As part of their £6.5b ($8.4b) improvements programme, British Airways are making some awesome changes to their World Traveller Plus product. We already know that airlines make crazy profits from premium economy, so why not make the product as good as possible, right?
Celebrating their centenary this year, there’s never been a better time for BA to up their game. And with demand for premium economy higher than ever before, particularly in the transatlantic market, it’s the perfect opportunity for the carrier to out-do their competition.
Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, commented on the changes:
“This latest tranche of our £6.5bn investment is set to improve World Traveller Plus and customers will see a real change to the cabin. In February the new menus will launch, followed in the Spring by the introduction of new amenity kits, quilts and pillows for added comfort and a touch of luxury.”
What’s new then?
Most excitingly to the majority of aviation geeks will be the brand new World Traveller Plus seats, which were unveiled at Gatwick last year. In a nutshell they’ve got bigger entertainment screens, as well as six way adjustable leg, foot and head rests for the ultimate in comfort. The seat will be installed in the new BA A350 when it arrives later in the year.
As well as upgraded seats, the airline is boosting its service offerings, as well as improving the dining experience for their World Traveller Plus passengers. Notably, there will be a third meal option offered during the flight, as well as a ‘more substantial’ hot second meal. No more cereal bars then, we hope.
Speaking about the new menu, British Airways said:
‘Launch menus will include braised British beef with roast new potatoes, onion soubise and bourguignon sauce, roasted guinea fowl with braised red cabbage, green beans, roast potato and mustard and chive jus and rigatoni pasta in a creamy garlic and herb sauce with leek, pumpkin and baby spinach.’
The upgrade will feature the use of real glass and china for the second meal as well as the first, which is a nice touch. In the past, the starters and desserts have been the same in both the World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins, but perhaps that will change too.
We’re delighted to see a hot second meal introduced too, as right now premium economy often gets a pre-packaged sandwich for the second meal. The new menus are available on board from February 1st.
As well as better food, BA are improving their amenity kits, pillows and quilts, for a more luxurious experience.
Is the upgrade enough?
While it’s great to see BA taking their premium economy cabin seriously, we can’t help but feel they’ve still got some way to go to catch up with the competition. For instance, Virgin Atlantic provide dedicated check-in desks, free seat selection, fast track security and priority baggage handling to their premium passengers. With BA, there’s no difference to the experience until you actually arrive at your seat.
Norwegian have a noticeably larger seat than both BA and Virgin in premium economy. However, the removal of lounge access for premium passengers from last month has somewhat taken the shine off their product.
Despite all this, the improvements announced today certainly put BA back in the running for a great premium product. If you can grab it at a great price, or upgrade using Avios or partner points, then it’s definitely going to be worth it.
In addition to this newly revamped economy plus cabin, BA are set to reveal their upgraded business class product, Club World. As they’re doing away with first class on their new A350’s, there will be more space to play with and, hopefully, an awesome product to fill it. With a new seat due to be unveiled any day now, 2019 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for the British airline.