British Airways B777-200 Premium Economy

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Background

World Traveller Plus is British Airways’ Premium Economy service. BA is currently revamping it, with the cabin getting a new interior, seats with greater recline, a 60% larger flat entertainment screen, and personal in-seat power supply. The new cabin is already available on the B777-300ER, and BA is busy refurbishing many B777-200s and 767s. Fortunately, this aircraft had been refurbished.

Check-In

I was connecting from another BA flight. Once I landed at Heathrow, my plane parked at Terminal 5, and the signage to make connections was adequate, although passengers entering the B and C concourses must take a train to reach immigration or connecting flights for a quick security check.

The Lounge

World Traveller Plus passengers don’t receive lounge access, but frequent oneworld flyers (those with Sapphire and Emerald status) do, no matter what cabin they are flying. The Galleries (Business and First Class) lounges in London are impressive, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a buffet stocked with salads, soup, hot and cold dishes, desserts, extensive drink selection, and a wide range of newspapers and magazines.

Boarding

The 10h25 flight to Nairobi was leaving from concourse B, which required a short train ride. Premium Economy boards last, and waiting at my seat were noise-reducing headphones and amenity kits. Designer square pillows and thick blankets were also provided, but the cabin was warm enough. Once the door was closed, flight attendants circled round with orange juice and water.

The Seat

All seats are spacious and face large television screens. The touch-screen entertainment system offers an unending number of entertainment programmes, including movies, TV shows, and even complete box sets of certain shows. The new 3-D moving map display is quite high-tech, detailing sights below while also showing all the latest in-flight stats. The side console houses an electrical outlet and a USB cable port for charging devices. The controls to adjust the seat were intuitive, allowing me to recline or find the reading light easily. A foot rest folds down separately from underneath the seat in front. The most important differentiating factor between Premium Economy and Economy is the extra pitch between seats. A tall traveller will have ample leg room even if the seat in front is reclined, thanks to the 45 inches/114.3cm on offer. The seat width – 23 inches/58.4cm – is also slightly wider, and the seat itself is a lie-flat seat.

Which Seat To Choose?

On the 777-200 there are five rows of Premium Economy in a 2-4-2 layout. There really is no bad seat, although the middle two seats in the centre section are typically the last to be chosen. Bulkhead seats have more space since there is no-one reclining in front, but the wall does restrict leg room for taller travellers.

The Flight

Before the main meal, a round of drinks was served with pretzels. On offer was a complete open bar including sparkling wine – I opted for a tasty Spanish Tempranillo wine. The two meal choices were from the same menu as the Club World (Business Class) cabin. The primary difference between Business and Premium Economy is that everything is served on one tray and there is no appetizer or cheese course. My meal was served with a side salad, dessert, bottle of water, and roll. The choices were a braised beef with béarnaise sauce and sautéed chicken with spinach, rice and peppers. I settled on the beef, which was delicious, and after lunch I slept. Fortunately, the smaller cabin had curtains in the front and back. Prior to landing, a light snack was served in a clever box with an open bar, which many enjoyed since it was nearly 20h00 by that point.

Arrival

We landed in Nairobi on time, and fortunately World Traveller Plus deplanes just behind Club World, meaning faster access to immigration. The 2013 fire at Jomo Kenyatta International has resulted in much of the airport being set up with make-shift facilities and fewer amenities.

Verdict

BA’s Premium Economy is perfect for those who cannot shell out for Business Class, but want that extra comfort and more amenities than Economy.

Ramsey Qubein

Contact

www.britishairways.com