British Airways Economy Vs Premium Economy 2019 Review

British airways Economy vs Premium Economy 2019 Review

If your about to choose your British airways flights, but are you now wondering about BA Economy vs Premium Economy as a comparison? Our article tackles that common question, We will look at in-depth topics such as, do we fly in Economy or upgrade to Premium Economy and is an upgrade worth the extra cost.

What does premium economy mean on British Airways?

British airways Premium Economy is the next Upgraded Cabin from Economy Class or others is known as World Traveller. In Premium Economy passengers booked in this class of cabin do not receive complimentary Lounge access but Premium economy passengers do receive as standard Priority boarding, a slightly larger, reclinable seat with a footrest and a larger, flat screen IFE system.Premium economy passengers will receive also an improved dining experience, an extra meal & complimentary drinks & snacks on board and dedicated cabin crew throughout their flights.


What is the difference between premium economy and economy on British Airways?

The significant differences between British airways Premium Economy & Economy Class are in Premium economy you receive the improved wider Reclinable seats, priority boarding, improved dining options. Included also at the time of booking Premium Economy tickets receive as standard a larger baggage allowance than economy which all luggage has to be paid for, consisting of 2 x 32kg per passenger, during the flight passengers receive to use on board noise cancelling headphones, seats include laptop power supplies and a more, Intimate cabin experience from a dedicated cabin crew.

The seats in Premium Economy are more wider, comfortable and recline further so enable passenger especially on night flights an improved chance of sleeping.

Economy Vs Premium Economy – The Price Difference

When you search and find your flights on British airways, you will always be served the cheapest fares first. These cheapest fares will always be in Economy Class or known officially on BA as World Traveller.

For many people the price is the most important factor, you still get a seat, you receive meals and you arrive in your chosen destination for the cheapest price available, what more could you want?

However, if you’re flying Long Haul on British airways then you could be seated for anything between 6 x hours to 24 x hours on a plane. Economy class is not the most comfortable, you may also not want to be seated next to strangers, you may prefer to dine on better meals, not have to pay for drinks and may prefer a larger reclining seat.

More comfort and more legroom means a better chance of sleeping if you experience an over night flight. These factors are the big decisions to make when choosing your cabin class on BA.

Do you pay extra to upgrade from Economy Class to Premium Economy?

When we look at the price difference between the two cabin classes, you may be surprised to know that the difference can be lower than you think. Below we have displayed a true life comparison to show you an average price difference between the two cabins – Economy – Premium Economy.

BA economy flight price

Taking a look at the screenshot above, you can see that an outbound flight from London travelling to New York in Economy can cost as little as £274 per person each way – Great Fare Price.

But wait… The BA price displayed is priced within a category called “Economy Light” which is the very cheapest price possible. This fare price does not include luggage, this is fine if you only carry hand baggage and plan to stay for only a few days. Any longer and you will want to take luggage with you on your trip.

Now lets take a look at the price with luggage included below for the same flight called BA “Economy Standard”.

Airways economy light seat price

You can see above that you would need to pay an extra £40.00 to take luggage up to 23kg with you. So now you’re at a price of £314.00 per person including luggage, one way. Still a great price to get to New York one way.

Let’s now take a look at the true price difference on the same flight between Economy Light and Premium Economy. We can see a difference of £252.00 to upgrade to the higher class of cabin and a total cost of £566.00 to fly in Premium Economy instead of £314.00 per person.

The big question, is the upgrade worth the additional cost?

Economy vs Premium Economy Check-in

When you arrive at the airport, you will not notice any difference between the two fares at the check-in stage. British airways do not currently have a dedicated check in zone for Premium economy passengers, you still have to check-in and leave your luggage at the general economy check-in zones.

As mentioned before, however at this stage you are allowed to check in one piece of baggage up to the weight of 23kg for Free with an Economy light fare ticket.

In Premium Economy you are allowed 2 x 23kg of luggage each and carry on hand baggage onto the plane with you. You could then put a value of £40.00 for this subtracting this cost off the upgrade price as your getting an additional 23kg of luggage included.

Upgrade price difference with 2 x 23kg luggage = £212.00 per person.

Lounge access

Unfortunately, you do not get any Lounge access with the upgraded Premium economy cabin class. This is only applicable when you fly in BA Business Class or otherwise known as Club World or First Class. You can however purchase airport Lounge access via various companies on the web such as from Lounge Buddy.

Priority Boarding

When purchasing an upgraded ticket, you do receive priority boarding on your flight. Depending on the cabin classes on the plane your flying, First Class and Business class passengers board first, then Premium economy, then economy passengers Economy last. 

BA Economy vs Premium Economy Seats

Pictures courtesy of BA
BA economy seat

This is where BA Premium Economy starts to show you the real difference from Economy Class.

First of all you get a larger, reclining seat with bigger pitch and extra legroom, lumbar support, a head rest and a foot rest. The difference being approximately 7″ of extra legroom between the two seats.

You also receive a comfy pillow and blanket on your seat awaiting you on boarding the plane. The Premium economy seat is 18.5 inches in width and provide 38″ in pitch. The economy seats measuring 17.5″ wide and 31″ in pitch.

The seat layout is also different between the two cabins. In economy you get a seat layout consisting of 3 x 3 x 3 seats per row. This means that if you’re flying as a couple, you will potentially have a stranger sitting next to you. 

BA premium economy seats
BA premium economy seat outer window seats

If you look at the seating layout in Premium Economy, you will notice a different layout consisting of 2 x 3 x 2. That one less seat per row allows for the larger seat and extra legroom per row.

The biggest advantage in our opinion is if you choose the window pair seats, you do not have the potential of a stranger sitting next to you for your entire flight duration. You will also notice in the BA example seat plan below that the upgraded cabin is approximately two-thirds smaller. This reduces noise and traffic within the cabin.

When you purchase your fares online, at the checkout stage you will be offered the opportunity to select your preferred seat/s for a fee. Unfortunately,  instant seat selection is still chargeable unless your flying in First Class on BA.

You can choose your preferred seats for Free 24 x hours before departure within your British airways executive club account. 

Alternatively, you can choose for Free 7 x days before departure if you are a British Airways Executive Club Bronze member. If you become a Silver / Gold member then you can select your seats for Free at the time of booking.

To read more on how to select your seats on BA click to read here > BA SEAT SELECTION <

You also receive a complimentary BA amenity kit consisting of flight socks, eye mask, ear plugs toothbrush & toothpaste, pen etc. 

BA Seat Map

The Difference between the Two Cabins Interiors

BA premium economy cabins
BA premium economy cabins

In BA Economy, the Cabin still has a modern look and feel throughout. However, due to the seating layout it does look and feel a little cramped.

Premium Economy cabins have undergone a revamp recently giving the look and feel of a more intimate cabin. With the new interiors, you get a better seat with greater recline, a 60% larger flat entertainment screen with personal in-seat power supplies, perfect for powering your laptop or smartphones during your flight time. You also get your own touch screen In-Flight entertainment system with controls and noise-cancelling headphones to enjoy a movie, watch your favourite TV episodes, documentaries or listen to music / books.

Food and Drink Comparison

The main difference in food and Drink between Economy vs Premium Economy consists of in Economy you receive complimentary drinks, snacks and a four course meal. You also receive a snack between your main meal and arriving at your destination.

You also receive a complimentary before departing a choice of refreshments including either sparkling wine, orange juice or water and a small accompanying snack.

In Premium Economy you receive a better dining experience served on China crockery and you are presented by the cabin crew a dining menu including the drinks selection menu.The meals served are using the best, locally sourced ingredients and tailored to the season’s. You also receive an additional three course meal instead of one per flight in economy class.

You also receive a second hot snack or lighter meal per flight and more complimentary drinks from the menu. On most routes, you can pre-order your preferred choice of meal for your flight within your BA Executive Club account. 

Meals served in this Cabin are more aligned with the dining experience received in Club World Business Class. 

BA World Traveller plus meals
BA World Traveller Plus Breakfast

You also receive Tea or Coffee served with all meals and at regular intervals during your flight.

Cabin Crew Service

Due to amount of passengers seated in both cabins, you do feel like you receive a slightly better service from the in-board cabin crew in World Traveller Plus. There appeared to be on our flight two dedicated cabin crew members to the Premium Economy Cabin. 

This resulted in a more attentive service and quicker delivery of the in-Flight meals & drinks. 

Our Verdict / Recommendations

In Economy or better known on BA as World Traveller, you pay the lowest fare possible for the journey. When you pay for the cheapest fares, you do not usually expect much more than the basic standards of seats, meals and experience in general.

When you pay extra to upgrade to Premium Economy you do expect a certain, improved levels of food, seating and extra luggage allowance & extras for the extra money paid.

The upgraded experience is a serious step up and sits between Economy and Business Class. 

If you’ve never flown in an upgraded cabin, Premium economy is a great, first step. Our recommendations would be to ensure for comfort and privacy, definitely opt for the outer pair seats next to the windows on either side of the cabin. 

If you can preselect your seats before you fly, preferably at the time of booking. This will ensure you receive your preferred selected seats for your personal comfort & privacy.

You do get a certain amount of improved benefits in the higher cabin, larger seats, better recline and much improved leg room, improved meals served on real crockery and more complimentary drinks just adds to the experience and priority boarding. 

Using the example price difference comparison of British Airways economy vs Premium Economy fares, you’re looking at paying an extra £424.00 each way for two people or £212.00 each to fly in the upgraded cabin.

If your considering upgrading from Economy to Premium Economy, what ever you do please do not wait until you arrive at the airport. Usually, in most cases, the upgrade cost displayed in your BA account or sent to you by email will in most circumstances will always be cheaper than the price provided to you when you check-in at the airport.

Some people will potentially think that’s not good value and will always opt for the very cheapest fares first.

In our opinion, we feel that all depends on how much you value those improved enhancements to your overall flight experience in the upgraded cabin. 

Price vs Comfort – The big decision to take. 

We would love to hear your experiences or opinions on the above article, please leave a comment or question below and we will always reply as quickly as possible.

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