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Inside British Airways' most exclusive first-class cabin
15/Sep/2015
Debuting next month, British Airways' new 787-9 Dreamliner will offer the airline's most sophisticated first-class experience yet


When British Airways' newly-purchased 787-9 Dreamliner commences service next month, one of the most notable enhancements it will have over the carrier’s existing 787-8 Dreamliners is the addition of a first-class cabin. With the new aircraft some 20 feet longer than its predecessor, BA has used the additional space to accommodate first-class passengers – the highest category on offer in 787-8 planes is Club World, BA’s business-class service.

Though most BA first-class cabins accommodate 14 passengers, only eight seats will feature here. The space has been designed in collaboration with some of the airline’s more frequent first-class passengers, who provided detailed feedback on the features they would like to see incorporated into the new facility and were able to test the cabin’s suitability by trialling mock first-class seats.

Technological enhancements are a key focus. Integrated into the seat, a smartphone-like handset now controls in-flight entertainment and the position of the seat itself. The handset will also provide passengers with a second display screen so they can watch two things at once, such as a film on their 23” fixed screen and the moving map on their handheld device.

The Dreamliner’s first-class seat is also more pliable than its predecessors. Newly introduced controls will give passengers greater flexibility in adjusting the headrest and lumber support. Additional storage spaces have been introduced, a mirror has been fitted to a personal locker so grooming can be carried out mid-flight and jackets and coats can be stored directly by passengers’ seats rather than by the entryway.

The cabin was developed by Forpeople London and is a muted, visually restrained space. Seats are finished in diamond-patterned grey leather, aluminium elements are embedded into each unit and subtle golden flourishes are enhanced by soft lighting. Details on dining options, amenity kits and other incidentals have yet to be confirmed, but BA promises that passenger comfort should be unparalleled. The Dreamliner is the most technologically advanced plane in its fleet and advanced pressurisation technology means air within the cabin retains a greater degree of humidity than on board other aircraft, ensuring passengers are better rested after their flight.

British Airways’ 787-9 Dreamliner services commence on October 25, when the new aircraft will fly from London Heathrow to Delhi. The aircraft will subsequently fly from Britain to Abu Dhabi and Muscat (from November 5) and will later be used for flights to San Jose in California and Austin in Texas.

The airline plans to acquire 42 Dreamliners in total so the aircraft is expected to become a mainstay of its fleet. First-class British Airways flights from Heathrow to Delhi are priced from £3,270 return; as part of an introductory promotion that is running until September 22, first-class flights cost from £2,878 return to Muscat and from £2,546 return to Abu Dhabi.
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