British Airways No Longer Selling Old First Class

British Airways has been in the process of installing a new first class product throughout much of their longhaul fleet for years now.


British Airways 747-400 new first class

Despite that, they still have several aircraft that feature their old first class product. The only upside to flying the old first class is that you’re typically issued 50,000 Avios compensation if you end up flying it, even if you’re on an award ticket (that’s potentially a refund of more than half the Avios required).

The best way to track whether a route will be operated by the new or old first class is through this useful dashboard. While it won’t definitively tell you whether your route features the new first class or not, it will break down what percent of the time a route is historically operated by the new first class product.

As you can see, there are some routes that get the new first class product 100% of the time, while there are others that get new first class product less frequently.

Interestingly it looks like British Airways will stop selling first class on routes scheduled to be operated by 747-400s featuring the old first class product.

British Airways has stopped selling first class for travel on the following flights as of October 26, 2014:

  • Cape Town/CPT BA42/43
  • Las Vegas/LAS BA274/275
  • Phoenix/PHX BA288/289
  • Vancouver/YVR BA84/85

As of now they haven’t formally removed the first class fare buckets from these routes, though they’ve stopped selling it altogether. So if you look at the seatmap you’ll still see the first class seats.

British-Airways-747-Seatmap

According to this FlyerTalk thread, apparently British Airways will only seat people in first class if business class (Club World) is completely full, which is kind of disappointing. It would be nice if they allowed elite members to pre-assign first class seats in advance, assuming they’d otherwise be empty.

I’m curious to see what British Airways does with passengers that already booked first class on these routes. Will they “downgrade” them even though the plane still has a first class cabin, or…?

Comments

  1. Ben, for those of us who haven’t experienced “old FC”, what’s the biggest giveaway to know whether a flight is “new” or “old” FC. Thanks. Flying in August MIA-LHR-MIA.

  2. If I’m understanding this correctly, BA will put their remaining 747 with OF (I think there are maybe 9 of them), exclusively onto those routes you named – meaning that those other routes (like MIA) that so far have had a mix of OF and NF aircraft, will now be guaranteed 100% NF?

  3. Check out the “Tracking NF [New First]” on the British Airways Executive Club forum on FlyerTalk for great info on how to determine whether your flight will have New or Old First Class.

    FTDashboard currently has MIA-LHR flights as 87% chance of having New First.

  4. I’m following the dashboard. I see that it’s running at 87%. My problem is that I’m the idiot who hasn’t experienced enough to know Old v New, and would sure appreciate tips in this journey.

    Thanks for the tip, though.

  5. Thanks to both of you. I tried to look at trip report pix. but they weren’t side-by-side. I’ll be paying attention for the wood paneling and the window configuration.

  6. I’ve got some routes that are OF much of the time coming up this year, Sept/Oct. CPT and JNB, and a random IAH. I’m fine with getting OF and 50K avios, I am NOT fine with being downgraded to Biz – without being compensated a lot more than 50K avios. Wonder what will actually happen.

  7. @ Tivoboy – I thought Houston had new first class already so I checked the dashboard. IAHLHR is NF 100% of the time; the only variable is a plane. BA194/195 has 744 and BA196/197 usually has 772.

  8. Lucky, is this also affecting San Diego? I’ve been doing some searches lately on the BA Site for flights from SAN to LHR, and it says that 1st is “not available” on this route.

  9. Lucky, do you know when BA started offering compensation (50, 000 avios miles) for flying in Old First on a 744? My wife, kid and I flew in early 2013 but never got any compensation.

    Thanks,

  10. @ Vinod — I believe it was fairly recently, unfortunately. In early 2013 they would have been not even halfway through the retrofit, so weren’t offering compensation at that point as far as I know.

  11. @ Lucky

    Do you know if there are any BA 772’s (4 class configuration) with Old First Class? Heading to LHR next week, and I noted that the chart for BA 226 may indicate 0% new First Class (steep decline from 100% new First Class for preceding weeks to ‘unknown’)

    Thanks

  12. @ Vinod — Hmmm, I could be mistaken, but I don’t believe that they’re all reconfigured yet.

  13. Booked with Avios miles 1st class PHX-LHR 4/15. BA notified me of downgrade to Club World (no 1st class on route as of 10/14) but still able to keep 1st class seat. Hope it’s true.

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