How many BA aircraft now sport “New” First…Back to Forum
I don’t think anyone argues with the fact that http://www.newclubworld.com is the real priority for BA, and it is (in good times) where most of the profits are made.
But many of the exLHR routes listed above (as you allude to, Loyal_BA) are not exclusively without First; off the top of my head Newark, Bombay, Shanghai and Boston all certainly do have regular F services.
While other companies are removing their F cabins, BA is maintaining current cabins and investing £100m in retrofitting new F cabins, and ordering (most) new aircraft with F cabins on board.
It is not really right to “blame” BA for the fact that “took them 15 years to come up with something new”.
BA pioneered flat beds in First, and so it simply didn’t have to start innovating again until other airlines offered similarly innovative products (namely the F suites).
BA still had a market leading product right up until the early/mid 2000s when the new Arabian airlines started to raise the bar, and the A380 suites emerged.
And BA continued to refresh the footprint and existing seats regularly throughout that period:
This was the original new F (pictured in 1999):
This was the second iteration, with new seatcoverings and wood, released in 2000:
This is the “new” F:
If an airline changes its interiors too often, it creates complaints about consistency (as demonstrated in this thread), and its usually because something’s gone wrong (viz. the dreadful J2000 wedgie beds Virgin featured so briefly I never got to sample them).
BA creates a conservative, subtle and enduring cabin environment; no bling, nothing overly “fashionable”. Contemporary, but hopefully lasting.
I don’t see it as a criticism that there was no fundamental change for 15 years; what it says to me is that the original concept was ahead of its time when introduced and was fit for purpose for the large part of its lifespan was still able to remain competitive.
It is right to say the concept was beginning to look tired, but the cabin is refitted every two years, and my last F flight two months ago the (original F) cabin looked as fresh as a daisy.
It was right to align the cabin re-fit to the economic environment, and I think BA has got the timing just right, ready to support increased paying customers once we are well into the recovery at the end of 2011, as many F seats were being given away last year as so few were actually being sold.
It should be remembered that this is what (for now) still passes for First Class at Lufthansa:27 Nov 2010
OK well the list is a bit longer than we thought:
BLR, MRU, ACC, BWI, DEN, DAR , EBB, GIG, HYD, JED, LAS, LUN, MAA, NAS, GCM, PLS, YYC, YUL, ANU, PUJ, SKB, THB, KIN, MBJ, MCO, MLE, SSH, TPA
That represents approximately 40% of BA’s longhaul network destinations. At least 20% of their aircraft have no First. There will probably be no First at least in the first lot of Dreamliners.
Willy Walsh gets quoted as saying things like (2009): “The long-haul aircraft that we take delivery of this year will not have any first class cabins in them. Longer term we will review the configuration of all new aircraft.” That is nothing but PR talk which means the trend away from First will continue. Sure they spent £100 million on New First, not because of a great commitment to the product but because they had not choice. In this market it’s do or die.
Sure, it will be cold day in hell before they pull First off routes like JFK but the trend will continue and it won’t be long before less than half or more of long haul destinations will go without First. Other major European flag carriers have done it and they have just merged with an airline that has no First at all.
You can spin it the way you like but the evidence is there for all to see.
I will however agree with you on one thing VK, Lufthansa First has to be the biggest monstrosity that any airline has ever come up with in the history of aviation. I had the misfortune once, from Santiago to Buenos Aires as I had no other choice. Luckily, it’s only a 90 minute flight.28 Nov 2010
Having said that, I have to say however that Lufthansa have redeemed themselves in a spectacular way with their new A380 First cabin. Excellent virtual tour on this link.
I am not comparing it to nor criticising BA New First but this is sleek, contemporary and very much a private jet look and feel. I look forward to trying that. Perhaps a long weekend to Johannesburg is in order.29 Nov 2010
I can also highly recommend the new Swiss First on the A330-300. From the Lufthansa pictures they seem to be very similar to this product. Oddly, Swiss is not updating the A340-300 First Class, only the new business from what I have read.
Swiss will be the only European carrier with First across the entire long-haul fleet once the older A330-200s have been retired. However, comparison to BA would be incorrect given the Swiss fleet size of roughly 25 long-haul aircrafts.
Not sure what the BA vs LH ratio is of total long-haul routes/aircrafts and First Class. I know Lufthansa believe there is a market for this and will continue to invest.
AF on the other hand, is much more selective on routes and cabin. To my knowledge, First is only offered on selected B777 family aircrafts.
Depending on roll-out pace of the new LH First, the overall product offer seem to be the best across European carriers once the seats have rolled out.29 Nov 2010
VK, QF will still continue to operate F on all LHR and LAX services from Mel and Syd. There is plans to re config 9 x 747 with the same J/PE/E product as offered on the A380. I am also told that Joyce may increase the number of A380 with F class, so the F product can be offered on HKG and JNB routes. However in saying that the QF J product on the A380 has to be the best in the air at present by any carrier.29 Nov 2010
Which means that all high-J configured aircraft with 185 Y cls seats now sport new First. You can check which a/c these are on seat maps showing Y going back to row 55…2 Dec 2010
G-BNLS arrived back at LHR today taking the total number of planes with NF to 21.
I think G-BYGC is next.
I travelled back on G-CIVG from JFK on Monday and was in 1A (a seat I normally avoid because it feels cramped when compared with other seats in the cabin. I was pleasantly surprised at how much more spacious it felt and they have obviously made the wardrobe smaller between 1A/1K to accommodate for this. Overall, a great flight apart from the fact there were problems with the IFE (again!) and the staff still being unfamiliar with the new cabin and seat controls – and being very vocal about the fact!!8 Dec 2010
Is it usually high J on the LHR/HKG ?
I have checked Manage my booking and Checkmytrip sites but they ony show the F seat plans – is there another more comprehensive site ?
Thanks8 Dec 2010
BA have 25 747’s with High J – The planes which StephenLondon is referring to are only those High J planes which have 185 seats in Economy (Often referred to as 747 400 lite models as they don’t have a fuel tank in the tail and therefore have an extra 8 seats in economy). There are only 4 of these and all are fitted with New First. Of the remaining 21, only 8 are fitted with New First.
BA schedules a mix of low and high J on this route, although mostly High J8 Dec 2010
Hi J = lots of business class seats crammed into the lower deck, who have the novelty of the premium economy cabin being in front of them, meaning that people who pay a lot lower fare deplane first.
I like BA club world very much and am a frequent user on the 777, but the 747 Hi J cabin is a poor epxerience and best avoided.9 Dec 2010
A point of clarification is required here I believe- High J on the 747 is 70 Club World across the Upper Deck, and two separate lower deck areas of J class seats. Mid J as I think the other term is now referred to is 52 seats, Upper Deck and the more central of the 2 lower deck areas. Premium Economy in these latter aircraft is in the old Zone B i.e. directly behind First Class. So in reality in a High J configuration, Premium Economy can often disembark before lower deck seated J class passengers.9 Dec 2010