On a recent trip to China the 11 and a half hour flight duration made the idea of trying out premium economy very appealing and after looking at the departure and arrival times of the numerous airlines and routes from London to Shanghai, British Airways came out as the best option. British Airways call their premium economy offering World Traveller Plus with standard economy referred to as World Traveller.
World Traveller Plus offers wider seats with greater recline and more legroom than World Traveller with larger in flight entertainment screens.
The flight to Shanghai was on an unrefurbished plane with an older seat design that is showing its age. The headrest was broken which made trying to sleep through the night rather uncomfortable. As there were only seven people in the small World Traveller Plus cabin it was possible to move to a seat with a working headrest which helped but sleeping still proved difficult.
The return leg was on one of the newest planes in the British Airways fleet. The Boing 787-900 Dreamliner was delivered with the new World Traveller Plus cabin that is also in their Airbus A380s and many of their 777 fleet. The new seat, while not as soft and cushioned as the old seat, is actually more comfortable. The firmer padding offers more support and the hammock style headrest perfectly cradles the neck and head.
The newer in flight entertainment screens are also much larger than in the older seats offering a clearer picture and easier to navigate the choice of films and television programmes thanks to the touchscreen. If the choice of films aren’t appealing, USB sockets mean that tablets and phones will never run out of battery.
One of the benefits that comes from World Traveller Plus is the menu. The three course dinner menu is the same as passengers travelling in Club World, British Airways’ business class service, receive and is of an excellent standard. The menu usually has a British meal and a meal inspired by the route being flown. On the flight to Shanghai this meant Roast Duck with soy and Shoaxing wine sauce, stir fried Chinese greens, shiitake mushrooms and steamed rice.
The duck was juicy and the rice fluffy but unfortunately the vegetables caused some of the rice to become slightly stodgy as it absorbed the excess moisture. However, that was only a small grumble as all three courses of the meal exceeded what was expected of plane food.
Overall, World Traveller Plus is worth the extra money but only if the flight is long enough to warrant it and you can guarantee that the plane you will be on has the newer cabin. If you are an older plane with a cabin that has not been refurbished, it’s not the end of the world but it’s just not as comfortable.
World Traveller Plus is available on all long haul routes operated by British Airways from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports.