There’s now a date. In July 2019, British Airways will take delivery of their first Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. The plane is the latest generation of modern flying marvels, with quite a few fascinating advances, such as moving wings to maximize efficiency and vertical interior side walls. Ahead of delivery, British Airways has offered new insights into what customers can expect and while there aren’t yet any pictures, the details are promising…

No First Class

First things first, there’s no first class. Airlines are largely moving away from the first class market by advancing business class to new heights. Who needs first? And the better question: who pays for it? Qatar Airways coined the phrase “first in business” with the launch of their business class QSuites when the airline began a shift away from first, and the move has been a major success.

Improved Business class

British Airways promises a newly refined business class experience in 2019, starting with the Airbus A350. The airline will receive their first aircraft in July, which is said to begin operating short haul flights within Europe. By the end of 2019 four A350’s and two 777’s will be retrofitted with the new seats. Strong rumors suggest an adapted version of the Zodiac Aerospace Sky Lounge Core seat, which is very similar to offerings found on the Emirates A380, ANA 787 and Iberia A350. Exact pictures have yet to be released, but here’s what is known…

  • every seat will feature direct aisle access, no stepping over people.
  • there will be gate to gate entertainment with a fixed screen.
  • increased storage space around the seat and tray areas.
  • a larger seat overall, with more surface area for sleep.
  • more privacy, with each seat featuring additional finishes.

More Premium Economy

British Airways newest generation premium economy seats are very competitive, featuring larger entertainment screens, above average legroom and increased padding. Premium economy has proven to be a wildly successful product, as airlines face tightening corporate travel spend and customers look to upgrade their experience from the increasingly densified cabins of economy. British Airways has pledged to add more premium economy seats to new aircraft, and the Airbus A350 will likely feature a very business and premium heavy configuration, with a smaller economy cabin.

Smaller Economy Cabin

Economy will get the latest seats with updated in flight entertainment, which will presumably also offer gate to gate connectivity. British Airways is expected to utilize a 3 x 3 x 3 layout, similar to OneWorld partners Finnair and Qatar Airways. If British Airway happen to offer a 3 x 4 x 3 layout, they’d be the first airline to do so with the A350, which is roughly 9” narrower than the Boeing 777 wide body jet. With more emphasis drawn to the premium economy cabin, a smaller economy cabin can be a real win.

What do you think about British Airways A350 plans?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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10 Comments

  1. So if no first class why show a BA first class picture ? misleading I think.

    What are the pitch, seat width and footwell sizes ? This is the critical data as if any of these are too small, then business feels cramped, as per Swiss etc.

      1. Very good guess. I’ve just had my seat selection amended “for operational reasons” a week before my flight to Madrid. I open up to find a wide-bodied (‘type 351’).
        The seat map on the BA site is a bit weird. We are booked in economy. The map shows the 2-4-2 of premium but with all seats x’d out. Then they have filled much of the small next section (3-3-3) with the pre-allocations, while the main economy section at the back is entirely empty. The back section is shown as narrower than the short section my wife and I were moved to., as though we are in slightly superior economy. Probably just a dodgy picture.
        If anyone can point me to an accurate seatmap (can’t find it on seatguru) I’d be thrilled.
        I have a miniscule hope of an upgrade, given they have so much wiggle room, to try out the new club seat. But I’m silver (not gold) and with my wife (who is blue).

          1. Dear Gilbert,
            Thanks for the instant reply. I guess I’d have found the extra info if I’d searched properly. Very useful for seat choice.
            These Madrid flights must be particularly pleasant for replacing much smaller planes and therefore being half empty.
            I also have a Dubai trip lined up for October so will try to secure Premium on the 350.
            And I’ll keep asking for upgrades (!)
            Kind regards
            Nick

  2. It’s very nice BA having these new planes but what about some investment in good customer service, now that would be a first for BA and a very sound investment.

  3. I’m excited about the innovative design. As for me, since I travel on economy ticket, airlines should not compromise the sitting comforts of passengers.

    They should deliver flexible seating designs like for examples. .when the seat moves uprights it moves upwardly and when it reclines for relaxation, the seat should slide slightly downward.

  4. I flew on this aircraft today, LHR to Tel Aviv. It was wonderful! I had an exit row seat and had acres of legroom even in economy. My personal tv screen was very big, with easy to use touch screen. Definite improvement on the old touch screen system which I found a bit slow.. Lavatories were spacious clean. Overhead lockers have a small mirror in them so you can make sure you haven’t left anything behind when it’s time to get off. Air felt nice and fresh and the wing… so long and so bird-like. We did have a bumpy descent though. And apparently they’re having “teething problems” with the planes. But I’m not sure if they mean from an in-flight service POV (something to do with coffee and oven space was mebtioned), or flight deck issues. But we did take off late Cos she was in maintenance and it “took longer than expected.”

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