Which routes feature British Airways’ new first class?

British Airways is rolling out what looks to be a very nice new first class product across their longhaul fleet, though trying to actually experience it is a real headache!

They’ve made a good bit of progress on the fleet, with well over a dozen planes already converted, though they refuse to assign them to any particular route, and instead seem to have them deployed randomly. In terms of trying to manage customer expectations, I have no clue why they don’t assign the planes configured with “new first” to particular routes, so that people can know at the time of booking what they can expect. I know I’m trying to book a ticket in British Airways first class, and I can’t for the life of me decide whether or not to pull the trigger on it. On one hand I’d be happy in new or old first class seat, though it’s the mystery of not knowing what I’ll end up with that makes me second guess my decision.

Anyway, with that negativity out of the way, there are a couple of ways to tell whether your plane features the new first class. For one, you can call “You First” (a dedicated help desk for first class passenger) 24 hours before your departure and they can tell you. If you want more suspense and want to wait till the gate, the planes configured with the new first class feature blocked out windows towards the front of the plane, as seen here on the 777 and here on the 747.

But the real reason for my post is to point out just how cool this wiki is in tracking flights to see what routes are most frequently served by aircraft featuring the new first class. The main page is a bit too much for me to handle, so the most interesting to me is to see the breakdown by city and flight on a daily basis. For example, follow this link to see which flights out of LAX have been operated by an aircraft with the new first class lately (the ones that are highlighted).

You can edit the URL to reflect any airport — just replace “LAX” with the three digit airport code you’re most interested in. As far as flights to the US go, from the looks of it, JFK and SFO seem to get the new first product pretty frequently. The later SFO flight and some of the JFK flights seem to be operated by an aircraft with new first class almost every other day.

Now, as I book my travels I’m not sure whether I should plan around that, since the pattern could change at a moment’s notice (especially SFO, in my opinion), though it is tempting…

Comments

  1. Thanks for posting the wiki link.

    Are you planning to fly out of Tampa/Orlando or through NYC or similar? Flying to Europe or elsewhere?

    I am based in Orlando and currently hold a companion voucher I would like to use for BA First. At the beginning of this year, a search for award redemption from MCO or TPA has come back with zero results for the transatlantic leg to London. There was plenty of availability back in December and there seems to be plenty from MIA or JFK. I have limited experience in award bookings, but I assume I could route through JFK as part of the award as long as I call to book the ticket rather than book via ba.com.

    I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this as well as what awards could be possible using a companion voucher and potential maximization of the award. Material for future blog post perhaps?

  2. Maybe moving around makes sense by allowing a large variety of customers to see and/or experience them first hand in the hope the customer will want to utilize first class more often.

    If they are only used on one route then it would expose less customers to the new product.

    Of course it might annoy anyone who is actually trying to purchase tickets for the specific new product.

  3. @1K Well, that explains the lack of F availability from TPA. 🙂 I suppose its also possible that F is offered from MCO seasonally.

  4. @ Daniel — IIRC, the 2 for 1 BA vouchers are only valid on BA operated flights (so no AA codeshared up to NYC)

  5. Does anyone know when they will have the entire long haul fleet reconfigured? Do they offer the same number of seats old vs. new?

  6. @Daniel, BA don’t offer First on the TPA or MCO routes. The 2-4-1 vouchers are only for use on itineraries containing solely BA flights. Flying out of MIA seems to be your best bet.

  7. Can i be this lucky. Beginning of April i am flying first class from ORD to LHR on BA 294 which is the 747-400. Any way so i checked out the seat map and its a High-J meaning 70 business seats also checked out the economy seating and this has rows 54 and 55. Now according to thebasource.com there are only 4 aircraft with this configuration all of which have NF. Reg numbers are G-CIVF, G-CIVG, G-CIVH and G-CIVI. Im still a while out and i know alot can change but fingers crossed. Last flight out of ORD in first was an old 777 just after the refitted started so i wasnt lucky that time.

  8. I think all the new 777-300 series have the new first as these are brand new aircraft. One of the Hong Kong flights is a 777-300.

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