The first British Airways long-haul Gatwick plane with 10-across seating is now in service

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The first ‘densified’ British Airways Boeing 777 is now in service at London Gatwick.   The number of seats has been increased from 280 to a whopping 332.

The main way this has been achieved is to make World Traveller / Economy 10-abreast.  To be fair to British Airways, a lot of other airlines – including many with a better reputation than BA, such as Emirates, Air France, Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific – have already or are in the process of doing the same.  BA is playing ‘catch up’ (or ‘catch down’, possibly) in this area.

New British Airways economy World Traveller seating

There have been some improvements to the World Traveller seat.  Most obviously, the size of the TV screen has increased from 6 inches to 10 inches.

You also get “a six-way headrest with adjustable ears for added comfort and movable middle arm rests, which is particularly useful for customers travelling with children”.

New British Airways economy TV screen

USB power ports have been added but there are no plug sockets.  Whilst not an obvious change, the IFE system has also been replaced and now has substantially more capacity to add additional movies.

There have also been major changes in World Traveller Plus.

The World Traveller Plus cabin has been increased from 24 to 52 seats.  This is likely to drive a substantial change in the amount of Avios reward availability in this cabin.

If you are wondering where the space came from, the number of Club World seats has been reduced from 40 to 32.

New British Airways World Traveller Plus cabin

Word Traveller Plus DOES now have plug sockets which will take UK, US and European plugs.

British Airways World Traveller Plus power socket

The seat also has “a new leg and footrest, as well as an improved fully adjustable six-way headrest to suit customers of all heights. The new seat also has a cocktail table at the front and in-arm tray tables”.

The TV screen has increased from 6 inches to 12 inches, meaning that there is now a difference between the IFE in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus.

The new World Traveller Plus seat will be added to the Boeing 777 fleet at Heathrow from “Autumn 2019”.

Where will you find these new seats?

The new aircraft are initially being timetabled onto Punta Cana, Cancun and Kingston.  All six of the three class Boeing 777 aircraft will be done by the end of 2018 – it is a slow process, taking two months per plane and requiring the aircraft to be sent to Singapore.  BA will then start making similar changes to the four-class fleet of four aircraft at Gatwick.

It remains to be seen if customers in World Traveller can be ‘bought off’ with a bigger TV and a USB socket when faced with a sharp drop in seat width.

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  1. 10 seats a row in a 777 is torture, more important than pitch

  2. DavidK says:

    Well the seats and IFE looks nice in fairness. Just a shame they are densified. I suppose it is a reflection of what the market wants. The average punter books the cheapest possible fare in my experience. Not much else matters to the majority……

  3. Tarka says:

    I had the misfortune to fly from Madrid to Heathrow last year in economy on a BA B777 (company I work for has an all Y travel policy for flights up to 6 hours) in 3-3-3 fit and that was so uncomfortable. The window seat I was in was cramped, didn’t have much leg room because of the seat leg and IFE and the seat was so hard. I was glad to get off after 2 hours so couldn’t contemplate a TATL in these conditions, this seat fit will be even worse. Won’t be travelling on a BA 777 again any time soon.

    • Talay says:

      Perhaps when people move company the travel impact of forced economy ticketing (at all, nevermind up to 6 hours) might reflect in whether someone wants to join a company or not ?

      Though retired from investment banking (still running my own businesses), we never had to consider economy though I understand that a circa 4 hours economy directive may have been introduced in some quarters. Whether that exists across all seniority I do not know but I cannot imagine any of my compatriots ever considering medium or long haul at anything other than the pointy end.

      If I were looking to join a company and they wished me to fly medium haul or longer in economy, I wouldn’t take the job. I might even (probably would to be honest) throw down the gauntlet at economy short haul. Assuming they value me, then the additional cost of a business (or even first) ticket is negligible.

      • A belated comment on this. I am also retired and would take exactly your view. If I’m worth it to the company, the value I add will be far greater than the cost of premium tickets. Will we start seeing employees rising up to recognise their worth? I doubt it.

  4. Where is the competition? Virgin are competing with ex air Berlin A330s with tight seat pitch and 9 abrest on the 787,similarly Norwegian on their 787.
    I can’t see that many WTplus seats being sold….. might be some bargains….

    • No, the real bargain will be when WT is oversold and people get moved into WTP, which in turn could trigger moved into CW.

      For the record, the best way to make this happen is…
      a) fly on busy flights
      b) make sure you’re not in the cheapest booking classes

      • Talay says:

        Agreed about the busy planes but not on the booking classes as booking a long haul flexible economy on BA might well give you business class with a proper bed and no climb over on another airline.

  5. “It remains to be seen if customers in World Traveller can be ‘bought off’ with a bigger TV and a USB socket when faced with a sharp drop in seat width.”

    What is the difference in width?

    • 1 inch

      • flyforfun says:

        Yes, but EACH seat has lost 1 inch, so effectively there is 2 less inches between you and your seat mate. Not to mention that the aisles are narrower too.

        I made the mistake of flying on an Emirates 777 several years ago on 2 x 7 hr sectors + 2 extra hours on the ground with an emergency medical stop.. Aisle one side, chunky woman the other. I was trying not to touch her or get bumped by the trolley or people in the aisles. Will never fly them again. Flew Cathay’s 9 abreast 777 and it was so comfortable – however I’m aware they are also going 10 abreast. Will try to get on their A350 instead!

  6. Connie Ehler says:

    I wonder what the evacuation time would be if all seat occupants were obese? Our population is getting larger not slimmer.

  7. This six-way headrest is one of the few (remaining) features which BA could earn brownie points for

  8. “WTP DOES now have plug sockets which will take UK, US and European plugs.”

    The photo underneath that sentence seems to show that the socket is inside the armrest, like the empower ones were, not on the front, or between the seats towards the floor…

    What bright crayon thought having a plug sticking into your leg was the way to go??

  9. woody says:

    We had a 10 abreast B777 experience with AirNZ, never again, as well as the cramped seating it was not easy walking up and down the aisles, something I thought we are all encouraged to do to avoid DVT. The aisles are narrower, and arms and legs are understandably spilling out making the passageway difficult to navigate. I’ve gone indirect since then to avoid the 10x 777, but i can see this working in airlines favour, as more of us will pay extra to go PE!

  10. I read on another blog yesterday that the 10 across seating is coming to LHR from Autumn 2019.
    Apparently the BA promo text said WTP when it should have said WT.

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