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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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There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

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.

  • Jonathan says:

    Can anyone please comment on the Club World bassinet locations with club suites? (Yes I’m that person you hate that brings a baby on board! )

    I’ve got a Club World booking in November under the old layout where the last pair of rear facing middle seats in Club World have the bassinet and I think direct aisle access.

    Whats the situation with the club suites? Don’t appear to show bassinet on the layout maps.

  • Rma says:

    As there two cabins in Club, do you know where the bassinets are located? Agree that 6A&K and 13A & K are the best seats but often these seats are difficult to book because of the bassinets. Hopefully there aren’t bassinets in both locations.
    Very useful articles.

  • Simon Hill says:

    BA badly missed a trick by not having doors on F seats – in the middle seats I found that the large bright screen of the window seat was shining in my direction so intrusively I could not sleep without wearing the eye shades – luckily that was before the new amenity kit which now has eye shades that cover the whole of your forehead, making them impossibly hot to wear – the old kit had a much better eye shade design, covering just the eyes – does anyone from BA ever try these things out before ordering them!!? The single loo (used also by the flight deck crew) meant having to wait more than once. With the flight deck and galley at the front, F cabin is a bit of a thoroughfare, with cabin crew from other classes frequently visiting the galley – so did not feel that quiet – particularly on one occasion when there was only one cabin crew, who after serving the five F passenger spent an hour or two rearranging all the metal holders in the (very nearby) galley with so much commotion it sounded like I was in a school kitchen that was having a major reorganisation.

    • Lady London says:

      same issue on A380? in F with middle seat screen glow being visible when lying flat in 3K.

      felt it would be a bit ‘princess and the pea’ to get disturbed by it and just put my eye mask on.

      The BA crew really made the difference on that, my only flight in F ever, and I hope they will still be motivated to do such a good job in the future with the new ts and cs.

  • DR says:

    We have seat nos 2 E&F on reconfigured 777 BOS/LHR travelling in May 21, we are not travelling with an infant. Are BA likely to change these seats as 2F is the bassinet seat but as discussed with only 8F seats in the smaller F cabins and 1 A&K possibly allocated choice is of course limited.

    • Rhys says:

      Depends on whether a baby shows up!

    • Lady London says:

      traditionally on BA, even if you had the choice, it was smart not to select bulkhead seats because that’s where the bassinets were.

      As soon as a baby pitches up, chances are you’ll be thrown out if those seats even if you’re Gold and the owner of the baby is not.

      Even if you have something like myflights (now gone due to the dirty work of the airlines) sending you an alert when your seat changes, by the time that happens BA has probably given you the seat at the back and not much left to change to.

      So on old aircraft the advice was dont book a bulkhead seat even jf you can and I see no reason not to beware of any seat that could have a bassinet on newer aircraft too.

      • DR says:

        I am tempted to keep 2 E&F as the flt dept at 2250hrs which thinking back to when our kids were infants it is not the time of day I would choose

        • Lady London says:

          Au contraire a lot of parents would think that late hour guarantees sleep.

          Think also about the route. Routes which often have wealthier families travelling on them are riskier in First for the bassinet problem. On many routes you would be incredibly unlucky to find a baby in First. On others it’s more of a risk.

  • Peter North says:

    We have four kids. Baby’s usually sleep well, it’s toddlers that are a pain.
    Also your not 6′ 2

  • Peter North says:

    Apologies yes you are thinking of wrong chap.

  • Tom says:

    Why is the “K” side of the plane quieter than the “A” side?

    • Stu N says:

      The cabin crew use the aisle on that side to move around and if I remember correctly, the toilet is in front of 1A.

      It’s really a trivial difference though – properly splitting hairs. I’d rate possible views on approach and influence of the sun (A going East, K going west) as much more important.

  • Richard says:

    You really need to reinforce just how tight economy is on these aircraft

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      It’s true. The best economy seat in a BA 789 is an economy seat in I think literally any other airline

    • flyforfun says:

      If you mean any B787, then then the Nigjhtmare liner holds true. Everyone I know how has flown it has said how tight it is. I’ve flow Etihad for 2 sectors, a 4 and and a 14 hr one. The first I has a gent that I was playing shoulder wars with. We weren’t particularly broad. I had an isle to escape to. He had his wife.

      On the 2nd sector i had a baby strapped into a car seat. While it cried 4 time, it was made up by having all the shoulder space to myself.

      I won’t fly the 787 Y by choice, nor any 777 that’s now 10 abreast. There is a limit to the amount of discomfort I’m willing to take.

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