British Airways’ new First takes off today (February 10) following a £100m investment.
The new cabin – which includes a personal wardrobe, a bed which is almost half again as wide as the previous one, and personal electronic blinds – is installed on a B777 which flies from London Heathrow to Chicago O’ Hare.
The news comes just days after BA surprised the markets by posting its first operating profit in more than a year, but is still expected expects to rack up the heaviest annual losses since privatisation in 1987.
It also comes after chief executive Willie Walsh revealed the airline might drop its business class on a number of short-haul services in its battle to stem the record losses.
Willie Walsh said that cuts in business travel expenditure have made it unsustainable to fly executives in slightly larger seats for one or two hour journeys.
BA’s head of customer experience Mark Hassell, said:
“We have contemporised First and created an intimate private jet experience onboard. We have resisted gadgets and gimmicks and focused instead on simplicity and quality.
“Every feature has been carefully considered and researched to ensure we are giving our customers what they want.”
Each individual suite has its own personal wardrobe, a leather-bound writing desk that converts into a dining table, a new 15” in-flight entertainment screen and a buddy seat to enable customers to dine together.