British Airways Premium Economy is called World Traveller Plus. I took the Boeing 777 service from London to Sydney via Singapore before Christmas in 2014. My flight from Dublin was very delayed, meaning I almost missed my flight and sprinting through Heathrow is not at all fun! The product remains largely the same today and I find it a nice upgrade from economy class.
Heading To Australia For Christmas
It is not often that I head back to Australia for Christmas, as airfares are usually stupidly expensive. This time I found an acceptable deal in World Traveler Plus on British Airways, which would also net me a good number of Avios points. Starting in Dublin often means the fare is even more reasonable as you avoid UK Air Passenger Duty. On this trip, my flight to London was delayed, and this increased as time passed.
Concerned about my connection, I approached the lounge staff in Dublin who called the British Airways people and gave the phone to me. I was told the delay was due to winds at Heathrow which is why the inbound aircraft hadn’t arrived yet. She said it was possible the BA15 to Sydney would also be delayed but it was showing on time. I was given two options – 1) Leave the airport and go home and try again the next day. 2) Go to London and chance it and see if I made the flight. It was an easy decision – I decided to chance it.
A friend of mine who is British Airways crew was on Standby at London Heathrow and let me know that the Sydney flight was on the C gates at Terminal 5. The Dublin flights land at the A gates, so I knew it was going to be some mission to get there in time. On boarding I told the Cabin Crew that I was concerned about my connection and they regularly updated me on its status through the flight.
The Heathrow Dash!
On arrival, I was first off the aircraft, and the big run began! I ran to Flight Connections. Happily, I had a light messenger bag and no roller bag! I was handed an Express Connections folder at the Passport check to put my boarding passes into by the British Airways staff who were at every stage of the process hurrying us along.
Not only did I get a special tag to help speed me through, but my baggage did as well, as I found out when I got to Sydney!
After the Passport check, more running until – oh god, security! I hate re-screening at the best of times. This time of course, I went through the detector and the damned thing beeped – probably because I was already hot from my running. Shoes off, go through again. Fine. The British Airways guy waiting at the end of Security says, “BA15 Singapore Sydney?” – “Yes!” … and I wait for my shoes. It felt like forever. Got the shoes. Put them on.
Run, Forrest, Run!
Run, run to the lifts. Get to the lifts. Go down, wait for the transit. Panting. Another woman runs up red faced. “Are you going to Sydney?” – “Yes!”. She was also on the Dublin flight. Transit arrives. Get on. Get to T5B. Wait. Get to T5C. Up the escalators. Get to the gate.
By now I am sweating like a pig – I mean really sweating and people are looking at me strangely as I’m red faced, panting and soaking wet. Boarding hadn’t started and guess what? The flight was delayed. It was a good 10 minutes of waiting at the gate until boarding commenced. Considering how long boarding takes, it’s entirely possible that I could have made the flight by not rushing. Nevermind. Exhausted, I boarded when we were called and proceeded to my seat.
BA15 – London to Sydney via Singapore (LHR-SIN-SYD)
21 December 2014
Boeing 777-300ER – G-STBI
Seat: World Traveller Plus 23B
Departure: 21:55 (scheduled), 23:00 (actual) Arrival: 07:00+1
As you can imagine, I was pretty exhausted by the time we took off from London Heathrow so I didn’t really take any pictures on this sector apart from the meals. We were given hot towels first, which was welcome to remove some of the sweat, then it was a drinks service and then the dinner service.
A Midnight Dinner
From the menu, which I didn’t keep, I chose the Beef. This was served with Roast Potatoes, Carrot and some kind of tartish thing that they do a lot but I don’t remember the name of. The main dish in World Traveller Plus on the first meal service comes from the Club World menu – it’s the same as served in Business Class.
While I understand the reasoning for the foil pot of gravy (you can have it if you want, and not if you don’t), I think it looks cheap.
The dessert was Sticky Toffee Pudding and the starter dish was some kind of cabbage from memory.
It was all quite nice as it always tends to be. We flew on through the night – I watched a movie and then attempted to sleep in various positions. I got a few hours of light dozing which is pretty good for me as I don’t sleep well on flights in general.
Amenity Kit and Breakfast
The amenity kit that BA provide is very good and it has everything you need for a comfortable flight. Ear plugs are usually very welcome, as is the toothbrush and toothpaste. The toothpaste tube also has a blue Speedmarque on it, just like the bag. The pen is probably the most useful thing of all – I remember being delighted when pens became standard. They are very handy for filling in all those pesky immigration forms!
About 90 minutes from landing we were served breakfast. I chose the Full English which is pretty much exactly the same meal you get in Club Europe.
I don’t really like the egg thing they do for breakfast on flights. The rest was fine – the yoghurt was cheap tasting though, which is standard for this class on British Airways.
We landed in Singapore and disembarked uneventfully. Stopping in Singapore is needed so the aircraft can refuel before the final sector to Sydney.
The Fast Turn Around In Singapore
All I wanted was a shower, so after a quick stop at the Cactus Garden to enjoy the Singapore humidity, it was straight to the British Airways lounge for a shower. I was warned at the desk not to be long as the flight was going to be boarding for Sydney much faster than usual to make up for the delay. This didn’t stop me from having a lovely luxurious shower. The showers are looking tired now, with water stains down the tiles, so just like the showers in Terminal 5, they need a refurbishment.
I felt a million dollars after the shower – sitting in my own dried sweat for over 12 hours after running around Heathrow was not particularly pleasant. After this I went next door to the Qantas Singapore Lounge for a total of 5 minutes for a quick snack and then straight back to the gate which was already open for the connection to Sydney. We boarded quite quickly and were back in the air for a nice short 7 hour flight to Sydney.
British Airways Premium Economy Cabin
Feeling much more refreshed, I decided to take some extra pictures on this sector to Sydney. The leg room in World Traveller Plus is quite generous and the seat also features a foot rest. This is handy to use at various times during the flight and also when attempting to sleep.
There’s a drinks table between the seats.
It came in handy for the Bloody Mary I had as my chosen drink during the first drinks service. You also get a bag of nuts.
The Personal Television (PTV) screen is also of a generous size. It is much, much larger than the old World Traveller Plus screen which is great!
Quite frankly a tiny screen looks stingy and these are totally the opposite of that. Flights are quite boring without having something to watch, aren’t they?
Dinner Time Singapore to Sydney
British Airways Premium Economy passengers are given a menu, which elevates the experience above economy, which I imagine is the entire point.
As I had already had Beef on the way over, there was no chance I was having it again. I chose the Oven Baked Fillet of Cod with Thai Red Curry sauce and Steamed Rice. As you can see, the presentation was much nicer out of Singapore than it was out of London.
It was absolutely delicious all round, so I was very happy with all of that.
Exploring The Boeing 777
At one stage, the person sitting next to me decided to leave her seat so I took a quick picture, along with the view from my seat.
Later on, I went for a walk around the aircraft and took these of the inside of the rear door. No reason, just thought why not!
Taking pictures helps to pass the time and the challenge is getting nobody else’s face in them.
A Champagne Surprise!
Later into the flight, one of the crew came by asked if I wanted some Champagne as a little treat. The lady sitting next to me also had the same offer – so thanks very much to the BA Cabin Crew for that little treat! We also got a little chocolate too!
Eventually it was time for the final service before landing. British Airways premium economy passengers get the same tea and muffin of some kind that they serve economy class.
We landed in Sydney bang on the originally scheduled time so it’s kudos to BA for making up the delay! I was through Passport control, Baggage Claim and Customs really quickly, into a taxi and knocking on the door of my parents house exactly 50 minutes after the wheels touched the tarmac. My family live about ten minutes or so drive from the airport so you can understand how quick all the rest was!
I always enjoy flying with British Airways. The service on the ground and in the air is usually of a very high quality. The employees are very helpful and friendly at all times which I like. Some of the product can be a little hit and miss, such as the meals, but it’s never bad and usually it’s very good.
It never really exceeds expectations, but you never really go away feeling like you didn’t get what you should have. I would recommend flying World Traveller Plus to Sydney as the extra space and quieter cabin make a massive difference to the whole experience. I’ll be doing it all again next year and am looking forward to it!
And that’s how I reported on it at the time. A year later I did the same trip, so clearly the price point is exactly where I needed it to be at that time. It’s a comfortable ride and a definite step up over World Traveller.
Have you ever had to run for your flight before? Or maybe you’ve flown British Airways Premium Economy before? I’d love to hear your experiences! Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Kenneth Iwelumo on Airliners.net via Wikimedia Commons.