This British Airways New First Class 777 Review is part of a UK and France trip report including flights in British Airways in New First Class and stays in a Scottish castle and 5-star hotels in London and Paris. For the prior post, please see:
Prior to this British Airways New First Class flight I'd only flown British Airways in Club World Business Class, so I was very much looking forward to trying the New First Class product. We booked our two first class seats using a British Airways Companion Ticket (the “Travel Together Ticket”), courtesy of spending $30,000 in a calendar year on the British Airways Visa.
After the Galleries Lounge attendant advised us that there were only 10 passengers left to board, we hurried out of the lounge and made our way to the gate, where we presented our printed boarding passes. At the plane, we were escorted to our seats, 2K and 3K.
While there are of course companion suites, such as 1E and 1F, 2E and 2F, etc., the munchkin always likes to be able to look out the window, so I opted for seats one behind the other–it's what we've gotten used to anyway in Cathay Pacific First Class, which doesn't have any companion seats. Here's my seat, 3K:
We were offered a pre-flight drink from a tray that included orange juice and water. Some folks might not be happy with the fact that pre-poured drinks were offered, but since I don't care for champagne I wasn't bothered by not being offered a glass of champagne. I was a little surprised that a hot or cool towel wasn't offered pre-flight however, even though it was offered before dinner service.
Prior to departure we were also brought First Class pajamas (the flight attendant offered a small size for the munchkin, and I gladly accepted, not so much for the flight itself but because I'd actually forgotten to pack any real pajamas for him–and they have since come in quite handy!) The pajamas are simple but soft, and comfortable to sleep in.
We were also brought British Airways First Class amenity kits, which aren't as fancy, as, say, Cathay Pacific First Class with Aesop skincare products or Singapore First Class with Kiehl's skincare. They contain some REN skincare products and the usual items: toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, etc.
Our flight from Newark EWR to London LHR was to be just under 7 hours, and it was about that even with about 40 minutes on the tarmac due to the flights ahead of us. Newark is notorious for delays, and it's so much more comfortable to be sitting in First Class when waiting to depart, rather than my packed economy flight on JetBlue the prior week to Las Vegas for Virtuoso Travel Week.
A nice touch was that one of the First Class flight attendants came around to take our dinner orders, so that we could be served as quickly as possible and still get some rest on the flight. Here's the dinner menu, with several choices for both starters and main dishes:
The dessert menu had just two choices in addition to a cheese plate:
British Airways prides itself on its First Class wine list, which took first place for First Class wine lists in Global Traveler Magazine.
At last we took off, and as soon as we had ascended and the seat belt signs were turned off, I checked in with the munchkin, who was keen to check out the kids' programs on the in flight entertainment system. Of course, as soon as he spotted “Cars” there was no stopping him from watching it.
We had his table set for two of us for dinner, and we both chose the Salmon Trio. I was happy to have another taste of Balik Salmon, which is my favorite part of a meal in Cathay Pacific First Class:
The Salmon Trio was sufficient for the munchkin, since he'd had pasta in the lounge, but I opted to also try the Grilled Prawn Salad with Blood Orange Dressing, and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was–easily the best salad I've had on a plane.
Meanwhile, the munchkin was so happy with his ice cream sundae that he'd already taken a few bites before I managed to snap a photo:
Afterwards, I brushed his teeth. The first class bathroom is small and plain compared to its more luxurious counterparts in Emirates First Class or the changing room in Etihad First Class, but of course there was still the benefit of it always being available, given that there were only 2 other people in the first class cabin in addition to us, with 8 empty suites.
He then settled into a turned down fully flat 6 foot 6 inch bed:
Since I had a bit of work to do, I enjoyed nibbling on a cheese plate with a glass of Chateau du Tertre 2007 5eme Grand Cru from Bordeaux before turning in for a few hours.
I didn't actually sleep that well, but then again I've only slept well in Cathay Pacific First Class and Singapore First Class. For anyone who can sleep fairly easily, it's a good first class bed and a good length as well, at 6'6 feet.
That said, I must have at least dozed off, since before I knew it the lights were on and it was breakfast time. Here's the breakfast menu:
The munchkin and I shared a delcious berry yogurt smoothie:
And also a parmesan frittata:
We also enjoyed a beautiful sunrise from the window:
All too soon we were close to London and it was time to get ready to land.
The Verdict: Some frequent flyers like to call British Airways New First Class the “best business class.” On the one hand I can understand that criticism if the cabin was full, since 12 occupied seats would make the cabin quite crowded and would be twice as many in first class than Cathay Pacific First Class. And there's no question I prefer the wider seat in Cathay First Class. This is also not an enclosed suite product, of the type that Etihad First Class or Singapore Suites offer.
But perhaps because our First Class cabin was only 1/3 full and it was a night flight, at no time did I feel that service suffered, and to some extent I prefer friendly British service to the more formal service I've experienced on certain Swiss and Lufthansa flights.
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I find it very cramped compared to American. That said, my love for the 747 makes that a weakness especially with 1A. Eastbound to sleep BA is too short for me.