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The HfP guide to British Airways First Suite

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Contents

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 bed 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.

BA First Suite
The new BA First Suite

Note that the 2020 First Suite is NOT the new first class seat tipped to launch with the arrival of BA’s 777X aircraft later this decade. 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.

The 2015 first class seat

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:

First class seat

The seat also features a slightly smaller pop-out 16″ or 23″ screen versus newer generations:

BA British Airways 2010 first class seat screen

…. 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 the 2010 British Airways 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 will be on 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:

British Airways 787-9 First 2

This change also included re-locating the lamp to the side console:

BA British Airways 2015 first class seat

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:

BA First Suite

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 European 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 seven aircraft with the latest generation First Suite. There are the four new Boeing 777-300ERs delivered from 2020 plus three refurbishments. These are registered as:

  • G-STBD (refurbishment)
  • G-STBG (refurbishment)
  • G-STBH (refurbishment)
  • G-STBM (delivered with First Suite)
  • G-STBN (delivered with First Suite)
  • G-STBO (delivered with First Suite)
  • G-STBP (delivered with First Suite)

It is not entirely clear whether British Airways intends to roll out First Suite to the remaining 777 fleet beyond the 777-300ER, 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.

BA First Suite cabin

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 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 seven 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.

If you want to learn about British Airways Club Suite, click here for our in-depth guide.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (November 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

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

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

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

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

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You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (26)

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

  • Paul says:

    Why does it look cheap!?
    I get BA don’t do bling but it could look classically upmarket. The lamp looks like a reject from Ikea.

    • Paul says:

      Looks a lot better with the blinds fitted, the photos are quite old – I quite like the lamp, but everyone is different.

  • G says:

    The world’s best business class product!

  • Miamiorbust says:

    Just recently fly BA first suite to JFK. It is actually a very nice product. It is significantly wider than club world and is quite private with the door. Should be mentioned there are only two rows, so 8 people in the cabin. Not sure how much more privacy you really need after adding in the door, which feels more sturdy than club world doors. Most BA flights with first really aren’t that long so for 6-9 hour flight I’d say it is very competitive. Calling it world’s best business class is a bit tired and not really applicable. 1st relative to business is mostly about food and service. The catering is meaningful better than club. Is it AF or SG, no. But these are Brits so against that food handicap I would suggest it is a credible first class effort. And to other bloggers comparing BA or EU airlines to ME3, I don’t care if ME3 have “better” product. Middle east is rarely on the way to anywhere I would prefer to go and adding hours of extra travel for “better” product is silly. For most with the means for first, time is the most valuable commodity.

  • Paul says:

    A, couple of questions.

    Is there any REAL difference in flying first with the 2010 / 2015 / 2020 versions other than the doors?

    I have a companion voucher to use by April 2014 and trying to decide whether to fly old first class (that’s more likely considering the upgrades so far) or the new business class.

    Any thoughts?

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

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