British Airways is eliminating the First Class cabin on its new plane. I'm not surprised. First Class costs thousands of pounds more than business class, and the only substantial difference between the two services is that First comes with a free pair of cheap pyjamas and a lobster salad. You can buy the same jammies at Heathrow and pick up a lobster salad at Pret on your way onto the plane and save a mint.
"The long-haul aircraft that we take delivery of this year will not have any first class cabins in them," said Willie Walsh, BA's chief executive. He insisted there was no direct link to the recession, but he added: "Longer term we will review the configuration of [all] new aircraft." BA is also launching a service this year from Heathrow to Las Vegas, a prime destination for high-rollers, with no first class option.
First class is the last remnant of the more romantic days of air travel when BA's predecessor, British Overseas Airways Corporation, offered first class tickets alongside the more down-at-heel tourist or economy cabins. Its upmarket reputation has become even more rarefied over the years following the introduction of slightly less luxurious business class seats in the late 1970s, and cut-throat competition on the transatlantic market.