The layout of First Cabin is actually very similar to that of the Club Suite cabin – 1-2-1 style. I was in seat 1E, so no window – however for various reasons (window seat) 2A became available before we took off.
Similar to that of the Club Suites (or is that Club Suites are similar to First?) doors create a ‘First Suite’ and make the area private. These doors are locked open of takeoff and landing.
There are quite a few storage areas in the suite;
- Next to the seat at ‘head level’ there is cupboard with a mirror that can easily store your headphones in;
- At ‘arm level’ there is storage area, with a closing lid. In this area you have 2 USB sockets, a multi-power outlet, headphone socket, and inside the area is the remote control for the entertainment;
- Next to the footrest there is a fairly deep store, which you can easily put many pairs of shoes in;
- There is also a closet style cupboard, which you can put your coat or shirt in.
The seat is large comfy seat which has a large adjustable footrest, that can pull back if you’re short like me! It seems that the footrest can be pulled back from its ‘in’ position during landing and takeoff. I guess this is because the position of it wouldn’t block you if you had to exit in an emergency.
The seat is controlled by a panel, which also controls overhead lighting and the table lamp which is next to the tray table. I have to be honest and say that 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.
The tray table flicks out from the side. Unlike the Club Suite or Club World tables, this 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.
One thing to say is that my tray table did have a chip on it. It was a small chip where the fold is. There was some criticism a while ago in a newspaper article from a couple who also found issues such as chips and damage.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. If I was paying £8,000+ (which is usually the retail price) I would expect everything to be perfect – and BA should, in my view, be checking every last detail in First to make sure it is perfect.
In my review of my flight on the way to LAX, I had complained about the lighting. The good news is the Suite didn’t have the same issues. Lighting was ceiling mounted so no annoying shadows!
One thing, in my opinion, BA have gone cheap on is air conditioning. The Club Suites don’t have individually controlled air conditioning nozzles – and nor does First. This means you are at the mercy of the cabin temperature – with no individual controls. In my view, this is a mistake.
Upon boarding, there was a pillow, blanket and small cushion waiting on the seat.
After dinner, BA offer a turndown service, and made the bed for me. A mattress was placed on the seat (in lay flat), with a quilt and pillow.
One (very smarmy) comment I would make is that because BA have gone for ‘straight white’ linen – it looks incredibly creased and not particularly First Class. Qatar Airways seem to have avoided this issue by having a more kashmir bedding, which doesn’t show every crease! Just saying!
I have to say the bed was extremely comfortable – I had 6 hours of solid sleep….though the wine may have had something to do with it!
BA’s First (in comparison to their Club Suite) is a step up – especially at the time when BA were still offering single tray service in Club World. So it’s all relative.
But there are arguments to say Qatar’s Qsuite is equally as good (especially when you factor service and food in), and so on, and so forth….
So, whilst it’s a step up from BA’s Business Class offering – it’s perhaps still comparable with other airlines’ Business Class offerings – so pick your flights carefully, especially if they’re priced the same!