This is your comprehensive guide to the new British Airways First Suite first class seat.
We have written this as a ‘reference’ article for the site, but we thought it was worth running in the daily feed as well. Our sister article on everything you need to know about British Airways Club Suite is here.
British Airways has achieved a number of “firsts” (pun intended) with its first class cabin, including the very first fully-flat bad in any cabin class on a commercial airline in 1995.
Since then, British Airways has iterated its first class seat a number of times. In 2020, British Airways launched an updated version of its first class seat – with a door – with the arrival of its latest 777s.
Note that the 2020 First Suite is NOT the new first class seat tipped to launch with the arrival of BA’s 777X aircraft in 2023. It is simply a slightly modified version of the existing seat with the addition of a fully closing door and other minor improvements.
That means British Airways now has three offerings in First:
- The ‘Prime’ seat was introduced in 2010 and is currently the oldest first class seat to be found on the British Airways fleet. You can find it on the A380 and the majority of the 777 fleet.
- A modified ‘Prime’ seat was introduced with BA’s 787-9 fleet in 2015
- In 2020, British Airways announced the ‘First Suite’, again modified from the 2015 ‘Prime’ seat but with a fully closing door.
As you can see, British Airways updates its first class seats approximately every five years. However, you will still find older variants of the seat across the fleet, with the oldest seats still flying dating back to 2010.
What is the difference between BA’s first class seats?
Whilst the core structure of the 2010 Prime, 2015 Prime and 2020 First Suite seats is similar, there are a number of key differences.
All three generations feature fully flat-bed seats in small first class cabins and have the same bed dimensions – 200cm long and 55cm wide.
2010 British Airways first class seat
The 2010 Prime seat is on the majority of BA’s Boeing 777 fleet and all 12 of its A380s.
This seat has some key differences from the later versions. It features the option for ‘buddy dining,’ allowing two passengers to sit and dine together in one seat. This is achieved by turning the foot rest into a stool for the second person:
The seat also features a slightly smaller pop-out 16″ or 23″ screen versus newer generations:
…. as well as a number of different fittings and finishings. For example, a small lamp is located at eye level rather than in the centre of the seat as on the 2015 and 2020 seats.
You can see a review of BA’s 2010 first class seat here.
2015 British Airways first class seat
The 2015 Prime seat was launched with the introduction of the 787 fleet. It is present on all 18 of the 787-9 subfleet and the 12 787-10s, most of which are yet to be delivered.
A number of changes were made with the 2015 revision of the seat, including a notable change in the finish of the seat. For example, the side console went from a beige colour to jet black with a high-gloss finish:
This change also included re-locating the lamp to the side console:
A larger fixed screen between 23″ and 24″ was introduced, which meant ‘buddy dining’ was no longer possible.
2020 British Airways First Suite seat
The 2020 First Suite was launched with the arrival of four Boeing 777-300ERs.
It is very similar to the 2015 seat but with one major difference: it features a fully closing door. Or, to be more precise, two doors:
Whilst the door does not reach the full height of the cabin, it does add an additional level of privacy to the seat.
The First Suite also moves to a three-point seat belt, removing the need for a bulky lap belt with integrated air bag. This should be a lot more convenient as the shoulder strap is only required for take-off and landing.
You can read our review of the new First Suite on a Boeing 777-300ER here, which was the first review of the seat to be published. Due to coronavirus, very few people have flown in this seat so far.
British Airways is the first airline in Europe to introduce a first class seat with a door (although Air France has a cabin-height curtain). It was also the first airline to introduce a business class seat with a door when it launched Club Suite in 2019.
Which British Airways aircraft currently have First Suite?
There are currently just four aircraft with the latest generation First Suite: the four Boeing 777-300ERs delivered in 2020. These are registered as:
It is not entirely clear whether British Airways intends to roll out First Suite to the remaining 777 fleet or the A380s and 787s as they come up for refurbishment, with Club Suite installed in business class.
That means that any 777 not included in the list above, or any A380, will feature the 2010 first class seat. The 787-9s and 787-10s feature the 2015 first class seat.
How do I know if my BA flight has First Suite?
There is no easy way to tell if you are on one of the four Boeing 777-300ERs with the new First Suite.
This article explains how to find out what aircraft is operating a British Airways flight before you book.
Unfortunately, British Airways does not distinguish between the different configuration variants and simply displays ’77W’ as the aircraft type during the booking process.
The only way to confirm is to create a dummy booking and check the business class cabin. If it has 76 seats then the First cabin will feature First Suites. If not, you may be on one of the other 777 variants with a 2010 First seat.
However, the chances of a last minute aircraft swap are high with just four First Suite aircraft available. Whilst you can target your preferred aircraft it is far from guaranteed and British Airways does not offer compensation or refunds if there is an equipment change.
To get yourself in the mood, read our review of the new British Airways First Suite here.