£250 or 50,000 Avios if BA flies you in ‘Old First Class’!

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The roll-out of the new British Airways First Class seat is now complete.  If you get on a British Airways plane and are seated in First, this is what you should get:

British Airways new First Class seat

However, there still a chance that you may end up with this:

British Airways old First Class seat

ALL of the Boeing 777’s have the new First Class seat, as do all of the Boeing 747’s with 70 Club World seats and of course the new A380’s (the 787’s delivered so far do not have First Class).

However, there are also 25 Boeing 747’s with 52 Club World seats.  Half of these do NOT have the new First Class seat fitted, because they are due to be scrapped as additional A380’s and B787’s arrive.

British Airways has now launched a generous (in my view) compensation scheme if you find yourself flying in ‘old First’.  On most routes, you will be offered a £250 British Airways voucher or 50,000 Avios points as compensation.

Remember that this is per person and per direction.  If you were (un)lucky enough to get old First on both legs of your return flight, you would have accrued £1,000 of BA vouchers or 200,000 Avios between you.

I think this is a decent deal.  You obviously receive the same food, drink and lounge access whatever version of First you get.  The old and new seats are also – give or take – the same size and the same configuration.  The main difference (apart from wear and tear on the old seats) is the tiny TV screen – something I never use anyway.

I can understand that, if you have been waiting for a dream trip for a long time, that the old seat may be a disappointment.  However, personally, thinking about how I would use the £500 per couple (or 100,000 Avios) compensation would make up for it ….

Sadly – before anyone asks – it is not possible to guarantee any route which would have old First, in case you thought this would be a good way to get yourself a pay out!

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  1. Interesting! I wonder if they will give compensation if you are travelling first on a companion ticket too!!

    • Wondering the same. I was planning to redeem voucher on First to LAS which is one of the routes that flies older cabin. 150,000 avios spend, but 200,000 as a refund – perhaps too good to be true!

    • Yeah – I heard of a couple both getting this exact result last week.

    • Yes, you get the form onboard.

  2. Trickster says:

    The 787s delivered so far do not have First. I think that’s only coming with the 900s

  3. mrtibbs1999 says:

    “Sadly – before anyone asks – it is not possible to guarantee any route which would have old First, in case you thought this would be a good way to get yourself a pay out!”

    I see you were expecting me here today Raffles!

  4. Russell Evans says:

    What about on an Avios redemption ticket in First? Too much to ask?

    • Same deal. You are given a form on the plane to complete with your choice of compensation.

      • I guess this is to reduce the amount of flak that the cabin crew get? Not helped by BA showing NF all over their website and having an asterisk postscripted right down the bottom of the page saying ‘seat not always guaranteed’

  5. Hingeless says:

    Old first to Moscow return would be fantastic

  6. It’s not possible to guarantee, but you could look up the flight on Seat Guru and then count off the number of seats in Club to work out whether it has had the refit?

    • Ftdashboard.net tells you which aircraft are running which routes with which config, it’s very accurate

    • Not quite that simple… As Raffles says above half the 747s with 52 Club seats have had the refit and therefore don’t qualify.

      What is also really important to note is that the other half are due to be withdrawn (and a couple more probably refitted with New First seats from other withdrawn aircraft) over the next year or so. Consequently if you’re booking now for several months time the chances of you getting an aircraft with Old First are reducing, even on routes that have in the recent past been operated exclusively by 747s with 52 Club seats.

  7. We specifically booked Mumbai and Delhi for September because it had been on the triple7 and now it has been moved to a low-J 747 of which old F has a high probability! Not happy at all.

    I’m not sure whether the 50k pp per sector is service recovery ‘policy’ but I will let you know in a couple of weeks!

    In my previous experience, anything wrong with a seat in Club World is a 12-25k avios service recovery, so I guess this could make sense.

  8. mike sanders says:

    2 X 250 = 1000 where did you go to school?

    • I think Raffles refers to £1000 for a couple travelling on a return journey!

      • Tim Millea says:

        Yes I found the piece unnecessarily couple-slanted. Such assumptions detract from the worthiness of the article.

        • The headline and the bold line in the main post refer to the ‘per person’ numbers.

          I only drop in the ‘couple’ total further down, and only then because I was talking about some people may feel their ‘trip of a lifetime’ (generally honeymoon) had been despoiled.

        • Get a woman then and stop complaining.

        • One of the great things about this blog is the positive, constructive and helpful nature of the comments people post. So:

          Raffles, thanks for another clear and well explained article. Where do you find out all this stuff!?

        • It is heavily reader-generated these days, as you can see by the thanks on a lot of posts! I only take credit for the various ‘think pieces’ that get posted!

  9. Too little too late in my view. Old first cabins are in an appalling state and the IFE is dreadful.
    Your chances of old first have increased slightly following last night unfortunate and really quite serious incident at JNB. Would love to know if BA try to get out of paying compensation for that!

    • The aircraft involved in that incident still has Old First, so unless/until such time as it is repaired and placed back in service I would have though it decreases your chances….

      • Are you sure? It would seam strange to be operating the a380 and an old first product on that route.

        • Absolutely sure. G-BNLL is one of the older 747s with 52 Club seats and Old First, albeit that it was expected to remain in service for some time having just had a major maintenance overhaul 3 months ago. Consequently it was probably in line for a New First refit with seats taken from another withdrawn aircraft.

          BA has never tended to prioritise aircraft with New First on particular routes, except indirectly by refitting all those with 70 Club seats which tend to be used more on the premium heavy routes. Hong Kong was exactly the same; up until the end of October one of the daily flights was operated by a 70 club seater with pretty much guaranteed New First, the other with a 52 club seater with about 50% Old First. Only now with the switch to the A380 and 777 is it guaranteed New First every flight.

        • Ahh ok. I just thought that they wouldn’t want such a big gap between classes on the same route. With the a380 being the flagship of the fleet and all.

        • Don’t forget the A380 isn’t operating yet on that route. When it does the extra capacity may well mean the second flight which will remain as a 747 will be operated by a 70 Club seater and hence also wholly or mainly New First, especially since it is primarily to 52 Club seaters leaving the fleet.

  10. We flew Old First to L.A.in April and New First return and other than feeling that it was walking in to your grandad’s lounge and given that one is asleep for half the return leg, that sounds like a generous offer with hunting down. I think flying as a couple in the middle seats is more sociable in old first too for couples.

    • We flew old F end Sept and they gave us 30k each, which I was quite pleased with. Am now trying to suppress feeling a bit miffed!

    • To be honest I find the Old First seat slightly more comfortable as well, and I miss the separate leg rest control in NF. On a 747 with New First I would avoid 4E and 4F unless they were the only available seats as they are very exposed and you’re liable to be knocked by people getting to/from seats at the front of the cabin. If you want a centre pair on such aircraft that only leaves 5E and 5F.

      It’s true that the tiny IFE screen on Old First is pretty poor these days though, and in my view the general ambiance is much better in NF with the backlit window blinds and lack of awful fake wood.

      Cue comments about first world problems…. I know 🙂

  11. littlefish says:

    I had OF, for example, on the SFO route this year. There are several routes where it is pretty much 50:50; where the WT+ cabins on the 747s are up front.
    Funnily enough, for sleeping I prefer OF. So never really been bothered if a 747 happens to turn up with OF. 50k avios, hmm? seems out of line with service recovery levels for more serious flaws.
    Sad about G-BNLL.

  12. Raffles .. What’s the story with compensation for bag delays?
    I flew out of t5to krakow on Friday. Checked in 2 bags, all had priority labels. Arrived in krakow 11pm where only one bag was delivered. I received the 2nd bag last night. I did have to spend money in the absence of my bag. For example about £30 on razors , gel, moisturiser, toothbrush, paste, deodorant, and soap. I also had no clothes for a friends pre wedding party. So I bought a pair of shoes £50, jeans and shirt and jumper for £90, and boxer shorts socks and gloves for £25. What are my chances of a reimbursement from your past experiences. In the past 6 months I have had 2 bags lost and was awarded 10’000 avoids both times. I am silver, my flight was via Berlin with airberlin operating the 2nd leg . And I was in economy. Thanks

    • No idea, never had it happen to me! BA would probably encourage you to claim via your travel insurance first, it is worth checking if any of your credit cards or your bank account come with a free policy that covers this. If BA loaded the bag in London then technically it is airberlin you should chase.

    • I love the way auto-correct tends to turn Avios into Avoid / Avoids… I guess IAG didn’t think about that one when rebranding their mileage currency 🙂

  13. pazza2000 says:

    50k Avios does seem rather generous, not that I would be complaining. I would now rather find myself in OF with a gratis 50k than NF, perhaps I’ll need to rethink LAS via LAX this year and go direct via LGW

    • Las Vegas flights from Gatwick don’t have First at all, and all flights from Gatwick that do have First have New First.

      Or did you mean fly direct from Heathrow, in which case yes, Old First is a possibility.

      • i didnt realise they flew from both airports tp vegas. this must be the only long haul they have flights from both is it?

        • I think it is currently. BA has flown to New York JFK from both in the past, but hasn’t flown from Gatwick for a few years now, aside from the odd bad weather diversion on the City flights.

  14. Got my fingers crossed for having this for a DME trip in April.

    • Very unlikely as the 747 flight is normally one with 70 Club seats and hence almost always has New First.

  15. Another good post Raffles 🙂 I have not paid much attention to new F but is it really so much superior to old F that passengers would be hugely disappointed? It is not clear to me from the pics that it is so the avios look very generous to me, but the cash about right. I was not a great fan of old F and only flew it once, preferring CW. I found old F on the small 744 cabin was somewhat claustrophobic so hopefully new F is less so and brighter too.

    • Same footprint for the seat, at the end of the day. The TV size is the only ‘wow’ factor over the old version.

      • Rather sad, it seems not that long aho that BA set standards. So compensation is a great deal excepr for those who lime newest of everything.

  16. Eastland says:

    Im now hoping for old first for our Barbados return in June. 100k back on the 125k avios i spent would be lovely!

    • No chance I’m afraid. The First routes from Gatwick all use 777s and all those with First already have New First.

  17. Any chance some of this is retrospective? Went to LAX in OF earlier this year. Never made a complaint so didn’t even get 30k each. Thoughts?

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