In this series
This is our guide to picking the best seat on the British Airways Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
It is part of a new series of Head for Points British Airways seat guides. We have been working through the long-haul fleet and only the Boeing 777 now remains until the Boeing 787-10 is more widely available. 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
British Airways Boeing 787-8 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 787-9
British Airways has 18 Boeing 787-9 aircraft in its fleet. It also has a fleet of 12 x 787-8s, the smaller variant, and 12 of the larger 787-10 on order. The first two have just been delivered.
You might recognise the 787 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 and allow for a lower cabin pressurisation altitude which help to reduce the effects of jet lag.
British Airways Boeing 787-9 seat map
Here is the full seat map for BA’s 787-9s. 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 787-9!
What are the best First class seats on the British Airways 787-9?
The Boeing 787-8 fleet was ordered without a First Class cabin, so it was a relief to see British Airways add it back to the 787-9 and 787-10 orders.
British Airways uses the newest generation of its First seat on these aircraft, originally launched in 2015. There are 8 seats in the First class cabin on BA’s 787-9s, in a 1-2-1 layout across two rows. This makes it a very private and intimate cabin.
Unlike BA’s latest business class Club Suite seat upgrade, the First seats do not feature a closing door. However, they remain very private with an enclosed shell. Seats along the outside are angled towards the window whilst the aisle seats are angled towards each other:
Let’s be honest – there are no ‘bad’ seats in the first class cabin, with all seats virtually identical. However, you may prefer to select the following based upon your personal preferences.
If you are travelling alone, seat 2K is an excellent option as it is on the quieter side of the aircraft. You sacrifice the ‘prestige’ of being in the first row for being a few feet further from the galley where cabin crew prepare meals. Failing this, any of the window seats will get you a window (obviously) and a solo seat with no neighbour.
For people travelling in pairs, the middle seats are the obvious choice. These have a retractable divider which you can keep lowered if you want to have a chat or raise if you are fed up of each other! 1E and 1F are a good choice here. However, for those couples who can cope with being a few feet apart for a few hours, you may still prefer two window seats, one behind the other. Rob says that he and his wife always did this before the kids came along!
Best Club World / Club Suite (business class) seats on a BA 787-9
In 2019, British Airways revealed a new business class seat called Club Suite. New aircraft like BA’s A350 and 787-10 will get Club Suite first, whilst BA’s 787-9 fleet won’t get a refit until 2021.
That means that, for now, British Airways operates its legacy yin and yang product on its Boeing 787-9s.
There are 42 business class seats on BA’s 787-9s in a 2-3-2 configuration. 14 are in a smaller, forward cabin, whilst the remaining 28 are separated by a galley in a second, larger cabin.
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 787-9, 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.
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.
If you value your privacy and peace and quiet, the best seats are undoubtedly in the smaller, forward cabin, made up of rows 6 and 7. Row 6 is exceptionally good as it is further from the galley behind row 7 and therefore likely to be quieter. You are also likely to be first to receive meals.
6A and 6K
Which exact seat is best for you will depend on whether you prefer a window or having direct aisle access. 6A and 6K are rearward-facing and have windows whilst 6B, 6D, 6F and 6J are forward-looking and have aisle access.
7A and 7K
By far the best seats in this cabin, however, are 7A and 7K. These have both a window AND direct aisle access, since they are in the last row. The only trade-off is that they are marginally closer tot he galley and lavatory.
13A and 13K
If you are looking at the larger Club World cabin (rows 10 to 13), then row 13 should be your top pick. Passengers in 13A and 13K again hit the jackpot with both a window and direct aisle access. The only danger here is that you may not get your first choice of meal since this row is the last to be served.
Best World Traveller Plus (premium economy) seats on a BA 787-9
There are 39 World Traveller Plus seats on a British Airways 787-9. Which one is the best?
The premium economy seats are situated in a single cabin behind Club World in rows 16 to 21. 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 16 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 16. Note that your in flight entertainment screen and tray table will be stored in your armrest.
If at all possible, avoid row 21 which has missing windows and is close to the toilets.
Best World Traveller (economy) seats on a BA 787-9
There are 127 economy seats on BA’s 787-9 in a 3-3-3 configuration, between rows 30 and 44.
World Traveller (economy) is contained in one large cabin at the back of the plane, behind World Traveller Plus.
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. These are closest to the exit, meaning you would be the first economy passengers to disembark.
Seats in row 30 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.
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 787-9 is a bit of an oddity in the British Airways fleet with the 2-3-2 (instead of 2-4-2) layout in Club World. The brand new (2020) Boeing 787-10 fleet has the brand new Club Suite in business class which makes it far preferable.
You are, however, getting a modern plane with large windows and improved pressurisation. The First Class seat is the latest version, albeit based on an old design, and in Club World you have two surprisingly small and intimate cabins. Enjoy your flight!
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)