Review: British Airways First Class 787 San Jose To London

Filed Under: British Airways

British Airways 278
San Jose (SJC) – London (LHR)
Monday, April 9
Depart: 8:05PM
Arrive: 2:25PM
Duration: 10hr20min
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Seat: 2K (First Class)

I boarded through door L2, where I was welcomed by name and escorted to my seat in the first class cabin (coincidentally, that was the only time during the flight that I was addressed by name). I could tell immediately by the age of the flight attendants that this was one of British Airways’ mixed fleet crews.

For those of you not familiar with the distinction here, British Airways’ “mixed fleet” flight attendants are those that were hired on ridiculously cheap contracts, frequently referred to as “poverty wages.” So while they’re typically incredibly well intentioned and even bubbly, they’re not going to be as polished as the crews who have been doing the same job for 30 years. I’d say the average age of cabin crew on this flight was maybe early 20s. There was maybe one flight attendant on the plane older than me.

After turning left from the second door I first walked through two rows of business class, which was in a 2-3-2 configuration.

British Airways 787 Club World cabin

Then I was in the intimate first class cabin, which had just eight seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. This is significantly smaller than the first class cabins that British Airways has on their other planes, which have 14-16 seats each.

I thought the cabin’s design was sleek. That’s one area where I’ve found that British Airways has long excelled with their first class cabin design, as the cabins look great, between the pattern on the bulkhead and the black finishes.

British Airways 787 first class cabin

British Airways first class cabin 787

I had assigned myself seat 2K, the window seat on the right side in the second row. While I thought the seat looked nice and was comfortable, it was on the snug side as far as first class seats go. The seat felt to me like a hybrid between a first class suite and a reverse herringbone seat that you’d typically find in business class.

British Airways 787 first class seat

As you can see, the seat had an ottoman as well as a TV mounted to the back of the seat in front. The biggest advantage over a reverse herringbone seat was that there was plenty of space for my feet. While reverse herringbone seats have fairly limited room for your feet, this seat had plenty of space to stretch out, even when sleeping.

British Airways first class seat 787

To the side of the seat was an enclosed compartment (perfect for storing glasses, a passport, and/or a phone), which also had a mirror.

British Airways first class seat storage

Underneath that compartment and to the side of the seat was another compartment, which was quite deep. Above this compartment were the primary seat controls, including pre-sets and lighting controls. One of the things I like about British Airways’ seat design is that they have a knob you can turn that adjusts the seat in an intuitive way. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to twist a knob to adjust your seat, rather than having to adjust specific positions.

British Airways first class seat controls

Inside the compartment (which said “no stowage, curiously), were two USB outlets and a 110v outlet.

British Airways first class seat outlets

Then there was an entertainment controller that was positioned above that, though it had a cord so that you could pull it closer to you if you wanted.

British Airways first class entertainment controls

Past that compartment was a shiny counter.

British Airways first class seat counter

The large tray table (which could be folded over in half) was underneath that.

British Airways first class seat tray table

On the other end of the seat was a closet, though it was tiny, only big enough to store one or two articles of clothing (you probably couldn’t even fit a garment bag in there).

British Airways first class seat closet

Underneath that was yet another storage compartment, which was the biggest compartment of all. However, rather annoyingly it couldn’t stay open. You’d think that if you extended it all the way it would stay open, but it automatically closed, so you always had to hold it with one hand.

British Airways first class seat storage

One annoying thing to note about the seats is that there are no individual air nozzles. I’ll never wrap my head around why airlines don’t all offer these.

A moment after settling in, one of the two first class flight attendants came by my seat to offer me the menu and ask if I wanted anything to drink. I ordered a glass of champagne, as British Airways serves the excellent Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle.

British Airways first class pre-departure champagne & menu

A moment later I was also presented with the amenity kit and a set of pajamas — they only had small and large ones left, despite the fact that I was one of the first people to be offered one. I also wasn’t offered any slippers.

British Airways first class champagne, menu, amenity kit, and pajamas

I quite like British Airways’ pajamas, and in particular the way they’re branded, and how they’re presented with a ribbon around them. If you do decide to keep them you’ll want to air dry them, or else they’ll turn into clothing for toddlers.

British Airways first class pajamas

The amenity kit itself is from Liberty London, and is quite beautiful, in my opinion. The kit has eyeshades, socks, a hair brush, a pen, earplugs, a razor, a toothbrush and toothpaste, moisturizer, shaving gel, and deodorant.

British Airways first class amenity kit

British Airways first class amenity kit contents

I was also presented with headphones, which were low quality for first class.

British Airways first class headphones

The first class cabin on this fight was full, as I believe there were a few last minute operational upgrades. All the first class passengers were onboard within a few minutes, so it was hectic for the crew.

My initial impression of the crew was that they were about in line with what I’d expect from a mixed fleet crew, except they weren’t all that enthusiastic. That’s to say that the service felt a lot more like what you’d get in business class than in first class. When I boarded I wasn’t asked if I knew the features of the seat, the flight attendant didn’t introduce herself by name, she didn’t address me by name, etc. The whole service flown just felt a lot more like what you’d get in business class than in a top first class product.

At 8:05PM Captain Simon made his welcome aboard announcement, and informed us of our flight time of 10 hours, and anticipated smooth journey. Five minutes after that we began our pushback. The crew did a manual safety demonstration — I’m not sure if that’s standard or not on the 787 — but due to the way the seats are configured, I couldn’t actually see the flight attendant doing it in the aisle.

At 8:15PM we began our taxi, and 10 minutes after that we were cleared for takeoff, and made a series of turns before getting onto our northeasterly heading for the night.

Airshow enroute to London Heathrow

As we climbed out I browsed the entertainment selection. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a small handheld device you can use to browse the entertainment selection. The main TV isn’t actually touchscreen, and I couldn’t figure out a way to display the options on the TV. I thought that was annoying, because I find that browsing through a big selection of movies and TV shows on a handheld device is cumbersome. On the plus side, the quality of the selection impressed me, and there were a good number of movies and TV shows to choose from.

British Airways entertainment selection

I decided to watch a few episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm (which I had seen before, but that’s the one show that never gets old for me).

British Airways entertainment selection

Service got started very quickly once airborne, as I was presented with a warm towel just five minutes after takeoff. British Airways uses really cheap towels in first class, which are similar to what you’d find in business class on American, for example.

British Airways first class warm towel

A minute later a flight attendant passed through the cabin with landing cards for the UK. As she walked down the aisle she yelled “landing cards.” I get that’s the only practical way to do it in economy, but typically in first class they’ll ask personally, or at a minimum don’t walk down the aisle yelling.

About 10 minutes after takeoff my meal order was taken. I asked for the seabass, though was informed it was out, even though I was just the third person to have my meal order taken (as far as I could tell). That’s a shame, because it was the only option that sounded appealing to me — I didn’t want macaroni and cheese, I try to avoid airplane beef, and while chicken is generally a fine alternative, chicken Kiev is one of my least favorite chicken dishes out there.

For reference, the dinner menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

About 20 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, and five minutes after that I was served a glass of champagne and some warm mixed nuts. British Airways has different mixed nuts than most airlines, as they’re candied. In moderation I like the variety of that.

British Airways first class dinner — champagne & mixed nuts

Just under an hour after takeoff my table was set for the dinner service, and I was offered a canapé and a selection of bread from the breadbasket. While the water glass British Airways offers in first class looks nice, it’s not practical, as it seemed the flight attendants couldn’t easily tell how full it was. I was never proactively offered a refill on water.

British Airways first class dinner — table setting

The canapé consisted of cheese, prosciutto, olives, and sundried tomatoes. I generally don’t eat pork, so I picked around that.

British Airways first class dinner — cheese and prosciutto ham canapé

10 minutes later the starter was served, which consisted of smoked salmon cannelloni with lemon puree, pickled yellow beetroot, and a little bit of caviar. It was quite good, probably the high point of the meal aside from the dessert.

British Airways first class dinner — smoked salmon appetizer

As my starter was cleared the flight attendant told me it would be about 20 minutes until my main course was ready. I reminded her that I had ordered the soup as well, and then moments later she brought that out. This was a leek and potato soup, which had a lot of flavor but was watery as could be, which doesn’t work out too well given that the soup spoon was small and flat.

British Airways first class dinner — leek and potato soup

About 10 minutes after the soup was cleared I was offered the main course, which was a rosemary and garlic chicken Kiev with spicy tomato chutney, herb roasted fingerling potatoes, and shallot jus. While the potatoes and asparagus were good, the chicken was disgusting. I don’t like chicken Kiev to begin with, but this had to be one of the worst versions I’ve had. It was super chewy and flavorless. I had one bite of the chicken and sent it back.

British Airways first class dinner — chicken Kiev main course

I was offered dessert at around 10PM, just over 90 minutes after takeoff. I selected the lemon tart with lemon curd and strawberry.

British Airways first class dinner — lemon tart dessert

I was then offered a selection of chocolates from a box, though I passed.

On the plus side, the entire meal service was pretty efficient, though that’s about all I can say about it — the dessert was excellent, the appetizer was fairly good, the soup was meh, and the main course was awful. Service was about what you’d expect in a good (but not great) business class product, and I was disappointed that they ran out of both my preferred pajamas size and main course choice.

After the meal I asked to have my bed made, and while that was being done I headed to the lavatory. There’s only one lavatory at the front of the first class cabin, which really doesn’t do the trick between the passengers and crew (including pilots) who were using it. Just about every time I wanted to use the bathroom there was a wait. Speaking of the lavatory, next time I’d try to select seat 2A over 2K, because the galley is on the right side. When I went to the lavatory I felt like I was invading the crew’s space, which I wouldn’t have felt if coming from the other side.

British Airways 787 lavatory

The lavatory was on the small side, and had The White Company products.

British Airways lavatory amenities

I found the bed to be quite comfortable. The duvet was decent (though not as good as what you’d find in LATAM business class, for example), the pillow was nice (though I feel like in first class there should ideally be two proper pillows), and the mattress pad was more like a mattress sheet than a comforter.

British Airways first class bed 787

While this isn’t an especially spacious or private first class seat, I still found it quite easy to get comfortable, thanks to the ability to sleep with my knees bent without any sort of a protrusion.

British Airways first class bed 787

British Airways first class bed 787

I was also offered a bottle of water with the turndown service.

British Airways bottled water

I was also asked to unplug my phone from the power port while sleeping, as I was told it was a fire hazard. I guess that’s reasonable enough, I’ve just never had that request before.

By the time I was ready for sleep we were over Wyoming, with about eight hours remaining to London.

Airshow enroute to London

I managed to get some solid sleep, though woke up earlier than I was hoping to. I woke up with over three hours remaining to London, as we were just passing Greenland.

Airshow enroute to London

I pressed the flight attendant call button to order a cappuccino. I was informed that the cappuccino machine was broken, but that I could have a coffee with milk. In the end, the “coffee” still looked and tasted similar to a cappuccino, so it did the trick.

British Airways first class coffee

I spent the next 90 minutes on my laptop. I’d note that the flight attendant never came by my seat again to see if I wanted anything, or to clear my cup of coffee. Finally just under 90 minutes before arrival I was asked if I wanted breakfast.

Airshow enroute to London

The breakfast menu read as follows:

A few minutes later my table was set, including being served another coffee, a mango and banana smoothie, and a fresh fruit plate. The fruit plate and smoothie were both very good.

British Airways first class breakfast 

I was also offered a selection from the breadbasket, and selected a croissant.

British Airways first class breakfast — croissant

I struggled with deciding which breakfast option to go with. I’m not at all a fan of English breakfast, and I was trying to avoid the Belgian waffles, so I ended up ordering the sausage and mozzarella cheese frittata with grilled tomato and potato wedges. I picked around the sausage, and it was alright.

British Airways first class breakfast — frittata

30 minutes before our arrival the captain announced that we’d soon be descending, and that we may have to enter a holding pattern (which fortunately didn’t happen). Around this time the cabin service manager came around to see how everything was. Usually they do this after takeoff, but she apologized and explained it had been a busy flight due to the people being rebooked from Oakland.

Airshow enroute to London

Our descent was pretty quick, and as we passed through about 10,000 feet we hit one huge air pocket. Otherwise the flight was smooth, so it got my heart racing for a moment.

View approaching London

There weren’t many views on descent until we got to a low altitude.

View approaching London

View approaching Heathrow

We touched down on runway 9L at Heathrow at 2:30PM.

View approaching Heathrow

Touchdown Heathrow

From there it would have been a fairly short taxi to Terminal 5, though we had to wait about 10 minutes for a plane to clear the gate we’d be arriving at. A Kuwait Airways 777 landed right after us.

Kuwait Airways 777 Heathrow

We eventually made it to our arrival gate at 2:45PM, and parked next to a British Airways 747.

British Airways 747 Heathrow

British Airways 787 first class bottom line

Let’s start with the positives. The British Airways 787 first class cabin is sleek, and is intimate, especially compared to British Airways’ other planes. I’d say along with the A380, this is the nicest first class cabin British Airways has. I also quite liked the amenity kit, pajamas, and champagne.

Other than that, though, this felt like a business class experience in terms of the food quality and service.

Now, I do have to acknowledge that when it comes to redeeming miles, British Airways remains the best option for first class on transatlantic flights. The only other European airlines to offer first class on transatlantic flights are Air FranceLufthansa, and Swiss.

Air France first class awards can only be booked by elite members of the FlyingBlue program and the cost is 200,000 miles one-way, Swiss first class awards can only be booked by Miles & More elite members, and Lufthansa first class can only be booked through partner frequent flyer programs at most 15 days out. Meanwhile British Airways first class is easier to book in advance, assuming you’re willing to pay the $500 one-way fuel surcharges (though award availability isn’t as good as it used to be).

So yeah, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly British Airways first class again on miles, even though it’s my least favorite transatlantic first class product offered by a European airline. When it comes down to it, though, I think I’d rather just book myself in American business class and save the mileage premium and the big carrier imposed surcharges.

  1. Why do we care what kind of headphones they offer? How many of us use the ones provided by the airline?

  2. @Neil S.

    I always use headphones provided by the airline, since most airlines offer quite decent headphones in premium cabins. I always bring my personal headphones, but they don’t have active noise cancelling which is unfortunate. Headphones provided by airlines usually have this feature and I don’t want to buy specific headphones that have noise cancelling.

  3. This sounds like my experience. I was a free upgrade as the flight was full so I couldn’t really complain. I just assumed they were kinda rude to me because they knew I was a “freeloader”. I remember the flight attendant snapping a little when I ordered the shrimp apptz exactly as written in the menu and she said “so … the shrimp. Ok”.

    For free, I would fly them. To pay, no.

  4. BA F is becoming more and more a C class product thanks to its inconsistancy in their soft mediocre food and not polished service of the young crew..these factors are very important for me as F pax. The product has to be stellar as First class should be the company’s flagship! These kinds of reports just make me avoid BA as a revenue pax..forget those 100% status bonus, if you really abhor zheir service and flying with them. Even a great hard product would not compensate the deficit in service quality at this moment.
    Everytime I see a great F class fare from BA it is not a spontaneous joy or feeling of eureka(like I recently had with AF F fare) but more a sneering and questionable face I make as if “do you really want fly BA F?” Mostly the answer is definitely an ear-deafening NO!

  5. Took this flight last December and agree with most of your posting. The seats are horrible just horrible. We flew biz on the return flight and found the service better, seats about the same in any event BA’s top two classes of service is marginally better than it would be flying Southwest to Europe.

    Frankly AF has a better product and have switched two trips from BA to AF this year

  6. That food is hardly even business class quality. The chicken looks like something you’d be served in economy and the quantity of food for breakfast is tiny. The biggest thing for me though is the fact that they serve macaroni and cheese in first class, how embarrassing! I’d be annoyed if macaroni and cheese was offered in economy!

  7. Sometimes your headphones won’t fit in the connection provided so you have no choice (at least in my case even with some adapters provided). Maybe I’m wrong.

    I don’t know about others but with all of those storage (some more hidden than others), I’m always afraid I will leave something behind since you are often in a hurry, usually jet lagged, etc. Thankfully the only thing I’ve left behind on a flight was a cheap gaming device ($20) years ago on the way to Hawaii but had to change planes in LAX.

    I realize I’m not a foodie but I really wish they just had simple foods such as chicken/turkey sandwich, chips, etc. Trying new foods while flying isn’t my cup of tea. On top of the usual traveling stresses, dealing with intestinal issues isn’t something I need.

    I want to say we flew the 787 coming back through LHR when there was a delay with AA and our TA was able to get us transferred to the BA flight in first class but maybe my memory is off and it was a 777.

  8. Ben, do you tweet / send your reviews to the airlines? Seems to me Alex Cruz would benefit to see this.

  9. @chatter
    Were you upgrade from a paid or award booking?
    Anyone know how BA does their operational upgrades?

  10. The storage has a no stowage placarding, firstly if it was able to have an item(s) stored in it it would have to be certified for this purpose in a TTL(taxi, take off & landing crash test scenario) and for a set weight limit. Secondly, the reason this stowage has a blanket no stow policy is due to the outlets, as it would have to be certified to contain a fire should an item ignite.

  11. I’ve never actually flown in first class, but agree with others that this looks more like a very good business class product. I wonder, @Lucky, if you had a choice between BA First or a top-rated business class like Qatar Q-suites, Oman’s Apex, JAL, EVA or new Etihad, which would you choose?

  12. Its not fair to say that British Airways First is the worlds best business class. Its an insult to Qatar.

    Its also not fair for Ben to only compare European carriers when assessing First class products offered on transatlantic routes. Id argue that AA First is the most accessible, available, best first class option over the pond followed by BA just by sheer numbers. I would also include SQ and EK on that list but their minute in the grand scheme of things with just 1/2 flights to per day to Europe.

  13. Great report, Lucky! Is it possible that business class is better than first? The biggest thing is that the window seats in Club World are facing backwards and also offer a little cabin/compartment, unlike F. What do you think?

  14. How were you able to “book yourself into seat?”. I have a paid BA flight coming up in J and manage my booking wants an additional fee to book a seat. Did you pay the fee or is it open to certain OW status folks?

  15. I flew BA F this week from LAX and it too was dreadful, consistent with this. The duvet was broken at the end and you could see it was filled with plastic, not down or feather or anything normal. The crew were either informal and friendly or just plain rude.
    Coffee machine has been broken on every BA F 787 flight I’ve been on.. I wonder if they even have one.
    At least we know what to expect, if this was a honeymoon or very special one off occasion for someone I’d feel awful for them as they’d be very disappointed.

  16. Such an incredible waste of money or points.

    BA First = other airline’s business class. That’s literally a reverse herringbone business seat.

    and their Club World Business should really be branded as Premium++ Economy.

    An airline that lives and dies on business customers flying LHR-JFK and never pay for a single flight themselves.
    Not sure how on earth they can survive in the rest of the world. In Asia they clearly lose. Big time.

  17. @Frank – Complicated story on my upgrade. But here goes…

    I was paid passenger in premium economy. The flight was looking full 2 days out so I got to airport early (PHL) and chatted with check-in desk. They offered me a $500 upgrade to business class and I jumped on it as it was all the way to my final destination, not just LHR. Then the agent tells me “ask the gate counter for a seat as we are full and moving lots of people around”. So I went to the gate agent and “offered” to free up a seat and go on a later flight if they upgraded me to First. 10 minutes later she called me and said “you can go in First now”.

    So it was a $500 upgrade to first class technically but only to LHR. After that, they dumped me back in Biz. Definitely not your typical scenario.

  18. You gotta give it to BA for outright stupidity… their FIRST glassware is of inferior quality to the new Club World glassware… just genius

  19. @pssteve if you are Gold/emerald or Silver/sapphire you can book seats in advance for free.

    Lucky, good review. I am shocked by the quality of the food. The whole menu looks incredibly subpar. I flew BA F LHR/JFK few weeks ago (on a refurbished 747) and the menu – and appearance of the food – was much better than this. Also had a delightful and polished Worldwide crew, which just goes to show how much that matters.

    Interestingly, that flight also had the “upgraded” white company J bedding and food service and while I won’t defend BA’s club world seats, the bedding they were giving out looked nearly as good as what they gave out in F. I wonder what their strategy is moving forward – to differentiate F a little bit better.

  20. Sadly until there is a better alternatives from west coast to Europe, I will continue to take BA F on miles. Wish Air France F, Swiss Air F, Luf F can be booked without status or finding a pair of tix months out. AA F never have nonstop flights on Saaver miles. Plus each way is 140k-170k per person. So that’s 560k to 680k round trip for two. When I fly BA F, I can use 2for1 voucher and spend 170-200k miles round trip for two. Sure, the tax is $2300 vs $500 on American but I much rather save my miles than 2k. I challenge anyone know of a better alternative from west coast to Europe nonstop for cheap miles on F that has decent availabilities. Maybe OMAAT contributors can come up with a better nonstop alternative. I have never come across an option besides BA on any blog and I can’t think of any airline but I’m not an expert like most people on this blog.

  21. Do you really think that BA First Class is a better trans-Atlantic option than American First Class? I know you don’t think AA F is all that much better than biz, but nonetheless, it is better and you said it yourself in the end, you’d rather book yourself in even AA’s Business Class rather than BA’s First. Does AA First Class just cost too much?

  22. @ Weyman M Osborne — Personally I’m not sure first class is worth the 27,500 mile premium over business class on a US to Europe flight on American. Their business is quite good and the difference between that and first class is minimal, minus Flagship First Dining.

  23. @ CS

    “Not sure how on earth they can survive in the rest of the world”

    Maybe because you don’t understand BA’s market as well as they do? So, to my favourite factoid … BA flies direct and non-stop to London from two dozen US cities. The US3 fly, in total, from just 8.

    So, if you’re flying from Austen TX, you have a choice: what you think is an appalling BA product, non-stop to London. Or take some tiny regional jet (with smaller carry-on bag limits), to be dumped at a gateway hub somewhere; hang around for a bit; then get onto your slightly better AA product (which, let’s face it, still isn’t exactly Qsuites).

    If you’re not a US or Canadian citizen, the journey to the US involves the irritation of claiming checked bags; clearing immigration and customs;?then re-checking the damned bags. Why would you do that when you could avoid it with a non-stop flight?

    BA makes big money by exploiting its core markets – and is just good enough to be acceptable. Maybe the new products we’ve been promised for the A350s show BA recognises it is losing the market elsewhere?

  24. BA First is nothing more than a decent business class when you are flying on them in First Class
    The food is beautifully presented but typically pure crap as you experienced.
    I’ve given up complaining and moved on
    BA wouldn’t know what a true premium product is it hit them on the back of their head
    And Crystal Geyser is also shi# Its one of the few waters ever to have the past honor that was tested by consumer reports to have trace amounts of Arsenic
    Prob wont kill you but I think I’ll pass thank you
    Does BA care that other INT brands offer premium waters? Of course not
    As long as its cheap and crappy and BA is charging extortionate amounts its BA business in premium cabins as usual
    Which is why I’m on Emirates on my upcoming journey with free complimentary chauffeurs They just don’t get it

  25. I like the finishes and the crisp espresso look of the cabin – pretty chic. That’s about where my compliments for BA First ends.

  26. I have flown BA F between London and Singapore (A380) and return London to Tokyo (B777) fairly recently. Both times the crew were absolutely fantastic with impeccable, personalised service. They were ‘legacy’ crew, as told by one of the cabin managers who bemoaned the conditions for the poor ‘mixed fleet’.

    Lucky, it does sound like some of the problems you encountered were down to gaps in training/skills and lack of experience/guidance. I guess it’s harder to be motivated when your pay is so low compared to other colleagues doing the same job.

  27. Mixed crews drive me crazy on BA. I had to complain last flight in CW when service was horrid. even going to the galley to ask question i was treated badly for interrupting the gossip.
    I’m scheduled to fly 787 F next month so this has prepared me a bit more.
    I use the BA app/online to pre-order my meals where applicable. i do enjoy their wines/champagne and desserts. the rest of menu often tries too hard and underwhelms except when flying on thanksgiving and they had a lovely (and tasty) turkey dinner offered.
    for points usage, upgrades, BA credit card discount and seat availability BA still wins for me especially as easy way to qualify for BA silver elite/OW sapphire

  28. @ Michael Trafford Not sure that Alex Cruz cares as he is responsible for driving BA’s standards down in order to increase profits. I have given up on complaining about mediocre experiences with their First and Business class, in my experience at best you get an officious reply that sounds pompous and means nothing. Oh, I’m an Executive Club Gold tier member and have been for 7+ years – but I don’t expect any better given the current management’s mentality.

    @ Lucky It sounds like your experience in BA 787-9 F was as bad as my experience in BA 787-9 J class. Fortunately I have had a number of great trips on BA F and I guess I will continue to fly them whenever an opportunity presents itself.

  29. I actually enjoy reading the BA bashing. I think most people fail to see that the airline is very precisely executing its strategy and that this strategy is working perfectly.
    The market of flight enthusiast is tiny, and way too many of them find the lowest fares and/or find a point combo.
    As said before BA is going for a minimum viable business/first experience at slightly lower prices. This allows them to offer corporates more competitive fares, regardless of whether the people flying are enjoying their potato soup or not.
    Their other advantage is the very strong route map – minimising te need to connect.
    Personally, I’m not a fan of the product, but am impressed with the way they managed to execute a good strategy.

  30. @ chatter

    Thank you for your response! Anyone else knows best way to upgrade from Economy to business or business to first if not in the special buckets available for avios upgrades?

  31. I flew BA F and J to ICN. Definitely not the best product in the world but there are definitely worse first class products out there…
    If you get used to KE quality (especially food both onboard and in lounge) you never complain about BA First or Club 🙂

  32. Lucky, you mentioned BA was the best transatlantic among European carriers for miles redemption… but are there other non-European airlines offering First class transatlantic that are worth consideration beyond BA, AF, LH and LX? e.g. Emirates JFK-MXP, Singapore JFK-FRA and others?

  33. Lucky …. whether you was the crazy mans or what? Millions of people are starving and you call food disgusting … get a life … lot of your reviews have unwarranted baby cries

  34. BA and Lufthansa transatlantic first class are leagues apart … although it might be easier to book BA first class with points, it’s just not right to compare their offering to Lufthansa First Class.

  35. If I recall correctly that’s the first time that I have read a review where someone had a problem with the size of the spoon provided to eat their soup! Really, ain’t that becoming pathetically picky?!

    I have flown BA F several times and invariably had excellent service and thoroughly enjoyed each flight. That includes a LHR-SJC last year, several NRT-LHR sectors, LGW-BDA (wherein the flight crew sent us autographed souvenirs from the fight deck) and a LHR-HKG just last week following a highly enjoyable meal in the Concorde Room coupled with superb wines (we tried every red).

    FWIW I found the F seat on the 787 to be very comfortable.

    My ex fainted on a BA F flight NRT-LHR one time and the crew were absolutely amazing.

    Yet, it seems to be fashionable to join the bandwagon to trash BA F…..even those who admit they’ve never even flown BA F are joining the chorus!

    The crew on my Etihad A380 F flight SYD-AUH the other day took quite a while to dissemble the bed and the steak was a little overcooked – get over it folks – we’re mostly cashing in on one frequent flyer hack or another and paying little for these experiences…

    If you get too picky or expect the worse you’ll miss the fun of the experience (we actually enjoyed the Etihad 777 F class AUH-CDG more than the A380 Apartments SYD-AUH a couple of weeks ago despite the vast difference in hard product because the crew were more relaxed and less formal…never expected to…)

  36. A soup that is watery? What else can it be, solid? Yes, we all know that you dislike BA; you have stated that many, many times before. So why even fly them, when you know you’ll be wanting to find fault in every tiny detail.

  37. British Airways First Class is all banter and no service. First seats are less comfortable than in Club World (which is terrible). There seems to be little padding and feel claustrophobic with little privacy. The food isn’t even bistro quality. I had nine flights last month and British Airways does not fare well against rivals. Staff need training in First. In Club World the staff have the charm I’d expect from a budget airline. I fly British Airways as a last resort.

  38. I guess you didn’t want the main course salad with the shrimp? I thought that looked good, but I also prefer a lighter main as I’m usually stuffed by that point in the meal.

  39. I have never had “your“ experience when flying BA.
    Granted only business class (fully paid for) when flying BA…and I was always addressed by name, graciously welcomed and cared for, and even had a giggle or two with the highly attentive and professional crew. I can only speak highly of them.

  40. For a minute I thought BA’s 787s had a new, all-aisle-access Club World cabin with forward facing window seats. Then I had another look at the photo…

    If you don’t like chicken Kiev or a full English brekkie, why fly an English airline? As pointed out above, BA flies one-shot to many more US destinations than other airlines so we put up and shut up to avoid connections, potential baggage loss and immigration hall shambles such as that a group I was travelling with experienced in DFW on a one-stop LHR-DFW-LAS BA/AA service earlier this year.

    Convenience trumps white gloved silver service, The Ritz-Standard food and the thick duvet and two pillars Lucky-the-Entitled seems to expect every trip in F.

    Points taken and a balanced review nonetheless.

  41. Pillows, dammit, Autocorrect.

    I heard somewhere recently coffee makers on both BA 787s and 380s have been trouble since new.

  42. I have only had two experiences in BA F one from JFK-LHR and another from LHR-SFO. But my experiences have been quite pleasant. On both flights I experienced crew that were super friendly, warm, and engaging (and senior). On my first flight, despite a full load in F, crew managed to provide service to everyone. Concorde room at JFK was quite nice as well. I also ate enjoyable food on both my flights – it wasn’t SQ, but it was still good. The old REN amenity kits were nice too (prefer them over the Refinery ones). I guess with BA, setting expectations is key – I wasn’t expecting Asian or Middle Eastern carrier service – and I enjoyed my flights.

  43. Well Lucky I can’t believe it but I’m finally going to say your BA review is balanced. F is not the best, it is really a J product – I accept, but as you say you can at least find availability. I do think it’s better than AA J, but again I take your point about the soft product in particular. As far as the BA bashing from others (in this case) goes – I’ll say this once again, THEY DON”T CARE AND THEY DON”T HAVE TO. IAG is £2 billion in profit when many of the other carriers so beloved by people here are in trouble. So all the moaning in the comments here is pointless. Mind you I had decidedly shaky service in F back from SAN last month (mixed fleet, thought I was in a creche) – great crew on the way out.

  44. I’ve now had 6 BA F flights in a row. Excellent service, relatively warm and professional. I didn’t have a problem at all with the food. Decent, nice quality. Disgusting??? Personally speaking…Absolutely not, and I am very much into my food.

    The Concorde room has a separate restaurant inside it, a spa, showers, a sophisticated bar, a decent concierge, excellent wine and pretty much as much hot gourmet food as you can order/ eat.

    The seat is not the best but it’s pretty friggin nice too. Oh… I just flew the Emirates new F cabin, so I know the comparisons. I’ve flown every major F product other than AF and JAL,many times. On a different side note, i would have to say BA J is very sub par obviously, but F is IMO very decent and improving.

    This review is coming from a man (Lucky) who states Etihad has nothing special in their products. Showers at 40,000 feet, seats and beds in walk around suites, on board butler/ chefs, state of the art aircraft etc… nothing special apparently.

    Extremely entitled and strangely biased are the words that come to mind. And as for the rest of you (no doubt American) outraged readers, lapping it up, disgusted and shocked by BA… well… you’re the same really, aren’t you? Have any of you you ever ever witnessed the US carrier’s attempts at service?? USA USA USA. No thanks mate.

  45. Spot on review Lucky.
    I agree with what you said of the “mixed fleet” crew out of San Jose.
    We fly BA First 10-12 times a year out of SFO, much more” polished service” and a little less up tight. We have taken the 787 out of CAI many times and it always has the mixed fleet crew ( business class). Some times it is quite good other times rather like coach.
    I do like the more intimate first class cabin on the 787. I love being able to look out the windows also, since the a380 seats are a distance away from the windows and are much smaller than the 787.
    It seems that BA may be cutting back on catering also, since on a BA first flight last year they ran out of chardonney mid meal. Seems strange that on your flight with 8 seats they would only load 3 fish dishes.

  46. @The nice Paul
    “Maybe because you don’t understand BA’s market as well as they do? So, to my favourite factoid … BA flies direct and non-stop to London from two dozen US cities. The US3 fly, in total, from just 8.”

    That is a factoid, in that it is untrue.
    The US3, in total, flies to LHR from 19 airports.

    American flies to eight: Charlotte, Chicago–O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York–JFK, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham.

    Delta flies to seven: Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK
    Seasonal: Portland (OR), Salt Lake City

    United flies to seven: Chicago–O’Hare, Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, Washington–Dulles
    Seasonal: Denver

  47. I just flew ba from houston to lhr and back. Interestingly it is 170k miles using AA miles first saver award. Whereas using avios it is 200k avios for First. Fuel and award fees are about the same. I found great availability when I booked via AA in February for a May trip. I had excellent service in first, good was fairly good and the crew were excellent. I filled in a survey, I was so pleased. I have flown Lufthansa first as well. Yes the Lufthansa seats are better, but I found the BA staff much warmer and I love the PJ’s. I got the AA miles using the two Barclay and two citi sign up bonuses…. thanks to all the forums for that. ..

  48. For the dessert, was that a humungous strawberry, with a postage stamp size serve of tart?
    The breakfast main certainly seemed like a petite portion also.
    Very insensitive to their American flyers accustomed to jumbo-size portions of everything.

  49. To the nice Paul:

    From Austin, Its a no brainer to me. Instead of the entire flight trying to crowd into the Saxon Pub pre flight, and enduring a long boarding process, then being stuck with BA biz class – Id much rather hang in Admirals Club – or Salt Lick – take the super short flight to Dallas, spend some time in the lounge, and then fly inthe one good product American has, the 77W in J.

    Lucky, every once in a while I get an itch wondering about BA. This help to insure I never fly them.

  50. Flew BA First from LHR to SEA on a 777 (Seat 1K) about a month ago and found it to be very nice. Good service, comfortable seat. Sure the food wasn’t great, but it was okay. Used Avios to upgrade from J. Much better experience than BA J.

  51. Thanks for the review. It confirmed my opinion that the Air France and Lufthansa products are far superior.

  52. I have not yet taken a BA flight where one of the First/Club dishes wasn’t ‘out’. It has never happened to me on any other airline.

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