In this series
This is our guide to picking the best seat on the British Airways Boeing 787-8 aircraft.
This is part of a new series of Head for Points British Airways seat guides. We will run a new article in this series every few days until we have covered the entire long-haul fleet. Once all of the articles are live we will go back and cross-reference them. We welcome your feedback and we will incorporate any relevant comments. For now, please consider them a ‘work in progress’ which will improve over the next 12 months.
You can find our other British Airways seat maps here (this list will be expanded as future ones are published):
British Airways A350 seat map and ‘best seat’ guide
British Airways A380 seat map and ‘best seat’ guide
For posterity: British Airways Boeing 747 ‘best seat’ guide
You can find out what aircraft is operating your British Airways flight by following the steps in this guide.
Introducing the Boeing 787-8
British Airways has 12 x Boeing 787-8 in its fleet, with the oldest delivered in 2013. You might recognise the aircraft from its large windows with electronic dimming rather than traditional window shades.
Like the A350, it is one of the latest aircraft types featuring carbon-fibre structures which make it lighter and more fuel efficient. This also allows for a lower cabin pressurisation altitude which help to reduce the effects of jet lag.
British Airways Boeing 787-8 seat map
Here is the full seat map for the British Airways Boeing 787-8. We will talk through each individual cabin in detail below. Click to enlarge:
How do you select a seat on British Airways?
British Airways permits seat selection from the time of booking.
Some Executive Club members get free seat selection via their Silver or Gold status. However, for everyone else, you have to pay a fee. This even includes passengers in Club World or Club Suite business class, which is very unusual. Most airlines which charge for seat selection only charge in their Economy cabins, but not British Airways. The only cabin where seat selection is free is First Class.
You can read the British Airways seat selection rules in our article here. This guide will help you choose the best seats on BA’s 787-8!
What are the best first class seats on the British Airways 787-8?
British Airways does not feature a First cabin on its 787-8.
If you are on a 787 with First, you are likely to be on a Boeing 787-9 – the slightly larger sister aircraft of the 787-8. We will add a link to our Boeing 787-9 guide when it is published.
Best Club World (business class) seats on a BA Boeing 787-8
In 2019, British Airways revealed a new business class seat called Club Suite. You’re not getting that!
New aircraft like the British Airways A350 and 787-10 fleets will get Club Suite first. There were plans to retrofit the 787-8 fleet from 2021 but I would expect this to be put back due to coronavirus.
That means that, for now, British Airways operates its legacy ‘yin and yang’ Club World product on its Boeing 787-8.
There are 35 business class seats on BA’s 787-8s in a 2-3-2 configuration. 21 are in a larger, forward cabin, whilst the remaining 14 are separated by a galley in a smaller second cabin.
These are VERY small cabins by British Airways standards. Some versions of the Boeing 777 have 48 Club World seats into a single cabin. The two cabins of 14 and 21 seats on the 787-8 feel far more intimate. The cabin itself also benefits from a classier design and colour scheme than you will find on older aircraft.
It is important to note that half the seats face backwards. Whilst this may sound like an odd way to fly, it is hardly noticeable and only becomes evident during take-off and landing. On a 787-8, rows A, E and K are rear-facing whilst B, D, F and J are forward-looking. An easy way to remember is that all seats on an aisle face forward.
Not all the seats have direct aisle access. Whilst all-aisle-access is a common feature on newer business class seats such as the Club Suite, in this configuration passengers sat in rows A, E and K must step over the legs of another passenger to exit.
If you value your privacy and peace and quiet, the best seats are undoubtedly in the forward cabin, rows 1 to 3. You are also likely to get served first in these rows. Be aware that although the business class cabin goes to row 7, rows 4 and 5 are not used. The numbering jumps straight from 3 to 6!
The middle seat…..
Whilst most solo travellers will probably prefer a window seat, some solo travellers DO like the solo middle seat in row E because it offers a lot of privacy with the dividers raised. With two ways out of the seat, you have double the chances of having an empty seat next to you on one side which would allow you to get in and out without climbing over anyone.
Note that, unlike the other fleets which have the Club World seat, the Boeing 787-8 does NOT have a ‘double bed’ pair in the centre of the middle block. It is a solo seat.
3A and 3K
By far the best seats in Club World on this aircraft are 3A and 3K. These have both a window AND direct aisle access, since they are in the last row. If you are sat in this row you are also one of the first to disembark. The only trade-off is that they are marginally closer to the galley and lavatory.
6A, D, F and J
These are the bulkhead (front row) seats of the smaller second Club World cabin. These four seats come with a few inches of extra legroom, and are also one of the first to disembark the aircraft.
7A and 7K
The last row of Club World seats also have both a window AND direct aisle access. The only trade-off is that they are last to be served and you may not get your first choice.
Best World Traveller Plus (premium economy) seats on a BA 787-8
There are 25 World Traveller Plus seats on a British Airways 787-8. Which one is the best?
The premium economy seats are situated in a single cabin behind Club World in rows 10 to 13. There are seven seats per row in a 2-3-2 layout.
Each seat is 18.5″ wide with a 38″ seat pitch (the gap between the back of the seat in front and yours) and comes with a 12″ screen in the seatback in front of you and USB charging.
Couples are likely to enjoy the window seats where you can have two seats together. It makes no sense to take two seats in the middle block. You might be tempted to pay for a seat reservation in order to guarantee a window pair.
The best row is row 10 which is the first row of the World Traveller Plus cabin. This row has the most legroom as there is nobody sitting in front of you. There are also no lavatories or galleys between the Club World and World Traveller Plus cabin to be concerned about.
The snag is that some of these seats are likely to be bassinet seats and may feature a baby! (Babies sleep a lot though and are generally less disruptive than you might imagine, except during take off and landing when the change in pressure can distress them.) You will also be the first to receive food if you are in Row 10. Note that your in flight entertainment screen and tray table will be stored in your armrest.
Best World Traveller (economy) seats on a BA 787-8
There are 154 economy seats on BA’s 787-8 in a 3-3-3 configuration, between rows 20 and 41.
World Traveller (economy) is divided into two cabins behind World Traveller Plus, divided by an emergency exit and toilets.
Each seat has a 17.6″ width, 31″ seat pitch, a 10″ screen in the seat-back in front.
The best seats are likely to be at the front of the cabin, in rows 20 and 21. These are closest to the exit, meaning you would be the first economy passengers to disembark.
Seats 20D, E, F and 21 A, B, C, H, J, K should have additional leg room as there are no seats in front, but be aware that your tray table and inflight entertainment screen are stored in the armrest. You are also likely to get your first choice of food.
Row 30 also gets additional legroom, since it is the first row of the second half of the economy cabin.
The further back down the cabin you go, the worse the seats get. You are closer to the lavatories and galley which may be noisy with cabin crew preparing meals and other passengers frequenting the toilet. You will also be the very last to disembark the plane.
The Boeing 787-8 is a bit of an oddity in the British Airways fleet with no First Class and the 2-3-2 (instead of 2-4-2) layout in Club World. The later Boeing 787-9 fleet added First Class, whilst the brand new (2020) Boeing 787-10 fleet has both First Class and the brand new Club Suite in business class.
You are, however, getting a modern plane with large windows and improved pressurisation and, in Club World, two surprisingly small and intimate cabins. Enjoy your flight!
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)