• The Skint Traveller

British airways BA Premium Economy vs Economy - Which is Best in 2020?

When your about to choose your next British airways flight, do you ever compare BA Premium Economy vs Economy and wonder which is best? We aim to answer all the common questions we get asked in our review today. We will look at the Price difference, the In-Dining options, the Lounge access & Priority boarding, are the Seats any better and whats the difference in prices?

Lets now consider all the new information available to you below and by the end of this review, we will see what if you changed your mind!

Covered in this article for you today:

  • Value - which is best, Premium Economy or Economy?

  • Comfort - which seat is better especially on a long haul flight?

  • Luggage - which class provides the best allowance?

  • Priority Check In - do you get this in both?

  • Fast Track Security / Priority Boarding - free or extra benefit?

  • Lounge access - do you get this with Economy or Premium Economy?

  • In-Flight Dining - any better between the different cabin class?

  • Cabin crew service - do you receive any better service?

  • Drinks / Refreshments - whats free and whats not.

What is the difference between BA Premium economy and Economy on British Airways?

The significant differences between British airways Premium Economy & Economy Class are that in World Traveller Plus you receive the improved wider, Reclinable seats, Priority boarding, Smaller Cabin size & Improved dining options.

British airways Premium Economy is the next Upgraded Cabin from Economy Class or otherwise known as BA World Traveller Plus & Economy is also known as BA World Traveller. In Economy, if you booked this class then you sort of know what to expect. Your decision to pay the cheapest rate of cabin class will provide you the basics with no frills.

Included also at the time of booking Premium Economy tickets you receive as standard a larger, free baggage allowance than economy, remember that all luggage in World Traveller has to be paid for.

World Traveller plus class includes 2 x 32kg of luggage per passenger as standard. During the flight passengers receive noise-cancelling headphones, seats include laptop power supplies and a more, Intimate cabin experience from a dedicated cabin crew.

The seats in Premium Economy are more wider, comfortable and recline further with adjustable footrests to enable passenger especially on night flights an improved chance of sleep & relaxation.

What is the difference in price between BA Economy and Premium economy?

When you search and find your chosen flights on British airways, you will always be served the cheapest fares first. These cheapest fares will always be in Economy Class (Basic).

For many people the price is the most important factor, you still get a seat, you receive meals and you arrive in your chosen destination for the cheapest price available, what more could you want?

However, if you’re flying Long Haul on British airways then you could be travelling for anywhere between 6 to 24 x hours on a plane. Economy class on a long journey is not the most comfortable & you may also not want to be seated next to strangers for the duration of your flight.

You may prefer to dine on better In-Flight meals and not have to pay for alcoholic drinks and would may prefer a larger reclining seat with footrest?

More comfort and more legroom means a better chance of sleeping if you experience an over night flight. These factors are one of the big decisions to make when choosing your cabin class on BA.

What is the difference between Business Class and Premium economy on British Airways?

In BA Business Class you will receive a fully flat bed seat, In-Flight Entertainment, Priority Boarding before Premium Economy passengers. You will also receive complimentary Lounge Access at both outbound and inbound destinations. A Three Course meal service atleast twice, free Champagne & Spirits throughout your flight, interim meal services and use of the Club Kitchen. White Company Amenity kits at also provided to all Business class long haul passengers.

We detail all the differences between World Traveller Plus & Business Class, all the details found here - BA 777 Business Class Club World

How much do you pay to upgrade from Economy Class to Premium Economy?

When we look at the price difference between the two cabin classes, you may be surprised to know that the difference can be lower than you think. Below we have displayed a true life comparison to show you an average price difference between the two cabins Economy – Premium Economy.

Taking a look at the screenshot above, you can see that an outbound flight from London travelling to New York in Economy can cost as little as £211 per person, each way – A Great Fare Price that no one could argue with.

But wait… The BA price displayed is priced within a category called “Economy Light” which is the very cheapest price possible. This fare price does not include luggage, this is fine if you only carry hand baggage and plan to stay for only a few days. Any longer and you will want to take luggage with you on your trip.

Now lets take a look at the price with luggage included below for the same flight called BA “Economy Standard”.

You can see above that you would need to pay an extra £45.00 to take luggage one peice of luggage up to 23kg with you. So now you’re at a price of £256.00 per person including luggage & that's one way. Still a great price to get to New York one way!

Let’s now take a look at the true price difference on the same flight between Economy Light and Premium Economy. We can see a difference of £196.00 to upgrade to the higher class of cabin and a total cost of £452.00 to fly in Premium Economy instead of £256.00 per person.

Did you know that BA offer all customers a Price Match Guarantee? In short, this means if you book your flights direct and find them cheaper elsewhere, they will refund you the difference plus extra - our review shows you how to use this offer to its full advantage by clicking here - BA Price Match Guarantee

The big question, is the upgrade worth the additional cost?

Economy vs Premium Economy Check-in

When you arrive at the airport, you will not notice any difference between the two cabin classes at the check-in stage. British airways do not currently have a dedicated check in zone for Premium economy passengers, you still have to check-in and leave your luggage at the economy check-in zones.

As mentioned before, however at this stage you are allowed to check in one piece of baggage up to the weight of 23kg for free with an Economy light fare ticket.

In Premium Economy you are allowed 2 x 23kg of luggage each and carry on hand baggage onto the plane with you. You could then put an additonal value of £45.00 for this subtracting this cost off the upgrade price as your getting an additional 23kg of luggage included.

Lounge access

Unfortunately, you do not get any Lounge access with the upgraded Premium economy cabin class with BA. This is only applicable when you fly in BA Business Class or otherwise known as Club World or First Class.

Our review here tells all you need to know about the BA Business Lounges at Heathrow & Gatwick - BA Gatwick South Galleries Lounge

Or check out our review on the best Business Class BA Lounge at Heathrow T5 - British Airways Heathrow T5 Lounge

You can however purchase airport Lounge access via various companies on the web such as from Lounge Buddy. Lounges to relax in before any flight is a great way to start your trip, prices vary from companies on the web providing pay to enter lounge experiences, make sure you dig around to find the best deals.

Priority Boarding

When purchasing an upgraded class, you do receive priority boarding on your flight. Depending on the cabin classes on the plane your flying, First Class and Business class passengers board first, then Premium economy, then economy passengers last.

BA Economy vs Premium Economy Seats

This is where BA Premium Economy starts to show you the real difference from Economy Class.

First of all you get a larger, reclining seat with bigger pitch and extra legroom, lumbar support, a head rest and a foot rest. The difference being approximately 7″ of extra legroom between the two seats.

We reviewed the BA 777 Premium Economy cabin recently, review found here - BA 777 Premium Economy Review

You also receive a comfy pillow and blanket on your seat awaiting you on boarding the plane. The Premium economy seat is 18.5 inches in width and provide 38″ in pitch. The economy seats measuring 17.5″ wide and 31″ in pitch.

The seat layout is also different between the two cabins. In economy you get a seat layout consisting of 3 x 3 x 3 seats per row. This means that if you’re flying as a couple, you will potentially have a stranger sitting next to you.

If you look at the seating layout in Premium Economy, you will notice a different layout consisting of 2 x 3 x 2. That one less seat per row allows for the larger seats and extra legroom per row.

The biggest advantage in our opinion is if you choose the window pair seats, you do not have the potential of a stranger sitting next to you for your entire flight duration. You will also notice in the example seat plan below that the upgraded cabin is approximately two-thirds smaller. This reduces noise and foot traffic within the cabin enabling more relaxation and rest especially at night.

When you purchase your fares online, at the checkout stage you will be offered the opportunity to select your preferred seat/s for a fee. Unfortunately, instant seat selection is still chargeable unless your flying in First Class on BA. Read our Review on Seat Selection by clicking here - BA Seat Selection

You can choose your preferred seats for Free 24 x hours before departure within your British airways executive club account.

Alternatively, you can choose for Free 7 x days before departure if you are a British Airways Executive Club Bronze member. If you become a Silver / Gold member then you can select your seats for Free at the time of booking.

To read more on how to select your seats on BA click to read here

The Difference between the Two Cabins Interiors

In BA Economy, the Cabin still has a modern look and feel throughout. However, due to the seating layout it does look and feel a little cramped.

Premium Economy cabins have undergone a revamp recently giving the look and feel of a more intimate cabin. With the new interiors, you get a better seat with greater recline, a 60% larger flat entertainment screen with personal in-seat power supplies, perfect for powering your laptop or smartphones during your flight time.

You also get your own touch screen In-Flight entertainment system with controls and noise-cancelling headphones to enjoy a movie, watch your favourite TV episodes, documentaries or listen to music / books.

Food and Drink Comparison

The main difference in food and Drink between Economy vs Premium Economy consists of in Economy you receive complimentary drinks, snacks and a four course meal. You also receive a snack between your main meal and arriving at your destination.

You also receive a complimentary before departing a choice of refreshments including either sparkling wine, orange juice or water and a small accompanying snack.

In Premium Economy you receive a better dining experience served on China crockery and you are presented by the cabin crew a dining menu including the drinks selection menu.The meals served are using the best, locally sourced ingredients and tailored to the season’s. You also receive an additional three course meal instead of one per flight in economy class.

You also receive a second hot snack or lighter meal per flight and more complimentary drinks from the menu. On most routes, you can pre-order your preferred choice of meal for your flight within your BA Executive Club account.

Meals served in this Cabin are more aligned with the dining experience received in Club World Business Class.

You also receive Tea or Coffee served with all meals and at regular intervals during your flight.

Cabin Crew Service

Due to amount of passengers seated in both cabins, you do feel like you receive a slightly better service from the in-board cabin crew in World Traveller Plus. There appeared to be on our flight two dedicated cabin crew members to the small Premium Economy Cabin.

This resulted in a more attentive service and quicker delivery of the in-Flight meals & drinks.

Our Personal Verdict / Recommendations

In Economy or better known as BA World Traveller, you pay the lowest fare possible for the journey. When you pay for the cheapest fares, you do not usually expect much more than the basic standards of seats, meals and experience in general.

When you pay extra to upgrade to Premium Economy you do expect a certain, improved levels of food, seating and extra luggage allowance & extras for the additional money paid.

in our opinion the upgraded experience is a serious step up and sits between Economy and Business Class.

Have you ever wondered what is the First Class product is like in comparison to Business Class, find out here - BA First Class vs Business Class

If you’ve never flown in an upgraded cabin, Premium economy is a great, first step and we would recommend it if you can afford it. Our recommendations would be to ensure for comfort and privacy, definitely opt for the outer pair seats next to the windows on either side of the cabin and if possible, select the seats facing the galley wall, this row provides the most legroom space in the cabin.

You do get a certain amount of improved benefits in the higher cabin, larger seats, better recline and much improved leg room, improved meals served on real crockery and more complimentary drinks just adds to the experience and priority boarding.

If your considering upgrading from Economy to Premium Economy, what ever you do please do not wait until you arrive at the airport. Usually, in most cases, the upgrade cost displayed in your BA account or sent to you by email will in most circumstances will always be cheaper than the price provided to you when you check-in at the airport.

This article mainly covers the Boeing 777 airplane used for Long Haul flights, a newer, much improved plane has been added to the fleet recently, review found here - BA 787-9 Business Class

Some people will potentially think that’s not good value and will always opt for the very cheapest fares first, understandable as price is very important but comes at a cost of comfort. In our opinion, we feel that all depends on how much you value those improved enhancements to your overall flight experience.

If your only planning to fly short haul in Europe, read our review on our recent BA Business Class Short Haul flights - BA Club Europe Review

At the end of the day, it all boils down to is "what value do you place on the extra Comfort & additional extra's?"

Is it worth an extra £196 per person? Only you can decide but we would love to hear your thoughts and opinions below.

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