British Airways new Boeing 777 first class suites will have doors

Now that BA's business class includes sliding doors, first class is about to catch up.

By David Flynn, September 21 2020
British Airways new Boeing 777 first class suites will have doors

British Airways' new Boeing 777-300ER jets will include upgraded first class suites with sliding doors, a spokesperson for the airline has confirmed to Executive Traveller.

The suite will debut on selected factory-fresh Boeing 777-300ER jets due for delivery from October this year, and will be a modification of the first class seat of the Boeing 787-9 and 787-10 fleet - which BA refers to internally as 'Prime' - to add a privacy door.

"The new Club Suite has been so popular with our customers that we made the decision at the start of the year to adjust the First seat on the new 777-300 aircraft to include a door for additional privacy," the spokesperson told Executive Traveller.

Some of BA's new Boeing 777-300ER jets will include an upgraded version of the Boeing 787-9 and 787-10 first class seat.
Some of BA's new Boeing 777-300ER jets will include an upgraded version of the Boeing 787-9 and 787-10 first class seat.

An internal email to BA staff, sighted by Executive Traveller, provides a little more detail.

"We are always listening to customer and colleague feedback about ways to improve our products. The response to our Club Suite has been great, and we are now applying some of the same thinking to a slightly modified version of the First seat on a few of our new 777 aircraft, creating even more privacy for our premium customers."

"Starting in October, we will welcome two new variants to our 777 fleet: the 77L and 77H. The 77H variant will offer the modified First seat experience, which includes a privacy door and a three-point seat belt."

"It’s important to note that these new aircraft were ordered well in advance of the Covid-19 crisis, but we could not defer their delivery," the email advises.

British Airways' current 'Prime' first class was developed for the Boeing 787-9.
British Airways' current 'Prime' first class was developed for the Boeing 787-9.

The British flag-carrier is steadily working its way through the refit of selected Boeing 777-300ERs, which are the workhorse of its long-range international fleet, to add the Club Suites business class, although it's not clear if this revamped First seat will be part of that project.

Development of the refreshed First 'suite' was underway well before COVID-19 came to town.

"We're constantly looking at the evolution of the Prime seat and what our next products are going to look like," British Airways' Design Lead Peter Cooke told Executive Traveller in August 2019 during a briefing on the creation of the Club Suites.

BA's business class Club Suites have raised the bar for the airline's own first class berths.
BA's business class Club Suites have raised the bar for the airline's own first class berths.

Those suites replaced the crowded dormitory-like Club World with private havens for the long haul – so while BA's 'open' first class berths remain clearly more posh than their business classs counterparts, they're also ironically less private.

The continued improvement of business class to encroach on the once-rarified realms of first class – such as fully flat beds, direct aisle access, a high degree of personal space and lately privacy doors – has push airlines to reconsider not only the shape of first class but if it has any future in their fleet.

As business class gets better, airlines need to redefine or reconsider first class.
As business class gets better, airlines need to redefine or reconsider first class.

Qatar Airways, for example, expects to retire first class along with its Airbus A380s, having settled on the Qsuite business class suites as its flagship product – although there's a chance that some of its forthcoming Boeing 777X jets could feature a new and "very exclusive" first class to cater for the high-end travel market.

“We are studying the possibility of having a very exclusive first class cabin of just four seats, for example,” Qatar Airways Group CEO His Excellency Akbar Al Baker revealed to Executive Traveller in June.

Al Baker said it would be a deliberately “very niche product” aimed at well-heeled Qatari travellers, although the luxury cocoons would appear on “just a handful” of the Gulf carrier’s Boeing 777-9 aircraft serving popular and premium-heavy European routes such as London and Paris.

Also read: How British Airways created the world's first business class bed

David

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.

18 Sep 2020

Total posts 2

"Previous Boeing 777 upgrades have seen the older first class seats replaced by the champion Prime seat of the Boeing 787-9"

No they haven't.

BAEC

10 Jul 2019

Total posts 13

I believe the article is referring to the recent upgrades to the F cabin on aircraft with the new Club suite. 

18 Sep 2020

Total posts 2

The line has now been removed. There has been no upgrade (ok, some colour changes etc.) to the F cabin on the 777's that have been fitted with Club Suite.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 191

First class on BA looks like most other airlines business class. SQ/ANA/QR offer a better product in business then this joke. The width of that seat leaves much to be desired. Looks likes you have to sleep like your boxed in unable to move or you will hit the sides of the compartment shell.

07 Jan 2016

Total posts 29

The foot rest area in the first photo looks awfully small. Not much wriggle room.

BA's fares on F & C are comparable, i.e., LHR-JFK-LHR in December 2020, F costs £2,944.00, C costs £2,452.00.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 522

It's all for naught on a horrible 777-lipstick on a pig; if it were a 787, A350 it would be a great value proposition as an option to UK / Europe from SYD.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1237

I love the B777. But I've always thought it odd that BA favoured the B787 over the A350 for F.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2011

Total posts 2

British Airways putting doors on their Business Class begs the question, is this to stop pax from escaping?  

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

19 Jul 2014

Total posts 25

Don’t care if they provide private bathrooms with showers and tubs,nothing will get me back on one of their aircraft.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

19 Mar 2018

Total posts 56

Oh, they willl now NEVER show you the actual product. Singapore Airlines 787-10 first middle center row business class is a actually a convertible First Class suite.

But I should tell you that the F product will be also marketed as a Family Suite, Honeymoon Suite, CoJoint Suite etc etc

I will warn you all first. Business Class will be in some cases, a significant downgrade, or an unachievable upgrade.


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