Transport : Airlines

I have flown on British Airways (BA) on their Dreamliner in First, Business Class or “Club World”, Premium Economy and Economy and have reviewed each of my flights to give you an idea of the best seat, cabin, food and overall experience. In particular, I highlight the advantages of flying in First Vs Business Vs Premium economy Vs Economy.

The B787-9 Dreamliner is the latest aircraft type to join British Airways fleet. They have been flying since late 2015 and are the most advanced aircraft in the carrier’s fleet. Innovations include an advanced pressurisation system which keeps the internal cabin altitude is significantly less than on other aircraft, to help passengers feel fresher at the end of the flight.

Other advantages include some of the largest aircraft windows in the sky, so you’ll enjoy views of the horizon no matter where you sit in their Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 aircraft and soothing mood lighting that gradually adjusts to create the ideal atmosphere. The fleet is also quieter, lighter and more fuel efficient than their current aircraft, helping to minimise our impact on the environment.

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First Class Seats

The First cabin has been specifically designed for the 787-9. It is an upgraded version of the ‘old’ product that you find on BA’s other long haul planes and is currently the best that BA has to offer in terms of cabin comfort. If you have the choice, fly on the 787-9 over the 787-8 for the best possible First Class experience.

This 787-9 premium cabin has just eight seats, compared to the usual 14; extra storage space and a single dial to control seat recline, headrest, lumbar adjustment and lighting. It also features a larger screen on which to enjoy the latest films and TV programmes, as well as a new touchscreen handset.

Contrary to the enclosed First Class suites with sliding doors that you find on several other airlines these days, the BA B787-9 First Class seat features an open design, although it’s located within its own cocoon and feels totally private (no other passengers can see you, thanks to the herringbone layout and high seat walls).

This is the official video showing the First Class experience on the BA Dreamliner 787-9:

Business Class Seats

I do not like the layout of BA Club World as I don’t like facing backwards on the plane and 50% of the Club World seats on the 777, A380, 747 and of course Dreamliner 787 face backwards. In fact, my favourite window seats all face backwards!

There are 35 Business Class seats on the B787-8 which I recently flew on and they are spread over 2 cabins with a galley in between them. The bulk of the seats (21 in total) are located in the largest cabin behind the cockpit, while a smaller cabin in front of World Traveller Plus contains the remaining 14 seats. The two Business Class cabins offer a sophisticated and contemporary atmosphere, giving a reassuring sense of well-being and comfort. However, they don’t come close to the intimate and private ambience of the Business Class cabin on the BA Boeing 747 Jumbo upper deck.

My favourite thing about flying Club World has got to be the seat. Spacious, comfortable with acres of leg room, a memory foam headrest, and most importantly, the chair converts into a 183cm (6ft) fully flat bed. This is billed as an environment for sleeping, relaxing and working and as such you are given a quilted blanket and a power supply is available for laptops and other electronic devices, as well as a USB socket. A laptop sized storage tray is available by your feet which is useful to keep your personal belongings at hand, as there is no seat pocket immediately in front of you as per the traditional setup. Privacy screens can be raised between the seats as soon as you are airborne which limits the slightly awkward view you have looking directly at each other! You are also supplied with a luxury amenity kit which includes Elemis skincare products and various travel accessories.

Although the seats themselves do not match up to the likes of Emirates and Qatar, the cabin looks classier and less glitzy than Emirates in particular (take a look at my review of First on the Emirates A380 and you will see what I mean!). I prefer the more conservative look of the cabins on British Airways.

Best Business Class Seats

For solo travellers on the 787-8 Dreamliner: the rear-facing, window seats are more private and are the best seats The window seats A & K as well as middle seat E on row 3 are the single best seats on the plane since they offer direct aisle access without having to jump over the feet of other passengers. While the window and the middle seat on row 7 also offer a clear exit route, they are not so desirable.

Premium Economy Seats

The Premium Economy cabin on the Dreamliner 787-9 is located right behind the Business Class cabin. There are a total of 6 rows of seats. The first five rows, row 16-20, have 7 seats across, configured in a 2-3-2 pattern vs. nine seats in each row in Economy (3-3-3), while the last row, row 21, only has the 2 aisle seats on each side. The middle rows of that last row are where the toilets are, so traveller should try to avoid seats on row 21 if possible.

The seats themselves looked very slim and sleek, and not bulky like older generation seats. The seats were 18.5 inches wide and the pitch, that is, the distance between the back of the seat on one row to the other, is a generous 38 inches.

The seat monitor is a sizeable 10.6 inches and is controlled by the controller on the side of the seats. Another decent surprise was the 2 USB ports under the monitor, as well as the universal power port at the bottom of the side of the seats. The in-flight entertainment system had a decent range of movies, tv series and music.

On the seats, you get an oversized pillow, a blanket, a small amenity kit and a large pair of headphones. The seats are comfortable and can be reclined quite far back by using a few buttons on the side. The amenity kit contains just the essentials – toothbrush and toothpaste, eye mask, a pair of socks, earbuds and a pen. The blanket is plush, but not too thick. The headphones are the noise cancelling type that would normally be distributed in business class and above, so that is another pleasant surprise.

Best Premium Economy Seats

The best Premium Economy seats are those at the front of the cabin behind Business Class. Although the last row, row 21, only has the 2 aisle seats on each side. The middle rows of that last row are where the toilets are, so travellers should try to avoid seats on row 21 if possible. The two-seat window options are the best option for couples travelling together.

Economy Seat Review

The Economy cabin is located right behind the Premium Economy cabin. There are 9 seats across, configured in a 3-3-3 pattern. The seating on the Dreamliner is pretty tightly packed and even though BA raves about it’s “enhanced headrests”, this is not a luxury experience! At 5’7”, even I find the economy seating cramped. Your seat comes with 31 inches of pitch and 17.5 inches of width. If you are bigger than me, I would recommend selecting an aisle seat where at least you can stretch your legs out during your flight, except for when the trolley passes by.

Best Economy Seats

The best seats in the Dreamliner Economy cabin, particularly for couples travelling, or singles who like a window and space, are the window two seats in the very back of the plane. These are to either side of the cabin in row 43, seats A-B & H-J. Here you have 2 instead of the usual 3 seats, therefore extra space by the window for storage and your legs plus these seats recline normally. The downside of these seats is that people bump into them when waiting for the toilet and you can actually hear the toilet flush, particularly if you are on the aisle side of this duo.

It is worth mentioning that you get a USB power port in the seat back as this plane and seat design is relatively new which is useful. The in-flight entertainment system had a decent range of movies, tv series and music.

Dreamliner 787-8 and 787-9

The Boeing 787-9 is better than the 787-8. The cabin is identical in most ways but the older 787-8 windows don’t completely block the light when they are set on their darkest mode which means that when the sun comes up, you are woken on the 787-8 but not on the 787-9.

British Airways B787 Dreamliner Flight Reviews

Review Of First Class On The British Airways Dreamliner B787-9

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On April 10th 2016, I flew First Class On The British Airways Dreamliner B787-9 from London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Muscat International Airport (MCT) in Oman. The BA flight from London to Muscat is not a direct one, as the… Read More.

Review: British Airways B787 Business Class Calgary to London

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In this trip report I review Club World, British Airway’s Business Class, on an Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner from Calgary (YYC) to London Heathrow (LHR). You can also read my outward review on the British Airways A380 from London Heathrow (LHR)… Read More.

Premium Economy Review On British Airways Dreamliner 787-9

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In this trip report I review British Airway’s World Traveller Plus, also known as Premium Economy, on their new Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner on my trip from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to London. This product was newly launched a few months before,… Read More.

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