What are the best seats on a British Airways A380?

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This is our guide to picking the best seat on the British Airways A380 aircraft.

British Airways has 12 Airbus A380 aircraft. The superjumbo is the largest aircraft in BA’s fleet and the largest passenger aircraft in operation with two decks running along its entire length.

British Airways fits its A380s with 469 seats across four cabins – First, Club World, World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and World Traveller economy.

You can find out what aircraft is operating your British Airways flight by following the steps in this guide.

This is part of a new series of Head for Points British Airways seat guides.  These use exclusive seat plans which we have commissioned ourselves.  We will run a new article in this series every 2-3 days until we have covered the entire long-haul fleet.  Once all of the articles are live we will go back and cross-reference them.  We welcome your feedback and we will incorporate any relevant comments.  For now, please consider them a ‘work in progress’ which will improve over the next 12 months.

You can find our other British Airways seat maps here (this list will be expanded as future ones are published):

British Airways A350 seat map and ‘best seat’ guide

Best seat British Airways A380

British Airways A380 seat map

Here is the full seat map for a British Airways A380.  We will break it down cabin by cabin in a minute.

There are, of course, two decks.  Click to enlarge:

British Airways A380 seat map

How do you select a seat on British Airways?

British Airways permits seat selection from the time of booking.

Some Executive Club members get free seat selection via their Silver or Gold status.  However, for everyone else, you have to pay a fee.  This even includes passengers in Club World or Club Suite business class, which is very unusual.  Most airlines which charge for seat selection only charge in their Economy cabins, but not British Airways.  The only cabin where seat selection is free is First Class.  (There are some exceptions, for example for adults with babies who want a bassinet seat.)

You can read the British Airways seat selection rules in our article here. This guide will help you choose the best seats on the British Airways A380.

What are the best First Class seats on the British Airways A380?

The First Class cabin is situated at the very front of the main (lower) deck on the A380, in rows 1 to 4.

British Airways A380 seat map First Class

British Airways uses an older generation of its First Class seat on these aircraft when compared to its most recent Boeing 787 deliveries.

There are 14 seats in the First Class cabin on a BA A380, in a 1-2-1 layout across four rows (1-1 at the front).  This is fairly large by international standards, and indeed BA has dropped to an 8-seat First Class cabin on its new Boeing 787 fleet.

Unlike BA’s latest business class Club Suite seat, the First seats do not feature a closing door. However, they remain very private with an enclosed shell. Seats along the outside are angled towards the window whilst the aisle seats are angled towards each other:

BA A380 First

Let’s be honest – there are no ‘bad’ seats in the first class cabin, with all seats virtually identical. However, you may prefer to select the following based upon your personal preferences.

If you are travelling alone, seat 2A and 2K are excellent options as they are slightly removed from the forward toilets. You sacrifice the ‘prestige’ of being in the first row for being a few feet further from the galley where cabin crew prepare meals.  Failing this, any of the window seats will get you a window (obviously) and a solo seat with no neighbour.

For people travelling in pairs, the middle seats are the obvious choice. These have a retractable divider which you can keep lowered if you want to have a chat or raise if you are fed up of each other!  However, for those couples who can cope with being a few feet apart for a few hours, you may still prefer two window seats, one behind the other.  Rob says that he and his wife always did this before the kids came along!

British Airways A380 First Class best seat

Best Club World (business class) seats on a British Airways A380

In 2019, British Airways revealed a new business class seat called Club Suite.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that it is currently only on the A350, Boeing 787-10 and a very small number of Boeing 777 aircraft.

The original plan was to refit the A380 fleet in 2023.  With the future of the A380 fleet less certain following coronavirus, it is possible that they never receive Club Suite and are instead retired earlier than planned.

British Airways A380 seat map Club World main deck

That means that, at least for now, British Airways operates its legacy yin and yang product on its Airbus A380s in a 2-4-2 layout (2-3-2 on the upper deck):

British Airways A380 seat map Club World upper deck

There are 97 business class seats on BA’s A380s spread across both the main and upper deck.  44 are on the lower deck in a cabin behind First Class, rows 10 to 15.  The remaining 53 are at the front of the upper deck in rows 50 to 59.

It is important to note that half the seats face backwards. Whilst this may sound like an odd way to fly, it is hardly noticeable and only becomes evident during take-off and landing. On an A380, rows A, E, F and K are rear-facing whilst B, D, G and J are forward-looking. An easy way to remember is that all seats on an aisle face forward.

Not all Club World seats have direct aisle access which is the biggest complaint about the seat.  Whilst all-aisle-access is a common feature on newer business class seats such as the Club Suite, in this configuration passengers sat in rows A, E, F and K must step over the legs of another passenger to exit.

British Airways A380 Club World business class seat plan

Upper or lower deck?

By and large, the upper and lower decks are fairly similar but there are a variety of reasons to choose one over the other.

The upper deck in general has better views and is substantially quieter, being further away from the wing and hydraulics of the aircraft. It’s worth noting that the A380 is already one of the quietest aircraft in existence – so quiet that you genuinely cannot tell during take-off when it has left the ground if you are not by a window.

Window seats along the upper deck also benefit from an additional seat-level storage compartment which can be useful for storing things securely that you want to have easy access to.

British Airways A380 Club World business class seat map

The middle pairs …..

Families or groups of four may prefer the lower deck where they can occupy a group of four centre seats, rather than splitting up along the windows.  Whilst most travellers dislike the Club World seat with a passion, it is actually fantastic for families with two young children.  You can take a row of four in the middle block with a parent on each aisle.  The children can share the ‘double bed’ seat pair in the middle and get a lot of floor space between them for toys etc. Whilst this normally requires the middle pair to climb over strangers to get out, in seats 14D, 14E, 14F, 14G this is not the case.

Apart from this, there is no reason why any solo traveller would want the middle pair (lower deck) or middle solo seat (upper deck).  In particular, the middle pair on the lower deck means that you are effectively sharing a double bed with a stranger for the entire flight.  Yes, there is a divider, but in bed mode you are almost certainly going to be closer to your neighbour than you are to your partner in bed at home.

(Some solo travellers DO like the solo middle seat on the Upper Deck because it offers a lot of privacy with the dividers raised.  With two ways out of the seat, you have double the chances of having an empty seat next to you on one side which would allow you to get in and out without climbing over anyone.)

A couple should, instead, consider a pair by a window.  An A/B or J/K pair allows you to face each other and one of you will have a window.  With an E/F pair, neither of you has a window and you are both climbing over strangers to get out.

15A, 15K, 53A, 53K, 59A, 59K

There are a few seats in the Club World cabin where you can have both a window seat AND direct aisle access. These tend to be at the rear of the cabin, so the trade-off is that you are marginally closer to lavatories and galleys. You may also be the last to get served.

Note that 59A and 59K are in line with the first row of World Traveller Plus bassinet seats. If a baby is present these may be more disruptive.

50A & 50K

Be aware that seats 50A and 50K are missing windows.

Best World Traveller Plus (premium economy) seats on a BA A380

There are 55 World Traveller Plus seats on a British Airways A380.  Which one is the best?

British Airways A380 seat map World Traveller Plus

The premium economy seats are situated in a single cabin behind Club World on the upper deck in rows 60 to 68. There are seven seats per row in a 2-3-2 layout.

Each seat is 18.5″ wide with a 38″ seat pitch (the gap between the back of the seat in front and yours), with an 8″ recline.

Couples are likely to enjoy the window seats where you can have two seats together.  It makes no sense to take two seats in the middle block.  You might be tempted to pay for a seat reservation in order to guarantee a window pair.

The best seats are 60D, 60E, 60F and 61A, 61B, 61J and 61K. These are in the first row of the World Traveller Plus cabin and have the most legroom as there is nobody sitting in front of you. There are also no lavatories or galleys between the Club World and World Traveller Plus cabin to be concerned about.

The snag is that some of these seats are likely to be bassinet seats and may feature a baby!  (Babies sleep a lot though and are generally less disruptive than you might imagine, except during take off and landing when the change in pressure can distress them.)  You will also be the first to receive food if you are in Row 60/61.  Note that your in flight entertainment screen and tray table will be stored in your armrest.

If at all possible, avoid row 68 which is closest to the toilets. On an aircraft as quiet as an A380 these are likely to be much more disruptive when used!

British Airways A380 world traveller plus seat map

Best World Traveller (economy) seats on a BA A380

There are 303 economy seats on BA’s A380. 199 are on the main deck in rows 20 to 42 in a 3-4-3 layout.

British Airways A380 seat map World Traveller main deck

The remaining 104 are on the upper deck in rows 70 to 83 in a 2-4-2 configuration.

British Airways A380 seat map World Traveller upper deck

Each seat has a 17.6″ width, 31″ seat pitch, a 10″ screen in the seat-back in front.

Best economy seat british airways A350

Upper or lower deck?

The upper deck is undoubtedly better. It is further removed from the engines and hydraulics of the aircraft, resulting in a quieter cabin environment. It is even quieter thanks to its smaller economy cabin.

Furthermore, all window seats benefit from an additional seat-level storage, which is great for keeping things you might need during the flight. The top of this storage compartment also acts as an additional ‘shelf’ to keep items such as drinks and snacks when you do not want to have the tray table down.

Extra legroom

Row 20, 35, 70 and 80 are the best seats as they are likely have extra legroom. Just be aware that your tray table and inflight entertainment screen are stored in the armrest.

Seat 25D is also unusual in that it has no seat in front, providing a lot of extra legroom!

The further back down the cabin you go, the worse the seats get. You are closer to the lavatories and galley which may be noisy with cabin crew preparing meals and other passengers frequenting the toilet. You will also be the very last to disembark the plane.

Best seat British Airways A380

Conclusion

The A380 is now an endangered species.  Airbus has stopped making them and many airlines are taking them out of service.   It is an amazing experience to fly on something so large and so quiet, and the experience of sitting so high on the Upper Deck is unique to the A380 and Boeing 747.  You should try to fly one whilst they are still in service, and hopefully you can get a good seat.  In Business Class, you won’t get the newest Club Suite but being on the Upper Deck – if you can get a seat there – is some consolation.

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Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    I remember my first trip on an A380 (to SFO). Coming into land it was so quiet I was convinced that there was a fault with the engines and we were gliding in.

  2. ChrisA says:

    I had to sit in row 68 last year, and thereby became the cabin’s unwilling unofficial toilet monitor – helping other passengers to identify whether or not the door said ‘engaged’ or otherwise, and continually closing the door when they’d departed. Highly unrecommended.

    • Lady London says:

      once onboard in Y I was offered an upgrade to PY. Barely discernible difference in the seat,very and right next to the toilet door. I politely asked if it would be possible to return to my original seat in Y.

      The very experienced legacy cabin crew member found me a different seat in PY instead – but my Y seat really was better than the PY seat.

      • Peter North says:

        On the subject of toilets, on the one occasion I have travelled in First in BA, I over indulged on the alcohol and food in the lounge prior to the flight. There was only 8 people in the first cabin and I badly needed a dump. Knowing I was likely to leave more skids than runway 27L at LHR, and not wanting to incur the disapproval of my fellow first flyers, I opted for the anonymity of the Y cabin lavs, safe in the knowledge I could stink it out with impunity and beat a hasty retreat to the inner sanctum of the first cabin.

        • Genghis says:

          If 388, I walk up the stairs and enjoy the large J lavs.

          • Nick_C says:

            I got told off, quite sternly, for going downstairs to use the toilets when both the upstairs ones were occupied! (The stairs were roped off.)

          • I did the same (albeit economy) on my recent Qantas flight. Many more toilets downstairs! I do wonder why they bother roping them off.

      • Nick_C says:

        I’m surprised at that LL. PE is a wider seat with much much more legroom, and a very good recline. I loved the old PE seats and slept well in them. The seats were soft and the leg rests were great. The last time I flew PE however was on a new 787. The seats were rock hard and there were no leg rests. It was a shortish day flight to YUL but I had to keep moving around in my seat to try and get comfortable, and was sitting on the blanket. BA spoiled a good product. Never again.

        • The old ones were great! I remember them from Moscow flights on 747. But in 2018 my partner and I ended up in the middle block of row 67 on a flight from Singapore and it wasn’t the greatest experience. Neither the seat, nor the service, nor the neighbours who behaved exactly like those who just moved up one notch from the plebe…

          PS on the way to Singapore we were in F in the middle of the front row, those were good seats, especially the fact you can dine in a restaurant style by sitting just opposite your partner on a small seatlet which in other times serves as a footrest for the main passenger. @Rhys – you could have mentioned this in the review.

  3. Paul74 says:

    I’ve travelled CW and WTP as a solo traveller on BA’s A380.
    In CW, 51A/52A generally a good experience. The side bins are very handy. One thing to note, if you have larger (but still within carry on rules) cabin baggage it won’t fit into the overhead lockers above the window seats. The central overhead lockers have more capacity though.
    In WTP, 61D serves a purpose.
    Btw, great piece about your journey to Sydney in Y Rhys.

  4. journeyingjohn says:

    The BEST seats are clearly on another airline that respects it’s clients and it’s workforce.
    #BestAvoided #NationalDisgrace

    • Charlieface says:

      If we’re talking just the seat quality, not the service etc, then no that’s wrong

  5. Lady London says:

    The A380 is my alltime favourite aircraft. I’ll be flying it as much as I can still.

  6. TonyH says:

    You have failed to mention the metal boxes attached to the seat supports in World Traveller and Plus I believe. I think they contain the IFE electronics and show how long ago the system was designed. They severely limit the amount of leg movement and sometimes push your legs slightly off centre. Some seats have boxes on both sides. I seem to recall the window seats are the worst. Senior BA staff admitted to me there was a problem.

  7. @mkcol says:

    The drawback I found with 53A was the proximity to the galley where I was woken mid-flight by chatter & cackling like a coven who’d reconvened for the first time in a decade, somewhere between LAX & LHR in the middle of the night.

  8. Doug M says:

    I know a lot sneer at the CW seat but I’ll genuinely miss it. Get a backward facing seat, and the natural noise up attitude of the aircraft provides a really nice sleeping position.

    • Nick_C says:

      The seats themselves are comfortable. And I like flying backwards in a window seat. But the storage is terrible, the aisle seats have zero privacy, and climbing over other people to get out of your seat should be unacceptable in business class in the 21st Century. BA for redemptions with a 241 voucher; any other OW airline when I’m buying a J ticket.

  9. “On an A380, rows A, E, F and K are rear-facing whilst B, D, G and J are forward-looking”
    Row F on the upper deck face forward

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