I have to admit, I really enjoyed World Traveller Plus (premium economy) on British Airways. On a daytime flight, it is a nice hybrid between economy and business class.
My day began in Istanbul with a business class flight to London. After a six hour layover, I was anxious to board my nonstop flight home to Los Angeles. I booked using Avios, at a cost of 49,500 Avios and $269.61 for both segments. The LHR-LAX segment was 32,500 Avios alone, though I had taken advantage of a 40% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards, effectively brining the price to about 23,000 AMEX points.
My flight departed from Heathrow Terminal 5 and I was elated to find that my aircraft featured the classic BOAC livery. Boarding began late, but I finagled my way toward the front of the boarding queue so I could have a few moments to take pictures onboard before the cabin filled up.
British Airways 269
London (LHR) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Tuesday, October 01
Depart: 04:15 PM
Arrive: 07:20 PM
Duration: 11hr, 05min
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Seat: 36G (“World Traveller Plus” Premium Economy Class)
Onboard, I was warmly welcomed by the purser and directed to my seat. Two flight attendants waiting in the cabin also greeted me. The crew turned out to be remarkable on this flight.
British Airways World Traveller Plus Seating
The premium economy cabin featured three rows of eights seats across in a 2-4-2 configuration. Legroom is 38 inches and seat width is 18.5 inches, 1.5 inches more than economy and 1.5 inches less than “Club World” business class. The seats have footrests. In the first row (34) they extend form the seat itself. In rows 35-36, they fold down from the seat in front. I don’t care for these type of footrests and did not use mine.
Seat recline was adjustable via manual buttons below the armrest. An IFE remote control was also present there. Power ports were located in-between seats. Even in row 36 the seats fully recline.
BA’s 747s feature the older World Traveller Plus seats, cloth-covered and a bit better padded than the new(er) seats found on the 787 and A350. I found the seat well-padded and frankly very comfortable for the journey. I ended up snoozing for several hours and while it simply cannot compare to a lie-flat, I found it immensely better than economy class, which I’ve also reviewed here.
British Airways recently updated its soft product in World Traveller Plus. One of the upgrades was better bedding and pillows. Indeed, the blanket was better than what some airlines offer in business class and the pillow was plush and nicely sized.
Being an older 747, overhead bin space is limited, as the compartments are not meant for larger rollerboard bags.
British Airways World Traveller Plus IFE + Wi-Fi
Last time I flew the BA 747 was in first class and the IFE was woefully outdated. Since then, BA has updated its IFE to a new system with a higher resolution and instant response via touchscreen. A modern IFE system makes the flight so much more enjoyable and I enjoyed a couple movies including Anna and 100 Dinge (things), a thought-provoking German movie about consumption. Games, audio, and TV programming was also available as well as a moving flight map.
I was not expecting wi-fi, but it was also available and worked well. Pricing was not exactly cheap, but the signal was strong enough for me to have (discreet) phone calls over FaceTime audio and stay on top of email.
Noise-cancelling headphones were acceptable, though not excellent. They appear to be the same ones that BA uses in business class and are a big upgrade over the disposable ones in economy class.
British Airways World Traveller Plus Dining
Sparkling wine (a £6.00 bottle of Prospero Brut available at Tesco) was offered prior to takeoff in glasses.
Shortly after takeoff, menus were distributed. Today’s selection included three choices:
- Braised British beef
- Prawn Thai green curry
- Autumn pumpkin and parsnip hotpot
Meal service began with drinks, a bag of pretzels, and a hot towel. One of the flight attendants recommended I try the red wine, remarking that it was “actually very good”. Since I planned to order the beef option, I took him up on his offer. The Vina Albali Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 sells for about £4.00/bottle, but I found it to be perfectly acceptable.
Meals are now served on porcelain, though arrived wrapped in foil.
The plate contained a beet salad, crackers and cheese, cake, and a warm bread roll.
As always seems to be the case on British Airways, the main course looked like a cafeteria-style dish, but tasted good. The beef was tender and the vegetables flavored nicely by the chasseur sauce.
I awoke from my nap just in time for ice cream service, served about halfway through the flight. The Magnum ice cream bar may not have been healthy, but it hit the spot.
About an hour later, a snackbox was served. It included a potato chips, popcorn, and a Twix chocolate bar.
Finally, about 90 minutes before landing a pre-arrival dinner was offered. The choices were chicken tikka masala or conchiglie pasta with mushrooms and sweet red peppers. I opted for the pasta and found it even tastier than teh first meal. It was served with bread and a packaged banana loaf.
I was (pleasantly) surprised by the amount of food offered onboard British Airways in World Traveller Plus. You won’t go hungry in this cabin.
British Airways Premium Economy Amenity Kit
A stylish amenity kit was distributed before takeoff which included:
- Toothbrush + toothpaste
- Lip balm
British Airways Premium Economy Lavatory
The lavatory was a bit grimy and certainly showing its age, but stayed clean for the duration of the flight. No extra amenities were offered.
British Airways World Traveller Plus Service
Lastly, a warm shoutout to the crew onboard. The crew was lovely; very professional and yet very friendly. They were attentive too, with frequent checks on the cabin and proactive offers for beverage refills. This was not a “mixed fleet” crew as most had more than 15-20 years of experience as a BA flight attendant.
A particular shoutout to Gail, who worked my side of the aisle and could not have been friendlier. I appreciate that this crew took time to engage with the guests onboard: it was clear they were not just going through the motions. A good-natured crew makes any flight a better flight.
When I boarded, I found my tray table was broken. Gail took it very seriously and immediately found a maintenance worker who was fixing a seat cushion in economy class. It took just a few moments for him to tighten up the screws and solve the issue.
We landed at LAX ahead of schedule and I was soon in my car heading home. I’ve now flown British Airways in all four cabins (first, business, premium economy, and economy) and quite honestly have had pleasant experiences across the board. I will not hesitate to fly British Airways again or recommend it to others. The high award fees in premium cabins are a huge disincentive to fly on BA when redeeming miles, but expect a good flight if you do end up on BA.