Just over a year ago I flew premium economy with Qantas Sydney to hong kong return. It was a fantastic experience. In fact, it was so good it made me question if I could really justify the extra amount to fly business class if it wasn’t an Australia – Europe/US flight. So when was looking at flying from London to New York – and then Los Angeles to London return – I thought I would give British Airways World Traveller Plus a shot.
British Airways World Traveller Plus: Online Check-In
Unfortunately, things did not get off to a good start. Two days before my flight I went on to the app and was able to reserve an aisle seat – great! The next day when I went to actually check in online I was told that my passport number was wrong and that I wasn’t able to check in. I then had issues with my uber so only arrived at the airport 90 minutes before my flight.
British Airways World Traveller Plus Review: Bag Drop and issues arise
I went and used the check-in machine and my seat had changed to a window – which was, of course, good news for me! Then I went to the desk for bag drop. When the attendant is on the phone for some time when all you are doing is dropping your bag it is not a good sign.
I was told by the attendant that I had been “sneaky” taking the window seat. I was quite annoyed by this and said that how could I be sneaky when the app had done this for me. I was then told that they had overbooked business class and that seat had been meant for someone who was being downgraded to world traveller plus – which meant they now wanted to move me to economy.
I was so annoyed. It really makes me furious when airlines do this. Or should I say when British Airways do this as they are the only airline that has tried to bump me from flights several times due to overbooking. In what other industry would an organization take your money ahead of time and then when you turned up to experience that service be told that you couldn’t as they had overbooked – and that apparently this was fine?
It is a major problem as a solo traveler as we are at the top of the list when it comes to who gets bumped first. I was once told by a BA staff member that the safest people were those also flying with BA from a connecting airport eg Manchester to London and then on to say NY, followed by groups, followed by families and then followed by couples. Only the male solo traveler is worse off than the female solo traveler!
My annoyance was greater as I had injured my ankle in Nepal earlier that year and absolutely could not have sat in economy for several hours without problems. Luckily I had a letter from my doctor with me (I had it in case my ankle got worse and I needed medical treatment) so I was able to produce this and say I had to stay in world traveller plus.
I ended up in premium economy but not without quite a bit of undue stress and frustration. This experience alone has been enough to really put me off flying with British Airways. I do find it outrageous that you can be potentially bumped like this – and that the staff always seem to act like this is of no consequence and why are you getting upset?
OK rant over!
BA Premium Economy: Getting to the Gate
Anyway, the flight was then at Gate A10 at Terminal 5 which means a very long bus trip. I thought we were driving to New York! BA World Traveller Plus also means no lounge access and no priority seating.
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British Airways World Traveller Plus: The plane and the seats
The plane was a little old and compared to Qantas it felt a lot less spacious. The seat layout was 4 in the middle and 2 on each side. I was on the side thank goodness. I would have been very unhappy to have paid for premium economy and to have had one of the extreme middle seats. I often wonder who ends up in these seats – are they the people that don’t make sure they do early online check-in? Or maybe they are more tolerant than me!
BA World Traveller Plus Review: In-flight amenities
There were very good quality headphones which were nice. BA also does have a very good in-flight entertainment system. The in-flight amenities kit was not bad – socks, eye mask, earplugs, toothbrush and a pen. Great idea to have a pen as everyone needs one on a flight!
There is a lot of leg room and the seats are comfortable. I was also pleased to see that there were 2 USB ports in the seat ahead and then 2 power points between the seats.
The food was a big positive for the flight. It did feel like an upgrade from economy. We were also offered a glass of sparkling wine before take off which was lovely.
British Airways World Traveller Plus: Some Positives
One of my favourite features of British Airways world traveller plus is that they have a very useful brochure which explains all the features and benefits of the world traveller plus seat – this is such a good idea! Every premium economy and business class seat is different and you don’t want to miss out when there are good features that can be used!
There was also a good sized storage locker next to the window which was handy – another reason to try to get the window seat.
British Airways Premium Economy: The Verdict
Overall it feels like the key difference between world traveller and world traveller plus on British Airways is the seat itself. On Qantas and other airlines, there does feel like there is more of a difference between the 2 cabins – particularly when it comes to service. I was flying with British Airways when they were having extensive problems as an airline so it cannot have been fun to be working for them at that time. However, I am paying the extra and I do expect slightly better service.
I would hesitate to take British Airways Premium Economy again – mostly driven by nearly being downgraded to economy. I don’t want to have to worry about this when I am headed to Heathrow. I, of course, would fly with them if there was a good enough deal I suppose but they have certainly moved down my list after this experience.
British Airways World Traveller Plus Review Useful Links:
Use my favourite site Sky Scanner to make comparisons on Premium Economy and Business Class Fares.
And don’t leave home without Travel Insurance
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Some of my other Airline Reviews that you might enjoy reading:
Here is BA’s full run down on their premium economy offer
Heading to London? That’s where I live – here are some posts you might enjoy reading:
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Also published on Medium.