Inside British Airways' new A380 first class cabin

By David Flynn, July 5 2013
Inside British Airways' new A380 first class cabin

British Airways’ new Airbus A380s contain an enhanced version of the airline’s highly-regarded first class suite, adapted to make better use of the superjumbo’s spacious floorplan.

“The A380 has a massive cabin so we just had to exploit that!” laughs Kathryn Doyle, BA’s Aircraft Product Cabin Interiors Manager.

BA's Kathryn Doyle: making the most from the spacious superjumbo
BA's Kathryn Doyle: making the most from the spacious superjumbo

“The first class seat itself is the same size as on our other aircraft, the difference is the size of the surrounding suite – there’s 30% more space in terms of the actual footprint” she tells Australian Business Traveller.

The extra room is most noticeable in width, especially at the foot of the suite when the seat converts into a lie-flat bed, compared to the same cabin on BA’s Boeing 777 or 747-400.

There’s also a welcome boost in storage space, with what Doyle calls “a little cubby hole” next to each seat. This nook serves two purposes.

Firstly, “it gives you somewhere to put you knick-knacks” Doyle says. ”Passport, phone, glasses, pens, all the little things that might normally end up rolling around your seat.”

It also contains the IFE controller plus an AC power socket, two USB ports plus RCA audio-video jacks (which we’re sure nobody ever uses) where you can can plug in your travel tech.

The personal wardrobe of each of the 14 first class suites on the A380 also gains significant space.

A wide door opens into the aisle, rather than being located along the edge of the suite, and  is designed to fit a standard “IATA-sized wheelie bag so you can have this at your fingertips” Doyle says.

There’s also a deep top shelf for your shoes, laptop or purse.

All up, Doyle says this delivers “about 60% greater personal stowage than in our existing first class suites”.

BA plans to fly the A380 between London and Frankfurt in August ahead of its international debut on the daily London-Los Angeles BA268/269 service on September 24, to be followed by London-Hong Kong on October 22.

Also read: BA’s Airbus 380, Boeing 787 business class refresh

David Flynn is attending the launch of British Airways’ Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 in London as a guest of British Airways.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 735

"Enhancing" personal space does not take away the fact that the BA F offering is below par of that of CX, EK, QF, LH etc. Pretty disappointing they did not revamp their F on the A380, like many other airlines have done. They should have increased seat width as opposed to add extra storage space.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 32

I couldn't agree more with 'KG'..what a great opportunity to do something really new and luxurious..this seems like 'the same with a few extras' many years has SQ been running the A380's and they're STILL the benchmark in 1st IMO!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jun 2013

Total posts 1

Have had the privledge this year of doing several long haul flights in First Suites. What makes the difference now?  Crew. I had a shocker on QF A380..and had a best of best on a QF A380.  QF First Suite is to my mind most comfortable. Seconded by CX. Fabulous 16 hour flight, faboulous everything, but the A380 QF suite nudges it. The SQ Service impeccable, but a little too robotic for my mind.. Suite a huge size and comfort. QF is better. (Cannt believe I am saying this).  Used to love BA Service in First, til they dropped "personal TLC, and CSM visit". All downhill after that. Airlines finally waking up to having single women paying pax in First. (Well most anyway). Cannt help but feel F is a dying swan. More the pity.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Mar 2013

Total posts 174

I'm with you Ginge. Have done First in EK, EY, CX, BA, SQ & QF I would have to be honest and say the 'best all rounder' would have to go to QF. The crew makes it, no question. The QF A380 (QF11/12) for me get's it right. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 241

Compared to the same refurbed product on the 744 and 777, it looks a little dull. Maybe it's the lack of those big blue 'train style windows"?

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