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. Easy answer: the best seat is just beyond the end of the wings: on another aircraft labelled Qatar, Etihad, or Emirates. 🙂

  2. I love the A380, and when I fly to San Fran for work I always make sure I’m on it! I’ll try my best for either seat 70C/F. Just perfect! Never been a problem.

    The plane is so quiet, the air reasonable, even the seat is comfortable. Despite being in economy, I manage to get enough sleep on the flight back to be functioning when I arrive home.

    I am going to miss this plane if and when it goes.

  3. Terry Semmence says:

    ‘If you value your privacy and peace and quiet, the best seats are undoubtedly in the smaller, forward cabin, made up of rows 6 and 7. Row 6 is exceptionally good as it is further from the galley behind row 7 and therefore likely to be quieter. You are also likely to be first to receive meals’

    I’m still half asleep and don’t see rows 6 or 7….but I think we know what you mean 🙂

    • Nick_C says:

      Is Rhys getting his reviews mixed up? That comment will would apply to the B789 which has a two row mini cabin behind F.

      • I was writing these in parallel – not the first mix up I’ve had writing this series!

  4. Andrew says:

    Not that I would normally advocate paying for seats, and personally don’t have to, but the pairs of WT seats on the upper deck are worth paying for (if you’re travelling as a pair) – no awkward third person and the extra storage and shelf area to the side really made it feel quite like WT+. The crew even gave us a glass of the WT+ welcome Prosecco as we boarded with group 1 as Gold. If you have to fly long haul WT, then upper deck A380 is about as good as it gets.

    • Michael C says:

      I’d totally second that. In fact, I’ve even had decent trips in the very last row, 83. No-one behind you, so no-one japping their screen (and, at the time, no-one for our toddler to annoy), no toilet, and minimal gallery activity (ha!) during the night.

    • Harry T says:

      Agree, haven’t done it with BA but I have been in the economy mini cabin on the Qantas A380 and slept like a baby. My brother recently flew upstairs in QR Y on their A380 and really enjoyed it too.

      • Andrew says:

        I did notice that Qantas have 2 or 3 rows of economy on the upper deck and wanted to book those if available, but on QF website it only displays the main deck – do you need to ring to allocate upper deck? (That said I’m booked with them to/from Singapore in Feb and looks like QF won’t be flying internationally until the summer so might end up on BA anyway)

        • Upper deck is often reserved for status holders. I managed to get it with BA Silver though: https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/03/23/how-i-survived-a-24-hour-flight-to-australia-in-economy/

          • Andrew says:

            I have BA gold so had hoped to get it, although Qantas also ask for payment for exit row seats unless you are their top top tier (above OW Emerald). I’ll give them a call at some point.

        • Qantas has two versions of the 380 now. The older one has a mini economy cabin upstairs, but in the “renovated” ones this space has been taken over by premium economy and all the economy seats are downstairs. If only the main deck is showing it is probably the latter.

          Having said that, Qantas haven’t announced yet which, if any, of the A380s they will keep flying when they start interational flights again.

  5. Daniel Evans says:

    Where are CW rows 6/7?

    My favourite Club World seats are the solo seats in 53 or 59 on the upper deck if travelling alone. They have direct aisle access to either side, you get an extra storage bucket which I find invaluable for thingas like glasses and resting a drink on. Once the dividers are up they are so quiet and private and you can get served via the aisle access as you are end of row so the divider never needs to come down during the flight. So if you are travelling alone, are not bothered about a window and don’t mind eyeballing someone for takeoff these are the best 2 seats on the A380.

  6. Stuart says:

    In Club World seats A/B and J/K, would the person in the window seat not be climbing over the feet of the person in the row behind and not those of their travel companion?

    • Andrew says:

      Yes, that’s why old CW seat is awful.

    • Nick_C says:

      Similarly:

      “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. They cannot escape without climbing over a parent!”

      In this scenario, the children may be climbing over a parent, but it won’t be their own parent!

      15DEFG on the main deck would be ideal for a family of 4. The children in the middle pair can get in and out without climbing over strangers, and these seats are close to the toilets.

  7. Just don’t! I was supposed to be flying to MIA in F on the A380 at Easter 😭

  8. Genghis says:

    Seat preferences are v subjective but 1A/K are better than 2 A/K. Being slightly further toward its v private and once you’ve got your Bose on, you can’t hear anything anyway (I sleep with mine on).

    • DB2020 says:

      +1
      Completely agree with Genghis, although I have a preference for 1A because 1K has a crew closet adjacent to it and therefore attracts traffic. Never heard any noise from the toilets in front, even without the headphones on.

  9. NigelthePensioner says:

    Rows 6 and 7 in the small forward cabin refers to the Boeing 789 not the A380……

  10. Andrew says:

    The CW toilets on the upper deck are also huge (where EK have the showers) so if you like to change inflight or have small children that need to be accompanied, then these are useful as they are much more spacious than lower deck and have a padded bench to sit on.

  11. Doug M says:

    B787-8 has a small forward cabin with rows 6 and 7, think the text is confused between aircraft types.

    • Genghis says:

      The 788 has a smaller cabin at the back J while as mentioned, the 789 has it at the front of J.

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