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The first 10-across BA economy flights from Gatwick are on sale

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One of BA’s plans for increasing its profitability from Gatwick is the ‘densification’ of the Boeing 777 fleet.

At present, World Traveller economy seating is nine abreast on the Boeing 777 fleet.  On about half of the Boeing 777 fleet – which will be most-or-all of the Gatwick fleet plus a handful at Heathrow – these seats are about to be ripped out and replaced by 10-abreast seating.

British Airways BA 777X 777 9X

According to Routes Online, the following services will be the first to be operated by the new fleet.  These will all be Boeing 777-200ER aircraft (Day 1 = Monday etc):

London Gatwick – Cancun from 12th May 2018, 1 weekly (Day 6; 3 weekly Day 1/3/6 from 20th June)
London Gatwick – Fort Lauderdale from 18th September 2018, 1 weekly (Day 4)
London Gatwick – Kingston from 7th May 2018, 2 weekly (Day 1/3; Day 1/5 from 10th September)
London Gatwick – New York JFK from 8th July 2018, 1 daily
London Gatwick – Orlando from 11th May 2018, 1 weekly BA2037/2036 (Day 5; 2 weekly Day 5/6 from 8th June to 8th September)
London Gatwick – Punta Cana from 8th May 2018, 3 weekly (Day 2/4/7)
London Gatwick – Tampa from 7th June 2018, 2 weekly (Day 4/7)

And here are some seat maps:

This is Club World, which is now a lot smaller with only four rows of seats.  This may actually be an improvement on the current set-up:

777 Club World

Here is World Traveller Plus, which may also be improved because it should get the newer generation version of the seat:

777 World Traveller Plus

An extract from World Traveller, which is clearly not improved:

777 World Traveller

To be fair to British Airways, other airlines are selling 10-abreast in Economy on a Boeing 777.   BA is only catching up with the dumbing down.  Emirates and Qatar Airways, for example, are 10-abreast on their 777 fleet.

That said, there is no reason to put up with this if you don’t need to when flying World Traveller.  Where a route is operated from Heathrow, you should be booking that instead.  If it isn’t, try to time your flights next year for a date when a 9-across aircraft is due to be operating.

This is the future though – Norwegian levels of comfort without the Norwegian levels of service.

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Comments (53)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • JamesB says:

    There are no excuses for BA or any other airline for these 10 across seating configurations or trends towards decreasing seat pitch. With people getting taller and larger in general, the seating in economy is now beyond a joke. If livestock transport had been comparably regressive in recent years animal rights activists would be protesting. It is time the EU and others regulated on aircraft seating.

    I imagine the LHR flights affected will be those like BKK which are operated by mixed fleet 772s.

    • Gavin says:

      After just flying on a BA 777 the current economy seating is a joke, the worst I have travelled on in some time. The seats feel very hard and show their age, the seat pitch is also way too much if a taller person is sitting behind someone reclining their seat. If the 10 abreast seating reduces the seat pitch and provides a more comfortable seat it is urgently required.

      • Tom says:

        Agree – I flew economy to Dubai one way earlier this year and it was the worst flight I have ever had. I’m 6ft 3″ and to say I was broken by the time we arrived is an understatement. At least it was the flight out, and not the flight back.

        My other half now agrees that we have to fly Club or at worst PE on medium and long haul.

  • James says:

    Still doing 8 across in club 🙁

    As for 10 across in economy, well that’s only 2 more than club !

    • Genghis says:

      Comparing no of seats across in J is not really fair due to the different configurations.

    • Archie says:

      Totally agree. 8 abreast in long-haul business class is far more shocking than 10 abreast in economy. Forget warning people to avoid the new World Traveller cabin, the real horror is at the front of the plane.

      • Lewis Watson says:

        Are they at least cheaper or is it not a consideration to ba when pricing flights?

        • the real harry1 says:

          they’ll be doing an Aer Lingus-type saver ticket, ie no luggage, no in-flight perks except (maybe) F&B – all for a rock-bottom price that shows up on Expedia etc search engines as competitive with Norwegian etc

      • Drav says:

        my god, get a grip man

    • Peter says:

      A very simplistic way of viewing the CW seating, must be a novice

      • DV says:

        It’s a very accurate way of describing CW, which has fallen badly behind the competition. If BA were serious about replacing it, this would be an obvious opportunity.

    • Doug M says:

      It’s not 8 across is it. Silly remark.

    • Nick says:

      Its not 8 across though, is it? There are better J seats out there but to say that CW is shocking is just daft. It’s a comfortable seat and plenty wide enough. 10 across in economy is unpleasant though.

      I was speaking to a colleague today who used to fly a lot but less so now. He came back from a long haul economy flight with ba and was saddened by what it has become, but commented that it is to be expected from the new BA. If I were ba that would worry me – he is very much the ‘general public’ rather than one of us who takes an active interest in flying, and the perception of the brand has already changed for the worse. He said he would have been happy to pay more for a better seat but it was a full flight, but added that he would just pay the extra to fly with a better airline instead from now on. ABBA is a real phenomenon

      • Drav says:

        vast majority of people fly to get to the destination… it is a necessary evil.
        so they choose price and/or convenience. For a significant number of people, BA have the convenience bit down and it’s the reason they can continue to be awful – people fly them regardless.

        there is also the sad but mildly amusing jingoism from people who fly BA because it has british in the name.

        and their profits continue to increase.

        just look at this site. the sheer number of people who actually do care about flying, yet are still willing to fly the vastly inferior BA product.

        ABBA grows but most people dont care. BA certainly dont

  • Mark says:

    Smaller CW cabin will probably mean fewer reward seats…do you know if they are using the latest version of the CW seat or are they just dropping the old one back in?

  • tony says:

    Just remember that BA tried this maybe 20 years back when they first got the 777 fleet at Gatwick under Flying Colours and the backlash was so great that they reversed the decision. Surely a huge marketing opportunity for the likes of TUI with their 33″ pitch on the 787.

    Presumably the other risk here is ending up on one of these planes when something goes wrong and they swap the aircraft in.

  • Cdd89 says:

    Why do you say it’s no bad thing that there are only 32 club seats? This is rotten news for anyone who likes redemptions or club deals, frankly!

    • the real harry1 says:

      not if the 2 Club + 4 Economy seats guarantee remains in force

      • Genghis says:

        At a minimum. But there are often more available. If fewer J seats, fewer rev man can open up to redemptions?

        • the real harry1 says:

          yep but from what I’ve seen, the times when (say) 9 Economy redemptions open up on flights are not usually Peak, but unpopular times to fly

          it’s still going to be T-355 to catch the worm

  • JamesB says:

    Comments on CW are interesting. I still rather like CW , mainly for the privacy it provides when travelling solo. If they reupholstered, improved IFE, added free wifi, improved the cleanliness, catering and services to contemporary ME J standards, and reduced tbd price to something competitive I could live with it.

    • Genghis says:

      +1. I like being cocooned in the rear facing window seats. Trouble with BA is that there are are a few good seats and IMO quite a lot of bad / not great seats.

    • Rob says:

      Whilst I fully understand why people hate it (and I do, when travelling alone), it is great with 2 adults and 2 kids! Stick the kids into the ‘double bed’ seats in the middle with some toys, block their escape with an adult on either side and you’re sorted 🙂

    • Ian says:

      So, basically you could live with it if they changed pretty much everything? 🙂

      • JamesB says:

        Yes, except the seat but there is obviously ‘room’ for improvmenr there too.

    • Clive says:

      Why compare with ME J as if they are the competition on BA’s 772 routes to Florida/Caribbean etc? Which of the destinations in the article above is served by a better business class? There’s Norwegian’s premium cabin to some, Virgin’s UC to some… that’s about it. There is no Etihad/Emirates/Qatar A380 between London and Orlando.

      • JamesB says:

        Point is at the prices BA charge they should be at least as good as ME3 or even better, regardless of routes.

  • Nick_C says:

    Sadly they will get away with high density seating because people are stupid. People have been raving for years about Emirates being a great airline on the basis of the IFE (and perhaps the football sponsorship) despite the early adoption of 343 on the 777.

    AA’s “more room throughout coach” more than 10 years ago was not a commercial success.

    I also see the new WT+ seating as a negative. The old seating was soft and comfortable, and the leg rest made a tremendous difference. I’ve slept as well in the old WT+ seats as I have in J. The new seats are hard as hell and don’t have leg rests making sleep (or comfort) impossible for me.

    As for privacy in J, you can’t beat AA’s 777-300, although if you want to be sociable you may prefer CW.

    • Drav says:

      No. most people love emirates economy because they have a massive a380 fleet and their a380s have some of the best long haul pitch in economy. plus a pretty good all round soft product.

  • Andreas says:

    I flew a 10 abreast QR 777 last year in an aisle seat and it was horrible. Every single person who passed was hitting my shoulder, absolutely impossible to get any decent rest.

    • the real harry1 says:

      if I were flying BA LH economy in one of these densified planes, I think my strategy would be:
      – 6/7 hr hop (East coast) = pay extra for exit window
      – >6/7 hrs (Mid USA/ West coast/ SE Asia etc) = get or upgrade to PE

      other cheap seats great for students but not for oldsters – though a 6/7 hr flight surely is pretty bearable if the savings justify the lack of comfort?

      • Gavin says:

        My father in law managed to get assigned a bulkhead seat (bassinet) at checkin this morning at ICN, given he’s got no status and has 12 hours on the 787 to endure he’s done quite well there!

        • the real harry1 says:

          judging by the news, he’s done well to get out 🙂

          I guess the same trick that can be used to get free exit seats on HBO/ET/RFS flights (Europe) can also be used on LH when a passenger has no status so would otherwise pay for seat selection

          ie turn up as early as T-24hrs at airports with self-check in machines then the whole of the plane (according to class) opens up for free seat selection

          I know some people on HBO flights do actually bother to pop to LHR a day early to do this

          • Cate says:

            Yep the Korean issue is very up in the air and we’ve just switched from saving avios to skypass points aiming for first on Korean air CDG-ICN-NRT next year. Talk about bad timing.

          • Gavin says:

            Most Koreans are pretty non-plussed by this latest escalation, they’re so used to it!

          • Drav says:

            if the situation escalates to the hysterical levels that the western media would like you to believe… then the type of airmiles you have will be the last of your worries… they will all be useless 🙂

        • Lumma says:

          Are the bassinet seats extra wherever you check in with BA? Flew back from Boston on the a380 the other week and i could select them for free on mobile check in

          • Scallder says:

            From the BA website:

            Free seating when you travel with an infant

            When you travel with an infant (under 2) who won’t be travelling in a seat of their own, you can reserve a seat for yourself and everyone in your booking, free of charge, as soon as you’ve made your booking (except for bookings of over 9 people).

            If you don’t choose a seat in advance, where possible we’ll reserve suitable seats for you a few days before the flight, however the selection will be limited.

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