British Airways is an example of an economy class product that has improved during the pandemic. I was quite pleased by my short flight from Zurich to London onboard the British Airways A320 in economy class.
British Airways A320 Economy Class Review
This ticket was part of our 269CHF one-way fare from Zurich to Los Angeles via London and New York.
Check-In + Baggage
Since British Airways does not offer complimentary checked baggage even to oneworld emerald members on basic economy fares, we were expecting to pay for bags (beyond the baby pram/stroller). However, at check-in British Airways applied the American Airlines transatlantic allowance and since we had upgraded to business class on that segment, it meant two bags each plus a third for me.
I did a separate story on how empty Zurich Airport was, but it merits repeating…a total ghost town. I look forward to days in which it is bustling again.
We arrived at the gate toward the final stages of boarding and were the last to board.
British Airways 713
Zurich (ZRH) – London (LHR)
Tuesday, December 29
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 6D (Economy Class)
A very cheerful flight attendant positioned at the door offered us a blue package with hand sanitizer and wipes as we stepped onboard.
Seats on British Airways in economy class aboard the A320 have 17.5 inches of pitch and leg room of 30 inches. This is a “variable” business class aircraft, meaning the partition between business and economy class can be moved depending upon the flight load.
We were assigned seats in row eight, the first row of economy class. While legroom is tight, I was pleased to see that BA added in-seat power between seats, which is an important step in distinguishing it from its low-cost competition.
Augustine enjoyed his window seat, my wife took the middle seat, and I took an aisle seat with the baby in my lap.
I cannot say enough good things about the crew, who doted over us during the flight and were both cheerful and gracious to all the passengers around us.
There was an older gentleman (looked to be in his 90s) across from us and he would lower his mask down every time he spoke to a flight attendant (presumably so they could understand him more clearly). Instead of shrieking at him to put his mask back on, they very gently took a step back such that they were about six feet apart. He put his mask back on after speaking and was not made to feel like an idiot or child. I thought he was handled in a kind way.
After landing, we experienced a delay in our baby carriage arriving but the cabin crew waited with us on the jet bridge. The captain even went outside to try to get it for us quicker. This was going above and beyond and was greatly appreciated.
Food + Drink
During the pandemic, British Airways is offering a modified food and drink service, which I believe is another nice touch befitting of a full service airline. Every passenger received a bag with a salty and sweet snack plus bottle of water. On our flight, it was pretzels and popcorn. Basic free food and drinks should still characterize British Airways short haul flights to distinguish it from the many low-cost competitors.
I am fully supportive of offering a buy-on-board menu if a bag like this continues to be offered on each flight, which offers a baseline of sustenance to those who are hungry while allowing those who want something more to purchase more.
I was also pleased to see wi-fi onboard, with a flight pass costing £6.99.
We landed well ahead of schedule time in London Heathrow in the B satelite gates of Terminal 5. After (finally) obtaining our stroller, we took a train to the main terminal and then passed through the UK Border.
While seat pitch in regular economy class is not great (unless you are in the exit row), I really think British Airways has stepped up its product with 1.) in-seat power, 2,) wi-fi, and 3.) free snacks and water onboard. Throw in lounge access and additional baggage benefits as a oneworld elite and I’m much more likely to fly British Airways at a premium over the budget carriers. This is a marked change from two years ago.
How would you review British Airways A320 economy class?
It’s a sad situation when one reads this and feels a bit nostalgic for BA economy; similarly I’ve started to miss LHR, CDG, FCO…even BKK…
Re: baggage allowance, did you just happened to draw a nice check in agent or is there something else in play (such as tickets being issued under AA stock)?
Ticket issued under AA stock. I didn’t think that made a difference for the BA segment.
Your baggage allowance definitely doesn’t apply if it’s a BA Hand Baggage Only (HBO) fare, but this seems like it may not technically be HBO since you presumably ticketed through AA since you used a SWU.
This is a pretty important distinction, especially now that we can use SWUs on Basic Economy fares. Is there any way we can get definitive clarification on the policy?
@Matthew didn’t BA eliminate all free food and drinks in economy? Have they added these free snacks specifically for the covid era?
The baggage allowance on the carrier between IATA areas is the determining factor. AA carried you from IATA 2 to IATA 1 – AA allowance applies.
Hand baggage fare doesn’t allow any checked-in bags, you have to pay extra at the airport, you can’t buy it online due to mixed airline on 001 or 125 document. However, you get one shoulder bag like a handbag plus a cabin bag per passenger with a seat plus a toddler gets a cabin bag which should only have baby’s items plus 2 more items for children less than 12years of age can check-in a fully collapsible stroller plus a car seat or a harness depends on what you are bringing with you for the child. Overall you get a generous allowance for that kind of money. Under HBO fare BA doesn’t give members any benefit that only applies to any checked baggage fare which benefits the entire family as BA allows the same for all the family member the same allowance except the toddler and provided them are booked under the same PNR. Hope this help.