With British Airways having just taken delivery of its first 787 Dreamliner, we take a moment to look at the cabin layout.
Thus far, only the smallest model in the 787 range, the 8 series, is in operation; that means that exact like-for-like comparisons are possible between the various airlines.
British Airways has 8 of the 787-8 series on order and all 8 will be configured with a 3 cabin layout consisting of 154 seats in World Traveller, 25 in World Traveller Plus and 35 in Club World.
The 787-8 series has a cabin interior width that is some 38cms wider than the Airbus A330 but 41cms narrower than the 777-200. In World Traveller, British Airways has opted for a 3-3-3 configuration, the same as for its fleet of 777s (and therefore affording less individual space). Only a handful of airlines have opted for the more spacious 2-4-2 configuration, including the 2 largest operators of the aircraft, ANA & JAL. The majority of airlines, including Ethiopian Airlines, United, LAN, LOT, Qatar Airways and Air India have followed British Airways with a 3-3-3 cabin. The only other UK airline to currently operate the 787, Thomson, also operate a 3-3-3 cabin but with 2 inches more legroom than British Airways!
Although there will be those who expected British Airways to opt for the more generous 2-4-2 configuration, to be fair to the airline it should also be pointed out that their 3-3-3 configuration on the 777, even the largest 300 series, is more generous than many airlines, Emirates included, who have opted for a 3-4-3 cabin.
In front of World Traveller, British Airways have a small World Traveller Plus cabin consisting of just 3 rows. Unlike World Traveller however, where the seating configuration is the same as the 777 series, passengers flying World Traveller Plus on the 787-8 will enjoy a bit more elbow-room with the 2-3-2 configuration contrasting with the 2-4-2 layout found on the 777.
At the very front, and taking up a fair share of the aircraft, is Club World. Here too the airline have diverged from the norm with a slightly strange seating configuation of 2-3-2, 1 seat less than the 2-4-2 found on both the 777 & 747. Losing 1 seat does provide a bit more cabin space although the passenger in the middle of the row of 3 might feel slightly odd. It also contrasts with a number of British Airways competitors who have opted for an even more spacious 2-2-2 cabin in business class.
Of course there is more to passenger comfort than just the seating configuration and one thing that all passengers on British Airways new 787 will appreciate is the airline’s latest seating and in-flight entertainment in World Traveller & World Traveller Plus.