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Video, photos: British Airways' new Boeing 787-9 first class

By David Flynn     Filed under: BA, first class, Boeing 787 Dreamliner

British Airways has begun to pull back the veil on its new first class seats and cabin for the airline's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which takes to the skies in October.

The new-look BA First has been created specifically for the Boeing 787-9 and will see just eight seats nestled into the Dreamliner's nose.

The palette and general design ethos is similar to that of first class on BA's Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A380 flagships (below) but with more of a feeling of subdued elegance, including gentle lighting and lush-looking quilted seats.

Each of those new seats is in turn a measured upgrade to BA's current First.

Developed for BA by London design firm Forpeople, BA says the seats take into account extensive feedback from its regular first class travellers.

For example, the large 23 inch screen (which is partnered to a smaller touchscreen controller with an independent display) is now fixed in position so that movies and TV shows can be enjoyed on a 'gate to gate' basis rather than having to stow the screen during taxi, take-off and landing.

The coat locker is now accessible without passengers having to move from their seat, while a mirror has been fitted to the inside of a cabinet door.

There's also additional storage where passengers can park their inflight gear, with a new ottoman next to the adjustable footstool offering room for shoes, handbags and other personal items.

A locker positioned at eye-level is intended for smaller personal effects such as tablets, reading glasses and amenity kits.

Also evident in the photo above: a nook next to the armrest where you can stow a smartphone or tablet while it's being charged by the nearby USB port.

The following video clip provides a quick first look at the cabin and seats:

Although BA is trumpeting the Boeing 787-9's first international flight from London to Delhi on October 25, a spokesperson for the airline says the jet will first enter service in a three-class configuration on flights to Austin and Toronto.

In this configuration it'll have an extended Club World business class cabin at the pointy end, but prior to the Delhi debut will be wheeled back into the workshop for the new First suites to be installed.

The next destinations on the 787-9's dance card list will be Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Kuala Lumpur, although BA doesn't yet have start dates for those Dreamliner services.

Also read: Is this BA's next-gen Club World business class seat?

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


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 13/7/15 by Shoudy

The new BA first class seats are very comfortable to sit on and have good ergonomics. The British Airways B789 is a wonderful and a fuel friendly aircraft. 

1 on 13/7/15 by PunditShafton

I agree with you, F class is a good product, but I stay away from their J class neve liked it. 

2 on 14/7/15 by Jason

Funny how their F class product looks just like J class for other top tier airlines.

BA need a kick up the you know what

1 on 14/7/15 by Serg

BA business seats also outdated by modern standards and as they are they perfect for no frills PE - strip it to bare flat seats, price properly and it would be killer!

1 on 14/7/15 by Jason

Apparently they have a copyright on the Club World, forward / backward design so no other airline can use it.

Its cramped, high density and I agree would be ideal for low cost carriers who want to go fully flat.

Here is hoping they FINALLY update Club World to a decent design, in a 1-2-1 layout. Then the could sell off the current, dated layout to a low cost.

2 on 14/7/15 by Kogglogs

Glad I'm not the only one who thinks that too - Other than their F food and beverage service, what sets BA F apart from other carrier's J?

1 on 15/7/15 by petrhsr

Nothing set them apart.  Club World is awful, and First is no better than Cathay business class.  BA is a second-tier airline.


And I hate to burst your bubble, Speedbird, but I doubt that they'll install 4-abreast J on the same aircraft that has 4-abreast F.

3 on 9/9/15 by ashnic7g

Agreed. As I looked at the images, I couldn't help but think how similar the hard-product looked to the new VA J offering. 

4 on 9/9/15 by ashnic7g

Agreed. As I looked at the images, I couldn't help but think how similar the hard-product looked to the new VA J offering. 

2 on 13/7/15 by jubbing

Well, I'm in Delhi now! I wonder how many AA points is required to redeem on F, a quick peek shows around 40k, which is roughly $800 USD + tax. However the 787 is neither updated on BA nor AA Awards site. 

3 on 13/7/15 by Richard

Any idea yet what the total passenger capacity / breakdown will be for these BA 787 -9's with first class ? I think this will be a great indication of what Qantas will have when they eventually get theirs and their seating is basically the same in each class.

1 on 13/7/15 by Chris_PER

8 First

42 Business

39 Economy Plus

127 Economy

1 on 14/7/15 by Richard

Thanks Chris, that is certainly premium heavy, especially in World Traveller Plus. More or less a "like for like" replacement with the 4 class 777-200 then. Can't wait to see how Qantas are going to configure theirs, and also can't wait until August to see if Qantas orders any other type of aircraft !

2 on 15/7/15 by elchriss0

economy plus is what north american airlines have...BA have proper premium economy

4 on 14/7/15 by lind26

Still looks a bit squeezy especially for First

5 on 14/7/15 by watson374

Oooh, KL!

6 on 14/7/15 by Jono

Call me Sir Buzz Killington, but it really just looks like a mix of QF First, the soon to arrive VA Business and CX Business. It looks like they have just changed the colour and upholstery. 

1 on 14/7/15 by Jason

Exactly what I said... You know you in trouble when American Airline has a better business class seat than your first class seat.

7 on 14/7/15 by BeijingBogan

I'm sure it will be comfortable, and I'm sure it'll be a pleasant place to be in, and a damned sight better than a poke in the eye or a kick in the arse.

And it'll remain that way in your heart, so long as you stick to that product and that product only. 

Problem is, sometimes people cheat on their loved ones. I did, yesterday - and had a fling with Etihad's A380 apartments from SYD-AUH.

A flyer with his blinkers on all this while is bound to have a severe case of system shock. That much I promise. 

8 on 15/7/15 by Ebbuk

So Boeing trumpet electronic window shades on the 787, charge a premium for the technology, BA buys the plane then installs normal shutters back on the plane (albeit motorised). Oh the irony. Ouch! the expense.  BA seems stuck in a time warp somewhere, seemingly stuck in its past glory which today seems naff, feels stingy but it is just as expensive.  "Barely Acceptable" BA, No longer a great way to fly.

9 on 15/7/15 by bl812

it's like business class seats on other 5 * airlines for the money they ask they should at least provide a private cabin like emirates or Etihad this is an inferior product with no comparison to the biggies-for a London NEw York they charge nearly 20K for first that ridiculous you can nearly get a suit on Etihad for that-not to mention BA-s club class on Europian routes it's sheer economy the same distance between rows only diff there is an empty seat in the middle-a true 3 star airline if lucky to get 3 at all

10 on 9/8/15 by Biarritz

Dear ABT,  the BA First product has historically been very good and I am very much looking forward to the new  upcoming 787-9 service to Delhi and Kuala Lumpur.  What often sets BA apart is service delivery in the First cabin as well as  of course the hard product.  Having flight attendants who can hold a conversation, have banter and who have repartee is often not valued but it sets BA First flights apart from SE Asian carriers.  The launch of the up-graded hard product is coming shortly I believe.  Do you know when BA will release additional information on the product?  It starts to Delhi in October doesn't it? Best regards. 

11 on 9/9/15 by hleagle

Doesn't look to comfortable and also a bit to squishy for my liking. I like the  idea of an ottoman and touch screen tv alias.

12 on 9/9/15 by Tom

Intresting, looks a bit like AA's First and Business, but less spacious. Do you know if th seat will swerve around to create a desk space like AA have done?

13 on 9/9/15 by Specky

Personally I do like the idea of an ottoman on board but would prefer it to be a seat that pushes out into a small bed. It seems too small for that idea though, so an overall  good use of space. Don't get me wrong, I would love for there to be more room though. 

14 on 9/9/15 by Libertyscott

Given VS and NZ both put business in a 1-1-1 configuration, pardon me if I don't think a 1-2-1 configuration in First seems like it is likely to be a squeeze.  Yes forward facing and a larger footprint can make up for that, but I would have thought this was begging for a 1-1-1 in First.

1 on 9/9/15 by elchriss0

I agree...if it was a 777 then 1-2-1 would be acceptable but not in 787.  This seems more like a J class product.

15 on 9/9/15 by Declan

Is there any chance of them replacing the 777 flights to Sydney?

1 on 10/9/15 by Chris_PER

Well the 77W hasn't long been rostered onto the Sydney run.  Very unlikely...

16 on 10/9/15 by GLAaussie

It seems to be a bit more private that the current F seat and it's a plus that the TV is useable at any time. It looks like a more private and sleek version of QR's J seat.

BA F isn't a product I would go out of my way to pay for, but I'm still looking forwards to trying it out on my KUL-LHR flight next year thanks to one of the gold upgrade vouchers I've earned. 

1 on 10/9/15 by elchriss0

lol BA in any class is not a product i would ever go out of my way to pay for.  I flew BA last year for the 1st time since 1998 and they flight LCY-IOM was cancelled 20mins before it was due to depart and lost a day of my holiday and had to get a cab to LHR and fly via MAN the next day.  Also my 82 year old grandad was with us and their ground staff at LCY expected him to walk down stairs when he was in a wheelchair.  When rebooking us we had to deal with a woman who didn't offer us any alternative arrangements other than to come back the next day and be waitlisted with no guarantee to even fly.  I ended up coming up with a solution myself which was LHR via MAN but at least it was confirmed seats.  After many years in the 90s my parents gave up on BA only to have their point proven once again almost 20 years later.

17 on 11/9/15 by tris

these seats pictured look very much to me to be similar to "the Business" on VA which I must say after experiencing them a few weeks ago are a great J Class Product. 


Not sure how they would stack up as A P Product however.


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