I wrote in December about how British Airways was offering 50,000 Avios as compensation to anyone who flew in First Class and was unlucky enough to get the old First Class seat, like this one:
British Airways has now come up with a plan to deal with the remaining planes with ‘old First’ without paying to refurbish them. These are planes which are due to be retired in the medium term.
From the start of the Winter timetable in late October, First Class tickets will no longer be available for sale on the following flights:
Cape Town (BA43 and BA42 Winter, BA59 and BA58 Summer)
Vancouver (BA85 and BA84)
Phoenix (BA289 and BA288)
Las Vegas (BA275 and BA274)
The Boeing 747’s with ‘old First’ will become a dedicated mini-fleet which will only be used on these four services. The strategy is:
When less than 52 Club World seats are sold, close off the First Class cabin
When more than 52 Club World seats are sold, open First Class and upgrade passengers based on BA status
What is not clear is if the seating plan would automatically open when 52 seats are sold, with only BA status passengers being able to select seats in First, or if BA will process all upgrades themselves. It is possible that, if a flight has a lot of last minute cancellations, First could be closed at short notice and passengers moved back to Club World.
This seems like a sensible move for British Airways with, in general, other flight alternatives available for a passenger who wants to fly in First.