Arriving in May, the Dreamliner will have a total of 214 seats across three classes:
· Club World (Business Class) will use the long-haul seat we know today, but in a new 2-3-2 configuration, with a maximum capacity of 35 passengers
· World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) will have 25 seats, with 7 seats across in a 2-3-2 split
· World Traveller (Economy) will have 154 seats, with 9 seats across in a 3-3-3 split
Arriving in July, the A380 will have a total of 469 seats across four classes:
· 14 “enhanced” First Class suites, with more personal space and storage
· 44 Club World seats, in the current 2-4-2 configuration
· 199 World Traveller seats, with 10 seats across in a 3-4-3 split
· 53 Club World seats, in the 2-3-2 configuration like the Dreamliner
· 55 World Traveller Plus seats, also in a 2-3-2 configuration
· 104 World Traveller seats, in a 2-4-2 configuration
What you should care about
There is nothing really revolutionary about the British Airways plans for these two new aircraft. There are no major changes in configuration or hard product (aside from the 2-3-2 Club layout), and no attention grabbers a la the lounges on Korean Air or shower suites on Emirates.
Both planes will feature the upgraded World Traveller and World Traveller Plus products seen on the six latest B777-300ER aircraft, which is a definite step up from the older generations, as well as the latest Thales in-flight entertainment systems. In a first for BA, all seats will have power sockets.
Having 3-3-3 across on the Dreamliner in Economy can be seen as slightly disappointing for a premium airline, as opposed to a roomier 2-4-2 layout adopted by Japan’s ANA and South America's LAN, for instance.
British Airways has 24 Dreamliners and 12 A380s on order. The above configuration will be fitted to the first eight Dreamliners, with some of the additional 16 potentially having four classes (including First). Four Boeing 787 will be in service by the end of next year, with three A380s scheduled to be up and running.
Where they'll fly
It’s a bit of a guess which routes the B787 will fly at this point, but its long range and relatively small size will probably allow BA to open up new destinations which, without a larger aircraft, would not be viable (we’re thinking additional cities in China, or possibly South America). London to Hong Kong is rumoured to be the first route for the A380; often selling out in First and Business Class before everything else, it would benefit from the additional premium capacity the double decker provides. Los Angeles and Johannesburg are mentioned as second and third options.
Before the A380 will go into long-haul service, there will most likely be a number of trial flights to Madrid, similar to the returns Air France did between Paris and London a few years ago. When this happens, you can bet we’ll be planning to be on board to give you the inside scoop on this latest addition to the BA fleet.
[Images: British Airways]