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Later this year, I'm travelling First Class with BA longhaul (It's a miles reservation, I'm not that rich!). I've travelled Business (Club World) with them before, but I'm curious about what differences to expect in practice between the two.

The main things I'm expecting are a better seat with more room, as well as (perhaps?) better food and drink. However, what else that's not so obvious might I be missing?

I'm mostly curious at this point, but hopefully this question could also prove a useful reference for anyone interested in splashing out the miles/cash on a first class reservation.

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You'll want to change the title to make it clearer you're asking about BA. I know you're saying it's for general, but honestly, the various airlines differ so much in quality, scope, features and food that asking for generic standard differences is not going to work well, unless you turned it into a Wiki. I can't find it now, but we've had a similarly generic one closed in the past, so I'd try to keep it specific. –  Mark Mayo Sep 10 '13 at 15:55
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@MarkMayo, I've changed it to BA as per your advice. –  Andrew Ferrier Sep 10 '13 at 15:58
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@hippietrail yes I could have answered as yes/no, but I figured that probably wasn't what he was after ;) –  Mark Mayo Sep 10 '13 at 16:00
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I've only ever flown economy, I'd be very excited about any first class :/ –  Mark Mayo Sep 10 '13 at 16:00
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OK, I've changed the title so that yes/no is no longer acceptable either ;) –  Andrew Ferrier Sep 10 '13 at 16:01
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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

For a quick summary, there's this BAEC FlyerTalk sticky which covers quite a bit in a compact fashion. If you want the full details, your best bet is the dedicated British Airways microsite on First.

On the ground, the main differences are:

  • Dedicated checkin lines (outstations) and checkin area (Heathrow / JFK), with quicker queues than Club World
  • More baggage (3 bags of up to 32kg each!)
  • Escorts through security at the "more chaotic" outstations
  • Nicer lounge almost everywhere, generally with self-pour champagne and some menu ordering of food
  • Very nice lounges (Concorde Club Room) in Heathrow and JFK, which are basically a half decent restaurant (menus, proper tables, service etc)
  • You can book into the Elemis travel spa in advance (Heathrow/JFK)
  • Quick entry to the lounge after security (Heathrow), avoiding the need to traipse through the shops to get to the lounge
  • You can bring two guests into the lounge with you (business it's just yourself)
  • Nicer welcome drink on board
  • YouFirst

In the air:

  • Larger seat
  • Buddy seat, so two of you can sit together to talk/eat
  • When you turn your seat into a bed, they'll add a little extra mattress, and make it up into a bed with a duvet
  • Pyjamas
  • Dine when you want - you can eat any time, not just set meal times
  • More attentive service (better crew / passenger ratios)
  • Bigger AVOD screens
  • "Loo with a view" - front toilet has a window that can be toggled between clear and opaque, so you can look out while flying

You might find this flyertalk thread on maximising the BA First experience worth a read, it explains more on maximising your use / benefit of the above.

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Thanks. Most of the on-ground benefits I'm already eligible for, except the Concorde room, as I'm already Oneworld Emerald. Plus, honestly, there's not that much difference between First and Business check-in! It's the onboard service I'm mostly curious about :) –  Andrew Ferrier Sep 10 '13 at 16:50
    
Am I the only one who doesn't know what YouFirst is? I tried to google for its official page but failed. –  hippietrail Sep 10 '13 at 17:07
    
It's detailed on the BA Mircosite I linked to. Basically, a dedicated customer service team who fix things quickly and answer queries –  Gagravarr Sep 10 '13 at 17:14
    
CCR is supposed to be quite a bit nicer than GF, and being able to just turn right after south security and enter is good! Heathrow and JFK first checkin is a tiny bit nicer, but the escorts at outstations in some parts of the world can make a big difference. Also for Heathrow/JFK, if you've ever struggled to get a spa treatment, you'll appreciate YouFirst being able to book you one in advance –  Gagravarr Sep 10 '13 at 17:22
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