Airlines Reviews

B-Eh… We review British Airways First Class London to Atlanta aboard the 777-300ER

a seat on an airplane

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British Airways First Class 777-300ER Review: London to Atlanta

If you’re looking to experience the best that British Airways has to offer, you’ll want to depart from London’s Terminal 5 where you’ll enjoy all the bells and whistles of British Airways First Class. There is a dedicated first class wing that will expedite your check-in, security check, and whisk you straight into the lounge without even setting foot into the main terminal. But…don’t stop there, as we highlight in our review, the best first class lounge isn’t the eponymously named one, but is one of the most exclusive in the world: The Concorde Room. Only ticketed departing first class customers and British Airways Gold Guest List can access it. I’ve flown British Airways First Class many times in the past, but this is the first time out of London and getting the full experience.

Sadly, we weren’t able to get on one of the new 787-10, refitted 777s featuring a brand new first class, or even a 787-900. As a result, while we had a great service, we ended up on a tired 777 that, long story short, is quite inferior to even its latest business class. There are still a lot of these planes in the sky, and this will give you a good idea of what to expect. Here’s what it’s like flying British Airways First Class from London to Atlanta aboard the 777-300ER

Flight Details:

  • When: Feb 2022
  • Route: LHR to ATL
  • Flight: BA 227
  • Flight Time: 9 hours
  • Seat: 4F
  • Price: 85k Iberia Avios and $630

a plane with seats and a screen

Booking

I booked the flights the night before departure and had been tracking the cabin on Expertflyer to see if it was filling up. One of the reasons I waited until the very last moment is because I wanted to use Iberia Avios to book and they aren’t the easiest of tickets to cancel. So, I waited until after our Emed Covid tests were completed and negative before booking the flights. At the time of booking, the US requires negative tests within 24 hours of departure.

American Express ran a series of transfer bonuses throughout 2021 and I ended up transferring quite a few over to both mine and my wife’s account for a trip I thought we’d be taking to Spain in early 2022. That trip ending up getting canceled.

I really hemmed and hawed about how to book since we had numerous options. In the end I preferred to just use up Iberia Avios since taxes out of the UK are egregious any way you cut it, and with major winter storms hitting many of the hubs in the Midwest and East Coast, a direct option was preferable.

While you could book with any One World program – these are the most common redemption options:

  • Alaska = 70k miles
  • Iberia/BA = 85k Avios
  • AA = 85k miles
  • Asia Miles = 87k miles

Two different 777-300ER cabins

You should know that there are currently two different iterations of British Airways First Class on the 777-300ER. One features 14 seats and the other features just 8. If you want the most current and best First Class, you’ll want to choose the cabins that feature 8; however, that cabin is currently on very few routes.

Here’s a look at the new British Airways First Class Suite featuring doors that close

a tv on the back of an airplane
courtesy of BritishAirways.com

Check-In

Make sure to tell your uber or cab driver to drop you off at the far end of Terminal 5 where First Class has their own dedicated wing.

You’ll not only have a far quicker experience, but you’ll have a private, expedited security lane that leads you directly into the First Class Lounge. Don’t stop there though, if you’re flying First Class out of London, make sure you visit the uber exclusive Concorde Room which is just down the hallway from the first class lounge after you exit.

a sign on a wall

Lounge

You have access to one of the most exclusive and hard to get into lounges in the world. In fact, I’ve flown British Airways First Class multiple times and have never visited the Concorde Room because you need to be departing in First Class in order to access it.

a room with a fireplace and chairs

Make sure you budget enough time to have a sit down meal and a crisp glass of Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle.

Boarding

Our flight was quite empty and we had a minor delay at the trains out to our gate at C61 and as a result we were the very last people to board. In fact, I’ve never boarded a plane where the entire gate area was cleared and the jet bridge was completely empty.

a plane with seats and a man standing in the back

We were politely greeted and escorted directly to our seats. We had absolutely lovely service and once we were a bit more settled we had a fresh, crisp glass of Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle to enjoy pre-departure. Don’t forget that your seat is equipped with a small closet as well.

Seat

The cabin has 14 seats, all with aisle access, and I chose seats 4E/F primarily because I prefer to be at the back of cabins when traveling as a couple. You have fewer people walking past you, and it allows me to take cabin photos easier once we’re airborne. Don’t get me wrong, I also really enjoy flying in seats 1A/F, but my wife really prefers us to sit next to each other and if the rear of the cabin is avail…I chooseit. There was moderate noise from the galley, but very mild.

a seat on an airplane

Here you can see the 4K a window seat that I would choose if flying on my own.

a seat in a plane

This is basically the same exact seat that was featured on the now retired 747 and the oldest in the BA first class fleet. It’s a glorified business class seat at best, and personally, albeit offering more room than business class, I would choose to fly the British Airways business class club world suites if given the choice between the two.

Seating controls and IFE

Everything feels quite dated, but functioned fine. One thing to note…the seating controls don’t allow you to just move the leg rest out independent of lowering the seat. Maybe that seems like a small thing, and didn’t really matter much to me since my legs could reach the footstool, but for my wife, whose legs couldn’t reach the stool, it was far more noticeable.

Storage

There is literally not a single viable cubby to put a wallet or valuable item in.

Compare that to the new Club World Suites.

Zach…what about the closet? Well, if you’re sitting in the middle seats the closet you’re given opens to the aisle vs opening inward to the seat as found on the window seats. This means that if you’re sleeping someone could easily pop into closet and steal your stuff. And yes…this happens in premium cabins. Also, the closet really isn’t deep enough to store things, and the configuration of the foot stool is such that you can’t stow your backpack/personal item under it during take off and landing.

I’ve flown BA First on the A380 and the seat is a newer iteration that solves the stowage problem somewhat with a large bucket style storage compartment and deeper closet.

 

The retrofitted 777s offer a new First Class Suite with doors, more storage, and what appears to be a much better seat. It’s also found on the 787-10s. I had been hoping to fly that cabin on this route, but currently it only flies on Mondays. Hopefully this changes and I’ll get to try it out later this year.a tv on the back of an airplane

The bed

The White Company has been used for a few years now and it’s very comfortable. You’ll get two pillows, a seat topper, blanket, and a plush comforter. The seat is wide enough that my shoulders don’t hit on either side which is fantastic. This was a day flight, but I did take a brief nap and was very comfy.

a bed with a pillow and a lamp on the side of it

Amenity Kit:

Temperley his/her. BA hits a home run on these kits – they are cool, filled with plush Elemis products, and I love the eye mask. Even though they dim the cabin to nearly complete darkness and many people sleep, since it’s not an overnight, pajamas aren’t provided.

Dining

A few years ago British Airways upgraded much of their soft product including dining with Do&Co catering. I had an excellent salad to start ( although the cabin wasn’t even half full and they were out of the salmon appetizer, my first choice ) and ended up having a veggie main, and ice cream for dessert. We also had a light meal roughly 90 minutes prior to landing.

Was it the best first class food? No, but it was quite good, served on nice china with real glass. Compare this to the likes of United, Delta, American and its laughable what they try and pass as premium catering.

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Overall

This was a very pleasant flight, but is flying BA first worth the premium over business? I’d say it depends.

Are you upgrading a paid British Airways business class ticket with Avios? If so… then yeah I’d go for it. The cost to upgrade is the difference in Avios between a business and first class flight.

  • From LAX-LHR = 25,000 Avios
  • From JFK-LHR = 20,000
  • WandrMe has a great calculator you can access here

But if you’re booking with points for the entire ticket…it really comes down to how you’re booking. For most redemptions to the states you’ll business class pricing starting at 57.5k vs 85k for first class. I’d say if your plane is equipped with one of the best business classes in the sky, Club World Suites, I don’t think I’d spend the difference to fly first class. That being said, I still haven’t flown the latest First Class Suite so maybe there is a case to be made, but Club Suites are really good.

However…if you’re sitting on a heap of Alaska miles and looking to use those – the differential is far less and first class is just 70k miles vs 60k for business class. In that situation, if you’re willing to swallow the fees, and you want to experience the best BA has to offer flying out of London, I’d go for it.

a screenshot of a phone

In my situation, my wife and I were celebrating a special occasion, we’d never visited the Concorde Room, and we were willing to burn Iberia Avios that were populated with a 40% bonus.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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5 Comments

  • Christian February 10, 2022

    So no caviar?

  • David February 10, 2022

    Question for you, is the new BA biz class on the A350 worth paying the high UK taxes on vs flying LH Biz?

    • Miles February 10, 2022

      It’s definitely better than LH biz; however, if you’re traveling with a partner and sitting upstairs on the 747-8i that LH biz product is pretty cool and the window seats have loads of storage. It really comes down to how much the difference and where you’re originating from…

  • […] British Airways First Class vs Business Class ( Club World ) […]

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