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British Airways announces First Class ‘soft’ cabin improvements, live from 31st March

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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 First page here.

New British Airways First Class improvements

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 British Airways First Class improvements

New amenity kits

The bags will be filled with Elemis products, including the high-end Ultra Smart Pro-Collagen range.

New British Airways First Class improvements

New menus

A new a la carte menu is being introduced, with a focus on ‘fresh seasonal ingredients of British provenance’:

New British Airways First Class improvements

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.

New British Airways First Class improvements

New glassware

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 British Airways First Class improvements

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:

New British Airways First Class improvements

New headphones

High performance headphones from Meridian, a well respected British brand, are being added.

New bedding

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:

New British Airways First Class improvements

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 First page is here.

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Comments (186)

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

  • Jeff says:

    Is BA’s LHR-LAX on 747 departing (10:30am – ish) deemed a day flight? ie No sleep expected on an approx 12 hour flight so no sleep kit supplied?

  • H says:

    Hi. We’re using points and 241 to travel First BA for the first time.
    I realise that this is a dodgy question !!!! ….. I recognise that you get to keep the amenity bags …. is it accepted practice to ‘acquire’ anything else ….. the loungeware for example !!!! 🙂 ?

    • Doug M says:

      Yeah that’s fine. Crockery, bedding stays.

    • Alex says:

      They will not be reusing your pyjamas

      • H says:

        Thanks both Alex and Doug … really appreciated. And despite having collected tiny personal china salt and pepper shakers many (50+!!!) years ago, I’ve shied away glasses and crockery since :)H

        • Shoestring says:

          the crockery, glasses and cutlery are pretty naff anyway, in terms of do you want them in your home (unless you know a student!)

          I don’t think they care too much if you swipe some bedding for the cat’s basket or whatever

        • Cat says:

          It’s funny you should say that Shoestring – my only fine bone China is the set I half-inched from Trinity Matriculation Dinner!

          • Rob says:

            I have a Claridges milk jug nicked from a drunken banking party c 1999!

        • Cat says:


        • Craig says:

          I have a Gleneagles coat hanger from 1990!

          • Rob says:

            I am there next month if you want it either taking back or replacing with a modern one 🙂

        • Cat says:

          Are you the reason for the ubiquitous anti-theft coat hangers now Craig?

        • Doug M says:

          Virgin have little plane model salt and pepper pots, Orville and Wilbur. On the bottom is a ‘Pinched from Virgin Atlantic’ message, I assume as an OK to lift them.

        • Craig says:

          All my fault Cat, in my defence there is no way I could have expected the butterfly effect from my dastardly deed. It is a functional yet well crafted item on which my favourite jacket hangs.

        • Cat says:


    • john says:

      Any hand soaps in the loo

    • CV3V says:

      I have asked for a 2nd amenity kit before, was quite blatant that I wanted to give it as a present to someone and they obliged, cabin crew then had a moan that they weren’t allowed to take any of them for themselves yet!

  • Lady London says:

    Is Dartington glassware upmarket then? I could swear many years ago I used to get those from Texaco…

    Agree about the Liberty washbags. I was able to snag one, and gave it to my mother. Very classy. Far more British than the “nouveau arrive” (if you’re over about 35) Temperley brand.

    • meta says:

      +1 Dartington is cheap brand trying to be premium! You can get them anywhere for peanuts. Like set for 6 wine glasses for £15 or less. Not a fan of Temperley either, but at least the PJs might be a bit better quality than current ones…

      • Jonathan says:

        It’s amazing how bad they’ve become. I found a BA First pair in a drawer unused from about 2005 (with the gold seams) and they are so much better made and more comfortable than the current offering.

      • Lady London says:

        In fact I’d put Dartington same level as Denby china. Perfectly serviceable, rugged, even rather nice. But definitely not upmarket.

  • Taylor says:

    So does that mean you don’t get a proper duvet for a day flight? Even if it’s over 10 hours?

    • Stu N says:

      Have always had slippers, pyjamas and bedding offered on westbound day flights in F.

  • Freddy says:

    I already own headphones, PJ’s and a washbag, why do I need another set

  • Anna says:

    I’m connecting from “the regions” to T5, what’s the quickest way of getting to the Concorde Lounge? We won’t get to experience First check-in and I’m not sure whether to try and find the secret door near security or just go to the main lounge area and try from there. We’ve got 3 hours between flights and want to at least have breakfast and a spa treatment each.

    • Robert says:

      When you get through the final security bag check at T5 turn right and walk all the way along, you’ll reach the ‘million pound door’ there’s a desk and an attendant who’ll check your F BP (or GGL card) and let you in. Enjoy!

      • Alan says:

        If connecting from domestic there’s no security – as Stu says below you just appear straight into the gate area (sadly not the same in reverse when arriving from international!)

    • Stu N says:

      You’ll emerge from domestic connections near Boots at gate A8. There’s a boarding passes check but no security so super quick. Just go along the main departures hall to south lounges, up escalators and back in yourself – the CCR is at the far end. You can do “doors open” to “LPGS open” in under 10 mins.

      Alternatively you can go up to the upper level and head for South Security to use the special door but that’s not as quick and you’re going against the flow of the design – doubling back on escalators and against the flow of people coming into departures.

      Third option is to go landslide then back airside via F wing. I wouldn’t recommend this going DOM-INT as you’re subjecting yourself to an additional security check for no good reason. If your return is in F then you’d need to do security anyway so you could try that on the way home, it’s about the same as airside route but less queueing and more walking so we much prefer it.

      • Alan says:

        Definitely don’t want to go through LHR security if not required! Agree with the top two options 🙂

    • Nick says:

      By far and away is the direct route through FCC. Yes you don’t go through the FW but as there’s no security from UK arrivals I really don’t see why you’d want to land yourself put yourself through that just to try it out. Just walk the length of the A terminal and go up the escalator just past F&M.

  • Cat says:

    Yes. To summarise – Anna and I like Elemis too. Lady London likes the First Wing and microwaves, doesn’t like M&S and would like more “direction” in life.

  • ashic says:

    Quite annoyed. Got an F to Beijing in Easter, and was hoping to collect the Liberty kit with the added 100 goodness (I hear that’s apparently a thing?). If the images of the Temperley bag are true, it looks like something a clown would carry.

    • Cat says:

      Don’t panic – click on the First official details link above, scroll down to the “New comforts and fine dining experience, arriving soon” section. The 5th photo looks likely to be the male kit – ask for that! No self-respecting clown would be caught dead with that.

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