British Airways’ Heathrow-Based 777s Will Get Tighter Economy Seats Next Year

Filed Under: British Airways

A few days ago I wrote about how British Airways is introducing new high density Boeing 777s at their London Gatwick base. Many of British Airways’ leisure routes are operated out of Gatwick, so the airline is trying to compete more effectively with airlines like Norwegian.

British Airways’ new 777 economy

With these reconfigurations, British Airways is increasing seating capacity on their 777-200s from 280 seats to 336, which represents an increase in capacity of 56 seats. The layout is changing as follows:

  • Business class is decreasing from 40 seats to 32 seats
  • Premium economy is increasing from 24 seats to 52 seats
  • Economy is increasing from 216 seats to 252 seats

British Airways’ new 777 premium economy

Most significantly, economy is going from a generous nine seats per row, to the industry standard 10 seats per row. On the plus side, those in economy are getting a new seat that should feel a bit more modern. Unfortunately the seat will be quite a bit tighter. I also find it odd that even though they’re installing new seats, they’re only adding USB power — proper power ports will only be available in premium economy and above. Even airlines like Norwegian and WOW Air have full power ports in economy.

We’ve known that British Airways eventually plans on installing 10 seats per row in economy on their Heathrow based fleet as well, which comes as no surprise. One strange thing is that British Airways’ press release about their new seats a few days ago initially said the following:

“Heathrow’s Boeing 777 fleet will be fitted with the new World Traveller Plus seat from autumn 2019.”

It sounded too good to be true that the Heathrow based planes will get the new premium economy, but not the new, denser economy. As it turns out, that was a typo, and was supposed to say the following:

“Heathrow’s Boeing 777 fleet will be fitted with the new World Traveller seat from autumn 2019.”

As you can see, British Airways will install their denser economy seats on Heathrow based 777s starting in the autumn of 2019, though it sounds like they won’t be installing the new premium economy seats, or changing up the number of first and business class seats (which is logical enough, since Heathrow largely serves business travelers).

British Airways hasn’t yet announced how many Heathrow based 777s will feature the tighter seating, though I imagine we’ll find out within a year or so. In the interim you can expect that British Airways will add more seats to their Heathrow-based short-haul aircraft, as they reduce pitch and eliminate closets and galley space.

So the good news is that for the next 18 months Heathrow based 777s will continue to feature roomy but outdated seats in economy. After that they’ll get the Gatwick treatment.

(Tip of the hat to Business Traveller)

  1. A BA presentation said 25 x 777s will be densified. I think there are 10 at LGW, is that would leave 15 at LHR.

  2. That makes sense now, I was confused as to the reference to WT+ on the Heathrow fleet; the 77Ws and some of the Heathrow 772s already have fairly new WT+ seats so it wouldn’t make sense to change them out right now.

  3. @debit . “British women thankfully still are slim and trim” hahhahahhahha hahahhahahhhah hahahhahahhahahahhahahah. too much fish n chips. maybe they’ll drop a few pounds after brexit

  4. British airways is an absolute disgrace to the flag of our country. They’re a total shit show what’s a fall from grace.

  5. A good IFE screen is far, far more important to me than 9 or 10 abreast seating. Honestly, I can’t really tell the difference between the two (and I’m not a small person).

  6. I agree with Alex. If I’m going to be sat in a big metal tube for 6 hours plus, the thing I really need is something to do, whether or not my seat has an extra half-inch of width really doesn’t matter to me. To be honest, I’m glad that the BA cabins are getting refreshed like this. I flew BA LGW-OAK recently and the IFE screen was tiny, and very grainy.

  7. I have a feeling that BA will use the opportunity while the aircraft are offline to install new seats in economy, prem economy AND business. It would make sense.

  8. Alex and IAC

    Agreed, and a proper IFE largely obviates the need for power points, which are only for people who want to watch movies on their personal devices, which some airlines are trying to force upon pax

  9. How much narrower is a 777 than a 747? Flew to Boston on a 747 with the newer IFE and it was a far nicer experience than the A380 on the way back, due to the responsive bigger IFE screen. It’s not like BA is going to be any narrower that its rivals flying the 777, although I’ll still seek out A340 or A330 routes when I’m in long haul economy

  10. @Lumma. Cabin width

    Dash8 : 2.52 M
    CRJ : 2.55 M
    ATR42 : 2.57 M (and ATR72)
    E-Jet : 2.74 M
    717 : 3.15 M (ad ARJ21, MD-80)
    CS1 : 3.28 M (and CSeries 300)
    757 : 3.54 M
    737 : 3.56 M (and 707/727)
    TU204 : 3.57 M (and TU214)
    320 : 3.7 M
    MC21 : 3.81 M
    C919 : 3.9 M
    767 : 4.7 M
    330 : 5.28 M (and 300/310/340)
    787 : 5.49 M
    DC10 : 5.54 M
    350 : 5.61 M
    C929 : 5.61 M
    IL 96 : 5.7 M
    MD11 : 5.71 M
    L1011 : 5.77 M
    380 : 5.8 M (Upper deck)
    777 : 5.86 M
    777X : 5.97 M
    747 : 6.1 M
    380 : 6.5 M (Lower deck)

  11. Agreed about IFE being a major factor in enjoying long haul. However, where you do notice the high density configuration is when it comes time to using the bathroom: it’s basic math, more people trying to use the same number of bathrooms does not equate to a pleasant experience. Same applies to overhead space or loading and unloading of passengers, it’s a really horrid, stressful experience. But with airfares insanely and unrealistically low in general worldwide, densification is the outcome.

  12. For crying out loud. Álex Cruz needs to stop the charade and either call it Budget Airways or Vueling, because that’s what it is now.

    Mark B’s right. With this densification, the airlines aren’t adding extra overhead space nor extra bathrooms. It’s no wonder unruly behavior is happening more often. It’s been proven in numerous science experiments that the more mammals you cram into a small space, the worse their behavior will become.

  13. Customers are leading the charge for airlines to do this. If customers weren’t always looking for the lowest price, but also looked at comfort we wouldn’t be in this sitch.
    Nice to see you aren’t offended by this, but your offence should be directed towards the paying public who prioritise low airfare over comfort

  14. Hmmmm. I will admit I thought they would keep the outdated (but wider) 9 across configuration at Heathrow for longer. it Seems like this is a minority of their fleet but we can safely assume they will proceed with 10-across as they refurb older 777 interiors I suppose.

    It’s mildly disappointing but to be fair I would rather have a new interior on most of the BA fleet. I wonder if they will take the opportunity to fix business class which is their essential problem? Perhaps installing the (still unknown) seats they intend to use on the A350s? One can hope…

  15. @747 inclined to agree. I routinely see economy fares to Asia on BA at sub 600 GBP now – that would have been totally unimaginable in the “glory days” of the 80s-2000s that people love to talk about.

    At that price point hard to see how anyone can afford to be generous with space.

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