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.
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 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:
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 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:
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!
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.
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):
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
The remaining 104 are on the upper deck in rows 70 to 83 in a 2-4-2 configuration.
Each seat has a 17.6″ width, 31″ seat pitch, a 10″ screen in the seat-back in front.
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.
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.
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.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (November 2020)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)