Flying BA World Traveller Plus / Premium Economy – is it worth the upgrade?

For our return journey back from Orlando we paid extra to fly back in the smaller and premium cabin offered by British Airways called World Traveller Plus or as many airlines call it premium economy.

We had seen the pictures of the cabin on the BA website and the added benefits of having a smaller roomier cabin looked very enticing especially when we would need some sleep on the return night flight.


Increased Luggage Allowance

You have the added benefit of two checked in 23kg cases each compared to just one 23kg case in economy.  We never travel light especially for a 2 week holiday and with so many great shopping opportunities available in Orlando, the extra case each was definitely welcome.

Welcome on-board

Once on board we had a nice warm welcome from the flight crew and the girls gave one of the attendants their BA flight books for the captain to sign.

We have had these books for several years now and are a lovely keepsake of tracking where they have flown, how many miles they have accumulated, who the pilot was and the type of plane they flew on.


Our first impression of the cabin was a little disappointing due to the plane being an older un-refurbished 777 aircraft.  The World Traveller Plus cabin had the old style seat design which is now starting to look very tired because of its age and totally different to the sleek new World Traveller Plus cabins shown on the BA website.


The World Traveller Plus cabin consisted of just 3 rows of 24 seats and having a more spacious and quieter environment for flying long-haul was a definite plus point.  The cabin is separated from economy and business class cabin by a curtain that is drawn after take-off.


It was strange that there was no separate toilet in World Traveller Plus.  You are not allowed to use club world facilities meaning that we had to walk back into the economy cabin to use their toilet facilities.

The Seat

After feeling cramped on many economy flights, it was great to have the extra space offered in this cabin with nobody literally reclining back into your lap which typically what happens on an economy flight.

Here are some of the features that your seat in World Traveller Plus offers over the standard World Traveller Seat

  • Wider Seats with greater recline
  • Seat pitch of 38 inches, 7 inches more leg room than in economy.
  • Lumbar support
  • Head rest and foot rest


My husband is 6ft 2 and there was plenty of leg room and the extra space made such a difference for all of us.  The girls in particular really made themselves at home and had a great sleep during our flight.

Amenities

Once we took our seats we sampled our first taste of the BA World Traveller Plus experience. On our seats was a small pillow, blanket, noise cancelling headphones and an amenity kit (containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, pen, socks and an eye mask).  Within minutes of sitting down in their seats the girls were having fun trying on their eye masks and socks.


Drinks Service

Just before we took off, the flight attendants brought our pre-departure drinks of juice or water (no champagne with BA) and a hot towel.

The drinks table between each seat was handy to keep our drinks on without pulling out the tray table like you have in economy.

In-flight entertainment

Even though the girls had ipads and a range of games on board with them, I still think it’s so important to have a good range of children’s movies and TV shows available to keep them entertained on a long-haul flight, and BA didn’t disappoint with a good choice available.

There was a vast choice of the movies available from the latest blockbusters to a good range of films for the girls including the Lego Batman movie and Disney’s Moana.

Unlike the new entertainment system and screens on the refurbished World Traveller Plus cabins our screens were dated and there were no USB ports for keeping your electronic devices charged.

The Food

I have to confess I typically find airline food in economy poor, so much so that we don’t always take the meal which would clutter our already limited space even further.  However in World Traveller Plus we did notice the difference in quality.

Unlike in economy you have a menu to look at before your meal is served and more importantly you have the same main course that passengers travelling in Club World receive.

My husband chose the beef which was surprisingly good, plus it made such a difference to have your meal served on china plates with proper cutlery and linen napkins.

The children’s meals were disappointing as they received the same bland, soggy and tasteless food that they would have had in the economy cabin. I ordered the beef the same as my husband only to be told by the flight attendant that they had ran out.

The alternative meal of pasta was not to my liking so I was offered a meal from the economy menu which I refused.  After 20 minutes of waiting I finally received my club world beef meal which they managed to source from the club world cabin.  This experience was disappointing and was certainly not the premium economy service that we had paid for.

The drinks selection was good, with a choice of red or white wines, beer, water or soft drinks available throughout the flight.

Before landing at Gatwick, breakfast was served.  The croissant was dry and lifeless and the breakfast bar was inedible.

The Service

Apart from the issue with the meals, service was very good.  The flight attendants were friendly and attentive which is what I would expect from BA and being in a smaller cabin definitely provided better service.

Is it worth the extra cost?

Yes, but it depends on the cost.  If you book your flights just as they are released you could well upgrade from economy from just £100-£200 extra each per person each way and then it is definitely worth the extra, but I don’t think it’s worth more than this.

If you have enough Avios it is also worth checking availability to see if you can upgrade to World Traveller Plus from World Traveller using your Avios.

The other benefit of flying World Traveller Plus is that you earn more Avios miles flying and also more BA tier points.

Overall

World Traveller Plus is not meant to offer a huge difference to World Traveller, otherwise this class of cabin wouldn’t be called ‘Premium Economy’ but the extra space and smaller cabin made such a big difference on our long haul flight.

On arrival at Gatwick another benefit of flying World Traveller Plus is that you get to disembark the plane just after club world passengers so there were no long queues in front of us as we got to the immigration desks.

Once you have travelled in World Traveller Plus it will be difficult to travel in World Traveller (economy) again.

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