British Airways has today, Monday 5 March 2018, unveiled images of its refurbished Boeing 777s which will operate on selected long-haul routes at London Gatwick from the summer of 2018.
BA took delivery of its first refurbished aircraft last week. It features an entirely new World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabin. The first routes to operate the new cabin are Punta Cana, Cancun and Kingston. Please see here for full details of the expected routes for 2018.
When BA first announced the plan to densify its Boeing 777 fleet it said that 12 aircraft would be refurbished. BA has said today that 6 aircraft will be refurbished by the end of October this year. The refurbishment will continue in 2019.
World Traveller – Economy
This biggest change is in World Traveller, and this is the reason why details of the new cabin are so eagerly awaited.
The new World Traveller cabin is now 10 seats across in a 3-4-3 configuration. BA has tried to soften the blow by emphasising improved in-flight entertainment with a larger 10″ screen, USB power and moveable arm rests. However, fundamentally this refurbishment is driven by a desire to increase seats and have a lower seat cost than Norwegian at London Gatwick.
BA also say that the new World Traveller seat will be installed on some Heathrow based Boeing 777 aircraft from autumn 2019.
World Traveller Plus – Premium Economy
The World Traveller Plus cabin has been increased from 24 to 52 seats.
What is noteworthy is that BA has introduced an entirely new seat. This means BA has now 3 different World Traveller Plus seats. The original World Traveller Plus seat (which the new seat replaces) on Boeing 747 and many 777 aircraft; the second World Traveller Plus seat introduced in 2010 (pictured below) that features on many Boeing 777 and all Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 aircraft.
Whilst World Traveller Plus retains its 2-4-2 configuration and the seat appears to have many features of the 2010 World Traveller Plus seat such as the shared cocktail table, adjustable head rest, a leg rest, and USB and three pin power sockets. BA has not provided any details of the dimensions of the new seat – and the original plan was to increase the cabin size to 42 seats. The 2010 seat is noteworthy for offering a quite deep recline, which can be a bit too deep for some passengers.
The one point we would make is that, for World Traveller Plus, 52 seats is a large cabin and it does lose its “demi-cabin” feel as a consequence.
BA also say that the new World Traveller Plus seat will be installed on some Heathrow based Boeing 777 aircraft from autumn 2019.. BA has since updated its original press release, it is the new World Traveller seat will be installed on Heathrow aircraft.
Club World – Business Class
The Club World cabin has been reduced from 40 to 32 seats. The cabin features the same seat that BA introduced in 2006. However, the in-flight entertainment system has been upgraded.
In-flight Connectivity and Entertainment
The aircraft features an entirely new Panasonic in-flight entertainment system. This should offer a lot of content and be very fast and responsive. There is no mention of WiFi so it seems that the installation of WiFi will be carried out separately.