The layout of First Cabin is in 1-2-1 style, with 4 rows – giving a total of 16 seats. It’s one of the larger of BA’s First Cabins.
I was in seat 1K, which had two windows.
Instead of traditional window shades there is a blind mechanism which closes for darkness.
You’ll also find a table lamp for lighting.
There is a ‘side counter’ which is useful for storage – though laptops have to be stowed during takeoff and landing. So it means getting back up to get your stuff if you’re going to start working during the flight. BA’s Club Suite suffers the same issue – but not ‘old’ Club World.
There are no doors in ‘old’ First, and this can make the seats feeling rather ‘exposed’ and far less private that ‘new’ First or Club Suite.
I found that there wasn’t a huge amount of storage in this seat at all.
This was exemplified by the fact my headphones were strapped in on the foot stool when I got to my seat!
There is a huge cavernous closet cupboard on the left of my seat, however this gets smaller in the seats behind – I guess this is because 1K is in a bulkhead.
The seat is fairly large (though comparable with Club Suite). In takeoff mode it is fairly comfortable.
However, when I was adjusting it to try and work at my laptop or eat, I just couldn’t get the seat in a comfortable position. In fact, it felt like I needed a cushion behind my back to sit properly – not ideal for a seat that is supposed to be fully adjustable!
The seat is controlled by a panel on the side, which also controls overhead lighting and the table lamp which is next to the tray table. Similarly to the ‘new’ First I didn’t find the control panel particularly intuitive – and at times I was pressing it and nothing appeared to be happening. In absolute honestly, the Club Suite seat controls are by far more intuitive.
There is has a foot rest that pulls back if you’re not 7ft tall! This is the same as ‘new’ First.
The tray table flicks out from the side. Similar to the ‘new’ First, the table is around 1” thick and fairly solid. However, it is supported from one side, and did flex slightly when I placed my laptop on it. But it really wasn’t a big deal.
Unlike the newer First, being an older aircraft, air conditioning nozzles were my seat – this was much appreciated as in the newer planes BA have these have become obsolete.
As this was a daytime flight, there was bedding in the overhead locker – but there was no turndown service offered.
Bedding is the same as ‘new’ First – so I’ve recycled my picture from my previous First flight as I didn’t use the betting on this flight!
There is no doubt that BA’s ‘new’ First is by far superior to this ‘old’ First. This is both in terms of the quality of the seat, comfort and storage – though the air nozzles were appreciated!
With that said, Club Suite I believe is in many ways better – despite it ‘only’ being a Business Class product. However ‘old’ First pairs with ‘old’ Club World, therefore is the better product. The ‘new’ First is paired with the Club Suite (if the aircraft even has First) – so it ultimately comes down the aircraft’s configuration.
If I was given the choice between BA’s Club Suite and ‘old’ First, I’d probably select Club Suite – it would probably cheaper, if you can handle the poor food still served in Club World!