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…