Somewhat unexpectedly, British Airways announced to its staff today that it is introducing a modified First Class seat on its new Boeing 777 aircraft arriving this year.
This is a bit of a surprise to be honest, as the last we heard British Airways was hoping to launch a new First seat with the arrival of the 777X, originally due to arrive in 2022.
In the meantime, British Airways has been undertaking a refurbishment program of its existing 777 fleet, which involves fitting the new Club Suite seat in Club World and refreshing the existing 777 First class seat with new textiles and other new parts.
British Airways to put a door on its First Class seats
It is not clear whether this ‘modified’ First class seat on new 777 arrivals is the ‘new’ First class seat or another intermediate seat aiming to bridge the gap.
When Club Suite was initially unveiled, there was some concern that it was actually better than the existing first class seat due to the increased privacy and storage. It seems like British Airways had the same concerns.
The ‘modified’ seat appears to be bringing some of the improvements from Club Suite over to First, including the introduction of a privacy door and three point seat-belt, which should be far more convenient.
Here is the email sent to staff this morning:
“We are always listening to customer and colleague feedback about ways to improve our products. The response to our Club Suite has been great, and we are now applying some of the same thinking to a slightly modified version of the First seat on a few of our new 777 aircraft, creating even more privacy for our premium customers.
Starting in October, we will welcome two new variants to our 777 fleet: the 77L and 77H. The 77H variant will offer the modified First seat experience, which includes a privacy door and a three-point seat belt.
It’s important to note that these new aircraft were ordered well in advance of the Covid-19 crisis, but we could not defer their delivery.
I look forward to hearing how our customers and colleagues feel about the modified First seat when they see it on our 777s soon.“
Photos of the ‘First Suite’
Photos of the modified First class seat are now available from the crew information guide. These are technical photos and I expect BA will be in touch to supply some nice glossy PR photos very soon!
Unlike Club Suite, which featured one door, the ‘First Suite’ seems to have two doors that meet in the middle. These are not full height doors but slightly higher than the shell of the rest of the seat.
Here is a photo of the seat belt:
Based on crew reports it looks like the seat is based on the newer First Class seat on the Boeing 787. This would be the first time this particular variant is installed on a Boeing 777 aircraft, as current refurbishments have been refreshing the slightly older 777 variant.
What we don’t know yet
Based on crew reports, it sounds like this variant won’t be part of the ongoing fleet refurbishment of existing 777 aircraft. If this is true, the ‘First Suite’ will be in very limited circulation as BA is only taking delivery of a handful of new 777s before the 777Xs arrive from 2022.
It’s also not clear yet whether this is this a stop-gap until a totally new seat will be revealed with the 777X or whether this is the reported new seat.
Details so far are scant, but we are looking forward to hearing (and seeing!) more about what this new seat offers soon.
The modified seat is likely to debut on some of the four new 777-300s arriving into BA’s fleet this year.