Flight Review British Airways 787-9 economy Row 43 H-J London LHR to San Jose SJC

On Saturday, Kelley and I flew British Airways London LHR to San Jose SJC on the Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner. We were assigned seats 43 H-J in the last row of economy class.

We checked in for our British Airways flight at Stockholm Arlanda ARN on Friday afternoon and flew to London LHR with a 21.5 hour transit layover 5:30pm-2:55pm.

Kelley did not like the sound of Row 43. She wondered why we would be assigned seats so far back in the aircraft considering I am American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum and Oneworld Sapphire.

BA 787-9 LHR-SJC-1

BA Rolls

BA 787 engine

SeatGuru 787-9 cabin seats

Twosome in Row 43

Turns out I selected those seats in April when I purchased our tickets. The seat arrangement showed 43 A-B and 43 H-J as the only two seat sections; four seats in 127 economy class seats section of the aircraft.

SeatGuru BA 787-9 economy seat map

Seatguru.com seat map British Airways 787-900.

While at InterContinental London Park Lane, I checked SeatGuru.com to find mixed messages about our BA Flight 279 Row 43 seats on the 787-900 Dreamliner.

SeatGuru.com – As one of the only twosomes in the World Traveller cabin, this seat might be ideal when traveling with a companion.

Two seats in a row for a couple traveling together looked like flight insurance to me.

But SeatGuru.com seat maps also told a dire tale…

Even with my color blindness, I can distinguish the color difference in the seat map key between Good Seat and Bad Seat.

Row 43 falls on the wrong side of that line.

Seat guru seat map key

Seat 43H is a standard World Traveller seat in the last row of the plane. This seat might have limited recline. The close proximity to the lavatories and galleys behind might be bothersome. As one of the only twosomes in the World Traveller cabin, this seat might be ideal when traveling with a companion.


Then, I scrolled through seat reviews and located several comments on row 43 and seats 43H-J.

Submitted by Jos P on 2017/05/17 for Seat 43B

Best seat in this class! Ample room for your carry on next to the seat


Submitted by SeatGuru User on 2017/03/26 for Seat 43

Dreading this as BA not first choice in recent months for long haul. 14.10 mins flight was i have to say great..we had the two seats together at the back and were more than happy to pay extra to reserve. Food good,crew excellent and flight flew by..sorry for pun! Agree with the review for seats 41..no windows..which manufacturer thought of that??


Submitted by SeatGuru User on 2016/11/17 for Seat 43H

Flew in this seat from PHL to LHR overnight. It was great as part of a couple & the new Dreamliner was a very pleasant flight. The seats reclined and I was never disturbed by lavatory traffic.

I was relieved to read positive reviews and no negative reviews for the last row twosome seat sections 43 A-B and 43 H-J.

Getting spaced

BA 43 H-J seats

When I saw the two seat section in the back of the plane, my mind was love struck at first sight.

BA 43H-J-2

All that space.

BA Seat 43H-J-4

And the seat reclines normally.

BA 43H-J space-1

There is space and a seat pocket in the seatback of 42K. The space where seat 43K is missing means there is enough space to sit down and stretch your legs, if not too long.

BA 43H-J pack

I placed my backpack flat in the space for easy access to my computer and camera during the flight.

My photo of 42 J-K shows there is not much space in K window seats on the 787-9 with the AV box beneath the seat in front. K window seats have the AV box taking up floor space directly in front of the right leg position.

BA 42J-K

USB power port in seat back. Unfortunately, the earphone jack is located on the inside armrest of your seat. It is easy to brush against the earphones plug and bend it.

BA seat back flight map

The under seat box was not an issue in row 43 H-J.

BA seat 43H-J underseat space

At one point in the flight, I looked away from the movie out the window to see Greenland below. I kneeled in the space and snapped photos for several minutes until cloud cover obscured the landscape.


Getting Bumped

Within the first 30 minutes of the flight, Kelley was jarred when the flight crew hit her seat with the drinks cart, followed by a passenger leaning into her to get her baggage out of the overhead.

Leaving London

Leaving London Heathrow LHR

We switched seats, since Kelley was trying to sleep and I was awake watching movie #1, Allied, starring Brad Pitt.  My flight plan was binge watch four films and play trivia quiz for the 10.5 hour flight.

Kelley has the amazing ability to sleep at least 6 hours in economy class long haul.

Whereas, I have flown well over one million flight miles, maybe over two million…I have not kept close track; I rarely sleep more than 2 or 3 hours on a California to Europe flight. I deal with air travel best when I watch movies, drink lots of water and no alcohol until I arrive wherever.

I asked for one Heineken on the first drink cart service. It was warm. I only drank water the rest of the flight.

During movie #4, Denial, historical drama of a defamation lawsuit libel charges in London in the1990s against an American professor teaching in Atlanta accused of defaming a British spokesperson and author who challenged the occurrence of the Holocaust murders during World War II. The movie was fascinating to me since it showed and discussed Poland’s Auschwitz concentration camp in some detail. Four trips to Krakow in the past year and no trip to Auschwitz. Truly, I would rather see Auschwitz on TV. I saw Dachau concentration camp in Germany as a child. One concentration camp is sufficient memory for one lifetime for me.

Daylight the entire 11 flight hours after leaving London at 3pm. And still enough daylight in near June solstice SJC after touchdown to rent a car and drive 75 miles to Monterey before sunset. 

Bottom line:

I loved these seats for us, me in 43 H on the aisle and Kelley in 43 J. Kelley is mixed on her flight review.

10.5 hours of flight time is a long time to remain seated. I used the blanket as extra padding for my butt. I liked being in the last row with the ability to get up when I desired and nobody or drink cart blocking my access to the toilet or galley for water drinks during the flight.

Kelley’s first complaint was seat bumping and second was the restroom flush sound from the toilet behind the seat. She says the toilet flush woke her up at times. She wore earplugs and an eyeshade through the flight.

Watching movies with loud sound in my ears meant I rarely noticed the toilet flush as a nuisance from seat 43H. And I kept my body tilted out of the aisle passage to avoid bumping.

We both agreed the storage and space in the window section of the last row on 787-900 Dreamliner was a great feature. No need to have anything in your own foot area under the seat in front.

Plus, nobody behind our seats grabbed or pushed the seat back during the flight.

By the way, delightfully feel good movie #3 in my flight binge was A Street Cat Named Bob, based on a true story of down and out drug addicted folk singer-busker James Bowen in London. He finds himself bonding with a stray ginger cat. Their relationship plays a significant role in changing both lives. The real Bob the cat plays his cat self in the film. This is a charmer drama for anyone who enjoys cats. Good music too.

Street Cat Named Bob


About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. Flew this route in december but opted for 30A due to my height. Slightly narrower seat than the other seats in the row but one of the most comfortable flights I’ve been on in a long time

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