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What are the best seats on a British Airways Boeing 787-9?

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In this series

This is our guide to picking the best seat on the British Airways Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

It is part of a new series of Head for Points British Airways seat guides.  We have been working through the long-haul fleet and only the Boeing 777 now remains until the Boeing 787-10 is more widely available.  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

British Airways A380 seat map and ‘best seat’ guide

British Airways Boeing 787-8 seat map and ‘best seat’ guide

For posterity: British Airways Boeing 747 ‘best seat’ guide

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

BA 787

Introducing the Boeing 787-9

British Airways has 18 Boeing 787-9 aircraft in its fleet. It also has a fleet of 12 x 787-8s, the smaller variant, and 12 of the larger 787-10 on order.  The first two have just been delivered.

You might recognise the 787 from its large windows with electronic dimming rather than traditional window shades.

Like the A350, it is one of the latest aircraft types featuring carbon-fibre structures which make it lighter and more fuel efficient and allow for a lower cabin pressurisation altitude which help to reduce the effects of jet lag.

British Airways Boeing 787-9 seat map

Here is the full seat map for BA’s 787-9s. Click to enlarge:

British Airways 787-9 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.

You can read the British Airways seat selection rules in our article here. This guide will help you choose the best seats on BA’s 787-9!

BA British Airways 787-9 best seat guide

What are the best First class seats on the British Airways 787-9?

The Boeing 787-8 fleet was ordered without a First Class cabin, so it was a relief to see British Airways add it back to the 787-9 and 787-10 orders.

British Airways uses the newest generation of its First seat on these aircraft, originally launched in 2015. There are 8 seats in the First class cabin on BA’s 787-9s, in a 1-2-1 layout across two rows. This makes it a very private and intimate cabin.

British Airways 787-9 seat map First

Unlike BA’s latest business class Club Suite seat upgrade, 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 British Airways 787-9 best seat guide

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 2K is an excellent option as it is on the quieter side of the aircraft. 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!  1E and 1F are a good choice here. 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 / Club Suite (business class) seats on a BA 787-9

In 2019, British Airways revealed a new business class seat called Club Suite. New aircraft like BA’s A350 and 787-10 will get Club Suite first, whilst BA’s 787-9 fleet won’t get a refit until 2021.

British Airways 787-9 seat map Club World

That means that, for now, British Airways operates its legacy yin and yang product on its Boeing 787-9s.

There are 42 business class seats on BA’s 787-9s in a 2-3-2 configuration. 14 are in a smaller, forward cabin, whilst the remaining 28 are separated by a galley in a second, larger cabin.

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 a 787-9, rows A, E and K are rear-facing whilst B, D, F and J are forward-looking. An easy way to remember is that all seats on an aisle face forward.

Not all the seats have direct aisle access. 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 and K must step over the legs of another passenger to exit.

The middle seat…..

Whilst most solo travellers will probably prefer a window seat, some solo travellers DO like the solo middle seat in row E 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.

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.

6A  and 6K

Which exact seat is best for you will depend on whether you prefer a window or having direct aisle access. 6A and 6K are rearward-facing and have windows whilst 6B, 6D, 6F and 6J are forward-looking and have aisle access.

7A and 7K

By far the best seats in this cabin, however, are 7A and 7K. These have both a window AND direct aisle access, since they are in the last row. The only trade-off is that they are marginally closer tot he galley and lavatory.

13A and 13K

If you are looking at the larger Club World cabin (rows 10 to 13), then row 13 should be your top pick. Passengers in 13A and 13K again hit the jackpot with both a window and direct aisle access. The only danger here is that you may not get your first choice of meal since this row is the last to be served.

Best World Traveller Plus (premium economy) seats on a BA 787-9

There are 39 World Traveller Plus seats on a British Airways 787-9.  Which one is the best?

British Airways 787-9 seat map World Traveller Plus

The premium economy seats are situated in a single cabin behind Club World in rows 16 to 21. 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) and comes with a 12″ screen in the seatback in front of you and USB charging.

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.

BA British Airways Boeing 787-9 best seat guide

The best row is row 16 which is the first row of the World Traveller Plus cabin.  This row has 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 16.  Note that your in flight entertainment screen and tray table will be stored in your armrest.

If at all possible, avoid row 21 which has missing windows and is close to the toilets.

Best World Traveller (economy) seats on a BA 787-9

There are 127 economy seats on BA’s 787-9 in a 3-3-3 configuration, between rows 30 and 44.

British Airways 787-9 seat map World Traveller

World Traveller (economy) is contained in one large cabin at the back of the plane, behind World Traveller Plus.

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

The best seats are likely to be at the front of the cabin. These are closest to the exit, meaning you would be the first economy passengers to disembark. 

Seats in row 30 should have additional leg room as there are no seats in front, but be aware that your tray table and inflight entertainment screen are stored in the armrest. You are also likely to get your first choice of food.

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.

Conclusion

The Boeing 787-9 is a bit of an oddity in the British Airways fleet with the 2-3-2 (instead of 2-4-2) layout in Club World.  The brand new (2020) Boeing 787-10 fleet has the brand new Club Suite in business class which makes it far preferable.

You are, however, getting a modern plane with large windows and improved pressurisation.  The First Class seat is the latest version, albeit based on an old design, and in Club World you have two surprisingly small and intimate cabins.  Enjoy your flight!


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You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

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British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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Comments (50)

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

  • riku2 says:

    economy class – given that every seat is narrower than normal it’s better to avoid any route using this aircraft and choose a different route or airline. You should point this out since economy on this aircraft gets horrendous reviews on flyer talk.
    I have travelled in WT+ on this aircraft and I have to walk sideways like a crab through the economy cabin to get to the toilets since economy is so cramped and passengers spill into the (narrow) aisle so much.

  • Patrick says:

    If memory serves me correctly, 13E, the middle seat of the last row of Club World does have direct aisle access. You walk around the just in front of the bulkhead but behind the D and F seats.

    • Stu N says:

      Yes – 13E has direct aisle access, as does 13E.

      In First, the K side of the cabin is slightly quieter but seat choice may be extremely limited as 1A/1K are reserved for golds until T-72. It’s such a small cabin in makes no difference and there’s nothing really to choose between the F seats. Main issue is that there is only one toilet which can mean a bit of a wait particularly before landing.

      Otherwise it’s a lovely aircraft to fly on – much quieter than 747/777 and the higher cabin air pressure and humidity really makes a difference to how I feel when I get off the plane.

      • chabuddy geezy says:

        The E seats in CW are also slightly wider around one of the arm rests.

  • Spursdebs says:

    Seat selection in any class on any type of plane in BA fleet is also free for disabled, physical or mental disability at time of booking.

    • Chris L says:

      It’s also free for anyone travelling with a child under 2

    • Chris Heyes says:

      [email protected] Correct but not necessarily at time of booking “you” have the right to be sat next to Partner (traveling Companion) even on the day (as long as you have evidence of disability)
      BA have no right to know what your disability is (a disabled Railcard/Bus pass is sufficient)
      i carry my now very old reg disability letter with me when flying
      PS useful for free entry abroad example Acropolis, other Ruins,Museums, Pompeii to name a few
      I Now let them know at booking (but didn’t always)

      • Spursdebs says:

        No Chris sorry you are wrong, it’s against the disability act for BA to ask what your disability is. You can request at time of booking online there are 3 levels of assistance offered pick what yours is. You don’t need to “ prove” anything, although I’m not against it as such as it would cut down the chancers who abuse the system. Once you have chosen your level
        Of assistance you and anyone else on the same booking can choose for free. If you don’t want to ask for help or declare that’s your right as well. Of course you may get agent ask you but refer them to equality act of 2010 for reference which replaced the 1995 disability act if you don’t want to discuss your medical/disabilities problems with strangers.

        • Chris Heyes says:

          [email protected] you been drinking lol where do i say BA have a right to know your disability ? ? ? ‘
          I think you need to reread my post lol

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Spursdebs @ i have turned up for a flight shown them my disabled bus pass/railcard then asked to be sat next to partner they of course moved someone out so i could be accommodated

  • Nick says:

    Not a nice aircraft to fly on and the lack of comfort compared to an A350 is staggering. When taxiing, the noise and bumps on the airport apron are so noticeable compared to the superior airbus and once on the runway all the overhead lockers badly vibrate during takeoff and periodically whilst in flight. Overall noiser and less comfortable too. It seems US v European aircraft manufacture is going the same way as cars with the quality being so much higher on the European side of the Atlantic. Comparing an Boeing to an Airbus is now like comparing a Chevrolet with a BMW.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      We found the 787-9 a big step up in terms of comfort, air quality and facilities from our previous 777 experiences in CW. I did pick 7K specifically for privacy and direct aisle access. However, the dark grey galley wall you face does get a bit boring in the background after 10 hours flight.

      • Rhys says:

        Almost anything is a step up from a 777!

        • Aahjnnot says:

          This series of articles is really useful for people like me who fly regularly but not often enough to understand the nuances of every cabin.

          You’ve missed out two standout problems that would stop me booking First on a 787 on a daytime flight, though. It’s impossible for a non-Gold couple to book two window seats together, and the absence of buddy dining takes away one of the great experiences that makes First stand out from Club.

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          Your not wrong there except in F! 😉

  • Chris Heyes says:

    [email protected] Don’t know if it’s possible (well know possible, but ?)
    Not “NOW” but later would you be able to, when you’ve finished all the seats on BA
    “DO” each one with a list where their “Routes” are currently (maybe at start of Summer/Winter schedules)
    1) i realize the difficulty, also schedules change sometimes last minute
    2) But you wouldn’t/couldn’t have to do the ongoing alterations !
    3) What you could do is update it at the start of each “new” year (season)
    I’m sure most if not all HFP readers would find it very useful plus would drive new customers here

  • Doc says:

    Have done a shortish 4.5 hours in Economy once I’m Exit Row which was just about tolerable but I was uncomfortable by the end of it. Would not choose any other World Traveller septa’s since they are extremely cramped.
    Always fly in the small CW cabin and try to choose 6A/B or 6J/K since we are a couple. While 7A and K do have direct access, did notice that you feel the vibrations and noise from the toilets (A side) and galley from both sides a bit more. The better half also does not like anyone climbing over her and I prefer a window, so row 6 for us is probably the best row.

    • Lumma says:

      Aren’t the exit row economy seats narrower still due to the tray table?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Yes you give up in width what you gain in leg room. Thankfully I was given a WT+ seat shortly after take off on my last flight as they needed to move people in Y around a bit.

  • KP says:

    Im not sure if the first row in WTP is the best seat. The foot rest extends from your seat which is a alot less comofrtable than for the other seats where the foot rest extends from the seat ahead of you. This was a stand out difference for me when I flew WTP on a B788 a few times before. So my preferred seat would be 17 A/B/J/K

    • Rhys says:

      I imagine it depends on your height! At 6’2″ footrests have never been ideal for me!

    • Josh says:

      I flew in WTP on a BA 787-9 from Beijing last year in the front row.

      Amazing flight – Helped by there being no one next to me. Footrests aren’t useful for anyone over 5’8 I think. Loads of space. I’d happily sit there.

  • Jonathan says:

    Offtopic (apologies) – Looking again at Amex. Plat and now that I have a 6 month old can someone please let me know the priority pass rules for infants (and toddlers)? Do they get free entry or would they count as my guest (necessitating my wife having the second sup card with priority pass).

    Thanks.

    • Dave Barron says:

      Based on my experience a child under two is free but chargeable thereafter. I once managed to get a three year old in a lounge for free but online it did specify chargeable from age 2. When I had Platinum my wife had the supplementary so the four of us could gain free entry.

      • Rob says:

        Some lounges ban kids entirely – you need to check the individual rules.

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

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