British Airways has announced details of the ‘soft refresh’ of First Class. The good news is that the airline has learned from the year-long roll-out of the new Club World bedding (because it takes a year to swap over your blankets, obviously) and is doing this one in eight days.
The roll-out starts on 31st March and will be completed by 7th April. You can’t argue with that!
You can see the official details on the ba.com First page here.
New First Class loungewear
British Airways is launching new First loungewear, including slippers, designed by Temperley London:
New amenity bags
The loungewear will be complemented by new amenity bags, featuring Temperley’s ‘Star’ design. My wife will be gutted as she really, really likes the current Liberty ones ….
New amenity kits
The bags will be filled with Elemis products, including the high-end Ultra Smart Pro-Collagen range.
A new a la carte menu is being introduced, with a focus on ‘fresh seasonal ingredients of British provenance’:
New crockery and cutlery
Your new-look meal will be served on new-look bone china crockery, featuring an exclusive design by William Edwards. There will also be contemporary cutlery from Studio William.
BA will now be serving “the airline’s fine wines and champagnes” from new Dartington glassware. It isn’t clear if the non-fine wines, such as the one in First which is sold by Morrisons for £5 per bottle, will also get the same glassware 🙂
There will also be new Dartington tumblers for soft drinks and spirits.
New afternoon tea
BA is introducing a new signature afternoon tea service in First, including sandwiches, pastries and scones served with a variety of teas:
High performance headphones from Meridian, a well respected British brand, are being added.
BA is replacing the current bedding with new 400 thread count products, along with a foam fibre mattress topper. Day flights will come with a new day blanket and bolster cushion:
It is only fair to add that First passengers also benefit, at Heathrow Terminal 5, from the new private First Wing for check-in and security control, which deposits you directly in the Galleries First lounge. If you are a ticketed First Class passenger, of course, you should immediately leave Galleries First and head across the corridor to the Concorde Room!
What do you think?
We need to see if this is genuinely good news. The brands being used by British Airways are suitable high-end and British, and all credit to BA for that.
The bedding is probably a genuine improvement, as are the new headphones.
The glassware is clearly an improvement, given that it now looks adult sized.
The jury is out on the loungewear until we’ve seen it.
Everyone seemed happy with the Liberty toiletry bags so the switch now may be more change for the sake of it than anything else. Keeping the Liberty bags would still have fitted with the ‘premium British’ theme.
The list of contents in the bag seems similar. BA is not, for example, introducing small bottles of premium scent as some other airlines do which would have been a genuine step-up. I’m not sure that Elemis is much more premium that the current items or the Ren products used before that.
The jury is also out on the food. British Airways is not claiming to be spending any more money on it – nor is it apparently changing the wine list despite the bad press it got from the ‘£5 per bottle in Morrisons’ story last week.
My best guess is that none of these changes are costing the airline more than a nominal sum on top of the current budget. There is not necessarily anything wrong with that – you can spend the same amount of money and get a better looking or better performing product – but overall it seems like evolution rather than revolution.
The ba.com First page is here.
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