World Traveller Plus is the British Airways Premium Economy product which is a hybrid between World Traveller (Economy Class) and Club World (Business Class). In order to differentiate the product it contains elements from both classes as you well see in this flight review.
BA31 – London Heathrow to Hong Kong (LHR-HKG)
11 April 2016
Airbus 380 G-XLEG
Seat: World Traveller Plus 61A
Departure: 18:40 Arrival: 13:35
British Airways is celebrating 80 years of service to Hong Kong in 2016. Passengers in World Traveller Plus and above are offered a special “celebration dish” as a meal choice to celebrate. According to the press release, these were created by “blending elements from menus dating back to the 1950s and 60s with modern day culinary techniques and locally sourced ingredients.”
Order Your Meal Before You Fly
I can’t resist any kind of special meal, so no guesses as to what I planned to choose from the menu! On long-haul flights out of London Heathrow you can pre-order your meal if you are in World Traveller Plus. This is done via manage my booking on the web site.
It was fairly obvious the chicken was going to be the celebration dish so I selected that. A feature of World Traveller Plus is the main dish for the primary meal comes from the Club World menu. There are less choices of course (two as opposed to four) but I think this is a great way to differentiate the product from World Traveller.
At Heathrow Terminal 5 the A380 flights board from the C gates. This means getting the automated people mover from the main terminal. This is a driverless train which whisks you to the satellite buildings in a few minutes. Priority boarding was announced and I was among the first to board.
World Traveller Plus Seat
The current World Traveller Plus seat is quite comfortable and is on a par with seats offered by other oneworld airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Qantas.
A pillow and blanket are on the seat when you arrive and I immediately placed them in the overhead locker as I rarely use them. I was lucky enough to be in a bulkhead seat which offers some extra leg room and also has the advantage of no-one reclining into you.
Upstairs On The A380
World Traveller Plus is upstairs on the A380 meaning each window seat passenger has a storage locker beside them. This is a much loved feature of the upper deck of the Boeing 747. This results in much more storage space. Here it is pictured sporting the hot towel that was given out when we were in the air.
My seat mate turned out to be a very jolly Swede who I spent a good deal of the flight chatting with. Pre-departure drinks were offered (Champagne, Juice or Water) and naturally we took a Champagne each.
The drinks table between the seats is very handy. It is large enough to contain a drink and the packet of pretzels that get handed out with the first drinks service. The other thing that differentiates the bulkhead seats is a big plush foot rest which comes out from under the seat. The other rows in the cabin have a little foot rest that flips down from the seat in front.
We finished our drinks and asked for and received a second glass.
While waiting for departure I took some shots of the surroundings. Leg room in the bulkhead row is ample as you can see here.
My feet don’t reach the wall at full stretch, while the leg from the guy next to me does as he is a fair bit taller than me. Underfoot was the following carpet which nobody ever takes a picture of so I always make a point of doing so.
The bulkhead seats are also designated bassinet positions as you can see from the notice below. I have yet to be seated next to someone with a baby which is just lucky. You can also see the bulkhead pattern here.
The guy beside me was curious about why I was taking so many pictures. He found the fact I was doing it for a blog quite interesting and after the flight gave me his card so I could e-mail him a link to the post.
The amenity kit was in the seat pocket. This contains all the essentials for a long haul flight – eye mask, ear plugs, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste and a pen.
The flight was quite full in World Traveller Plus and soon enough the doors were closed. We watched the safety demonstration video and were on our way.
The PTVs in the front row of World Traveller Plus pull out from the arm rest. For other passengers they are in the back of the seat in front. My seat mate turned to me at one point and said someone was kicking his seat. It got so bad he turned around to be confronted with a surprised and apologetic lady who said her touch screen wasn’t working properly. She was getting physical trying to make it work!
The movie selection was pleasantly up to date. Some of the recently run films that were featured included Steve Jobs, Suffragette, The Big Short, The Hateful Eight, The Danish Girl, Lady In The Van, The Martian, The Revenant, The Peanuts Movie and The Intern among others.
The menu for World Traveller Plus was in the seat pocket and contained no surprises for me as I had seen it online pre-flight.
It’s interesting that the breakfast meal appears to be a secret at this stage – “A light meal” – of what? I’m not really a fan of surprises for breakfast. Perhaps it was left out due to the limited space on the card.
This was my first long haul flight since I had reached Gold status in the Executive Club (oneworld Emerald). I was given a personal greeting by one of the crew to acknowledge this. Hilariously, the guy next to me piped up in a loud jocular way, “What makes HIM so special?” which was caused the cabin crew and I to wince. It was quite amusing! It must be very difficult for the crew to give this acknowledgement across other passengers at times though is nice that they actually did it. BA can be hit and miss with this kind of thing.
Time For A Drink
The crew came through with the first drinks service and I chose the Sauvignon Blanc, receiving two miniatures for my trouble along with a little bag of pretzels.
Even though I had pre-ordered my meal I was asked what my choice was for dinner. I would have thought I wouldn’t be asked really so that was interesting. The view from my seat looked something like this. There’s a whole lot of wing on an A380!
I continued chatting to the guy beside me, about what we did for work, bits and pieces about what we were planning to do in Hong Kong.
Dinner Is Served
Soon enough dinner was delivered and I must say the Hong Kong style barbecue chicken looked pretty damned tasty!
As previously mentioned, the main course dish is from the Club World menu while all the other parts are from the World Traveller menu. Here’s another view of the main dish. Look at the bread roll – it looks like a potato!
The potato salad with dill and smoked salmon starter was quite nice, even though it appears to be attempting to get away from me! I’m not entirely sure why there was soy sauce included with the meal either. Perhaps it was for the greens?
Happily, the Hong Kong style chicken tasted as good as it looked. It was moist and decently cooked and what it was braised in was extremely tasty. I devoured it with pleasure!
But What About The Club World Beef?
My seat mate chose the beef which is virtually the same on every British Airways flight. I was glad I chose something different on this occasion. Graciously, my seat mate offered to take a picture for this review and here it is.
Remember, this is the same dish as offered in Club World – Business Class. Nothing will ever stop me from thinking that the foil pot of gravy looks extremely cheap. It’s always there in the beef dish so there must be some underlying reason why something that looks so tacky is always present. Despite that I have never had any issue with the beef dish. It is what I would usually choose when I am flying as I rarely eat red meat at home.
I find the amount of food to be quite decent what with the Chocolate Pot for dessert, the cheese and crackers and so on. The trays were eventually cleared away and I watched part of a movie and chatted to my seat mate.
We managed to order some Cava and pick up some Toasted Corn Kernels to keep us occupied through the awake portions of the long sector.
Much later, the lights came back on and it was time for the mystery breakfast. We were offered a full English breakfast or Chinese Congee. Breakfast is my least favourite dish on board an aircraft (which I have written about previously) because it invariably contains an egg omlette of some kind which is hard to stomach at the end of a long flight. It was Chicken Congee with Mushrooms and Spring Onions for me.
I’m sure it’s not supposed to be paired with a Bircher Museli starter and a Danish pastry, but whatever. The Congee was unbelievably hot temperature wise and I burned my mouth on it. I have never had a meal so hot on an aircraft so that was my overriding memory of it. It tasted fine as did the rest of the meal – nothing noteworthy either way. Soon after that trays were collected, the cabin cleared and we landed in Hong Kong on schedule.
British Airways World Traveller Plus is a good value alternative if you don’t wish to pay for Club World and yet don’t want to sit in World Traveller. The seat is far more spacious than World Traveller and the service is just that much better all round. The small cabin makes for a more intimate experience – possibly even more intimate than Club World. What is lacking is the mood lighting from Club World. The fact you can see it from your seat in World Traveller Plus certainly does inspire some jealousy! I know it’s a product differentiator but it would be nice to extend that to World Traveller Plus.
Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.