British Airways Confirms It’s Making Its Heathrow 777s More Uncomfortable Too

a large airplane flying in the sky may receive commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. does not include all card companies or all available card offers.

Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission which helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published.

At the beginning of the week British Airways unveiled the new cabins it is installing on the Boeing 777 aircraft it operates out of its Gatwick base. The biggest change passengers will see is that the airline has squeezed an extra seat into each row of Economy Class meaning that the already cramped seating conditions are about to get worse…..but it turns out that Gatwick will not be the only base to get these aircraft.

a row of seats with monitorsBritish Airways High-Density Boeing 777 Economy Class – Image BA

The BA press release detailing the cabin changes failed to mention the increased number of seats and the decreased level of passenger comfort in the Economy Class cabin, but it did go on to mention that the Premium Economy cabin has had a make over too.

Thankfully no more seats are being added to the rows in Premium Economy and, on the whole, the changes look positive (details here). British Airways also told us that it’s Heathrow 777 fleet would see the new Premium Economy seats fitted from autumn/fall 2019.

Thanks to good work by Business Traveller we now know that this last bit of information was a typo in the BA press release.

What the press release should have said (and it says this now) is that its “Heathrow’s Boeing 777 fleet will be fitted with the new World Traveller seat from autumn 2019” (emphasis is mine)

“World Traveller” is BA’s name for Economy Class so this means that the high density Economy Class seating isn’t just going to be confined to the airline’s routes out of Gatwick – Heathrow is taking the hit too.

This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. The investor day presentation at which BA first broke the news that it was about to make passengers more uncomfortable mentioned that some Heathrow aircraft would be reconfigured too. so apparently BA hasn’t changed its mind.

The original plan was for BA to reconfigure a total of 25 of its Boeing 777 with tighter seating in the Economy Class cabin so, if that plan still holds true and with Gatwick housing 10 of the reconfigured aircraft, that leaves 15 of the Heathrow fleet’s 777s to be fitted with the tighter cabins.

Interestingly while we’re told that some of the Heathrow 777s are getting the more uncomfortable seating from autumn/fall 2019 there’s no mention of whether these aircraft will get the reconfigured Premium Economy cabin too.

a row of seats in an airplaneBritish Airways High-Density Boeing 777 Premium Economy Class – Image BA

Route Speculation

The airline hasn’t given any indication as to which routes are likely to get the reconfigured aircraft but, if I was to speculate (and I’m about to), I’d guess that non premium-heavy routes to the US (like Philadelphia, Vegas and San Diego) may get the densified aircraft as that would line up with what BA’s transatlantic partner (American Airlines) already offers.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see routes to Mumbai, Bangkok and New Delhi considered for high-density 777 service.

As I’ve said, this is pure speculation on my part and the reality is that BA could schedule its reconfigured aircraft on just about any of its routes out of Heathrow.

a plane at an airport

Bottom Line

This is just the start. In time all of BA’s 777 aircraft will have 10-across seating in Economy Class because there’s no sense in the airline doing anything else.

Most of the other airlines flying across the Atlantic already offer 10-across seating (or the equivalent of) in their Economy Class cabins so there’s no reason for BA not to follow suit.

This is where elite status and the advanced seat selection benefit that comes with it becomes a little more important. If you get to select your seat in advance you still won’t be able to escape the tighter seats, but at least you can book yourself into an exit row where the discomfort isn’t exacerbated by 31″ of leg room.

Featured Image: Paul Evans via Flickr


  1. PHL may not be the highest-yielding traffic atm, but they currently have the Super-J (86J) config of the 744 daily and gain an extra 789 3x weekly in the summer which is also in a premium config. I would not lump it into the same leisure group as LAS.

    • Agreed. The way I phrased that paragraph does read as if I see PHL as a leisure destination…but I don’t. I was trying to say (badly!) that it’s a destination American serves from London with cramped Economy Class seating (the A330 has seats as tight as 16.8″ wide) so BA could get away with 10-across without passengers having an escape.

Comments are closed.