British Airways Improving First Class Service As Of March 31, 2019

Filed Under: British Airways

British Airways has just announced that they’ll be introducing a refreshed experience in first class as of March 31, 2019. As part of this, they’ll offer new bedding, amenities, and menus, “that would not look out of place in a revered five-star British hotel” (I love the way they describe that… hah).

Note that all of the changes announced today are simply soft product changes. British Airways will also be introducing a slightly modified first class seat later this year on the 777s that feature their new business class, but the exact details of that haven’t been announced yet.

Expect the new 777 first class to look similar to the current 787 first class

So, what’s changing with British Airways’ first class soft product?

For one, the pajamas and amenity kits will be changed up. First class passengers will receive loungewear from British fashion brand Temperley London, with separate options for men and women.

We’ll also see new amenity kits introduced, featuring Temperley’s “Star” design. The bags will be filled with products from Elemis, including items to cleanse, revive, and hydrate.

There will also be new bedding. British Airways will introduce 400 thread count bedding, accompanied by a foam fiber mattress topper, in addition to a new day blanket.

The airline will also be introducing new a la carte menus, focused on “fresh seasonal ingredients and British provenance.”

All the food will be served on new bone china crockery, designed by William Edwards, and will be accompanied by cutlery from Studio William.

British Airways will also be introducing new Dartington glassware, with champagne and wine being served in stemware, and spirits and soft drinks being served in cut-glass tumblers.

Lastly, British Airways will be introducing a new signature afternoon tea service, which will include a selection of sandwiches, pastries, and scones.

Bottom line

I’m happy to see British Airways investing in their first class product. British Airways has invested greatly in their business class product, to the point that their soft product is actually quite competitive.

The issue is that their first class isn’t great to begin with (I’ve often called it the world’s best business class, though I think at this point it’s the second best business class, after Qsuites), and they haven’t updated service there in the same way. So based on a recent flight in British Airways first class, I noticed very little difference between the first and business class soft product, aside from the champagne.

I’m happy to see British Airways investing something in first class, though I don’t actually see anything here that I’d consider to be a game changer. I guess we’ll have to see if the food quality actually improves materially — I hope it does.

What do you make of these changes to British Airways first class?

  1. All routes get the new soft product on the same day or is there a phased roll-out, like they did for the new Club World soft product?

  2. When will the Brits will reconcile with their past and accept the atrocities they have inflicted upon the world? They are strangely proud of their dark past.

  3. BA First is an acceptable alternative to its diminished Club world product. How can a 2-4-2 configuration ever compete with, say, AA’s 1-2-1 configuration. First isn’t the glamour it used to be but it is a decent product.

  4. Great timing for me as I have a First flight from LHR on April 14th on a B744, thanks to an Avios upgrade. I’ll be in a kind of glamorous 1A. Will be interesting to see if the investment makes a perceivable difference. I didn’t think much of the Club World refreshed product except for the food and bev service items. Happy to provide you with a review.

  5. Whenever I am considering a premium flight, I always stress as to whether I will be able to enjoy “400 thread count bedding”.

  6. I think some airlines are falling in their own trap.
    They upgrade and improve Business Class to the point where you can’t really differentiate it from First Class.
    First Class experience needs to be perfect in every sense. Impeccable service, excellent food, comfortable seats in any position, quality bedding, knowledgeable crew, etc.
    Otherwise, why bother?

  7. Matt, have you posted your comment on the wrong website? What is the link between the new BA first changes and Britain’s history?

  8. Andrew,

    The so-called 1-2-1 layout on AA and UA is really a staggered 8-across. In terms of the square footage per seat it’s not that different from BA. And BA’s soft product is much better

    And of course AA/UA don’t really have a First anyway

  9. I disagree. Wherever possible I’ve switched to AA. There is much more space in an AA biz seat than a BA club seat. At seat storage in BA club is non-existent. The sense of privacy is much better on AA. The IFE on BA is abysmal – when it works the contrast on those little screens is unbearable. BA fusses too much – in its boarding process / in its PA’s and in its cabin service. And so on…

  10. @ Matt,

    The reason is that Britain has a lot to be proud of in its history.

    Yes there have been wrongs but what country hasn’t?

    Perhaps you should stop the offensive generalisations.

  11. @Matt
    That one made me chuckle.
    Perhaps you should stop speaking English if it’s cultural appropriation offends you.

  12. The upgrade space from C to F is almost zero, at least on Experflyer. Is the info provided there correct or has BA reduced upgrade space significantly?

  13. Looks like a good BusinessFirst (sorry United) product. How about fine wines (spend more than 6 euros a bottle (in fact a minimum of 60 euros would be appropriate) and maybe throw in caviar and transportation to the airport. Also, interlining of bags (especially to OneWorld partners) should be standard for BusinessFirst and BusinessPremiumEconomy (aka C class). I expect to have some difficulty soon connecting from a BA flight in Mumbai to another international flight. How can you call it an alliance if no interlining?

  14. I’m flying BA F on April 1st, so am definitely looking forward to getting to try this! The afternoon tea looks a bit nicer than the current iteration.

  15. @ Matt

    “When will the Brits will reconcile with their past and accept the atrocities they have inflicted upon the world? They are strangely proud of their dark past.”

    I think you may be talking to the wrong Brits. Have a look at the recent OMAAT post on PIA, where I clearly wrote about British atrocities in Ireland, Partition, Palestine and after, Australia and NZ, and even provided some reference material when someone challenged me…

    Meanwhile, why on Earth is BA using some wannabe cutler like “Studio William” instead of a world-class traditional cutler like David Mellor Design? Mystifying.

  16. They’d better start giving out full body massages and onboard sauna baths to compensate for their piss poor First Class seats.

  17. How about the story that they now only buy cheap wines? So far, wine selection was OK including a vintage port and dessert wine. Will be flying BA F end of April to Boston so will see what they offer. The A380 has the best F by the way, but that’s mainly because of the size of the plane and the very low noise level upfront.

  18. Hey, Matt,

    What about the ethnic cleansing of the Native American population.

    What about the Philippines.

    What about the annexation of parts of Mexico?

    Who used two atomic bombs?

    Which American hero caused the French Indian wars by allowing a French prisoner to be butchered? Clue: his first name was George and the second name was Washington

  19. This would be nice if they maybe started having dedicated First Class flight attendants on their Mixed Fleet crew like they do with Worldwide

  20. I actually think they are probably doing what they need to do and the changes are certainly welcome – I actually asked them if they had any business class pillows last time I flew F because the new White Company bedding is so much better than the F offering. The food upgrade is welcome also (I actually have always enjoyed their wine/champagne selection that’s something BA does well).

    People need to remember that BA fly more international F seats than any other airline, and the product is meant to be a slight (but quite noticeable) upgrade from business. It is priced accordingly, often ~30pct more than Club World.

    It’s silly to compare this to La Premiere on AF, who fly 4 seats per aircraft on a handful of routes and routinely charge 2-3x the cost of BA First, or Suites in SQ, etc. They are not aiming to be that kind of product and that wouldn’t work anyway given the massive premium demand into and out of their LHR base.

  21. I hope this is being introduced on all routes at the same time. I’m flying LGW to BGI in May; I can’t expect this will have an updated cabin but I hope they have the improved service on my return First flight!

  22. @Sam I will be flying opposite direction from you on the 14th! I’m going Houston to London in first. Can’t wait to try out the new goodies!

    TPG said it would roll out over the course of the first week of April and all planes should have everything by April 7 for those asking.

  23. Also flying First on the A380 in July – thus very excited about the changes, but sad about them discontinuing the Liberty amenity bags. I was looking forward to getting my hands on one.

  24. Yawn.

    BA are always ‘improving’ their service in all cabins. The cut, cut and cut again silently and then put back about 10% of the total they’ve removed and call it an improvement.

    Few regulars are stupid enough to believe the hype but BA diehards just love these ‘improvements’.

  25. @Apr14_Flyers: we’re flying on the 14th on award space too, LHR-YVR. Looking forward to the noticeable changes. The 3 types of champagne in F was a nice (and tasty) touch the last time (about a year ago) we flew F on BA (LHR-IAH). I hope they keep or even improve that part this time.

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