British Airways First Class: Second Class Service

British Airways used to be renowned for its superior customer service. Sadly, things have gone downhill at the UK’s national airline in recent years. And it has started to show in the service.

AFF member PaulST recently flew British Airways in First class from London to Abu Dhabi. The First class seat itself on the Boeing 787-9 is pretty good. It’s far from being the best product out there, and it has a few design flaws. But it’s a comfortable seat that converts into a fully-flat bed. There is also plenty of storage space around the seat.

Unfortunately, while our member was flying in First class, the service was unmistakably second class.

Goodness gracious me, I’ve just had the worst flight in first class I’ve ever had. Now I stress the point that it was far from horrible (unlike the EY Y flight from AUH to CAI the following day) and I count myself as very lucky to fly in first class anyway, but it appears that my run of good BA flights has come to an end.

The First class experience began with the British Airways lounge at London Heathrow. First class passengers have access to private dining and “cabanas” in The Concorde Room. This lounge seems to polarise travellers as reviews are mixed.

The Concorde room itself was a mixed picture. I was actually surprised that the Cabanas weren’t terrible. Other videos on youtube portrayed them pretty poorly but I didn’t mind them. Sure, it’s not The Pier, but it’s not bad. The service within the cabana was also pretty good (including getting something from the lunch menu a little early), and out on the balcony, although there were a few more sour faces in the dining booths. It’s really a sorry state where people feel so miserable working in what should be the most prestigious airport lounge in Britain.

Just make sure that you book both the cabana and the day spa a week or two in advance as they tend to book out otherwise.

Once on board, it took 8 minutes to be acknowledged by a flight attendant looking after the First cabin. The service didn’t get much better from there.

When I pressed the call bell, they responded swiftly but they weren’t proactive at all. And a few drink requests were mixed up and they clearly didn’t listen to my responses during small talk as they asked if I was flying for work or travel twice.

Most of the food was at least tasty and a wide range of drinks were available.

It’s sometimes said that British Airways First class is the world’s best Business class. Our member’s experience on this occasion sadly echoes this sentiment. The product is good, but on some levels it fails to live up to the expectations of First class.

Anyway, I quite like the suite itself as well as the colours in the first class cabin. It’s clearly more of a business class seat (albeit slightly larger) but I can’t complain too much.

You can watch PaulST‘s comprehensive trip report video and leave a comment HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]