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British Airways deals with ‘old First’ by closing the F cabin on four routes

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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 old First Class seat

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.

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How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2021)

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There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

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(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (36)

  • Matthew says:

    Just booked two reward flights in Club for June 2015 – Cape Town to London – the BA site says this when I choose a seat::
    ” Club world – Front cabin
    You are selecting a flatbed seat at the front of the aircraft which was previously our First cabin and is now sold as Club World. Some elements of the product and service may differ between the First and Club World cabins.”
    I’m able to go in and reserve any seats (as a Silver) except row 1. Just wondering if I should trade the certainty of upper deck seats with booking in “1st” and then risk being bumped back into the Club cabin with limited seat choice at a later stage because they introduce a policy? If reserving a seat is possible are they likely to change it?

    • Rob says:

      Take it. They won’t throw you out later.

      The downside is that, for a couple, you need to sit in the middle (no window) or sit behind each other on the windows.

      • Matthew says:

        Thanks – that’s exactly what I’ve just done – row 4 for us on both in and out flights, and hope they leave me there! I may not still be a Silver by that time, but assume that this won’t impact what they do…?