REVIEW – Thai Airways : Royal First Class – Bangkok to London (B747 Refreshed)
October 14, 2016
An evening in Dublin (August 2016)
October 15, 2016

Transatlantic showdown AA J vs BA F (plus Splash Suite at The Andaz 5th Avenue)

Back in late 2014, BA had one of their annual sales. The sales are remarkable in that they even offer value when flying ex-LHR! However they can often yield more interesting results, if you elect to commence your journey somewhere further afield.Given that I live not too far from LCY, it is now pretty much standard practice for me to take short hops from there to either ZRH, FRA or DUB. These have become, by extension, my ‘gateway’ airports.When this particular sale started I had never flow a premium cabin on AA or BA but knew that I was soon to experience the AA reverse herringbone seat on the A321T and the BA F seat on the 747.You can read that trip report here: Sun, Snow and Sushi – One Week, OneWorld F Round The World (BA F, AA F, JL F-J-Y)We’ve all heard the adage: BA F is the world’s best business class.

My experience thus far had shown BA F to have provide distinctly lacklustre service and food, offset by decent beverages. Overall though it was a fantastic experience: you just can’t beat seats 1A and 1K in the nose of a 747. You are enclosed in your own private haven, with zero foot traffic coming past. No business class has that.

I deliberately booked us on a BA 777 to see how BA’s most prolific F cabin would stack up.

Similarly, I knew that the reverse herringbone seats in a single aisled cabin of ten; delivered with First Class Service aboard the A321T, could hardly be representative of the business class product in a cabin of 52 seats. If I wanted to get serious about experiencing different products I would need to try the AA reverse herringbone seat in its native environment, aboard the 777-300ER: the pride of the AA fleet.

We bought this as a J fare which we then upgraded to F on the outbound leg, using 20k Avios each. To my mind this is by far the best use of Avios there is. I am still shocked when I hear about people dutifully crediting their flights to BA, only to pay 400k miles plus £700 in taxes for one person LHR-SYD RT in F! People in the UK are similarly shocked when I tell them what it costs for the same route using AA miles aboard EY F, QF F or even an exciting combo of CX and JL F… but that’s a story for another TR

In terms of accommodation, we left it for a while and as February 28th approached, realised that we had two Hyatt DSUs still to use. The paid rates at the Andaz 5th were looking good and at 787sq ft the Splash Suite looked like an awesome value.

And so, we had a trip.

Is BA F really comparable to AA J? Or does BA’s F product offer something beyond the superficial similarities in the seat design? Read on to find out…

BA First Class on the 777
Bryant Park, Manhattan
AA Business Class on the 777
Our Splash Suite at the Andaz 5th
New York Public Library
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