I recently enjoyed a sublime holiday in one of my favorite destinations in the world, the Seychelles, an astonishingly beautiful island archipelago in the Indian Ocean. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Qatar Airways A350 QSuites from Frankfurt to Doha (world’s best Business Class)
- Review: Qatar Airways A330 Business Class from Doha to the Seychelles
- Review: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles (Mahe island)
- Review: Raffles Seychelles Resort (Praslin island)
- Review: Maia Luxury Resort & Spa (Mahe island)
- Review: Banyan Tree Resort Seychelles (Mahe island)
- Review: Constance Ephelia Resort
- Review: British Airways B787 Dreamliner Business Class Seychelles to London (today)
Today (May 29, 2019): Review of British Airways Dreamliner B787-9 Business Class Seychelles to London.
I recently flew Business Class in a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner of British Airways from Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR). While the carrier’s Business Class (dubbed Club World) raised the bar worldwide two decades ago with the introduction of the first fully lie-flat seat and an innovative “Yin/Yang” seat plan, the seat itself is now dated (although British Airways will introduce an excellent new Business Class seat this summer). While I have flown British Airways many times in the past, their deteriorating service in Business Class made me switch carriers a few years ago. However, I decided to give the UK flagship carrier another try on this particular occasion because of the convenience of its Seychelles route (and availability of award seats). And boy, I was pleasantly surprised, because British Airways has dramatically stepped up its game with the introduction of new and impressive service concepts (e.g. catering, bedding, etc …). In fact, this flight made me change my opinion, and I will gladly fly the airline again in the future.
I have now reviewed British Airways’ Business Class product on all of its widebody planes, being the Boeing B747-400 (read my review here), the Airbus A380 (read my reviews here and here), and the Boeing 777 (read my review here).
- Trip: SEZ-LHR
- Airline: British Airways
- Aircraft type: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
- Aircraft registration number: G-ZBKL
- Flight Number: BA62
- Date: February 18, 2019
- On time departure: yes (10 pm)
- On time arrival: yes (4 pm)
- Miles: 5070
- Flight time: 10 hours
- Seat: 10K
- Class: Business
In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Cost of my ticket
- Business Class lounge at Seychelles Airport
- Facts about the British Airways Boeing 787
- Business Class cabin
- Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
- Onboard internet
- Other inflight experiences (crew, bar, lavatory & views)
- My verdict (score)
1. COST OF MY TICKET
I booked this one-way Business Class ticket from the Seychelles to London for 62,500 Avios + € 227EUR taxes, fees and carrier charges. Avios is the mileage currency of Executive Club, the frequent flyer program of British Airways, which is a One World airline. Read here my review of Executive Club.
2. BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE AT SEYCHELLES AIRPORT
Seychelles International Airport is a very small airport, with only one terminal. The latter houses one Business Class lounge – called ‘The Premium Lounge’ – which is located one floor above the main concourse. The lounge is used by all airlines flying to and from the Seychelles (e.g. Etihad Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Condor, Edelweiss Air, Eurowings, and British Airways to name a few). The lounge is outstanding for a small airport. It features a model of an Air Seychelles Airbus A330 at its entrance, although the flagship carrier of the Seychelles returned its two leased A330s last year so it could focus more on regional routes operated by smaller aircraft. The airconditioned lounge is basically a large rectangular room with several seating areas of comfy chairs arranged around coffee tables. The contemporary decor has some tropical touches (e.g. use of bamboo wood) and large windows with views of the apron create an airy and light-filled ambiance. A modest, reather uninspiring buffet is on display in a side room. The lounge also offers complimentary WiFi (speed is not optimal though), showers, newspaper, and printing facilities.
3. FACTS ABOUT THE BRITISH AIRWAYS BOEING 787
Here is some general information about the B787 as provided by British Airways:
- The Boeing 787-8 is a mid-size, dual aisle, twin-engine jet manufactured by Boeing, the American aerospace company.
- The aircraft is 20% more fuel-efficient than similar sized commercial jets it is designed to replace, and to date, is Boeing’s most fuel-efficient aircraft.
- Composite materials make up 50 percent of the primary structure, including the fuselage and wing.
- The engine nacelles are made of serrated edges that reduce the noise levels both outside and inside the cabin, by up to 60%.
- The aircraft also features raked wingtip to further improve the fuel efficiency.
- The windows are more than 30 percent larger than those on most similarly sized airplanes. Instead of pulling shades up and down, customers can adjust the brightness of windows with a button. Using an electrochromic dimming system, the windows turn from fully transparent to completely dimmed in gradual steps.
- Less than 10,000 holes are drilled into the fuselage during assembly of a 787.
- The size of the 787 factory is approximately 380,000 square feet.
- The 787 flies at Mach 0.85, or about 650 miles per hour.
4. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
British Airways’ Boeing B787-9 has a total of 216 seats: 8 suites in First Class, 42 in Club World (Business Class), 39 in World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy Class), and 127 in World Traveller (Economy Class).
The 42 Business Class seats on the B787-9 are spread over two cabins, separated by a galley. The bulk of the seats (28 in total) is located in the larger aft cabin, while a smaller front cabin (behind First Class) contains the remaining 14 seats. The seats are arranged in a “Yin/Yang” 2-3-2 layout, a seat plan that is unique to British Airways: window and middle seats face backwards, while aisle seats face forwards. Because of this unique concept, you may have to jump over other passenger’s feet (when they have their seat in the flatbed position) to reach the aisle when seated in a backward facing seat.
Both Business Class cabins offer a contemporary ambiance with a reassuring sense of wellbeing and comfort. However, this doesn’t come close to the intimate and private athmosphere of the Business Class cabin on the British Airways Boeing 747 upper deck (which I reviewed here).
Click here for a seat map of the British Airways B787-9.
5. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)
One of the things I like about British Airway is that the carrier offers a very consistent Business Class product across its wide body fleet. The Club World seats that you find on the B787 are identical to the ones on British Airways’ B747, A380 and B777. The seat is located within its own cocoon or suite, and has a pitch of 72 inches (182 cm) and a seat cushion width of 20 inches (50 cm). In front of the seat is a foot rest, which needs to be manually tilted in order to use it for comfort or for an extension of the flatbed. The angle of maximum seat recline is 180 degrees, and the overall length of seat when fully reclined into a flat-bed is a 6 ft (183 cm). The seat also has a reclined Z-position for relaxing and watching films in a near-recumbent position.
Each seat has its own private entertainment screen, which swings out from the suite’s side wall. With 12 inches or 20 cm, the screen is considerably larger compared to the TVs you find on British Airways’ older wide body planes. The screen tilts up and down, so watching the entertainment selection from the near or fully flat-bed position is perfectly possible. A decently sized tray table (18×14 inches or 45×35 cm) with bi-fold design is located below the screen. This side of the suite wall also features a power port, the seat controls, a handset for the inflight entertainment, and – at floor level – a storage compartment that can be used to stow away your shoes during the flight.
One of the most talked about (and unpopular) features of British Airways’ Business Class is the retractable privacy divider between adjoining seats. This can be lowered or raised, depending on the fact whether you are traveling solo or with a companion. This safety screen needs to be lowered during the safety briefing, and in addition, the crew will lower it when they serve you meals and drinks; this can feel very awkward when you are seated next to a stranger because you are directly looking into his/her eyes.
What are the best Business Class seats on British Airways’ B787-9? Click here for a this seat map.
- For solo travelers: the rear facing window seats are more private and the ones you want to be seated in.
- The window seats A & K as well as middle seat E in rows 7 are the best seats on the plane since they offer direct aisle access without having to jump over the feet of other passengers. While the window and middle seat in row 13 also offer a clear exit route, they are not so desirable (cf below).
What are the worst Business Class seats on British Airways’ B787-9? Click here for a this seat map.
- Aisle seats B, D, F and J in rows 6 and 10 are to be avoided since other flyers tend to bump into these seats when they return from the lavatory.
- Seats A, B, J & K in row 13 are aligned with the middle seats of the first row in World Traveller Plus, which means that you are an aisle width and just a cloth curtain away from the baby bassinets against the cabin divider on the other side.
- Unfortunately, because of the 2-3-2 layout there are no private center suites for couples on British Airways’ B787, contrary to other plane type in the carrier’s fleet such as the A380, B777 and B747 which all feature a 2-4-2 (with the two center seats located in their own private suite).
Business Class passengers get the following amenities during a British Airways longhaul flight:
- A Club World amenity kit, which comes in the form of an elegantly designed bag from The White Company. The kit contains eyeshade, earplugs, socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, pen and toiletries from The White Company’s Restore & Relax Spa Collection, offering a touch of luxury in the sky.
- Excellent bedding, also provided by The White Company, which comprises:
- a soft large pillow in a white cotton pillowcase;
- a super-soft woven day blanket with satin trim;
- a specially developed luxurious duvet;
- a padded mattress topper to provide an extra layer of comfort to improve sleep quality
- an elegant day cushion, which doubles up as lumbar support when working or relaxing
- Noise-cancelling headphones, which are of mediocre quality as they don’t block out all the engine and cabin noise.
British Airways recently switched its catering contract to DO & CO, which is a tremendous improvement over the carrier’s previous pathetic Business Class catering. Thanks to an innovate service concept and its high and uncompromising quality standards, DO & CO has been a benchmark in the airline industry for many years. The company also provides the onboard meals for Austrian Airlines and Turkish Airlines, which both rank among the best regarded longhaul airlines for Business Class food.
During this flight, a four-course lunch was served after takeoff, and a three-course dinner 90 minutes prior to landing. All dishes tasted excellent and the food presentation was beautifully done (never thought I would ever say that about food onboard a British Airways plane). In addition, all dishes were served on a beautiful table setting with chic crockery and cutlery.
I choose the following lunch selection from the stylish bistro-style menu:
- Starter: smoked salmon with pickled baby onions, cucumber, and cream cheese
- Soup: roasted red pepper soup with crème fraîche
- Main course: baked parmesan and lemon crusted job fish, served with dill cream sauce, parmentier potatoes, carrot, and roasted fennel
- Dessert: tiramisu with caramel sauce
And I had the following dishes for dinner:
- Starter: seared tuna with tomato dressing, chilli flakes, and caper berries
- Main course: grilled salmon, with black-eyed beans, red onion, pea purée, asparagus, and grilled red peppers
- Dessert: date cake with mango coulis
8. INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
Each Business Class seat is equipped with a private screen, two USB sockets, a power port, and a video RCA connection for your camcorder, DVD player or camera. The private screen (12 inches or 20 cm) is larger as compared to that of British Airways’ older planes. It swings out from the side of the suite’s cabin wall, and it also tilts up and down, so watching the entertainment selection from the near or fully flat-bed position is perfectly possible.
British Airways’ Thales in-flight entertainment offers tons of movies and box sets to explore, alongside a range of other content, including a much-enhanced flight map and chat sessions with other passengers (so if you fancy striking up a conversation with someone six rows or even a cabin away, now is your chance).
9. ONBOARD INTERNET
Unfortunately, WiFi was not available on this flight. British Airways is currently rolling out WiFi across its fleet and it is expect that 90% of the carrier’s aircraft will be connected by the end of 2019. At present, there is no way of knowing for certain if your flight will have WiFi (you will only be notified once on board a connected flight).
10. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
#CREW: As always, the British Airways cabin crew did a terrific job. I am a huge fan of the carrier’s crew, which ranks among the most experienced in the air. Pilots and cabin crew have an average of 15 years’ experience. That is a reassuring thought for a nervous flyer like myself.
# BAR: The B787-9 has a walk-up “Club Kitchen” onboard, located between the two Business Class cabins, where you can can graze between meals (e.g. retro sweets, Cadbury chocolates, and Kettle chips).
# WINDOWS: The B787 features the largest windows of any aircraft and the first-of-its-kind electronic touch pad controls to adjust the amount of light entering the cabin.
# LAVATORY: There are three lavatories for Business Class passengers, all of them located in the galley between the two Business Class cabins.
# FLIGHT PATH: We enjoyed clear weather all the way from the Seychelles to Europe, allowing magnificent views of the landscapes of the African content and the Greek islands.
11. MY VERDICT
- Business Class lounge (Seychelles): 7/10
- Cabin design: 8/10
- Seat comfort (upright): 7/10
- Seat comfort (bed position): 7/10
- Food (quality): 9/10
- Food (quantity): 9/10
- Inflight entertainment : 9/10
- WiFi: 9/10
- Service: 9/10
- Overall experience: very good: 8,5/10