BA's new First Class: which flights to Australia have the new seats?

By John Walton, January 26 2011
BA's new First Class: which flights to Australia have the new seats?

Interested in trying British Airways' new first class from Australia? More of BA's Australian flights via Singapore and Bangkok have been updated with the new seats, with the cabin being enthusiastically received since it started out flying to US and Middle Eastern destinations last February.

The new first class is undeniably elegant: it's refined, relaxed, and chic without being flashy. That makes a nice change from all the fake wood and brass in many premium cabins these days.

Bells and whistles include a wardrobe to hang clothes, an electronic window blind, an angled TV and thoughtfully positioned tables -- and the cabin is spacious without feeling busy (see it for yourself in our BA new first class gallery).

A British Airways spokesman advised Australian Business Traveller that BA is continuing to roll out the cabins across its entire fleet, but couldn't give us a firm date for the fleetwide installation to be complete.

With less than a quarter of BA's fleet  upgraded to date so it's something of an airplane lottery as to which flights will have the new cabin installed. The BA spokesman we talked to sympathised with travellers during the interim period, but wasn't able to offer any suggestions as to which flights you should book if you're eager to try out the new seats.

Undeterred, Australian Business Traveller hunted through the various flight statistics websites, checked the aircraft registration numbers, cranked up Excel and crunched the numbers.

We discovered that you're slightly more likely to encounter the new first class seats on the BA15/16 service between Sydney and London via Singapore (it's also Qantas' QF320/319 codeshare if you're booking through Qantas), which uses Boeing 777 aircraft.

However, frequent flyers used to sitting at the front of the plane generally prefer the Boeing 747 because first class is in the small nose cabin, which is quieter and feels a little more removed from the bustle of the rest of the plane. For a shot of BA's new first class on the 747 try BA9/10 via Bangkok (the Qantas codeshare flight numbers are QF302/301).

Despite the codeshare between BA and Qantas on these flights, you can't upgrade to the new first cabin – or anywhere else on the flight – with your Qantas Frequent Flyer points. BA accepts only its own BA Executive Club miles for upgrades, and you'll need 100,000 of them to bump up from Club World business class to First, or 200,000 to catapult from a World Traveller Plus premium economy seat into the posh pointy end.

We're grateful to Ben Schlappig of One Mile at a Time, who first drew our attention to one of the useful tools that we used to sort out the maths.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 178

Hi John,

I am contemplating a F ticket from LHR to SYD in July with BA, my options are a 747 to singapore then a 777 to sydney, or a 777 all the way. What in your opinion would be the best bet for the new F product. I really hope to fly the 747, since i was a kid iv always wanted to fly in the nose of the 747. Iv flown F in the A380 and still get more excited about the nose or upstairs of a 747. Anyways just thought id ask your opinion. Also what is the old F like if i was not on the new 747. (Dont want to fly QF or EK this time from LHR - will do that next year again) Looking forward to seeing the F lounge in T5, the one in T3 was nothing to write home about.

many thanks

09 Sep 2012

Total posts 139

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