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[What to expect on BA's LGW] Barbados planes

[What to expect on BA's LGW] Barbados planes

Old Oct 15, 19, 1:34 am
  #1  
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[What to expect on BA's LGW] Barbados planes

Not sure if thia is the correct place to ask, but we are Going to Barbados in December on the afternoon flight from Gatwick airport.

What plane can we expect?

Recently had a very old plane going to LAS Vegas so hoping for something a bit newer or at least a refreshed cabin.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 1:53 am
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Gatwick uses 777-200's for Caribbean routes. What class are you in?

Unfortunately, being 777's they're not refined compared to 787's, A350/A380 etc.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 1:56 am
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Originally Posted by VincentHanna View Post
Not sure if thia is the correct place to ask, but we are Going to Barbados in December on the afternoon flight from Gatwick airport.

What plane can we expect?

Recently had a very old plane going to LAS Vegas so hoping for something a bit newer or at least a refreshed cabin.
Well, assuming you are travelling BA, then certainly it is the right place to ask

If you are leaving from Gatwick, then it will be a Boeing 777 because that is the only long haul type that BA operate from that airport. But will it be a refreshed one or not? Unfortunately that is impossible to say with any degree of certainty - specific aircraft are only provisionally allocated a few days beforehand and even then can change right up to the point of departure.

What you can at least do is look at the odds. If you check this thread: LGW & LHR selected 777s go 10-abreast (3-4-3) in Y 2018 onwards

and especially the Wiki at the start, you will see a list of which aircraft have been updated and which are scheduled. Quite a few will have been completed by December, but some will not have been - there remains a risk you'll end up on one of those. You might want to have a look at e.g. thebasource.com to see what airframes have been operating that route historically. There is absolutely no guarantee that they will continue to do so, but it's about the best you can get in terms of knowing more than a few days out.

Personally, I'd bring a tablet loaded with entertainment just in case. As noted, even if you get allocated a refurbed one, Gatwick can often really struggle with replacement aircraft if any suffer any issues, so you could always get a last minute swap to something old and untouched (with the grim Rockwell Collins IFE from 2000)
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Old Oct 15, 19, 3:43 am
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We're economy on the way out and Premium Economy on the night flight back.

On a recent trip to Las Vegas from LHR, the screen was smaller than my Samsung Galaxy S9. It was unwatchable. Luckily I had lots of Netflix stuff downloaded just in case but it was a ropey old plane from the early 90's

Edit - I found this on the BA website:

If you're flyng from London Gatwick, you can now look forward to a fully refreshed Boeing 777 fleet and new generation economy (World Traveller) and premium economy (World Traveller Plus) seats. The refreshed cabins will soon start appearing on the Boeing 777 fleet at London Gatwick and the whole fleet will be updated by Summer 2019.

The economy and premium economy cabins have been fitted with elegant new seats with 50% larger entertainment screens and each seat will have a USB socket.

Last edited by VincentHanna; Oct 15, 19 at 3:48 am Reason: Further information added.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 3:52 am
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I believe you should have a good chance of getting a refurbished aircraft, with new IFE, seats etc.

Bad news is they're squeezing in an extra seat in every economy row, so instead of 3-3-3 it'll be 3-4-3 so you'll have less seat width.

So you can tell if you are on a refurb by checking the economy seat map to see if it's 9 or 10 abreast.

Last edited by clarkeysntfc; Oct 15, 19 at 4:02 am
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Old Oct 15, 19, 3:56 am
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Originally Posted by VincentHanna View Post
We're economy on the way out and Premium Economy on the night flight back.

On a recent trip to Las Vegas from LHR, the screen was smaller than my Samsung Galaxy S9. It was unwatchable. Luckily I had lots of Netflix stuff downloaded just in case but it was a ropey old plane from the early 90's
So that sounds very like the old Rockwell Collins systems which are, well, frankly terrible. Once they have been refurbished, they are getting the Panasonic systems I believe, which are far far better - more content, good sized screen, actually responsive to touch etc....

All the planes will be refurbed, but I wouldn't necessarily trust that comment on BA.com 100%, you're actually more likely to get reliable info here (including from the BA staffers). With BA being so short of airframes at the moment, it is quite possible that a few planes have not yet been completed despite their intent to do so by the summer.

One thing that quote doesn't say - when they refurb, they reconfigure the economy cabin from a 3-3-3 layout (i.e. 9 across) to a 3-4-3 layout (i.e. 10 across). Some of the space is recovered by narrower aisles, but ultimately the seats had to get narrower One thing you can do is look at your outbound booking in economy and see how many seats in each row. If it is 10, then it is currently a refurbished plane with USB power, good IFE etc
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Old Oct 15, 19, 4:21 am
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So it's a trade-off between seat width and decent entertainment.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 4:35 am
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Originally Posted by VincentHanna View Post
So it's a trade-off between seat width and decent entertainment.
In economy on the gatwick 777s yes it is.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 4:42 am
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BA use a four class 777 on this route. There are only three of those based at Gatwick and they all received a refurbishment this year. As mentioned above, there's no guarantee you'll be on one of these aircraft, if one needs maintenance for example, but the chances are good. On the bright side, at least in Premium Economy the seats are only eight across rather than the ten across in Economy.
There are also some eight across rows right at the back of Economy but that's because the plane gets narrower down there.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 4:43 am
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I flew to Tampa in the summer, out on an un-refurbished 777 in WT, and it was fairly grim but survivable. My return was in WT+ in a refurbished frame, and it was really nice to be fair. I have my fingers crossed for you !
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Old Oct 15, 19, 4:58 am
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I went to the 'Reserve seat' bit of the booking for the outbound flight and it is showing 4 middle seats, not 3.

So it's whether those planes are available on the day.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 5:26 am
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Originally Posted by VincentHanna View Post
I went to the 'Reserve seat' bit of the booking for the outbound flight and it is showing 4 middle seats, not 3.

So it's whether those planes are available on the day.
Essentially yes. As Schind helpfully points out, Barbados is a route where BA sells First class and since all the aircraft with F cabins have been refurbished, this gives you very decent odds indeed.

But Gatwick just doesn't have much (any?) spare capacity so there can't be any iron clad guarantees. If they had a choice of cancelling the whole flight due to a problem, or swapping in an older unrefurbished airframe without a First cabin, and dealing with rerouting/downgrading their F passengers only, you can be sure they will be willing to do that.

At the end of the day, it's a 777. It's not really BA's best long haul offering in any class, it's a fair bit noisier then more modern options and air quality is not as good. There isn't a huge amount of love for them around these parts - but against that, Economy is survived by literally thousands of people every single day, and the refurbished ones have generally been positively received (even the narrower seats don't seem to draw too much ire, which I admit surprised me). It's certainly not the airborne hell that some might lead you to think it is!
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Old Oct 15, 19, 6:06 am
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Thanks everyone.

One further question? Anyone here ever been successfully upgraded by BA?

If so are you best to not check in online and get to the airport check-in as soon as it's open?

They wouldn't do it on our Honeymoon
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Old Oct 15, 19, 6:22 am
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Originally Posted by VincentHanna View Post
One further question? Anyone here ever been successfully upgraded by BA?

If so are you best to not check in online and get to the airport check-in as soon as it's open?

They wouldn't do it on our Honeymoon
Lots of people have, BA do it every single day - indeed you can find a thread dedicated to it here: So - who got a free upgrade this week?

Now, that was the good news. Here comes the not so good......

BA won't upgrade you because you ask nicely, or it's a special occasion, or you are wearing your best suit, or you've handed over a envelope with your boarding passes in it and a cheesy "Please upgrade" stamp on it, or any other hoary old tricks that you might read about.

BA will upgrade you because(*) it needs your seat - and it would need your seat because it has sold more tickets in that cabin then there are physical seats so some people have to be moved. So they will move some people into the next cabin up to make the numbers work (and next cabin down on the much rarer case where going forward won't work). This can obviously have a knock-on effect, where some people get upgraded into WTP but now there aren't quite enough seats in that, so some lucky WTP passengers get into CW etc.

And all that is decided by computer (you may see references to DUT - Discretionary Upgrade Tool), not by check in agents. The algorithm it uses is deliberately opaque so people cannot 'game' the system. The only thing you can really do is fly in cabins that are frequently oversold. WTP seems to be the "sweet spot" for this, it's an increasingly popular cabin amongst passengers it seems, and on many planes it is quite small so they end up having to move people forward. But more bad news - on the refurbished 777s it has been increased greatly in size to accommodate more people....

In essence, don't get your hopes up. As the oft repeated mantra round here goes, "pay for the cabin you're prepared to travel in". If you want to purchase a paid upgrade, there are some options available that might end up being cheaper than buying the ticket in the cabin originally (but can also be more expensive). People will happily give advice on those if it's something you are considering.


*They sometimes seem to upgrade as service recovery even if the cabin is not full, I've had that once.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by VincentHanna View Post
it was a ropey old plane from the early 90's
Ironically, a lot of the G-YMMx dogs that run the BKK and LAS routes are some of the youngest 772s in the fleet. Some of them are barely 10 years old.
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