, or Etihad or ANA.
Perhaps this is by design. At many airlines, first class is a money loser. Yes, tickets can cost $15,000 or more, but relatively few people buy them, and outside of major routes, like New York or L.A. to London, the cabins are not full. By packing in more seats than usual, and likely spending less money on each passenger, British Airways may have a bit more luck monetizing the cabin than other airlines. British Airways has 14 seats in its 777 cabin, eight more than most competitors.
My wife and I bought business class tickets from Atlanta and upgraded to first using 25,000 British Airways Avios each.
Here's some of what we experienced.
The cabin is set up in a 1-2-1 configuration. I had a window seat, and it was slightly angled toward the window. I liked the colors of the cabin, and I found them soothing.
The window shades are the most fun part of the cabin. There's one large shade covering both windows and it goes up and down with a push of a button. The lamp is also a nice touch. You don't see that often, and it helps for reading.
Waiting for me at the seat were cheap headphones, and a flimsy blanket. For a bit, I worried that this would be my only blanket. But I received a nice plush duvet at bedtime.
That's my wife on the other side of the cabin. We are happier when each of us gets exactly the same seat. I believe we were 3A and 3K.
There's a small but useful closet attached to each seat. You likely be hanging your own clothing.
Here's the dinner menu.
And here's breakfast - which I never eat on short redeyes - and the dinner drinks menu.
I think my favorite seat feature was the circular control knob for the seat. It is much more intuitive than usual. If you want to recline, you turn the knob one direction. To sit upright, you turn it in the other direction.
First class pajamas are ridiculous. Some people have paid $10,000 or more to sit there on some flights (probably not this one), and everyone is walking around in what are essentially sweatpants. It's like the first class uniform. But, hey, my wife looks great in them.
This is another nice part of the BA First shtick. You can dine with your travel partner. Keep in mind that the second person (me, in this case) must sit on the ottoman. It is a tight fit and not particularly comfortable. But there is a seatbelt. We enjoyed it.
Here are some shots of dinner. My wife's main course - the beef - was not bad. Everything else was mediocre.
The bedding was more plush and comfortable than you get in most business class cabins. But I found the seat constraining. There's not as much foot and shoulder room as I might have expected from first class.
In business and first class, British Airways has a nice collection of movies and TV shows.
Here's the cabin in the morning, as we approached London.
Here's a final window shot.
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