What are the best and worst seats British Airways operate between London and New York?

Dec 1, 2019

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If you’re travelling on British Airways most profitable route between London and New York, which includes London Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW) and City (LCY) services to New York (JFK) and Newark (EWR), you have plenty of different flights to choose from, and several different aircraft types.

Here’s our pick of which aircraft types to choose, and which to avoid, per seating class for your next journey.

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The British Airways aircraft usually featuring a first class cabin on the route are Boeing 747s, Boeing 777-300s, and refurbished and un-refurbished Boeing 777-200s. The best aircraft type to choose is probably the refurbished Boeing 777-200. This is because as part of the refurbishment the 777-200 first cabin was reduced to just eight seats making it more intimate than the other aircraft type BA uses on the route. For the time being, BA uses the refurbished aircraft on BA115, 174, 176, and 177 flight numbers between the two cities. It is the same seat as the un-refurbished 777s but with new seat covers and a smaller cabin.

The London to Newark route does sometimes see Boeing 787-9s operating which has a slightly superior first class seat.

Related: Review: British Airways (787-9) first class from London to Santiago

As for the aircraft to avoid, both the Boeing 777-300 and the un-refurbished Boeing 777-200 have much larger first class cabins of 14 seats each which makes for a less intimate experience than the refurbished 777-200. BA’s Boeing 747 also has 14 first class seats making for a dense cabin, though as they are located in the nose of the famous jumbo jet some passengers do like this atmosphere.

Image by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy
British Airways Boeing 747 cabin. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Club World

The best seat operating on the route by far is the new Club Suite on the refurbished 777-200. This seat has direct aisle access for all passengers, a sliding door to turn the seat into a suite (though the walls and door are a bit too low to be that private). There’s also plenty of storage.

Related: Suite refresh: A review of British Airways’ Club Suite on the refurbished 777, New York to London

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)
British Airways Boeing 777-200 Club Suite (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

In the middle of the pack, if you have Executive Club status which allows you to select your seat for free in advance, the 747 upper deck is a solid choice.

For the time being, the worst seat is on the Gatwick to New York JFK route. This is because they are using a leased Airbus A330 from Evelop. This business class cabin has a 2-2-2 layout but the seats are angled flat, not full flat. Norwegian previously used this aircraft on the same route and sold this cabin as their premium economy.

As premium economy these seats are excellent, as a business class seat not so much and BA is selling these seats as Club World.

Outside of this unique leased aircraft, we would generally recommend avoiding the un-refurbished BA 777s as well as downstairs on the 747s in Club World, if you have the choice of multiple aircraft types.

(Photo by Ben Smithson / The Points Guy)
Evelop A330 Premium cabin, operating for Norwegian. (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

World Traveller Plus

There isn’t a huge variation between different aircraft types in this cabin. Each aircraft on the route features this premium economy cabin (being the Boeing 747s, 777-200s and 777-300s). If you have the choice, the refurbished 777-200s do have new seat covers, but otherwise there’s not a standout best or worst aircraft to pick.

Related: Refreshed but with room for refinement: A review of British Airways World Traveller Plus on the refurbished 777

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)
British Airways Boeing 777-200 refurbished World Traveller Plus cabin. (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

World Traveller

For the time being, the leased Evelop A330 aircraft operating the Gatwick to New York JFK flights is probably the best bet. While the premium cabin on this aircraft is very previous generation, in economy this means wide, spacious seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. This is great for both couples and families as the seats are in groups of two and four, rather than 3-3-3 or 3-4-3.

(Photo by Ben Smithson / The Points Guy)
Evelop A330 Economy Class (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

As for the worst seats, there’s not a huge variation in seating across the BA 747 and 777 aircraft. You’ll find a 3-3-3 configuration layout on the 777s and a 3-4-3 layout in the slightly wider cabins of the 747s. There are worse cabins on both aircraft types — BA is reconfiguring its 777s to be an even tighter 3-4-3 layout and some 747s feature the older, previous generation seating in World Traveller though thankfully these are usually spared from New York routes.

New World Traveller on board the new Boeing 777-300ER, BAMC, Cardiff, UK, 12 August 2010(Photo by Nick Morrish/British Airways)
British Airways 777-300 World Traveller Cabin. (Photo by British Airways)

Once you’ve decided on your aircraft and seat type, here is a guide to the best individual seats in each class on each British Airways aircraft:

Featured image by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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