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£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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Comments (48)

  • Danksy says:

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

    • CV says:

      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!

    • Chris says:

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

    • Rob says:

      Yes, you get the form onboard.

  • Trickster says:

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

  • 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!

  • Russell Evans says:

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

    • Rob says:

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

      • Steve says:

        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’

  • Hingeless says:

    Old first to Moscow return would be fantastic

  • CV says:

    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?

    • Steve says: tells you which aircraft are running which routes with which config, it’s very accurate

    • Mark says:

      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.

  • Steve says:

    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.

  • mike sanders says:

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

    • Phillip says:

      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.

        • Raffles says:

          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.

        • Richie says:

          Get a woman then and stop complaining.

        • CV says:

          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!?

          • Rob says:

            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!