When my girlfriend Molly and I first started planning our trip to Australia, I was skeptical that we would find any award availability in a premium cabin. With flights from the west coast to Australia averaging 15+ hours, premium cabin awards are extremely difficult to find, especially for more than one seat. During the several weeks that I searched, I rarely found any coach availability on desirable flights, and no premium cabin award space at all. Finally, one fateful Saturday afternoon, I hit the jackpot. I found two seats in First Class on Qantas, using Alaska Airlines miles. Score!
Later this year, British Airways will celebrate a huge milestone: a full 100 years of passenger flights (if you count their predecessors all the way back to the Aircraft Transport and Travel company). As one of the many ways it’s commemorating the occasion, BA is making some updates to World Traveller Plus, their premium economy cabin. The current version of the seat was unveiled back in 2010, and earlier this year we got to fly it on two long-haul flights, one on a Boeing 787 and another on an Airbus A380.
We found a lot to like, from basics like more space and recline, to better amenities, and — at least on the A380– the chance to sit on the upper deck without breaking the bank! It ain’t business class for sure, but it was definitely enough to make 20 hours in the sky fly right by.
Read on for a chronicle of our trip in World Traveller Plus from Chennai to San Francisco via London Heathrow. And at the end, we’ll discuss BA’s big upcoming updates to its premium economy service.
The Korean Air A380 readies for departure at LAX – Photo: Kevin P Horn
This summer, my partner Natalie and I decided that we wanted to visit one or two cities in Asia during the short window that we had off. I researched the airlines, routes, and cities that we were interested in flying to and ended up choosing Seoul and Tokyo for stops. I had accrued about 200,000 points through Chase credit cards and started looking through redemption options. A friend of mine pointed me towards Korean Air, since they were partnered with Chase for 1-1 transfers and had an excellent 62,500 mile redemption (63,000 since I could only transfer in 1000 point increments) for business class to Asia one-way. These flights had the option to select a multi-day stopover in Seoul, so it precisely lined up with our travel goals.
I booked two one-way flights to Tokyo Narita (NRT) in Korean Air Prestige class with a five-day stopover in Seoul (ICN). I ended up booking a return with United Airlines on an Economy Saver redemption for 35,000 miles. But I’m not writing this to talk about United economy; flying on the upper deck of both an A380 and Queen of the Skies 747-400 is much more interesting.
Do you want to win a Qatar Airways Airbus A380 model? Of course you do! Lucky for you, we have one and we are looking to give it a new home. All you need to do is make sure you are following us on Twitter, and then retweet our contest tweet and you are eligible. The contest will be open until 5:00 p.m. PDT on Friday, August 26th and at that point we will randomly pick from the valid entries. Here, I will make it easy for you with the official tweet below:
Update: CONGRATS to @lauratherad for winning this sweet, sweet model! Stay tuned for our next contest!
(not so) FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can you please give me more details about the model? Yes. It is a 1:200-sized model (a.k.a. big — 14.5″ long, 16″ wingspan). I can’t tell who makes it, but it has a fancy wooden stand. It’s registration number is A7-APA, which makes it the 137th A380 built, and it first flew in June 2013.
Wait, is this a used model? The photo is of my personal model. The one we are giving away is brand new, in box. We can be model buddies.
Who is eligible? If you have a Twitter account and follow the rules — you are. I will ship it anywhere in the world to the winner.
Does the model actually fly? Yes. Once.
I work for Delta, can I win? Of course. As long as you proudly display it at work.
Does this come with subsidies? Ha… funny, but no they are not included.
Can you just declare me the winner? Yes I can. Will I? No.
I don’t have Twitter? That sucks. Sorry, you need to do this on Twitter to win. It’s free to sign up!
Can I enter on Snapchat? What’s Snapchat?
It is a fun app where you can take photos and make yourself a princess or a panda bear that cries rainbows — that work? Um… no.
Can I just leave a comment on this story? Sure… I probably will even reply to your comment, but it won’t enter you into the contest.