Which is the best Premium Economy transatlantic airline? British Airways or Virgin Atlantic? You can see where I rank each Premium Economy seat in my article about the top 10 best Premium Economy Airlines in the world, but for this article, I am only comparing British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
Premium Economy is a better version of Economy. It doesn’t come with lie-flat seats or fine dining. But it IS better than Economy with more spacious seats, more recline, better food than Coach class, and often better add-ons.
Premium Economy is a good way to use loyalty points and air miles, so your decision may be swayed by whether you can use your miles to make your booking. However, if the price is identical and you are simply choosing to book based on the quality of the product, who should you choose, Virgin or British Airways?
Comparing British Airways vs. Virgin in Premium Economy is not as easy as you would think, as the product you will experience will depend on the plane you fly on.
That said, there are some features that you will (or will not) experience across the entire fleet which may help you in your decision-making.
Firstly, Virgin enables you to select your Premium Economy seat for free. A feature that British Airways reserves for its Gold and Silver tier members only. Virgin also offers a special Premium Economy check-in desk. On BA, you have to check-in with coach passengers. Virgin also offers priority boarding all over the world for Premium Economy passengers, BA only offers priority boarding out of Heathrow.
Onboard, Virgin tends to have wider seats (usually 21 inches compared to be 18.5), so it also has the edge in this respect. Regards to food, British Airways World Traveller Plus has the edge over that in Virgin Premium Economy as the food is taken from the Club World menu.
When you get to your destination, Virgin also prioritizes luggage for Premium Economy passengers. BA doesn’t.
Other interesting points are that you get the same luggage allowance on both airlines and NO lounge access when traveling on either airline. Pretty much everything else is more-or-less the same.
This means that, with the exception of the better food on British Airways, Virgin is the winner in almost every respect.
How About The American Airlines?
The American airline companies are new to the Premium Economy game and have launched their versions of Premium Economy. I have outlined details of American Airlines Premium Economy seats on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
Delta Air Lines already offers Comfort Plus with extra legroom but have now launched a complete Premium Economy cabin called Delta Premium Select on long-haul aircraft with 38 inches of pitch, up to 19 inches of width and up to seven inches of recline with adjustable leg rests and headrests. They will also be including a Westin Heavenly® In-Flight Blanket with a pillow and a TUMI amenity kit featuring Malin+Goetz Travel Essentials. A fresh, seasonal menu will be presented with Alessi service ware designed exclusively for Delta, up to 13.3-inch, high-resolution in-flight entertainment screen, noise-canceling headphones, and in-seat power ports along with Sky Priority service, which includes faster check-in, accelerated security, priority boarding, and expedited baggage service.
United currently offers Economy Plus with a 37-inch seat pitch, five inches more than Economy, but this currently has no other advantages over the normal economy seats.
If you are looking to save money on your next First, Business or Premium Economy flight booking, or you want to book luxury hotels, don’t forget to contact our Luxury Travel Concierge for complimentary upgrades, discounts, free breakfasts and more.
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