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We review World Traveller Plus premium economy on a British Airways A380

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This is our review of World Traveller Plus (premium economy) on British Airways.

Premium Economy has not, historically, been a focus for Head for Points.  It isn’t a half-way house between Business and Economy, however much the marketing people may try to convince people otherwise.  A better slogan might be ‘Economy how it used to be, not how it is now’.

We don’t completely ignore it, however.  Earlier this year I reviewed Air New Zealand premium economy.  We have covered Norwegian Premium twice, once here with Anika and once here with myself, and for the money we rate it highly.  I also reviewed Vietnam Airlines premium economy here as part of my trip this Summer.

British Airways BA A380 flying

With British Airways having recently made some improvements to World Traveller Plus, we decided to give it a proper review for the first time.  We will try to do a similar Virgin Atlantic piece over the next few months.

British Airways offered HfP a free WTP ticket for review purposes.  As I was planning a holiday anyway, I tied it in with a trip to Washington Dulles.  Having studied abroad for a year in the Baltimore-Washington area it was high time I made my way back that way to see everyone I knew.

You can find out more about World Traveller Plus on this page of ba.com.

Mr Jones goes to Washington

British Airways flies twice daily to Washington Dulles.  In the winter season one of the daily flights is on an A380, although you will often find a range of aircraft on this route year round, including Boeing 777s and 747s as well as 787s.

Check in

Unlike many other carriers at Heathrow including Virgin Atlantic, British Airways does not have a separate World Traveller Plus check-in / bag drop desk.  Given the number of desks at Terminal 5, this is a weird omission – it wouldn’t add any marginal cost (there are enough WTP passengers each day to keep it busy) and it would improve the passenger experience as well as encouraging passengers to trade up.

You must queue with other economy passengers (click any photo to enlarge):

British Airways World Traveller Plus review A380

In practise, however, I have never found the queues at Heathrow T5 to be particularly bad. It is more of a problem at other airports where BA is slightly more space constrained.

Whilst I was travelling light, it is important to note that World Traveller Plus has a far bigger luggage allowance than World Traveller.  The World Traveller allowance is one checked bag of 23kg.  The World Traveller Plus allowance is TWO bags on 23kg.  Executive Club and oneworld status members have higher allowances.  (Full details of BA baggage allowances are here.)

Given that British Airways charges £120 return to add a second suitcase to an Economy ticket, anyone with a lot of luggage should seriously consider booking World Traveller Plus instead.  Given the extra Avios you earn as well – as I discuss below – it may end up cheaper.

Like virtually all premium economy offerings, BA does not include lounge access so you will have to entertain yourself in the perpetually crowded T5 concourse.  (Norwegian used to offer lounge access on Premium tickets but has now dropped it unless you have a flexible ticket.)

However, as I was on an A380 I knew that I would be departing from T5C.  I made my way there early using the secret corridor.  One side of the air train is currently undergoing engineering works and there is a less frequent (and more crowded!) service.

In World Traveller Plus

World Traveller Plus is on the upper deck of BA’s A380s, tucked behind a smallish Club World. It is, all things considered, a fairly small cabin given the size of the aircraft.

British Airways World Traveller Plus review A380

Seats are arranged in a 2-3-2 config. One of the benefits of being on the upper deck is having the large sidewall storage bins next to the window seats, which are great for stowing things you want to use during the flight.

British Airways World Traveller Plus review A380

The seats are a decent width and have good recline. Whilst Norwegian’s premium economy touts the greatest seat pitch, I did not notice any great differences between Norwegian, British Airways or even Vietnam Airlines (links to reviews). I had ample leg and knee room in World Traveller Plus and was able to extend my legs fully under the seat in front.

British Airways World Traveller Plus review A380

Screens are in the seat back in front of you whilst tray tables are in the armrest. There is also a small cabled remote control for the IFE. If you are sitting behind another World Traveller Plus row you get an adjustable leg rest. There are no personal air vents overhead.

Unlike in some premium cabins, BA has chosen to retain overhead bins throughout the cabin so there is plenty of storage.  On the upper deck of an A380 the window-side bins are smaller than average, although this is not a problem since you can place large items in the central bins.

Each seat came with the stylish new herringbone-design pillows, blankets and amenity kit / headphone sets.

In the amenity kit you’ll find a pair of single-use socks, dental kit, lip balm by Scaramouche & Fandango, eye mask and pen:

British Airways World Traveller Plus review A380 amenity kit

The only thing that is missing is a pair of earplugs, which I had to ask cabin crew for separately.

After boarding I was offered a choice of water or sparkling wine as well as a menu.

British Airways World Traveller Plus review A380

World Traveller Plus in-flight service

Once airborne, cabin crew came round offering everyone a hot towel before coming round with small pack of pretzel and taking drinks orders. I had some white wine as well as some water. You are served two mini bottles, I assume to save time during the meal service.

British Airways World Traveller Plus A380 drink

About an hour later the main meal is served. Starter, main course and dessert are all served on one tray:

British Airways World Traveller Plus review A380 meal

I had the Prawn Thai green curry, jasmine rice and edemame beans which came with a goat’s cheese, orange and beetroot tartare starter and a chocolate and pecan cookie dough cheesecake, as well as some cheddar and crackers.

The other two main choices were braised British beef, chasseur sauce, herb creamed potatoes and baby carrot OR autumn pumpkin and parsnip hotpot with herb dumplings.

I’m always pleased when airlines hand out proper bottles of water, too, so that’s a bonus.

After dinner there is also a tea and coffee service, as well as ice cream mid-flight.

World Traveller Plus in-flight entertainment

British Airways had its first A380 delivered in 2013, so the in flight entertainment is not as new as you will find on its A350s and refurbished Boeing 777s.

The seat back entertainment screen is a decent size, although I don’t think it uses multi-touch technology and sometimes requires more of a firm press.

Underneath the screen are two USB plugs:

British Airways World Traveller Plus A380 ife

On the armrest you will find the headphone jack and remote control.

British Airways has a good selection of entertainment options. There were several pages worth of new releases covering a wide range of tastes from superhero blockbusters to Disney, biopics and smaller films. This is in addition to the ‘classics’ and ‘best of British’ categories etc. I ended up watching the new Spiderman film, the Apollo 11 documentary and All is True, Kenneth Branagh’s film about Shakespeare’s life.

British Airways World Traveller Plus A380 headphones

Headphones are over the ear style, although I don’t think they are noise cancelling. They were certainly decent although nothing to shout home about.

Wi-Fi

British Airways’ A380s are fitted with Wi-Fi. Unlike on the A350, packages are available based on time rather than consumption, which is a fairer way to go. This was what was available – I’m not sure if the ‘full flight’ prices is higher on longer routes:

  • 1 hour: £4.99
  • 4 hours: £11.99
  • Full flight: £17.99

I went for the 1 hour option to test it out and was surprised by how well it did. I wasn’t streaming video but enjoyed full normal usage of my phone for that hour, without having to worry about page loading speeds or waiting for images to load on social media.

Second meal service

Around an hour before landing cabin crew come round again with the second meal choice. On a shortish transatlantic flight this is a hot slice of pizza in a box or some sandwiches:

British Airways World Traveller Plus A380 pizza

…. which is similar, if not the same, as what is served as the second meal in economy.

Conclusion

British Airways has improved its premium economy offering a lot in recent years. New blankets, pillows and amenity kits lend it a stylish flair whilst the cabin now has a dedicated menu served with real cutlery and tableware.

It is, by and large, a very competitive offering (although I have yet to try Virgin Atlantic’s Premium) and worth a modest price premium over World Traveller.

As this is HfP, I should also remind you that World Traveller Plus is a very generous source of Avios and British Airways Executive Club tier points.

This HfP article lists all British Airways routes and the tier points they earnWorld Traveller Plus earns 90 tier points each-way compared with just 20 tier points each way for the cheapest World Traveller (economy) tickets.  One return flight puts you more than half-way to Bronze status.

In terms of Avios, World Traveller Plus to Washington Dulles earns 3,672 Avios each-way.  This compares to just 918 Avios each-way for the cheapest World Traveller (economy) ticket.  An extra 5,500+ Avios on a return flight like this – and substantially more on a longer route – helps offset some of the cost of World Traveller Plus.

Thank you to the BA team for arranging my flight.  You can learn more about World Traveller Plus on ba.com here.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

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Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

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

Comments (115)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Michael C says:

    I find WTP a happy medium. I can’t sleep on planes even in business, but I appreciate the bigger seat and baggage allowance.

  • Lady London says:

    Umm….I thought the £60-65 each way was the Europe routes paid luggage per piece.

    IIRC it’s £200 give or take £20 depending on the exchange rate, each for a piece longhaul including US?

    • The Original David says:

      This is a fun quirk of BA’s baggage pricing policy. Not sure about ex-US, but ex-LON, a second bag for Economy class is about £60 for the first one, and then about £120 for any after that. If you have a WTP ticket, the first extra checked bag (i.e. your 3rd piece) is about £120 straight away. Basically, BA thinks it’s reasonable that anyone would take 2 suitcases, but as soon as you’re onto your third, regardless of class of travel (except First), you clearly have some underlying motivation so will be less price-sensitive.

      • Rufusres says:

        OT new Amex offer £10 back for £50 supermarket spend on a couple of my Amex cards

  • Doug M says:

    I loved the line about Economy as it used to be, absolutely nailed it. Upstairs on the A380 is way the best PE BA has, you’d be a little less kind about one of those battered B777s flying to Tampa.
    A good bet often is to start ex-EU on a cheap PE fare, and then upgrade the long haul legs with Avios.
    As you mentioned the Washington Baltimore area why did you choose Dulles over BWI? I didn’t much like the flight timing but my one experience of BWI was really good. Through airport on arrival in few minutes.

  • Doug M says:

    OT: I’ve had 7 emails from Amex this morning confirming things done in late October. You’ve added a rewards partner, you’ve transferred points, and confirming the merging of 2 MR accounts. As if they’re on a 6 week delay mechanism. Odd.

  • marcw says:

    Interesting AF – KLM team up with Qantas Flyer. Essentially, with Qantas Flyer you can earn miles on BA, IB + AF + KLM, and Emirates as well as Qatar. Covers very well Europe tbh.

    • marcw says:

      As an example… you could fly LON to DEL with many options: BA, AF, KLM, EK and QR. With Avios you can only do BA and QR.
      I’m not saying it’s good value, but shows how versatile that program has become.

  • Yuff says:

    OT: FAO shoestring

    BA refused my duty of care claim as they cancelled the flight more than 14 days prior to departure.
    I replied saying I will take them to the small claims court as the next available flight was the following day but they say they can’t compensate us for accommodation and expenses….shall I just ask them for address details to issue a claim?

    • Shoestring says:

      there’s quite simply no 14 day ‘rule’ with duty of care (or any other time limitation other than the 6 year statute of limitations!)

      you would always expect the first (and maybe 2nd) reply from BA CS to be a BS reply in any case – that’s when 90% of people drop out, so BA CS will invariably prefer BS to a proper reply, one exception (sometimes) being when other people in the same position/ flight have already received compo

      suggestion: you could post a very brief summary of your case on the Flyertalk EC261 compo thread and it will definitely interest people enough to give you a few thoughts that might strengthen the way you state your position

      I’m going to be in the same position at Easter – my flight out has been cancelled and I’ve been given an alternative 2.5hrs later, so I’ll be claiming duty of care for 4 of us (it’s longer than 2 hrs so duty of care is applicable)

      • Shoestring says:

        adds: you’ve got plenty of time – don’t go for CEDR (the adjudicators can be wishy-washy with poor knowledge of the law) but choose MCOL – you have to give BA a minimum of 8 weeks to finally reject your claim in any case

        • Doug M says:

          I think you can ask BA to state that’s their final position on the matter which means no need to wait.

        • Lady London says:

          I think a 3 clear asks and refusals would also be enough basis. You can always ask them to confirm that’s their final answer and request them to provide the address at which papers may be served within their reply.

      • Yuff says:

        Thanks shoestring and Doug, I could mention in my next reply that one of the claimants is a judge 🤣
        However the judge hates litigation as she sees it every day, and never allows me to use it as leverage….

        • Shoestring says:

          I doubt if it would get to being heard – BA nearly always fold – they fold *most* of the time with MCOL but sometimes let CEDR cases get heard

          you should always expect one or 2 BS copy & paste replies at first

          if you add in a few choice expressions/ header such as ‘Notice before action’, somebody with a bit of legal knowledge or indeed BA’s retained legal team get to see your case and most of the time will then pay up on the obvious ones you’re going to win anyway

  • Mart says:

    Just travelled ba wtp lhr-mia 747 last week
    The plane was in a bad state
    IFE ancient and not working very well.
    Main meal ok ,pizza well overdone.
    Seemed like 1 member of staff doing the whole wtp cabin which resulted in wine and bread 20 mins after meal had been served.
    Got the tickets cheap but come on BA

    • Rhys says:

      Sounds like you got one of the ancient 747s that are due to be scrapped soon. I know one of the heritage livery aircraft has really, really dated IFE

      • Jill (Kinkell) says:

        Let’s hope it’s scrapped by next Oct/Nov ….due to fly CW (241).

        • Rhys says:

          Oldest non-refurbished 747s are being scrapped first, so there’s every chance

          • BJ says:

            Five of those scheduled to go next year bug it will be 2022 before they are all gone. The refurbed obes then retiring by 2024. I imagine that delivery delays will likely push this back a bit.

  • JH says:

    “I’m always pleased when airlines hand out proper bottles of water, too, so that’s a bonus.”
    Strikingly outdated sentiment, given they take 450 years to biodegrade.

    • Rhys says:

      Unfortunately there is no such thing as ‘tap water’ on an aircraft. Airlines use bottled water for consumption anyway, whether pouring it into a tiny plastic or glass cup or giving you a small bottle. It doesn’t matter one way or another.

      FYI – nothing on board is recycled, it is all incinerated at the destination under international law as a precautionary measure.

      • Marcw says:

        Not within the EU.

      • The Original David says:

        There is tap water onboard aircraft – it’s what they make tea and coffee with, and it’s what you’ll get a cup of in Euro Traveller if you ask for a free one. There are lots of conspiracy theories about how dangerous it is to drink, but there’s no evidence of that…

        • Rhys says:

          Even in economy I have only ever seen them pour out bottled water from trolleys….

          • Ron says:

            Can’t remember if it’s BA or not, but I’ve definitely seen cabin crew filling water from a tap in the galley when I gave them my own water bottle.

    • Marcw says:

      You can always take the bottle with you and throw it in a recyclable bin.

      • Doreen says:

        I was chatting with a crew member recently (think it was LHR JFK) who told me she had volunteered for a role called something like BA Recycling Champion – they check onboard for anything recyclable like water bottles before the cleaners come on … and had been brought on a tour of a Recycling Center. Not quite sure how we got onto that topic !

    • critic says:

      ffs – there is a time and place to be ‘environment friendly’ !

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