British Airways First Class Space on New 787-9 Dreamliner from USA to Europe

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According to Airline Route, British Airways has begun operating its 787-9 Dreamliner on three routes from London-Heathrow:

  • Delhi
  • Abu Dhabi/Muscat
  • Kuala Lumpur

In 2016, it adds a ton of 787-9 destinations including several in the United States:

  • Austin from February 1
  • Newark from April 2
  • Philadelphia from April 9
  • San Jose from May 4
  • Houston from August 1
  • Boston from October 1

The British Airways 787-9 Dreamliner is exciting both because it is a brand new plane and because British Airways features First Class on the plane, which the British Airways 787-8 doesn’t have.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 5.56.30 PM

These flights have fuel surcharges, but in some case, the fuel surcharge is low enough that I just might bite on an award with American Airlines miles before the American Airlines devaluation on March 22, 2016.

The Product

British Airways’ 787-9 has 8 First Class beds in two rows on 1-2-1 seating, meaning direct aisle access for all passengers. Business Class has 42 flat beds in a 2-3-2 layout.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 5.56.15 PM

Here’s how the First Class cabin looks on the British Airways 787-9. You can find a lot more photos at Aviation Week.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 9.43.25 PM
Source: http://aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/whats-new-bas-boeing-787-9-first#slide-1-field_images-1367021

There are nicer First Classes, like several Asian and Middle Eastern Airlines, but First Class on the British Airways 787-9 looks very nice overall.

The Award Space

Delhi <-> London

To me, Delhi to London is the most intriguing route.

For one thing, American Airlines charges only 40,000 miles one way between the Middle East or Indian Subcontinent and Europe even though Delhi to London is a 10 hour flight. For another, fuel surcharges are almost bearable at $273 one way on the route.

Award space is excellent and predictable in First Class on the route in both directions.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.28.31 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.29.08 PM Unfortunately much of that award space is on a British Airways 777, not 787. You can see the aircraft on aa.com by selecting a flight and clicking Flight Details.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.31.29 PMLuckily Business Class on the Dreamliner, also flat bed is wide open for only 30,000 American Airlines miles one way.
Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.28.42 PM And this space is on the Dreamliner.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.31.35 PMAs with all the routes in this post, fuel surcharges are high. Taxes are only high leaving London, so you save a lot of money by flying to London on a Dreamliner instead of flying out of London.

For instance, London to Delhi in Business Class is 30,000 American Airlines miles + $501.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.32.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.32.07 PM The other direction is an extra hour of flying for the same 30,000 miles, but only $273, a savings of $228.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.32.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.32.59 PM

Kuala Lumpur <-> London

This is the longest route, though I am tempered in my enthusiasm for flying British Airways First Class when Malaysia Airlines First Class on its A380 is nicer and widely available on the route for the same number of American Airlines miles.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.34.37 PM

First Class award space costs 70,000 American Airlines miles one way and is widely available if you have flexible dates.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.33.53 PM

In First Class, on British Airways’ Dreamliner, you’d pay 70,000 American Airlines miles + $279 from Kuala Lumpur to London.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.34.10 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.34.42 PM

Muscat/Abu Dhabi <-> London

I didn’t even check. I’d so much rather use 40,000 American Airlines miles to fly Etihad First Class on its A380 from Abu Dhabi to London.

American Routes

The first American route to see 787-9 Dreamliner action will be Austin from February 1, 2016 on. Award space is pretty good in February 2016 on the route.

In the first month, Austin to London has First Class award space on 13 days.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.36.48 PM London to Austin also has award space on 13 days in the first month.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.36.42 PMUnfortunately, there isn’t much of a break in out-of-pocket costs for flying to London instead of out of it. Flying out of Lodnon has $538 in taxes and fuel surcharges in addition to the 62,500 American Airlines miles.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.37.40 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.37.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.37.59 PMFlying to London has $480 in taxes and fuel surcharges.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.38.30 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.38.46 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.38.51 PM

Other American Routes

Check out your favorite routes yourself to see the award space picture and the fuel surcharges. Here are the routes again and when they start.

  • Austin from February 1
  • Newark from April 2
  • Philadelphia from April 9
  • San Jose from May 4
  • Houston from August 1
  • Boston from October 1

Round the World Awards

These awards don’t require you to live in London, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, or Austin to partake. Like all region-based miles, you can add connecting flights within the region of departure and arrival for zero extra miles. So Dallas to Paris, including the 787-9 segment from Austin to London, would cost zero extra miles.

The other way to take advantage of these awards, and my preferred way, would be to use them as part of big, round-the-world trips, which in 2016, you should book as a series of one way awards. Delhi to London for 40,000 miles in First Class is really attractive as part of a big trip.

Getting American Airlines Miles

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles. That is enough to fly two segments in British Airways First Class.

Bottom Line

British Airways has added its 787-9 Dreamliner with First Class to the schedule for three routes already and adds several American routes in 2016.

Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.

Book First Class on the Dreamliner for as little as 40,000 American Airlines miles each way plus fuel surcharges. Right now, you can get a boatload of American Airlines miles from opening the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®.

Use the flight as part of a round-the-world trip if you like to think big with your trips.


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5 COMMENTS

  1. Ha!! I read this and just checked my early April EWR-LHR award flight booked in F. Sure enough… The flight originally noted as 777 is now a 789! Awesome!!

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