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British Airways announces a modified First Class Suite with a door!

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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.

BA A380 First
(This is not the ‘modified’ first class!)

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.

Club Suite, featuring a door and three-point seat belt

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.

British AIrways A380 First Class
The existing First class seat on a British Airways A380

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:

British Airways First class refresh seatbelt

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.

Conclusion

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.

Comments (87)

  • yorkieflyer says:

    Upon which point, can I ask when we are getting the BA777 seating guide?

    • Rhys says:

      It’s always going to be hard because there are over 10 different variants! We are toying with the idea of only doing them for Club Suite aircraft. That should simplify things a lot.

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        Oh dear, without wishing to echo another’s comments a more comprehensive guide would be a tad more useful than points for Boris Bikes or the now redundant 747 guide?
        I also recall the much repeated comment that Club Suites are pretty much of a muchness and don’t bother paying for a seat?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          There’s less to guide on Club Suite planes as you’re pretty much in a similar seat across the whole plane.

          Next to toilets, galley or mini cabins being a slight exception but you can see that on the seat map anyway.

        • Rhys says:

          The problem is more complicated than that. Historically, BA has not indicated which of the 10+ variants you are on in Manage My Booking. That means that identifying the variant in the first place is more protracted than you might think.

        • maccymac says:

          I was very grateful for 1000MR for £6 tip and found it very useful, as I am sure others did.

  • Anonymous says:

    The new F Suite should be refitted to all 777-300ERs, starting with G-STBD early 2021.

  • Jon says:

    A return to first class food would be nice. Our meal back from Antigua wasn’t terrible but it felt like we’d had something we could have bought in the terminal

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Given the relative available preparation space, equipment and costs, if you’re not eating better on the ground than in the air (in any and every class) you’re doing something wrong.

  • Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Why is the three point belt and improvement on a lap belt? Surely when trying to sleep this is even more of an annoyance to wear?

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Per the article it is for TTOL only and you aren’t supposed to sleep in those phases of the flight

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      Precisely, unless I think I’m likely to crash why am I bothered

      • Dubios says:

        They don’t just reduce the risk of injusry in the event of a collision, seat belts also come in useful during heavy braking and during turbulence, particularly severe turbulence.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      I still don’t see why it is more convenient. If the seatbelt also operates as a lap belt then the shoulder portion must be detachable. Is this not therefore introducing another buckle into the mix in the unlikely event that we crash during takeoff or landing?

      • ChrisC says:

        I’ve worn / used these belts on AA, there is one clip on the lap belt that goes into the seat point (like a car seat belt holder) and the shoulder belt clips onto the lap belt.

        If you release the main belt the shoulder belt frees up automatically.

        I did feel a little safer using these especially on a bumpy landing as it stoped you from bending forward so much.

        The only requirement re the body belt is to wear it on taxi, take off and landing. TBH I don’t recall the shoulder belt being long enough to wear when the seat is in flat bed mode anyway.

      • Rhys says:

        Only lap belts tend to have an air bag fitted on the belt, which can make them bulky. A three point belt is much more convenient because it is a ‘normal’ lap belt with a shoulder harness which only needs to be worn during take off and landing.

    • cinereus says:

      It’s more of an annoyance at any point it time. Close to zero benefit and several disadvantages.

  • letBAgonesbe says:

    Now I don’t know what I am looking forward the most.
    -A vaccine
    -or this.

  • Opus says:

    Someone knock me into shape if I’m going to far but….if we actually look at this hard product right and compare it to Emirates 380 first. Except the mini bar or ANA’s the room

    What is actually the difference. So let’s park service for now. Large seat, large screen, doors… am I stretching it or?

    • Harry T says:

      Well, Emirates looks much better to me, from a hard product perspective. Higher quality finish, much more private. But I’m probably thinking of their flash shop product that isn’t on many planes.

    • Tom says:

      The difference is BA’s First seat is reverse herringbone to cram more seats into the same space, so you have slightly less personal space around you, less storage space and also as someone who is 6ft2 I almost touch both ends of the BA suite when laying down. If I toss and turn during the night I inevitably make contact with a surface on BA and wake up as a result, similar to e.g. CX business class. EK new F is literally a different travel class to BA F as far as I’m concerned so probably best to not get into that one.

      Obviously hard product is only part of the story also!