In these trip reports, I review my long haul Premium Economy, World Traveller Plus experience on my last two flights on their Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Although Boeing planes have been under scrutiny lately, the British Airways in-flight experience on their Dreamliner is excellent. But don’t assume you will always get the same Premium Economy experience across all British Airways planes.
The old Premium Economy seats look tired and worn with a poor in-flight entertainment system and can be found on some Boeing 767 and 777-200 aircraft.
The best British Airways Premium Economy seats are on their Airbus A380, Boeing 787/777-300ER and retrofitted Boeing 767/777-200 aircraft and offer increased recline, personal in-seat power and a 60% larger IFE monitor.
So please, if you are paying the premium to fly in these “World Traveller Plus”, make sure you select a route and plane with the updated and more modern seats or you will be disappointed.
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While competitors like Virgin enable you to select your Premium Economy seat for free, this is a feature that British Airways reserves for its Gold and Silver tier members only. The situation is similar if you fly in Business Class. Gold and Silver tiers can select before “normal” Blue passengers, even if the standard member is paying a full fare, which means that normal infrequent flyers can often be left with seats apart from their family or partner. A nightmare on a long haul flight.
There is not a dedicated British Airways Premium Economy check-in, so you have to check in with all the Economy passengers.
You get 2 hold suitcases when travelling in Premium Economy which is a big bonus.
When flying in Premium Economy you do not get access to any British Airways. There is no advantage to flying Premium Economy in this respect.
BA only offers priority boarding out of Heathrow so there was no priority boarding for me on my flights that were not out of Heathrow.
Seat Review On The BA Dreamliner
The Premium Economy cabin is located right behind the Business Class cabin. There are a total of 6 rows of seats. The first five rows, row 16-20, have 7 seats across, configured in a 2-3-2 pattern, while the last row, row 21, only has the 2 aisle seats on each side. The middle rows of that last row are where the toilets are, so traveller should try to avoid seats on row 21 if possible.
This is a great improvement over the Boeing 777-200s layout, which offers a dedicated Premium Economy cabin has 40 recliner seats in a 2-4-2 layout.
I took seat 17D, which was on the second row and next to the aisle. The seats themselves looked very slim and sleek, and not bulky like older generation seats. The seats were 18.5 inches wide and the pitch, that is, the distance between the back of the seat on one row to the other, is a generous 38 inches. The seats felt comfortable and could be reclined quite far back by using a few buttons on the side.
The seat monitor is a sizeable 10.6 inches and is controlled by the controller on the side of the seats. Another decent surprise was the 2 USB ports under the monitor, as well as the universal power port at the bottom of the side of the seats. The in-flight entertainment system had a decent range of movies, tv series and music.
On my seats on my latest Premium Economy flight was an oversized pillow, a blanket, a small amenity kit and a large pair of headphones. The amenity kit contained just the essentials: toothbrush and toothpaste, eye mask, a pair of socks, earbuds and a pen. The blanket was plush, but not too thick. The headphones were the noise cancelling type that would normally be distributed in business class and above, so that was a pleasant surprise.
Food & Drink
Big bonus travelling on BA in Premium Economy is that you get ClubWorld standard meals (with fewer choices) served on proper crockery with a real napkin. You also usually get a welcome drink and another round of drinks with the meal, along with tea and coffee during/after the meal.
My latest flight departed from Kuala Lumpur quite late at 11:05 PM and was flying into London Heathrow (LHR) so the meals on board were dinner and breakfast. After taking off, I was offered drinks. I chose white wine and was offered 2 small bottles of them. Sure, don’t mind if I do!
The dinner service began shortly after we took off. British Airways claims that the main course of the Premium Economy meals will be from the business class menu. I had the Grilled Indonesian red snapper as my main. The starter was a generous serving of shrimp salad, and the dessert was a mixed berry crumble with creme anglaise. I was also offered some bread, although the stewardess could not explain what type of bread it was. The food was decent, but nothing spectacular.
After dinner, the stewardesses also offered tea and coffee. As it was almost 1 AM already, I opted to not consume these and prepared to sleep instead. I reclined my seat backwards, put on the eye mask, earbuds and blanket. The lights began to dim shortly after, and the combination of fatigue and comfortable seats made me fall asleep easily, even though the seat wasn’t a lie flat!
I woke up shortly before breakfast and felt refreshed. Soon, the breakfast service began (pictured above). The choice of mains was between a full English breakfast or omelettes. I chose the latter. The omelettes were served with potatoes, mushrooms and half a tomato. There was also a chocolate chip muffin, strawberry yoghurt, a small cup of orange juice and coffee or tea. Just like dinner, the food was decent, but nothing spectacular.
I would say that the British Airways Premium Economy is a good product and worth paying the extra if you can afford it. I have flown in Premium Economy and would not hesitate to fly it again.
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