I recently had the opportunity to fly with British Airways from London Gatwick to Oakland, California in World Traveller Plus. That’s the brand name for the carriers’ Premium Economy cabin.
If you didn’t know, Oakland is a smaller airport in the Bay Area which is in a great location to nearby San Francisco, San Jose and all that Northern California has to offer. Being a smaller airport means there shouldn’t be very long queues. Hopefully!
British Airways fly direct from London Gatwick to Oakland several times a week on a 3-class Boeing 777-200 aircraft. Flight BA2279 departs from the West Sussex airport in the late morning and arrives into Oakland just after lunchtime – which is great if you want to maximise your time in the area.
Rather than go into a full detailed review, I have outlined some of the key benefits when flying in World Traveller Plus with British Airways and my thoughts on my recent flight.
An introduction to World Traveller Plus
World Traveller Plus is the brand name for BA’s Premium Economy cabin and sports all the features you would expect for a mid-cabin to offer. Aboard the 3-class 777-200 aircraft, there are 24 seats in the World Traveller Plus cabin which is located in the middle of the aircraft in rows 12, 13 and 14. There are 8 seats per row in a 2-4-2 configuration.
Width = 18.5″
Pitch = 38″
Recline = 7″
Some of the main draws of flying in WTP include the wider seat with a greater recline than in World Traveller, lumbar support, a head-rest and a foot-rest. In addition to a dedicated cabin crew, customers will also find an amenity kit, pillow and blanket at their seat.
Customers travelling in World Traveller Plus are able to use the standard “bag drop” facility at London Gatwick. If you have been able to check-in online and have a boarding pass – you can use the new self-service bag drop area; otherwise simply head on over to a standard desk. If you are a British Airways Executive Club Bronze, Silver, Gold, or are a oneWorld Emerald or Sapphire member – you are able to use the premium-check in area.
Another great thing about travelling in World Traveller Plus is the ability to check-in up to two cases per passenger, weighing no more than 23kg each. Contrary to rumours, your baggage allowance cannot be pooled. Each bag must weigh no more than the maximum limit of 23kg.
Aside from priority boarding, customers seated in World Traveller Plus receive a welcome beverage of sparkling wine or orange juice, and a choice of newspaper to read. The amenity kit presented to customers in World Traveller Plus is good. It contains an eye-mask, flight socks, toothbrush, paste and a pen. You’ll also find a comfortable travel-sized pillow and a blanket at the seat when you step on board the aircraft.
One of the draws of flying in Premium Economy is the ability to enjoy a delicious three-course meal which is served on fine-china with linen napkins and stainless steel cutlery. For the entree offered as part of the first meal service, passengers in World Traveller Plus are able to choose from two of the options offered in Club World (business class). Again, this is similar to other airlines’ Premium Economy propositions.
On selected routes passengers also have the opportunity to choose their entree between 30-days and 24-hours in advance of their flight for no additional charge. This is a great proposition which allows you to ensure you can have the choice of what you would like to eat, rather than waiting until the day only to find they have run out of your favourite option – whether that was the chicken, beef or an alternative option.
Here is a very quick run-through of what I enjoyed on my flight to Oakland. You’ll find a gallery of the photos from my inflight dining experience below:
- Pre-departure beverage service (Sparkling wine or orange juice)
- A refreshing drink just after take-off.
- First meal service about an hour after departure.
Vegetable pasta salad
Selection of warmed bread rolls with butter
Choice of entree from the Club World galley
Lily O’Brien’s Dessert (Usually a cheesecake or mousse)
A selection of drinks from the bar with a separate tea and coffee service.
- Mid-flight snack box (Offered to all customers in WTP and World Traveller)
Juice or water
- Second meal service about an hour and half prior to landing. (Offered to all customers in WTP and WT)
Choice of hot meal
Slice of cake
Cup of water
Inflight Dining Photo Gallery
The 777-200 aircraft currently based at London Gatwick feature the Rockwell Collins AVOD inflight entertainment system with 6.3″ LCD screens and about eighteen video channels. When the aircraft entered service, this system was “cutting edge”.
Of course technology has evolved at lightning speed. The system is quite clunky, but that is to be expected. There were a handful of movies, TV shows and audio playlists available to enjoy – including a few recent releases such as La La Land and Moonlight.
As the World Traveller Plus cabin is very small, the same two cabin crew members looked after me for the duration of the flight. They were professional and friendly; and genuinely passed through the cabin on regular occasions to ensure everything was alright. In-between meal times, the crew passed through on average every 45 or so minutes offering cups of water or orange juice. Of course you could always use the call button at the seat if you required the cabin crew for anything else.
World Traveller Plus is a solid and robust Premium Economy product from British Airways. The fares, service offerings and entire product is comparable with many other mainstream carriers and I’d certainly say it is worth the extra money on a long-haul flight.
Value for money: 3.5/5
The long-haul aircraft at London Gatwick are to be refreshed from early next year. When complete, you can look forward to updated cabins which match the products offered on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. According to reports, there will also be a brand new inflight entertainment system fitted; offering hours of content available for you to enjoy.
Fares to Oakland, California
As of the time of publication, British Airways are currently offering roundtrip fares from London Gatwick to Oakland, California from around £500 per person in World Traveller and £950 in World Traveller Plus; which is pretty good value for money. If you are savvy, you might be able to discover promotional fares which can be up to 25% cheaper.
Have you flown with British Airways in World Traveller Plus? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the product.