Review: British Airways’ new Boeing 777-300ER first class suites

This evolution of BA’s Dreamliner First suite comes with sliding doors and a few shortcomings compared to its predecessor.

By David Flynn, August 11 2021
Review: British Airways’ new Boeing 777-300ER first class suites

British Airways’ latest long-range Boeing 777-300ER jets feature not only the much-improved business class Club Suites but new first class suites boasting sliding privacy doors.

They won’t seem entirely new to BA’s frequent flyers: the suites are an evolution of those which debuted on the airline’s Boeing 787-9 and 787-10 fleet – a design BA refers to internally as 'Prime' – to add a privacy door.

British Airways' new Boeing 777 First suite is an evolution of the Dreamliner's 'Prime' product.. Supplied by British Airways
British Airways' new Boeing 777 First suite is an evolution of the Dreamliner's 'Prime' product.
Supplied by British Airways

Yet they’re quite the change from the elegant previous generation of British Airways’ Boeing 777 First product, show below.

BA's previous-gen Boeing 777 First suite.. Supplied by British Airways
BA's previous-gen Boeing 777 First suite.
Supplied by British Airways

Executive Traveller reader George Budd recently flew in BA’s latest Boeing 777-300ER first class suite, and shared his first impressions (and some photos) with us.

First up: those doors, which are sort of an equaliser to the already-doored Club Suites.

Sliding doors: you've seen the movie, now fly in the suite.. Supplied by British Airways
Sliding doors: you've seen the movie, now fly in the suite.
Supplied by British Airways

Budd says he’s fan of the First suite’s doors, especially as they add much more privacy when the seat’s converted into a fully flat bed for sleeping.

That said, “the doors stayed open for most of the flight, other than when people went to bed, as the cabin and seat is private enough anyway” due to the high walls between suite and the aisle.

As with other doored suites, passengers tend to keep the doors open more often than not.. Supplied by British Airways
As with other doored suites, passengers tend to keep the doors open more often than not.
Supplied by British Airways

BA’s new Boeing 777 First suite “felt like it had more room” than the door-less Boeing 787 equivalents, Budd says, “although I prefer the wider foot space on the old 777 First – I don’t like the console overhang on the new ones, as my legs don’t fit under them.”

An overview of BA's new Boeing 777 First suite.. George Budd
An overview of BA's new Boeing 777 First suite.
George Budd

“The tray table still folds in half, but doesn’t push away as far as it used to, meaning getting out with the table out is very tricky, and I’m a skinny cyclist!” Budd exclaims. “It pivots back into the console, although that’s difficult when it’s fully laid (for meal service).”

There's still plenty of room to stretch out in BA's Boeing 777 First.. George Budd
There's still plenty of room to stretch out in BA's Boeing 777 First.
George Budd

“The metal edge on the table is much better, and the bedside light at head level is recessed and so isn’t going to get pulled off any more.”

Another shortcoming is the positioning of the suite’s video screen, which Budd observed was “at the wrong angle” and offset compared to the centreline of the passenger’s seat.

Room to stretch out, but that off-centre video screen could be a bother.. George Budd
Room to stretch out, but that off-centre video screen could be a bother.
George Budd

And with the screen hard-mounted into the front of the seat module, there’s no scope to adjust it to better suit your position.

“Imagine looking at your home TV sitting well off-centre, with the TV twisted on the bracket,” he suggests, adding that he found the headphone socket to be “temperamental, needed a gentle wiggle to get good sound.”

The suite’s inbuilt wardrobe “is very narrow, really only for a jacket or laptop bag,” Budd noted, adding that “it now has a separate, removable, hanger.”

He also observed that this recessed wardrobe “is connected to the deep storage to the front left – so if you lose something you thought you put in there, it’s in the bottom of the wardrobe.” 

However, one of the unique design touches which gave the previous Boeing 777 First suites their cosy ‘private railway cabin feeling’ – the elongated window panels (which encompassed two actual fuselage windows) with automatic window blinds – have been replaced by the standard windows and pull-down shades.

We'll miss the elegance of those elongated windows and electric blinds.. Supplied by British Airways
We'll miss the elegance of those elongated windows and electric blinds.
Supplied by British Airways

A broader change in BA’s new Boeing 777 First cabin is that there are now only eight suites – arranged as two rows of 1-2-1 – compared to the 14 First suites of in the earlier Boeing 777 configurations.

The space which would usually be allocated to those other six first class suites has now been given over to a dozen Club Suites in their own business class ‘mini cabin’, ahead of the rest of the 76-seat business class section.

This affords a handy way to determine if your next BA Boeing 777 flight will feature the new or previous generation First suites: if the seat map shows only eight berths in First, you’re on one of the factory-fresh Boeing 777s.

Also read: The inside story of how BA 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.

Before I fly BA again I'd need to know they have unwound all of the damage Alex Cruz did to the brand. A massive shift in corporate culture is required from the top down. I'll watch and listen with interest for a couple of years before I give them another chance.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 173

Nice update to the 777. Iv flown BA many a time in J and F on the 777 and other variants like the 747 and A380. I know allot knock it but i always enjoyed the service in F from BA especially out of JFK or London with the concord lounges. 

It doesn't look anywhere near as classy as the older version; looks more like a quality normal business class space.

16 Nov 2018

Total posts 31

Business Plus at most.

I can understand BA wanting to standardise on product across the board, makes perfect sense, but I'm going to miss the 'old' B777 First suites. They might not have been as good as many other airlines but I really loved their design and that gentle cabin ambience. The new suite may have doors but it lacks a lot of 'style' and that lustrous finish.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 623

BA and Qantas have no idea when it comes to a proper F class. At  least BA charges fares which reflect its business plus offering. I still have no idea how anyone can sit on a noisy, poor atmospherics and old school 777 between Sydney and London.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Oct 2019

Total posts 14

Perhaps because most people understand the privilege of being able to fly across the world, especially in first/business. 

Here we go again, Joe making the same familiar grumblings about Qantas First and the Boeing 777! Joe, a LOT of people sit on a Boeing 777 between Sydney and London, between London and Singapore and Hong Kong and hundreds of other destinations. They not only survive but if they're in business or first they're pretty happy with the experience. Okay, not so happy if they're in BA's old Club World business class but the new Club Suites, or Cathay's B777 business class, and definitely the Qsuites on Qatar's B777s. A lot of people don't have a choice between which type of aircraft they fly, but a hell of a lot of people don't care and are none the sadder for it.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 84

Oh, but if you looked more carefully you will most definitely find many, many pax who DO care about what type of aircraft they might potentially be flying on, and will make booking decisions based on it (and I'm not even referring to the disastrous 737Max or the previously fire-prone 787). I avoid the 777 between Australia-Singapore-U.K. precisely because of the very reason Joe pointed out. It's noisy!!! And I know I'm far from being the only one. And let's not even start on the sub-standard hard product on QF and BA compared to the good range of choices offered ex Australia and ex Singapore by Asian and ME carriers.

Granted, the 777 is a bit noisy, and you really notice it after flying in quieter aircraft like the Airbus A350. But my point is that

1. Not all passengers have a choice of what aircraft they fly on, it's dictated by the airline they fly and the route they're travelling, and even when there;s a choice between airlines they can still have their hands tied by various factors.

2. The number of people who care about the type of aircraft they're flying on, even just from a comfort perspective instead of avoiding say the 737MAX as per your example, is in truth the tiniest fraction of a percent of the travelling public. It's easy for a lot of us to think that more people are like us than not, especially if that's our 'social circle', but I know from talking with a lot of mainstream travellers that the vast majority don't have much of an idea about the type of aircraft they will be on, let alone seeking out one type or avoiding another. They just don't.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer P1

23 Aug 2014

Total posts 69

With respect, I would encourage readers to focus on what the man in the seat is actually saying.

1. Make a list of his negatives as he experienced them (they are fair, practical and precise).

2. Imagine a long haul flight with BA F in this seat from his perspective.

3. Ask yourself whether this is a First product comparing it to the Business product of your choice.

3. Then decide.

Having flown them extensively (more than 60 individual sectors long haul) in F, when low cost was the determining factor,   they have (overall) been good value for money; however in terms of my ideal F hard and soft products, since 2000,  they have never risen significantly above a 6/10

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 318

It's been said by many before, but British Airways first class remains one of the world's best business class products!

And I am serous, I am not throwing shade at BA, but the Club Suites elevated BA business class to where it should have been years ago. Okay, it's still not the best and I don't think BA will ever have 'the best' in any category, not when the Gulf airlines have seemingly endless amounts of money to throw around, on amazing product.

But BA's 'new' first class is not the leap which business class had, and it's not even in the same league as Qantas' A380 first class, which I know some people here thing is sub-par anyway, depending on which airline you measure it by. This is more of a catch-up by BA, and I really hope their Boeing 777X sees a totally new approach to First which deserves to be called 'first class'.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 355

Shame about those windows though, they made the F class cabin look rather stunning.

16 Oct 2012

Total posts 34

Reminds me of the old VA business class A330 product. That was great for business, but this looks a bit second rate for first when compare to the likes of SQ. 


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