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.
People who love to fly donâ€™t fly economy.
For the past several months, my husband has pitched the idea of AirlineReporter readers likely being interested in a trip report written by a â€œnormal personâ€ like me. In this case, â€œnormalâ€ is defined as someone who doesnâ€™t choose flights based on the aircraft model, or speak in cabin class codes (e.g. Y, J, M, F). I am not an AvGeek and I am sort of proud of it (although I still love you all).
My husband and I fly together several times a year and, when we do, I am able to piggyback off of his status and occasionally get a free upgrade to business/first for domestic flights. However, the â€œopportunityâ€ for me to fly long-haul economy eventually arose when I needed to fly from Seattle to Hyderabad, India for work.
British Airways Â 747 seen at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport flying to LondonÂ – Photo: Benjamin Whalen | AirlineReporter
To establish some context, I consider myself to be an experienced economy flier. Before meeting my husband and learning of the world of mileage runners and aviation geekdom, I had several flights between the US and Europe to visit distant relatives, as well as a semester studying abroad where I tried to fly to another city every other weekend. In all of these cases, I only ever flew economy, and have fond memories of being nestled under a blanket and binge-watching in-flight entertainment onÂ a few good-lengthÂ flights. Even though I didnâ€™t pay much attention to the seat dimensions, I enjoyed flying and viewed it as a chance for peace, quiet, and self-reflection.
However, my flight to and from India was going to be much more rigorous than my previous travels. I had two back-to-back ten-hour flights in British Airways’ economy class, traveling from SEA>LHR>HYD. To top it off, I needed to do the reciprocal leg within five days of my arrival.