British Airways is to temporarily withdraw its First Class cabin from its daily flight from London Heathrow to Vancouver from Thursday 21 January to Monday 29 February 2016.
The airline will continue to operate the route with a Boeing 747. However, the First Class cabin will be closed.
The reason for this is that the route is being operated with a Boeing 747 that is not fitted with the latest First Class cabin
This is not the first time BA has done this. Readers may recall BA temporarily withdrew First Class from a number of routes including Cape Town, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Vancouver last year.
Affected passengers can either accept a downgrade to Club World business class or an alternative indirect routing to Vancouver via Seattle (with onward travel to Vancouver at the passenger’s expense) or another BA or American Airlines gateway in America (such as Dallas Fort Worth) with an onward connection on American Airlines.
British Airways has unveiled its new eight seat First Class cabin on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. This is the smallest First Class cabin on four class long-haul aircraft, which typically have fourteen seats.
British Airways has today unveiled its new first class cabin on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
The eight seat cabin is an evolution of the first class cabin currently found on Boeing 747, 777 and Airbus A380 aircraft.
To date, other BA Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft have operated without a First Class cabin.
Featuring just eight seats in two rows of 1-2-1 seats, the cabin is significantly smaller than the fourteen seat configuration found on most aircraft.
The seat itself is essentially the same. However, elements surrounding it have been significantly modified.
Design modifications include a larger (and fixed) 23″ TV screen, a more accessible personal wardrobe and personal stowage, and a smartphone style seat control.
Features found on other BA first class cabins, such as the seat side personal lamp and shaded window blinds have been removed.
Some readers may be disappointed not to see more radical innovation from BA. However, we expect that a lower destiny seating configuration or items that add additional weight to the aircraft will not be pursued unless there is a clear revenue benefit to the airline.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will make its debut on selected flights to Delhi from 22 October 2015.
It will also fly to Austin, currently a Boeing 787-8 route, from February 2016. This will be followed by Abu Dhabi & Muscat from 5 November 2016, Kuala Lumpur from December 2016 and San Jose which launches 4 May 2016.
The aircraft is likely to be used to replace Boeing 777 and 747 aircraft and, as per San Jose, open up new routes.
The airline has a total of 22 Boeing 787-9 aircraft in order, in addition to 8 delivered Boeing 787-8 and 12 Boeing 787-10 aircraft.
To complete the list, here’s a list of long-haul Gatwick routes that operate with and without a first class cabin.
It’s a relatively easy list to compile. BA’s routes from Gatwick are operated exclusively with either three or four class Boeing 777 aircraft.
Whilst a first class cabin is not sold on all routes, there is the possibility that a four class aircraft may be operated on a route on some days with no first class cabin on sale, with the normal Club World business class service provided to passengers seated in the first class cabin.
We receive a lot of search enquiries regarding which British Airways routes operate with or without a first class cabin.
Whilst BA’s first class product is far from a market leading product in the air or on the ground, the network it covers is very broad.
It’s also a popular choice for members of the BA Executive Club to use their Avios and holders of BA branded American Express credit cards to use 2-4-1 flight vouchers. Many Silver & Gold members of the Executive Club can also find themselves upgraded from Club World on oversold flights.
The general trend in recent years has been for first class to be removed from routes. However, it has in recent times been restored to routes such as Denver and San Diego.
So we thought it would be helpful to compile a list of BA first class destinations. We have also compiled a separate list for London Gatwick.
Many airlines have long offered passengers in first and business class the opportunity to pre-order their meals in advance of boarding their flight. Singapore Airlines has its “Book The Cook” facility.
The passenger benefits in securing their preferred choice of meal and the airline benefits in reducing wastage – catering being one of a very few areas where airlines can actually control costs.
One notable exception in offering this service is British Airways, in spite of it carrying very large volumes of first and business class passengers (some 84 on most Boeing 747s) and having one of the highest proportions of revenue attributable to first and business class traffic.
From an as yet unspecified date in the second quarter of next year (so possibly some six months away), BA is to trial the pre-ordering of meals in Club World business class and First class on the London – New York JFK route.
From what is known so far, passengers will only be able to choose from the existing menu and will not have additional menu choices (and opting out of “Afternoon Tea” does not seem to be an option!). No doubt this is being driven by the desire to reduce wastage, but it would be good to see the proceeds in any savings reinvested in the improving catering.
Update: This facility is now available on all long-haul routes from London Heathrow and Gatwick. You can pre-order your meal through the Manage My Booking tool.