Posted on: 14 July 2015 by Mark Howells
British Airways (BA) has announced its first Boeing 787-9 – due to arrive in September – will incorporate a first class cabin, which is a first for the carrier's 787 fleet.
The first class cabin has just eight seats in comparison to the 14 seats available on other long-haul BA aircraft. 20ft longer that its 787-8 predecessor (of which the airline has eight), the Dreamliner will be split into World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy), Club World (business class) and first class.
The aircraft will be equipped with the Thales i8000 in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, which offers over 1,000 pieces of content including the latest films, TV box-sets, world cinema and a variety of audio programming from podcasts to audio books. Content also includes around 16 branded channels including HBO and several from the BBC.
The IFE console integrated into the seat has been updated with a new smartphone-like handset, from which travellers can control the IFE. During a flight the console can be docked so that customers are also able to watch one item on the handset and another on the 23” monitor. This capability means travellers will be able to enjoy gate-to-gate entertainment without having to stow their television for take-off and landing.
The first class suites also now include four new storage areas. Customers who need to charge any devices can now do so in an area next to their armrest.
Furthermore, a new ottoman next to the adjustable footstool has enough room for shoes, handbags and personal items, while the personal suiter for jackets and coats is now accessible without the customer having to move from their seat. A new locker positioned at eye-level is perfect for smaller personal effects such as tablets, spectacles, passport and wash-bags. The inside of the locker door features a mirror for personal grooming.
The new first class cabin on the Boeing 787-9 was developed by Forpeople together with leading British suppliers such as Pritchard Themis, who worked on the suite and cabin lighting. The lighting in every one of the Dreamliner’s cabins can be set to reflect the time of day to help avoid jetlag. The smart 'jog-dial' in first class that previously controlled the seat's recline now manages five additional functions, including the headrest and lumbar inflate and a 'global' lighting control to set both ambient and reading lighting.
Finally, BA's 747 cabins are also receiving a cabin face-lift and a new Panasonic eX3 next generation IFE system.