EXCLUSIVE PICS: We reveal the changes to British Airways World Traveller Plus premium economy cabin

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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:

New British Airways World Traveller Plus food

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.

New British Airways World Traveller Plus food

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.

New British Airways World Traveller Plus food

Here is another mock-up:

New British Airways World Traveller Plus food

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.

New British Airways World Traveller Plus food

If the second meal is breakfast, it will come like this:

New British Airways World Traveller Plus food

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.

New British Airways World Traveller Plus food

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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. I really liked the old BA PE seat. Very comfortable, good recline, lots of space, I could sleep well in it.

    I tried the new seat on a 787 in 2016 on a day flight to Montreal. Hated it. Hard and uncomfortable. The worst thing with the new seat is there is no leg rest, so all your weight is supported by the seat cushion instead of being spread. Never again. If I had to fly PE again, I would try AA or VA.

    • i flew BA WT+ day flight LHR-Tokyo on a 787 in April, so i guess the new seat.

      i found it really uncomfortable – almost felt like the horizontal part of the seat was too long, so my knees were jammed into the seat. as Nick_C says, a foot rest would probably have helped.

  2. Michael C says:

    We’re quite big WTP users (family of 3).
    Had a “big TV” WTP LGW-Orlando, totally impressed.
    Having said that, in April we had BKK-LHR with a screen smaller than my son’s Amazon Fire: the whole experience was like stepping back a decade.

    • Anthony Edwards says:

      We (couple with two young kids) don’t WTP any more.. We think it’s better for us in economy where we can put the arm rests up and the kids can spread out.

  3. Mel Saunders says:

    Virgin offer but don’t guarantee priority handling of your bags if you travel Premium Economy. At least that what I was told when I queried the fact that our bags were last off the plane after travelling Premium Economy last year.

  4. I know people go round and round on various aspects of different airlines on different classes. But the one I really find stupid is the seat is wider rubbish. “Virgin has a seat 2.5 inch wider than BA” Rob do you believe that? I may have a bridge you might be interested in.

    • Those are the published numbers, I just repeat them.

      • Which diminishes the value of the real information available on this site.
        You know they’re not 2.5 inches wider. Both are 8 across on the 747, Do Virgin have wider 747s, are the Virgin aisles 10 inches narrower? If anyone paying for Premium honestly thinks their seat will be 2.5 inches wider than a WT+ seat they’re in for a surprise.
        I have no connection with either BA or VS as anything other than a passenger.

        • I only ever once sat in a WTP seat and that was at Virgin’s training centre in Crawley, so my ability to offer first hand comment on this is limited!

        • I’ve done both, on more than one occasion, but wouldn’t claim to have tried all versions on all possible VS and BA aircraft. For myself with PE it’s choose on price and convenience, they’re just not that different. If it’s going to be Premium vs WT+ there’s not enough differential for any effort in my opinion. I’d probably tilt towards BA simply because of status with them, so I do get a free choice of the better seats anyway.
          Why did Virgin have a WTP seat at their training centre?
          Both airlines have some dedicated crew, and some pretty indifferent ones, I know what you meant 🙂

  5. Wapps68 says:

    I think your article is wrong on the new seats. The new-new seats installed at LGW are different to the ‘new’ seats on the 380, 787 and 773. Your article suggests that they are the same

    • That’s not what the article says. It says “you will also find a version of” the seat on the other planes – not the same (new) seat.

      • Wapps68 says:

        Thank you. I think the confusion is that you say:

        “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 two photos here.”

        The two photos show the new seat and then the old new seat, not both the new seat.

        • Ah OK, in that case I got confused by what we had in our photo library. It isn’t easy to keep up …

  6. Literally flying out of Heathrow on BA in WTP on Feb 1st. Will let you guys know this new offering is if I get to experience it!

  7. I found Rob’s article confusing as well.

    Actually it sounds like the new seats on the LGW 777s are an improvement on the seats on the 787, and the leg rests are back.

    More details here http://mediacentre.britishairways.com/pressrelease/details/86/2018-247/9236

    • They are an improvement, I was trying to differentiate between ‘big TV’ and ‘small TV’ seats though which confused it, because some planes have the big TVs but an older seat version.

      • Prospero says:

        Rob, the IFE screens fitted in BA’s 86J aircraft are 15.5 inch, roughly the same size fitted to the 2010 WTP seat. There are still a number of 747s in service with the old 9″ screens but the numbers are dwindling fast through aircraft withdrawals and refurbishments

  8. The best PE i’ve flown on is Japan Airlines. The seat is a shell seat with a hard back around it (a bit like a non-bed version of a club world seat). Nobody ever reclines into your space and nobody can grab the back of your seat to use it as a grab hold (very nice when you’re asleep) or tap furiously on the touchscreen keeping you awake for a 10 hour day flight when you want a bit of a kip.

    • As JAL is one of only two airlines to have the recommended config of 2-4-2 in economy on the 787 (along with a few original ANA planes), I would expect their PE to be something special.

  9. This is a very useful piece of information about Japan Airlines. BA’s WTP is comfortable as long as the passengers in front of you don’t recline their seats. As you can’t be sure of availability of the front row seats when booking, you should be aware that you may have a claustrophobic journey. One of the advantages of using American Airlines is that their website shows seat availability before confirming booking. If only BA would offer passengers this information.

    • VS also show availability before booking, which can be handy. Of course, offering “free” seat selection is also good.

    • BA show seat availability before confirming booking, but during the booking process. But they charge for seat selection, unless you have status or are travelling in F.

      AA show seat availability during the booking process, but helpfully do this before selecting a specific flight. Last time I checked, seat selection was free at the time of booking (usual supplements for exits, extra leg room etc).

      I always check seat availability and aircraft type before committing to a specific flight.

  10. I fly ex-LHR WTP quite often and that catering is a welcome change. Not so sure about the seat design though – those movable armrests make it look worryingly like a slightly larger WT seat. Hope they don’t come to Heathrow

  11. I’m a regular user of both BA and VS PE. IME the VS seat is much wider and feels a lot like the old first class on American carriers. BA had the chance to raise the bar when the 787s arrived and IMO still fail to compete with the VS offering. Virgin wins hands down in almost every aspect of PE for us, save for the smaller tv screen. Apart from 64k in CW on the jumbo, our favourite seats are 24H/K in the bubble on VS. Will be a sad day when the 747s leave the fleet.

    • Each to their own. I def agree on 64K, although I’d add 64A and 62A/K. This along with all the comments on Rob’s picture and which WT+ seat you’ll get shows how important it is to research things as much as you can, all seats are not equal, certainly in CW. Of course you’re always at the mercy of short notice aircraft swaps, but so many seats in a given class are just poor compared to others. You learn what you like, but flying an airline in a particular class is not representative of how much you’ll enjoy it next time if you’re not in the same seat on the same aircraft type. There’s a lack of consistency that’ll not disappear any time soon. 24HK in the bubble would certainly seem wider, this more as a result of being a pair, and the space between the fuselage wall and the seat, how would you feel about 17E/F 🙂

      • I agree. Closest thing to a private jet the PE upstairs, wide aisle and cubby by the window do make it feel spacious. I believe VS are bringing out a new PE seat on the 350s. Often we take 19A/C on the westbound to get off first but have always found it just as pleasurable!

    • journeying john says:

      Sounds good be interesting to hear if it’s actually delivered!
      At least with Virgin you know what screen you’re gettign, BA are still flying many PE cabins with occasionally partially functional Rockwell 5″ screens from the late ’90’s and let’s not get started on BA’s Beyond Abysmal cleanliness, catering or customer “service”

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