British Airways has announced it is to upgrade its London Heathrow – Rio de Janeiro route from a three class Boeing 777-200 aircraft to a four class Boeing 777-300 aircraft from Sunday 27 October 2013.
This is a significant upgrade. BA will be offering First Class on this route for the first time since the route become a direct route from London Heathrow (it previously operated via Sao Paulo) and is one of a very small number of routes to have First Class added, rather than removed. The other BA route being London Heathrow to Las Vegas. BA has also confirmed that the London – Rio de Janeiro route will remain a daily service for the winter season.
Although, the overall number of seats on each flight will only increase from 275 to 299, there is a significant change in the profile of premium seating with the addition of 14 First Class seats, 8 additional Club World business class seats and 20 additional World Traveller Plus premium economy seats.
Passengers will also benefit from BA’s new World Traveller economy cabins and new World Traveller Plus premium economy cabins which include a much better in flight entertainment system which is more stable and features much more content. The seats also have in-seat power sockets and a USB/RCA socket, enabling personal devices to be connected to the in flight entertainment system.
At the moment, the route remains a daytime departure with a late night arrival in Rio. I would not rule out a possible change in the flight times when TAM joins the Oneworld alliance and BA will be able to offer onward connections with TAM from Rio.
Update: This route has subsequently changed to a three class Boeing 787, with no First Class.