ON FEBRUARY 10, British Airways’ new First Class cabin was introduced into service on a Boeing 777 flying to Chicago.
The airline has invested £100 million (US$154m) in its flagship brand, saying that it is: “drawing on its rich heritage to create an exclusive experience based on classic design and understated luxury.”
Perhaps the most important of the new features is the introduction of a 60% wider bed at the shoulders. Travellers will also have personal electronic blinds − a first for a commercial airline − plus a personal wardrobe.
For in-flight entertainment purposes, a 15in (38cm) screen is provided as well as a USB port, RCA jack and noise-cancelling headsets. Passengers are also passengers are given Anya Hindmarch washbags and amenities by DR Harris & Co as part of the service.
A leather-bound writing table which converts into a dining table is provided and the lighting for each seat can be altered to reflect the mood and time of day.
The airline’s Coat of Arms with the motto ‘To fly to serve’ is a core feature and the 1920s pioneering era of luxury travel is captured through motifs such as Cyril Kenneth Bird’s ‘Care in the Air’ character.
The design of the new cabin is inspired by premium British automotive brands. At the heart of its Quink blue and cream design is a suite featuring a new ‘intelligent’ mattress and the finest 400-thread Egyptian cotton linen for the wider bed.
British Airways frequent flyer, actress Rachel Weisz, who posed for publicity photographs in the new cabin said: “For style, stellar service and complete luxury, it doesn’t get better than British Airways’ new First cabin.”
British Airways’ head of customer experience Mark Hassell, said: “We have contemporised First and created an intimate private jet experience onboard. We have resisted gadgets and gimmicks and focused instead on simplicity and quality. Every feature has been carefully considered and researched to ensure we are giving our customers what they want.”
Customers have precision control over their seat position thanks to an innovative seat control unit that replaces the switches, allowing them to activate the bed position and pneumatic panels to support the head and lumbar positions.
A new premium service style has been developed for cabin crew to ensure world-class service for customers who can eat, sleep and work whenever they want to.
British Airways was the first commercial airline to introduce a fully flat bed in First class in 1996. The airline then went on to pioneer fully flat beds in business class in 2000.