British Airways has been touting improvements in the World Traveller Plus ‘soft product’ (food, bedding etc) for some time. I’ve now managed to get hold of some information on what is coming as well as some not-seen-elsewhere promotional images of the new meal service.
The changes will come in two phases. The first phase, starting on 1st February, involves the new food options. The second phase later in the Spring will involve new soft furnishings and a brand new amenity kit.
Here is a new World Traveller Plus menu, which has been redesigned:
There will be three main courses to choose from, including one vegetarian option.
The starter and dessert will be improved and will no longer be taken from the Economy / World Traveller meal. This puts BA on a par with Virgin Atlantic which serves a totally different meal in Premium.
Both the main meal and the second meal will be served on china and with ‘real’ glasses. At present only the main meal uses glass.
Here is another mock-up:
The image below is a typical ‘second meal’ for a longer flight. Hot food will now be guaranteed for the first time, instead of the pre-packed sandwiches often provided at present. On shorter flights it will be a hot hand-held snack and on longer flights you will get a hot meal tray, with a choice of two options, such as the one pictured below.
If the second meal is breakfast, it will come like this:
I need to confess that I have never flown Premium Economy on British Airways, Virgin Atlantic or Norwegian so I am not sure how this compares to what the competition offers. It certainly appears to be a major improvement on what BA is offering at present.
Regular HFP readers will know that British Airways is rolling out a new World Traveller Plus seat. It is currently being installed on the Boeing 777-200 fleet, initially on the Gatwick aircraft. This is the smart-looking seat you can see in the photo above. You will also find a version of the ‘larger TV’ seat on the A380, Boeing 787 and Boeing 777-300ER fleets, but not all of the Boeing 747 fleet.
These ‘soft product’ changes do not fully close the gap with Virgin Premium, however.
We did a comparison last year of British Airways World Traveller Plus vs Virgin Atlantic Premium, which you can find here. In almost all respects, the Virgin Atlantic product is better. Norwegian also offers an impressive Premium service which we reviewed here, although Norwegian is no longer offering lounge access on Premium Economy tickets unless you buy a flexible one.
New food may be welcome but, based on the analysis we did last April:
Virgin Atlantic offers free seat selection in Premium whilst BA does not
Virgin Atlantic has a 2.5 inch wider seat than BA
Virgin Atlantic offers dedicated Premium check-in desks, whilst BA does not
Virgin Atlantic offers priority baggage handling to Premium passengers, whilst BA does not
Virgin Atlantic has dedicated cabin crew for the Premium cabin, whilst BA does not
In my view, the best reason to book World Traveller Plus is to upgrade it to a flat-bed Club World seat using Avios. The cost to upgrade is the difference between a Club World and World Traveller Plus ‘100% Avios’ redemption plus any additional taxes. New York, peak dates, is 120,000 Avios for a Club World return flight and 80,000 Avios for World Traveller Plus. An upgrade from WTP is therefore 40,000 Avios return or 20,000 Avios one-way. This is excellent value.
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