The Definitive Guide to British Airways’ Direct Routes from The U.S. [Plane Types & Seat Options]

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British Airways is one of the largest airlines in the world. As the flag carrier for the country that contains Europe’s financial capital, it makes sense that British Airways has a huge fleet and route network. And Great Britain is frequented by tons of tourists year-round, which solidifies flight demand globally.

There’s also quite a bit of history to British Airways: they invented the modern lie-flat seat in business class, and used to be the chief innovator of premium-cabin travel products. However, the airline has recently fallen (far) behind compared to competitors like Emirates or Singapore Airlines.

British Airways operates the most aircraft of any airline by far and performs swaps extremely often — meaning we have plenty of ground to cover in this guide.

Table of contents

Table of Contents

Seat Options by Aircraft Type

British Airways operates a total of 11 different aircraft on their flights between America and London, and that number is growing. Specifically, they will introduce a brand-new business class seat on the A350-1000 starting at the end of 2019.

These seats will be their absolute best offering, featuring reverse herringbone seats with direct aisle access and a sliding door. At the moment, however, there isn’t much information about the hard product.

Let’s take a look at BA’s route summary chart for reference:

BA RouteFlight No.AircraftCabin ClassesFrequency
New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 112/114/116/172/174/176/178/182BA 112/114/176: Sometimes 747-400 (v3) and sometimes 777-200 (4-class)

BA 116/172/178: 747-400 (v3)

BA 174: Mostly 777-200 (4-class), sometimes 777-300 and 747-400 (v3)

BA 182: 777-200 (4-class)

63x weekly (8x daily except for 7x on Saturdays)
New York City (JFK) – London-Gatwick (LGW)BA 2272777-200 (v3)Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 268/280/282BA 268: A380

BA 280: 787-9

BA 282: 747-400 (v2)

First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy3x daily
Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 274747-400 (v1)First, Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Gatwick (LGW)BA 2276777-200 (v1)Business, Premium Economy, Economy3x weekly
Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 206/208/210BA 206: 747-400 (v2)

BA 208: A380

BA 210: 747-400 (v1)

First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy3x daily
Chicago (ORD) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 294/296BA 294: 747-400 (v3)

BA 296: 777-200 (4-class)

First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy2x daily
Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 216/230/292BA 216: 747-400 (v3)

BA 230: Mostly 787-8, and rarely A380/787-9

BA 292: Mostly 787-9, and rarely 787-8/777-200 (4-class)

747-400 (v3), A380, 787-9, 777-200 (4-class): First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy

787-8: Business, Premium Economy, Economy

17x weekly (3x weekly from BA 230)
Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 226Mostly 777-200 (4-class), and sometimes 787-9First, Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 192777-200 (v1)Business, Premium Economy, Economy6x weekly
Houston (IAH) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 194/196BA 194: Mixed: 777-200 (4-class) and 787-9

BA 196: 777-200 (modified 4-class)

First, Business, Premium Economy, EconomyBA 194: Daily

BA 196: 5x weekly

Denver (DEN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 218747-400 (v1)First, Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Philadelphia (PHL) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 66747-400 (v3)First, Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
New Orleans (MSY) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 224Mostly 787-8, and sometimes 787-9787-8: Business, Premium Economy, Economy

787-9: First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy

5x weekly
Phoenix (PHX) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 288747-400 (v1)First, Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
San Diego (SAN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 272747-400 (v3)First, Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Nashville (BNA) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 222787-8Business, Premium Economy, Economy4x weekly
Austin (AUS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 190777-200 (modified 4-class)First, Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Pittsburgh (PIT) – London-Heathrow (LHR) from April 2, 2019BA 170787-8Business, Premium Economy, Economy4x weekly
Charleston (CHS) – London-Heathrow (LHR) from April 4, 2019BA 220787-8Business, Premium Economy, Economy2x weekly
Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 184/188BA 184: Mostly 777-200 (4-class), and sometimes 787-9

BA 188: 787-9

777-200: First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy

787-9: First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy

2x daily
Baltimore (BWI) – London-Heathrow (LHR)BA 228Mostly 787-8, and rarely 787-9787-8: Business, Premium Economy, Economy

787-9: First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy

Daily
Orlando (MCO) – London-Gatwick (LGW)BA 2036777-200 (v2)Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily

As you can see, British Airways’ route network is deeply embedded in the U.S., with a huge supply of business and leisure travelers to serve. On top of this, each plane can have a different cabin configuration, which complicates things even more.

Before we do a deep dive into the specifics, let’s talk points.

Best Points to Earn to Fly British Airways

If you follow British Airways, you probably know about the insane fuel surcharges levied by the airline. These fuel surcharges are in excess of $1,100-$1,800 for round-trip premium cabin award tickets. One of the ways to reduce this is to book 2 one-ways, which will lower your burden by approximately $200.

Otherwise, fuel surcharges for British Airways-operated flights to/from London are a fact of life.

Some of the best miles to earn are Japan Airlines Mileage Bank, American Airlines AAdvantage, British Airways Avios, and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. Here’s how the transfer partners shake out:

Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, and British Airways Avios use a distance-based award chart, so the mileage cost will vary depending on your exact route.

For one-way economy flights, American Airlines charges 22,500 miles during off-peak and 30,000 miles otherwise. Business class requires 57,500 miles one-way, and first class costs 85,000 miles.

British Airways First Class Options

British Airways First Class 787-9 Seat View
British Airways First Class on 787-9

British Airways is headquartered in the financial hub of the world, as evidenced by the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals in London — so they have plenty of first class options. (Interestingly, British Airways even offers first class on the 787-9, which is rare.)

With British Airways first class, you can expect open-air reverse herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, as well as excellent bedding, solid food options, and great inflight Wi-Fi on a large number of flights.

Their service is known to be efficient (if a bit robotic), and the amenity kit is always a great souvenir. Importantly, there are tons of scheduling options that will allow you to arrive to London well-rested.

In this guide, we’ve ranked the available first class products in order from “best” to “worst” (in our opinion), starting with our first place winner: 747-400 (v3) first class.

Note that the version numbers for these products correspond to the seat maps as numbered on SeatGuru.

1. British Airways 747-400 (v3) First Class

There are 14 first class seats on British Airways’ 747-400 (v3), each measuring 22″ wide and 79″ long in bed mode. All of the first class seats are located at the nose of the aircraft, which makes for a serene, private flight.

Additionally, there are no lavatories located right next to any of the seats, which is a unique advantage of the 747-400 (v3). Instead, there’s a single galley located behind the last row of seats.

Here’s what the seat map looks like:

British Airways 747-400 v3 First Class Seat Map
British Airways 747-400 (v3) first class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The most private seats are 1A and 1K, but couples may find it difficult to talk if seated there. A good choice for couples seating is 4E and 4F.

You can find this 747-400 (v3) cabin configuration on the following routes between the United States and London:

  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 112/114/176
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 116/172/178
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 174
  • Chicago (ORD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 294
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 216
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • San Diego (SAN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

2. British Airways 747-400 (v1) First Class

Our second-place winner is virtually identical to the 747-400 (v3). The seat itself is slightly smaller, measuring 78″ in bed length as opposed to 79″ on the 747-400 (v3).

But the number of first class seats and configuration style are the same. There are 2 lavatories located behind the port side of the first class cabin, as shown here:

British Airways 747-400 v1 First Class Seat Map
British Airways 747-400 (v1) first class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

You can find this first class offering on the following routes to/from the United States:

  • Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 210
  • Denver (DEN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Phoenix (PHX) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

3. British Airways 747-400 (v2) First Class

The 747-400 (v2) features a similar setup as the 747-400 (v1) above. The main difference is the presence of a coat closet at the nose of the aircraft. This means that seats 1A and 1K will be less private, as there may be people retrieving their coats.

Nevertheless, the 14 first class seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, each measuring 22″ wide and 78″ in bed length.

The seat map looks like this:

British Airways 747-400 v2 First Class Seat Map
British Airways 747-400 (v2) first class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

You can find these seats on the following nonstop routes to/from London:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 282
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 206

4. British Airways 787-9 First Class

British Airways’ 747 is an iconic symbol, but the 787-9 showcases their most modern and high-tech first class product. The seats are much newer, the inflight technology is better, and climate control is superb.

The British Airways 787-9 first class section contains 8 seats spread out across 2 rows in a 1-2-1 arrangement. Each of the 8 seats is 22″ wide and 73″ when fully lie-flat. These seat dimensions are 5″-6″ shorter than the 747-400, which is a significant loss.

Airplanes are typically an incredibly dry environment, but the composite material of the 787-9 preserves moisture and creates a more comfortable atmosphere for travelers.

The more intimate cabin size and more comfortable cabin experience make the 787-9 one of British Airways’ best first class products.

Here’s what the seat map looks like:

British Airways 787-9 First Class Seat Map
British Airways 787-9 first class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

As you can see, the lavatories are located on the left side of the aircraft, while the galleys are located in at the right side. The most private seat will be 2K, which is furthest from those facilities. Couples traveling together might like 2E and 2F for easy conversation.

You can find the 787-9 on the following long-haul flights between the United States and Great Britain:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 280
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely on BA 230 and mostly on BA 282
  • Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes
  • Houston (IAH) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 194
  • New Orleans (MSY) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 188
  • Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 184
  • Baltimore (BWI) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely

5. British Airways A380 First Class

On the A380, BA’s first class cabin contains 14 fully lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seats are 22″ wide and 78″ in bed length.

These seats are actually the same size as the 747-400 (v1) and (v2), which is larger than the 787-9 above. However, the benefits of flying on the 787-9 outweigh those of the A380, primarily due to the enhanced technology of the 787-9 and less dense first class cabin.

Still, the A380 is the quietest aircraft out there, which will make your inflight experience quite nice. British Airways’ A380 first class cabin arrangement looks like this:

British Airways A380 First Class Seat Map
British Airways A380 first class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

Seats 3A and 3K will be the top picks for solo travelers, while 3E and 3F are best for traveling companions. The lavatories are located at the front of the aircraft, and the galley is right behind row 4, making row 3 an excellent compromise for both of those situations.

Here’s where to find these seats:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 268
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely on BA 230
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 208

6. British Airways 777-200 (4-class) First Class

Our next product is the 777-200 (4-class) offered by British Airways. There are 14 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, each 22″ wide and 78″ in pitch.

The 777-200 is a significantly louder aircraft with less comfortable seating, and it has more facilities around the first class area.

The seat map looks like this:

British Airways 777-200 4-Class First Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-200 (4-class) first class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats will be in either row 2 or row 3, which are a good distance from lavatories and galleys.

You can find this first class configuration on the following nonstop routes to/from the United States:

  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 174
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 182
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 112/114/176
  • Chicago (ORD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 296
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely on BA 292
  • Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly
  • Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 184
  • Houston (IAH) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 194

7. British Airways 777-200 (modified 4-class) First Class

British Airways operates another version of the 4-class 777-200, which has 12 first class seats instead of the normal 14. (Seats 3K and 4K are missing due to the presence of another galley.)

Find this aircraft on these routes:

  • Houston (IAH) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 196
  • Austin (AUS) – London-Heathrow (LHR) 

8. British Airways 777-300 First Class

Our last pick for British Airways first class is on the 777-300, which has 14 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Each of the seats is 22″ wide and 78″ in pitch. Here’s the seat map:

British Airways 777-300 First Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-300 first class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The unfavorable placement of facilities, older first class product, and relatively old technology of the aircraft put this particular product into last place.

If you fly this plane, choose row 1 for the best seats (furthest from the lavatories).

You can find this offering on the following routes from the United States:

  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 174
  • Houston (IAH) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 196

British Airways Business Class Options

British Airways Business Class 777-300
British Airways business class. Image courtesy of ba.com.

The inventor of the long-haul lie-flat seat, British Airways has many current business class options that can get you to and from the U.S. comfortably. We’ve ranked them from best to worst below.

Keep in mind that their recently-unveiled A350-1000 business class seat is not included in this ranking; we’ll update when it is rolled out in late 2019.

1. British Airways 747-400 (v3) Business Class

British Airways business class is dense. The seats are arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration with some facing forward while others face backward, though each has direct aisle access and is fully lie-flat.

On the 747-400, there are 86 business class seats that measure 20″ in width and 73″ in pitch/bed length. The seat maps for the lower and upper decks look like this:

British Airways 747-400 v3 Business Class Seat Map Lower Deck
British Airways 747-400 (v3) business class seat map lower deck. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.
British Airways 747-400 v3 Business Class Seat Map Upper Deck
British Airways 747-400 (v3) business class seat map upper deck. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

Generally, business class seats on the upper deck of the 747 will be better due to the less dense placement (no middle section). The best seats are A and K seats in rows 62 and 63 on the upper deck.

Find this exact business class arrangement on the following U.S. routes:

  • Chicago (ORD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 294
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 112/114/176
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 116/172/178
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 174
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • San Diego (SAN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 216

2. British Airways 747-400 (v1) Business Class

Business class seats on the 747-400 (v1) are slightly smaller, but there are also fewer seats. These business class seats are 20″ wide and 72″ in pitch. Additionally, there are a total of 52 seats as shown on the following lower and upper deck seat maps:

British Airways 747-400 v1 Business Class Seat Map Lower Deck
British Airways 747-400 (v1) business class seat map lower deck. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.
British Airways 747-400 v1 Business Class Seat Map Upper Deck
British Airways 747-400 (v1) business class seat map upper deck. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

Again, the best seats will be the window seats in rows 62 and 63, which will provide the most privacy. You can find the 747-400 (v1) flown by British Airways on the following routes between the United States and London:

  • Denver (DEN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 210
  • Phoenix (PHX) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

3. British Airways 747-400 (v2) Business Class

The British Airways 747-400 (v2) features the same business class seat dimensions as the 747-400 (v1) above, though the main difference is there are 70 seats instead of 52. The lower and upper deck seat maps look like this:

British Airways 747-400 v2 Business Class Seat Map Lower Deck
British Airways 747-400 (v2) business class seat map lower deck. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.
British Airways 747-400 v2 Business Class Seat Map Upper Deck
British Airways 747-400 (v2) business class seat map upper deck. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are in rows 52 and 63 due to the favorable cabin arrangement and window seating.

You can find this 70-seat business class cabin on the following routes to/from the United States:

  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 206
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 282

4. British Airways A380 Business Class

The A380 from British Airways carries a whopping 97 business class seats, each measuring 20″ wide and 72″ in pitch. Interestingly, the upper deck contains a 2-3-2 arrangement, while the lower deck has a 2-4-2 arrangement.

The upper deck is much denser on the A380 than the 747-400, which is why we rank this aircraft lower.

Here’s what the lower and upper deck seat maps look like:

British Airways A380 Business Class Seat Map Lower Deck
British Airways A380 business class seat map lower deck. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.
British Airways A380 Business Class Seat Map Upper Deck
British Airways A380 business class seat map upper deck. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are in row 59, at the back of the upper deck section. These seats are furthest away from lavatories and will have the least foot traffic near them.

You can find British Airways’ A380 on the following nonstop routes between London and the United States:

  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely on BA 230
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 208
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 268

5. British Airways 787-9 Business Class

British Airways’ 787-9 features business class seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. There are 7 rows for a total of 42 lie-flat seats, each with direct aisle access. The seats are 20″ wide and 72″ in pitch/bed length. The seat map looks as follows:

British Airways 787-9 Business Class Seat Map
British Airways 787-9 business class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are 6A and 6K for solo travelers and 6A/6B or 6J/K for couples. These seats are far from the lavatories and located at the front of the business class section.

You can find the British Airways 787-9 flown on the following nonstop routes to/from the United States:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes
  • Baltimore (BWI) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely
  • Houston (IAH) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 194
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 280
  • Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 188
  • Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 184
  • New Orleans (MSY) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely on BA 230 and mostly on BA 282

6. British Airways 787-8 Business Class

British Airways also operates the older 787-8, which features the same 2-3-2 arrangement and has 35 seats in business class as shown here:

British Airways 787-8 Business Class Seat Map
British Airways 787-8 business class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The 787-8 is less comfortable and less technologically advanced than the 787-9. The 787-9 is significantly newer, which is why we rank the 787-8 below the 787-9.

You’ll be able to find the British Airways 787-8 on these routes:

  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 230 and rarely on BA 292
  • New Orleans (MSY) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly
  • Nashville (BNA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) 
  • Pittsburgh (PIT) – London-Heathrow (LHR) from April 2, 2019
  • Charleston (CHS) – London-Heathrow (LHR) from April 4, 2019
  • Baltimore (BWI) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly

7. British Airways 777-200 (v3) Business Class

The 777-200 (v3) business class aboard British Airways has 32 seats, each measuring 20″ wide, 73″ in pitch, and 72″ in bed length.

This arrangement is a denser 2-4-2 configuration across 4 rows as shown below:

British Airways 777-200 v3 Business Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-200 (v3) business class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

There’s only 1 route on which the 777-200 (v3) is offered by British Airways:

  • New York City (JFK) – London-Gatwick (LGW) 

8. British Airways 777-200 (v2) Business Class

These 40 lie-flat bed seats are 20″ wide, 73″ in pitch, and 72″ long in bed mode with a 2-4-2 configuration. Here’s what the business class section looks like:

British Airways 777-200 v2 Business Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-200 (v2) business class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are 11A and 11K for solo travelers, and the best couples seats are 11A/B and 11J/K. For more travelers in a group, the best family seats are 11D, E, F, and G.

You can find the 777-200 (v2) flown on this single route to/from London:

  • Orlando (MCO) – London-Gatwick (LGW)

9. British Airways 777-200 (v1) Business Class

British Airways’ 777-200 (v1) contains 48 business class seats in a 2-4-2 arrangement. The seats are each 20″ wide and 72″ in pitch/bed length. The seat map looks like this:

British Airways 777-200 v1 Business Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-200 (v1) business class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are located in the mini-cabin at the back of the business class section. Specifically, row 11 seats are ideal due to the extra privacy afforded by their placement.

Here are the routes offered by British Airways featuring the 777-200 (v1):

  • Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Gatwick (LGW)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

10. British Airways 777-200 (4-class + modified 4-class) Business Class

We will be lumping the 777-200 (4-class) and the 777-200 (modified 4-class) together, since they share the same business class product and layout.

There are 48 business class seats spread out across 6 rows as shown here:

British Airways 777-200 4-Class Business Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-200 (4-class) business class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats will be window seats in row 15, which have slightly more legroom and are far from the lavatories. You can find the 4-class 777-200 on these nonstop routes between the U.S. and London:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly
  • Chicago (ORD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 296
  • Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 184
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 174
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 182
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 112/114/176
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely on BA 292
  • Houston (IAH) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 196 and mostly on BA 194
  • Austin (AUS) – London-Heathrow (LHR) 

11. British Airways 777-300 Business Class

Our last choice for British Airways’ business class is aboard the 777-300. Unfortunately, all the business class seats are bunched together; these 56 seats are arranged across 7 rows in a 2-4-2 configuration:

British Airways 777-300 Business Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-300 business class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are situated in rows 10 and 11, since they are as far as possible from lavatories. You’ll find the 777-300 on the following route:

  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 174

British Airways Premium Economy Class Options

British Airways Premium Economy
British Airways premium economy. Image courtesy of traveller.com.au.

For those who don’t need a lie-flat seat, British Airways has some solid premium economy options. All of these seats are identical in size: 18.5″ wide with a 38″ pitch.

Thus, our ranking focuses on the number of seats, configuration, and number of preferential seat options.

1. British Airways 787-8 Premium Economy Class

Our top choice is the 787-8, which contains 25 premium economy seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. The seat map looks like this:

British Airways 787-8 premium economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

There are relatively few seats and the seating configuration is favorable, with the best seats in row 10. You’ll find this premium economy arrangement on these routes:

  • Baltimore (BWI) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly
  • Nashville (BNA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) 
  • New Orleans (MSY) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 230 and rarely on BA 292
  • Pittsburgh (PIT) – London-Heathrow (LHR) from April 2, 2019
  • Charleston (CHS) – London-Heathrow (LHR) from April 4, 2019

2. British Airways A380 Premium Economy Class

Our runner-up for premium economy is the A380 — it’s the quietest aircraft out there, and this not-so-dense premium economy section keeps it near the top of the pack.

There are a total of 55 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, as shown here:

British Airways A380 Premium Economy Class Seat Map Upper Deck
British Airways A380 premium economy class seat map upper deck. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are located at the front of the premium economy section. These seats have tons of extra legroom, as there is nothing in front of them.

You’ll find the British Airways A380 on the following nonstop routes to/from the United States:

  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 208
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 268
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely on BA 230

3. British Airways 777-200 (v1) and (v2) Premium Economy Class

The next products are the 777-200 (v1) and (v2), which we’ll consider together since they have the same configuration: 24 seats in a 2-4-2 arrangement across 3 rows.

Here’s what the seat map looks like:

British Airways 777-200 v1 and v2 Premium Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-200 (v1) and (v2) premium economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are in row 12, as they have tons of extra legroom. You can find the 777-200 (v1) and (v2) flown on the following U.S. routes:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Gatwick (LGW)
  • Orlando (MCO) – London-Gatwick (LGW)

4. British Airways 747-400 (v2) Premium Economy Class

The next product is still in a 2-4-2 configuration, except there are 30 premium economy seats are follows:

British Airways 747-400 v2 Premium Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 747-400 (v2) premium economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are highlighted in green above due to the additional legroom. You can find this exact seat layout on the following 747-400 (v2) routes:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 282
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 206

5. British Airways 747-400 (v3) Premium Economy Class

The 747-400 (v3) features 30 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration as shown here:

British Airways 747-400 v3 Premium Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 747-400 (v3) premium economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

There are lavatories and galleys located at the back of the section, which diminishes the number of preferential seats. You will find the best seats in row 33.

Find the 747-400 (v3) flown on the following nonstop routes:

  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 216
  • San Diego (SAN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Chicago (ORD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 294
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 112/114/176
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 174
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 116/172/178

6. British Airways 787-9 Premium Economy Class

Our next best option is the 787-9 — what it loses in cabin size, it wins in the overall design of the aircraft. There are 39 premium economy seats on the 787-9, with each row configured in a 2-3-2 arrangement. The seat map looks like this:

British Airways 787-9 Premium Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 787-9 premium economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are in row 16 due to the extra legroom at the front. You can find the 787-9 flown on the following U.S. routes:

  • Houston (IAH) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 194
  • Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely on BA 230 and mostly on BA 282
  • Baltimore (BWI) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely
  • Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 188
  • Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 184
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 280
  • New Orleans (MSY) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

7. British Airways 777-200 (4-class) Premium Economy Class

The next spot goes to the 40-seat premium economy section on the 777-200 (4-class). The arrangement is 2-4-2, with the lavatories located at the back of the section.

British Airways 777-200 4-Class Premium Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-200 (4-class) premium economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The seats to aim for are row 21, while the seats to avoid are row 25, since they are close to the lavatories.

You can find this 777-200 (4-class) premium economy offering on the following routes:

  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely on BA 292
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 112/114/176
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 174
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 182
  • Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 184
  • Chicago (ORD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 296
  • Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly
  • Austin (AUS) – London-Heathrow (LHR) 
  • Houston (IAH) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 196 and mostly on BA 194

8. British Airways 747-400 (v1) Premium Economy Class

The 747-400 (v1) has a unique premium economy seating arrangement. The rows are in a 2-4-2 layout, with the lavatories and galleys located at the left rear as shown here:

British Airways 747-400 v1 Premium Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 747-400 (v1) premium economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are 12A/B/D/E/F/G and 11J/K due to the additional legroom you’ll enjoy. You can find British Airways’ 747-400 (v1) on the following routes between London and the United States:

  • Phoenix (PHX) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 210
  • Denver (DEN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

9. British Airways 777-300 Premium Economy Class

The 777-300 lags behind the other offerings due to a lack of preferential seats and the seats being relatively old. Additionally, the 44 premium economy seats make for a large section, which can diminish your privacy.

Here’s what the 2-4-2 seat map looks like:

British Airways 777-300 Premium Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-300 premium economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are 22B, 22J, and 21D-G. The main concern with row 21 seats is that they are right behind the business class lavatories. You can find the 777-300 on the following route:

  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 174

10. British Airways 777-200 (v3) Premium Economy Class

Our last pick for premium economy is the 777-200 (v3), due to a larger cabin size and absence of preferential seats. There are 52 seats with the lavatory and galley at the front, and no exit row seats as shown here:

British Airways 777-200 v3 Premium Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-200 (v3) premium economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

There are no seats that allow for extra legroom. With the facilities located at the front of this cabin, seats in the back (row 16) will be the most ideal.

You can find the 777-200 (v3) offered on this singular route:

  • New York City (JFK) – London-Gatwick (LGW) 

British Airways Economy Class Options

British Airways Economy
British Airways economy. Image courtesy of londonairtravel.com.

British Airways economy is one of the few ways you can get an affordable flight to Europe on a full-service legacy carrier. These seats are smaller than average, but they are still reasonable for some of the prices you can get.

We’ll be ranking these products based on the seat size and number/quality of preferential seats, as well as the aircraft itself.

1. British Airways 777-200 (v2) Economy Class

The 777-200 (v2) wins first place due to the large seat size, favorable configuration, and preferential seat options it offers. These seats are 18.1″ wide and 31″ in pitch, with 219 arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration as shown here:

British Airways 777-200 v2 Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-200 (v2) economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are row 15 and 16C/H since they have a lot of extra legroom. In addition, the seats are located at the front of the aircraft, which means you will be able to deplane first.

Here’s where you can find the 777-200 (v2) between the United States and London:

  • Orlando (MCO) – London-Gatwick (LGW)

2. British Airways 777-200 (v3) Economy Class

Our next choice is the 777-200 (v3), with seats arranged in a denser 3-4-3 configuration. The seats are the same size as the 777-200 (v2), with the main difference being the number of seats and more crowded feel due to the arrangement.

Here’s the map of this large 252-person economy section:

British Airways 777-200 v3 Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-200 (v3) economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are the exit row seats in row 20, of which there are 10. You can find this exact seat layout on the following British Airways routes to/from the United States:

  • New York City (JFK) – London-Gatwick (LGW) 

3. British Airways A380 Economy Class

British Airways’ A380 economy seats are slightly narrower, at 17.5″ wide and 31″ in pitch. Seats on the lower deck are in a 3-4-3 configuration, while seats on the upper deck are arranged in a 2-4-2 pattern.

Here’s what the lower and upper deck seat maps look like:

British Airways A380 Economy Class Seat Map Lower Deck
British Airways A380 economy class seat map lower deck. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.
British Airways A380 Economy Class Seat Map Upper Deck
British Airways A380 economy class seat map upper deck. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

If you’re a solo traveler, the best seats are 25D, 70B, 70J, 80B, and 80J. Choose 20B/C and 20H/J if you’re traveling as a couple. There are a lot of preferential seats in this layout, but a cabin size of 303 seats drops the ranking of the A380, which you can find on these routes:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 268
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 208
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely on BA 230

4. British Airways 787-9 Economy Class

The next aircraft is the 787-9, which has several preferential seats. The relatively small economy section of 127 is configured in a 3-3-3 manner as shown here:

British Airways 787-9 Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 787-9 economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are in row 30, with the exception of 30A and 30K (the protrusion of the exit door will infringe on your leg space).

BA’s 787-9 is a solid choice due to the climate control technology on this new aircraft. You can find it flown on these routes:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 280
  • Houston (IAH) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 194
  • New Orleans (MSY) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely on BA 230 and mostly on BA 282
  • Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 188
  • Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 184
  • Baltimore (BWI) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely

5. British Airways 787-8 Economy Class

Next we have the older version of the 787-9: the 787-8. The seating arrangement is similar, only with more seats — the 787-8 has a total of 154 economy seats as shown here:

British Airways 787-8 Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 787-8 economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

As you can see, the exit row seats are located by 3 lavatories, which diminishes their quality. However, if you’re fine with the location of the lavatories, feel free to enjoy the extra legroom in row 30.

You can find the 787-8 operated on the following British Airways nonstop routes to/from the United States:

  • Charleston (CHS) – London-Heathrow (LHR) from April 4, 2019
  • Pittsburgh (PIT) – London-Heathrow (LHR) from April 2, 2019
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 230 and rarely on BA 292
  • New Orleans (MSY) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly
  • Nashville (BNA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) 
  • Baltimore (BWI) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly

6. British Airways 777-200 (4-class) Economy Class

The 4-class 777-200 has a very small economy section: just 122 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. The seat map looks like this:

British Airways 777-200 4-Class Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-200 (4-class) economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

In this case, the exit row seats are in row 26, though the proximity of the lavatories decreases the attractiveness of the seats. Still, seats 26B-J would be best for extra legroom.

You can find the 777-200 (4-class) on the following BA routes between London and America:

  • Chicago (ORD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 296
  • Atlanta (ATL) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 182
  • Newark (EWR) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 184
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) mostly on BA 174
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 112/114/176
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) rarely on BA 292
  • Austin (AUS) – London-Heathrow (LHR) 
  • Houston (IAH) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 196 and mostly on BA 194

7. British Airways 747-400 (v3) Economy Class

The British Airways 747-400 (v3) has 145 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration. The seat map looks like this:

British Airways 747-400 v3 Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 747-400 (v3) economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

We like this version of the 747-400 due to the small economy section size. Furthermore, the exit row seats in rows 39 and 40 are far from the lavatories. You can find the 747-400 (v3) on these routes:

  • Chicago (ORD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 294
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • San Diego (SAN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 216
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 174
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 116/172/178
  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 112/114/176

8. British Airways 777-300 Economy Class

The next product is the 777-300, which contains 185 economy seats in a 3-3-3 arrangement as shown here:

British Airways 777-300 Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-300 economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are 29C and 29H because there is a missing seat in front, which increases your legroom. You can find this seat layout on 1 route to/from the U.S.:

  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) sometimes on BA 174

9. British Airways 747-400 (v1) Economy Class

BA’s 747-400 (v1) has 243 economy seats in a 3-4-3 configuration. There are only a couple of truly preferential seats: 29A and 29K.

Here’s what the seat map looks like:

British Airways 747-400 v1 Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 747-400 (v1) economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

You can find the 747-400 (v1) flown on these routes:

  • Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Denver (DEN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Phoenix (PHX) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 210

10. British Airways 777-200 (v1) Economy Class

The 777-200 (v1) seats up to 203 in economy using a 3-3-3 arrangement as shown here:

British Airways 777-200 v1 Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 777-200 (v1) economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

The best seats are at the exit row in row 26. Be sure to avoid window seats here, as the exit door will cut off your legroom. You’ll be able to find the 777-200 (v1) on the following routes between London and the United States:

  • Las Vegas (LAS) – London-Gatwick (LGW)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – London-Heathrow (LHR)

11. British Airways 747-400 (v2) Economy Class

The very last contender in economy is the 747-400 (v2), which does not have any truly preferential seats. There are 185 economy seats in a 3-4-3 configuration as follows:

British Airways 747-400 v2 Economy Class Seat Map
British Airways 747-400 v2 economy class seat map. Image courtesy of seatguru.com.

You’ll find the 747-400 (v2) on the following routes:

  • Miami (MIA) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 206
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) on BA 282

Final Thoughts

British Airways seems to operate a gigantic conglomeration of different aircraft with no rhyme or reason as to why. Additionally, the aircraft are swapped very frequently, which can affect your inflight experience.

Still, you now have a comprehensive outlook on British Airways’ U.S. routes, their operated aircraft, and classes of service, which can help you make decisions when booking.


Featured Image: Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

FAQ

What's the best way to book British Airways first class?

One of the best ways is to use 85,000 AA miles for one-way flights in first class between the United States and London.

For more information, check out the best ways to book British Airways first class.

What's the best way to book British Airways business class?

One of the best ways to book BA business class is to use 57,500 AA miles one-way between the United States and London.

Check out our guide on the best ways to book British Airways business class.

What are the best ways to book British Airways premium economy class?

You can use anywhere from 35,000-50,000 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for one-way premium economy, depending on what your departure city is.

You can also use anywhere from 26,000-32,500 BA Avios for one-way premium economy. The exact price varies since British Airways uses a distance-based award chart.

What's the best way to book British Airways economy class?

The best deal is using British Airways Avios. You’ll pay 13,000-16,250 Avios plus ~$200 in fuel surcharges. This is not the best idea, since you’ll still have to pay a lot in fuel surcharges.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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