British Airways BA Premium Economy 777 [Update 2020] Review
The British Airways Boeing 777 in Premium Economy has recently received a full refurbishment and in our review we look at for you the seats, cabins, lounge access, seat map, cabin crew service, the food & drinks menu and ask ourselves - is Premium Economy worth it on BA?
We also set out to cover in our review for you today, answers to questions regularly asked of us such as:
What does premium economy mean on British Airways?
What is the difference between economy and premium economy?
Are premium economy seats worth it & How much more expensive is BA premium economy?
Our BA World Traveller Plus 777 Flight Review Introduction
BA Premium Economy is just one of the featured cabins flown on the non-stop flight from London Gatwick (LGW) to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (MRU) in Mauritius in the Indian ocean.
The BA Boeing 777-300 is one of most widely used aircraft by British airways across the world today. The Chance's are, if your flying on BA in World Traveller Plus, you will be Flying on the 777.
British airways fly three times a week from LGW to MRU from March to November, the days BA fly at this time of the year are Mondays, Thursdays & Saturdays. The frequency increases to five times a week from November to March and they fly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturday and Sundays.
Our flight duration on this route was approx 11 hours, 50 minutes and covers from London Gatwick to Mauritius Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Intl airport in Nautical Miles – 6,045.
The aircraft British Airways regularly fly on this route are the Boeing 777-300 which comprises of World Traveller (Economy) with 203 seats, World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) with 24 Reclining seats & Club World (Business) with 48 flat beds.
BA World Traveller Plus 777 – Our Opinion
This was our very first time we had flown in BA Premium Economy class.
We had paid our Travel Agent an extra £498 each to upgrade from World Traveller (Economy) to cover our outbound & inbound flights.
We had only ever flown World Traveller (Economy) in the past but in Economy you sort of know what to expect, you have no real high expectations, cheap & cheerful, No Frills…
This upgraded cabin was high on our wish list and high in our expectations!
What does premium economy mean on British Airways?
British airways Premium Economy is the next Upgraded Cabin from Economy. You do not receive Lounge access however you do get Priority boarding, a slightly larger, reclinable seat with a footrest and a larger, flat screen IFE system.
Also, an improved dining experience, an extra meal & complimentary drinks & snacks.
What is the difference between economy and premium economy?
The difference between British airways Premium Economy & Economy Class are the improved wider Reclinable seats, the priority boarding, the extras such as improved meals, a larger baggage allowance consisting of 2 x 32kg per passenger, noise cancelling headphones, laptop power supplies and a more, Intimate cabin experience.
Are British Airways Premium Economy seats worth it?
In our opinion Yes, you receive a wider, more luxurious seat with a larger pitch, footrest, headrest and a better recline including improved ergonomics. Movable armrests allow more movement & the improved recline / headrest allow enough comfort to be able to sleep. Seat Power sockets are also installed suitable for laptops and other electronic devices for your entertainment.
How much more expensive is premium economy on BA?
Premium Economy can cost as much as 50% – 60% more than in Economy class. It will be cheaper to book the upgraded cabin at the time of booking rather than wait until being offered an upgrade at the airport check-in. Sale fares offer all customers upgraded cabins usually at lower costs.
You also have to pay to select your seats - Review here - BA Seat Selection
Do you get BA Lounge Access with World Traveller Plus?
Before our first ever BA Premium Economy flight, we assumed paying that much to Upgrade our cabin class, we would automatically receive some type of Lounge access.
In reality No, unfortunately after a bit of research online, we quickly discovered that lounge access was not applicable to tickets issued in World Traveller Plus. However, when you research other airlines, we quickly discovered that Premium economy class does not generally ever come with Complimentary Lounge access.
This policy appears pretty standard across all airlines in this class of fare including similar offerings from Virgin Atlantic. What we discovered after our trip was that you only get lounge access if you fly BA First or Business Class or if you hold BA Silver / Gold Status or equivalent from another OneWorld carrier.
You can however purchase Lounge access without flying in First / Club World but this will not include access to any of the official BA Lounges.
You can still enjoy Lounge access but this will need to be purchased online through one of the many Pay per entry Lounge experience companies on the web. We recommend looking around as some companies charge more than others.
All you do is enter the airport you want Lounge access for and companies such as Lounge Buddy will display all available options & prices online. Typical Lounge access will cost approx £20-£25 each. This amount can be dramatically reduced if you fly regularly & want Lounge access by purchasing an annual pass from these lounge companies.
BA Premium Economy Priority Boarding
One good perk that we found with BA Premium Economy tickets was that all passengers receive Priority boarding.
This a great benefit in our opinion, to board the plane before the main bulk of passengers flying in Economy. We boarded our plane with the smaller amount of passengers within our cabin only.
This gives you enough time to store your hand baggage away and be seated before the main bulk of passengers enter down the same aisle.
The Priority Boarding – Our Experience
We made our way with great excitement to fly for our very first time in World Traveller Plus to the selected boarding gate. When we arrived at our boarding gate we found ourselves in an area consisting of lots of seats and even more passengers waiting around to board.
We quickly found some spare seats and eagerly awaiting our boarding access. Club World passengers were called up first, this took about 10 x minutes in total for all the business class passengers to board first.
Then Premium Economy passengers were instructed to start boarding, this benefit does make it feel special being able to board before economy passengers.
It was a fairly organised boarding experience, with all Business class passengers already seated before we entered the plane. This boarding experience did start our journey off on a good setting and made us feel more relaxed and not feel hurried.
So far, not that much difference in our opinion than flying in World Traveller except for priority boarding before Economy passengers.
BA Business Class Club World 777 Onboard
Entering the Boeing 777 you turn right from the Galley into Premium but I did manage to a quick peek at the Club World business class cabin located to the left at the front of the aircraft. Club World or Business Class looked completely different to Premium Economy, firstly each seat is designed to have its own space.
The BA Club World Seats located next to the Window & aisle seats have separation panels for Privacy. The Seats are larger and are almost like pods with fully flat beds. They are also in a Configuration of 2 / 2 / 2, in World Traveller Plus the configuration is 2 / 4 / 2 seating.
This gives you an idea of the extra personal space you get in the Club World Cabin.
For our next trip, we managed to experience Club World using only Avios points & taxes.
British Airways Premium Economy Cabins
Entering the Premium Economy cabin and after seeing Club World, Business class, we felt a little disappointed to be honest.
In our opinion, on first impressions the Premium Economy cabin looks exactly the same as Economy except there are only two seats on the outside of the aisles next to the windows instead of three seats in Economy.
One added bonus in this cabin was the mood lighting, this was turned on once the main cabin lights were turned off during our night-time flight. It gave the whole cabin a relaxed feeling and quite contemporary.
BA World Traveller Plus on the 777 Cabins over the last few years have received an over-haul with lots of money invested to improve the customer experience. This includes a thorough deep clean on all aircraft, upgraded cabin interiors, improved seating and a better food and drink catering experience.
BA Premium Economy Seating Layout
Before our Pre-flight departure, we were automatically assigned seats at the front of the cabin facing the Galley wall. This made it feel like we had extra leg room but not 100% sure if we actually did.
On British Airways you have to pay for your preferred Seat Selection. The only class of cabin which gets automatic seat selection at the booking stage is First Class. Purchasing seat selection on Premium Economy varies from £16 – £30 each, and that’s each way.
Not being able to select your seat at the time of booking in our opinion is a poor standard. This basically means that potentially if you book flights together, you could be seated away from each other. In theory, i have been advised this usually does not happen but not 100% guaranteed.
What we did not know at the time of booking our upgrades via our Travel agent was that if we had opened a British Airways Executive account, we could have logged in 24 x hours before our flight and selected our preferred seats.
BA offer all blue status account holders the option before you fly to pre-select your preferred seats but only 24 x hours before departure for Free.
You can however pay to pre-select your preferred seats at the time of booking by paying a fee.
The Seats – BA Premium Economy Review
The Seats are slightly wider than in Economy and you do get a bit more leg room with movable foot rests.
The WT+ seat is officially 18.5 inch wide with a larger seat pitch. Economy seats are 17.5 inches wide and so not a great deal of difference. The seats are Reclinable and do offer better comfort than Economy when trying to sleep.
You do get a Blanket & Cushion, Noise cancelling headphones, In-flight entertainment system & a very basic Amenity bag containing an eye mask, toothbrush, toothpaste, Flight socks and earplugs which looked remotely similar to those in Economy also.
The Cabin is smaller and feels slightly more intimate than Economy. BA Seats in this cabin have a modern Navy Blue & lighter Blue shades with Silver metal trims with adjustable headrests and moveable armrests.
The Seats we found were actually quite comfortable and helped us catch atleast a few hours sleep before arriving at our destination.
World Traveller Plus Food & Drink Dining Options
We opted for the Chicken dish which came in the standard tin foil trays with a complimentary bread roll & butter. To be honest, it looked and tasted exactly the same as a similar Chicken dish we had eaten in Economy before.
A small chocolate dessert which was nice and a drink were offered with both meals served. The meal orders were taken quickly and the cabin crew served our selected meals shortly afterwards. We were offered Tea or Coffee twice during our flight time, Tea for me never tastes the same on a plane so I opted for white coffee instead.
No Nespresso or Latte’s served here but we were served perfectly drinkable filter coffee.
However, we did take up the offer of the complimentary sparkling wine, spirits and soft drinks offered throughout our flight duration. The sparkling wine was nice and came served up in British Airways branded glassware.
BA Cabin Crew Service
By the time we were in the air, we did notice a lot of initial activity by the Cabin crew on board in our cabin.
Complimentary Drinks were served up quickly, then a long interval came when we did not see any Cabin crew except for one Stewardess making her way quickly down the aisle through to Club World. It looked like the staff on board were a little stretched.
Overall, the Cabin crew serving us were pleasant and professional.
In Flight Entertainment (IFE)
British airways offer all seats with the In-Flight Entertainment system by means of a touch screen or controlled entertainment console.
The IFE Flat screens are located in the rear of the seat in front of you or in our case, a swivel style movable screen attached to the side of our seat as we were at the front of the cabin.
The In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) contains lots of the latest films, documentaries, television, music, audio books and games to keep you occupied during your flight. We opted to watch a latest Cinema Blockbuster film and after we were kept occupied watching a series of comedy episodes and music documentaries.
The Noise Cancelling headphones worked well at blocking out the background aircraft noise and were very comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
BA World Traveller Plus Baggage allowance
All BA Premium Economy passengers receive as part of the upgraded fare an improved baggage allowance.
This includes for each passenger in world traveller plus the option to take on board with you two bags, one full-sized cabin bag and one additional bag such as a laptop holder etc.
The full-sized cabin bag cannot exceed 56cm in height by 45cm in width and not exceed 25cm in-depth. This larger of the two hand baggage items must be stored away in the overhead lockers.
Hand Baggage allowance
The smaller hand baggage item must not exceed 30cm in height by 40cm in width and not exceed 25cm in-depth. This hand baggage item must be stored under the seat in front of you.
British Airways Checked Baggage allowance
All adults are allowed up to two checked luggage items each in this Cabin class. The allowance per bag is 23kg each bag, per person. This same allowance also applies to children aged between 2 -12 years old. This is one additional checked baggage per person more than you are allocated when flying in Economy Class.
Our Verdict / Recommendations
Is it worth the extra cost from Economy?
In our personal opinion, its a tough decision to make and depends on a few different factors.
If your cost conscious then probably - No!
If you want a few extra benefits / comforts such as being able to recline a slightly wider, comfier seat so you can catch some sleep if your on an overnight flight then we would say - Yes.
The cabin interiors are better, you get extra complimentary drinks and an extra meal and snacks and priority boarding.
To pay approximately £250 each and each way for a few extras like a slightly bigger reclining seat, slightly more leg room and priority boarding maybe worth the additional fees charged.
However, a trick we discovered was that BA offer a Price Match Guarantee which we used recently to get money back on our flights - Review here - BA Price Match Guarantee
Reading the latest news from BA, it appears that they have plans to improve the Premium Economy experience with improved dining options, improved cabin interiors, bigger touch screen IFE and a bigger recline on the seats.
These improvements are only being fitted to some aircraft first, then a further roll out of improvements across most of the fleet at a later date.
Even with the new improvements, we still sometimes struggle to think that the new World Traveller Plus experience will be worth the additional fees charged at present.
You can however find these upgraded seats in one of the regular BA World Sales at a greater saving, if you find these on your chosen route then we would recommend this Cabin at the reduced sale prices.
We would only fly in BA Premium Economy again if there were no availability in Club World and we would definitely pay for Lounge access this time to make the whole experience as best it could possibly get.
We would however strongly recommend purchasing Premium Economy seats in one of the regular BA Sale’s with the option to upgrade your seats to Club World using avios points.
You can also fly on British Airways in Premium Economy / Club World or even First Class using a 2-4-1 Companion Voucher where you get One Passenger free when using avios points.
Read How to Get a Free Companion Voucher + 9,000 Bonus Avios Points Click Here >
To Read our Tips & Tricks on how to bag Club World upgrades from Premium Economy Cash paid tickets using Avios Points Click this Link to Read our Review >
Have you ever flown in BA Premium Economy ? If so, whats your opinion – Good / Bad? We would Love to read your Comments below.