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If BA are going to improve Premium Economy - what would you include??

If BA are going to improve Premium Economy - what would you include??

Old Aug 14, 18, 5:38 pm
  #1  
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If BA are going to improve Premium Economy - what would you include??

Having just flow YYZ to LHR in PE, it reminded me how what was once an innovation within the industry is now outdated and in need of some TLC.

Where do I start?
  • The seats are ok - but the old 777's don't have power in PE and the IFE is tiny unless you're in the first row.
  • The bedding is poor and worn out
  • My favourite gripe - (warm) prosecco served from London but not TO London. (cost or laziness given they manage it in J and F. And no top up - only 3 bottles loaded!)
  • Bar drinks served in plastic
  • Poor quality food
    • mains - always veggie pasta and a slop - this time chicekn in black bean sauce
    • Salad - a few leaves and one slice of tomato
    • No cheese
    • synthetic and sugary deserts
    • Poor second meal (from what I see)
    • Appalling breakfast - the pretzel roll with cream cheese
    • Second meal is Y ie once you have the main meal, it morphs into economy service
On the plus side
  • Menu cards (not that there is much of a choice - it would be easier to say chicken or veggie)
  • Hot towels
  • A choice of reds and whites
  • Wine served in the glass
  • Small cabin
  • and er........ that's about it!!

The Club World improvements are welcome though I'm yet to sample the service. It almost feels with the meal improved in Economy, you'd be better off with that meal. So what would you change or introduce?

And does anyone know when the rumoured changes will be rolled out? Those biz blankets and pillows will be gathering dust!!'
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Old Aug 14, 18, 11:05 pm
  #2  
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PE is basically significantly more comfortable seating and some privacy on a Y service with a quick bit of make up. i personally find it a totally unappealing proposition and never book it except if it’s with a view to upgrade it, but as it happens, it is probably the single most commercially successful and profitable cabin in the BA network. People do not only buy all of it but they buy all of it at fares that work well for BA. As long as the customers do this there is no incentive for the airline to do any of what you hope.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 12:11 am
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Think you have most of them.

- The “new” seat across the fleet
- Better meal choice
- Better quality meal choice
- Consistent sparkling wine in both directions pre-boarding
- Better pillow and blanket
- Better wines than WT
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Old Aug 15, 18, 12:13 am
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It’s been a while since I flew WTP, but I thought the mains choice was from two of the dishes on the CW menu. Is that no longer the case or is that the veggie pasta or “slop” referenced above? I’m not the greatest fan of CW these days, but the mains aren’t generally what I would call slop.

I’d say that the new seats and IFE on some aircraft are all you’re likely to see in the near future on hard product. Agree with orbitmic’s view that the success of the cabin means BA does not have much incentive to change, so wouldn't expect a lot more on the soft product. I guess it would depend on whether the wider introduction of new PE products on competitors (especially TATL) start to draw customers away.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 1:28 am
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WTP is going to have a relaunch of some sort in the next few months, though I think the focus is mainly on food and drink, perhaps some improvement to blankets/pillows.

From what I see as an observer, WTP is now not very standard. The 787 and 380 WTP looks very smart and spacious (particularly the 380 version), the older 777s and 747s are quite another matter. We've seen some reports of the new LGW WTP product not being very good but I haven't seen that yet and I'm not sure there's an accurate comparison going on in these reports. The variation is greater than any other cabin, to my mind.

I very much see the rational behind WTP, however. If the cheapest way across the Atlantic is £500 (for the sake of example), then one may be prepared to pay "a few hundred pounds" to avoid the full back of the bus experience, but would draw the line at "a few thousands" of pounds. WTP is vastly more important to BA than First.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 1:41 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
We've seen some reports of the new LGW WTP product not being very good but I haven't seen that yet
I am surprised at this.
I flew on the densified 777 to YYZ from LGW a few weeks ago (avios in Y) and was op-uped to W, my first time seated in W (have been upgraded a few times to CW).
I thought it was fantastic - a significant step up from Y and the DUT definitely made the sale for me - when not going CW (i.e. personal travel, westbound TATL) I'd pay for W over Y now (if the difference isn't too crazy).
The refurbed seats were very comfy, the IFE is excellent (size/quality), the food was good (though I didn't get a menu.... - just "chicken or beef", which was a bit of a downer, having to choose on the meat rather than what the dish was ... and the prosecco was warm and not nice). Overall I was a big fan... though other than seeing the WTP cabin on other aircraft, I haven't sat in it.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 1:43 am
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It's entirely believable that WTP is important to BA's bottom line, but complacency may not be warranted anymore. With the roll-out of true premium economy on a growing number of international carriers, especially in the US, it's a different market than things were when the main competition in this space was from VS with its limited route network.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 2:01 am
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I've just done a LHR/BOM return in WTP, and had the same gripe both directions: full cabin, and no meal choice when they got to me - i.e. Indian Veg only. Both times was offered chicken from economy, both times declined and suggested they get me something from CW (which they did).

The other common gripe I have in WTP is that, whilst the WTP cabin can be completely full, Y can be half-empty. So whilst the Y occupants get to spread out, and have rows of three to themselves, we're crammed in. At times I'd rather forego the (minimal) experience of WTP, and be offered a downgrade to Y if I could be allocated the entire row of three (or four).

Regarding no sparkling wine on flights in to London, I queried this at JFK, and the purser simply replied "it's BA policy". Go figure.

I'd heard somewhere (on FT?) that BA had retained the old Club blankets and were going to roll those down to WTP - not sure if that's true or not.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 2:04 am
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When WTP was first launched and I was one some of the early flights, it cost 59GBP more to NYC and 79GBP more to CPT per leg, and I managed to get my company and customers to pay the additional amount as I was more refreshed and productive on arrival. On those flights you got champagne as a pre-take off drink, hot towels before take off and better food. Now it seems it can be 1000GBP more for a lot less, so improvements are necessary.

On my last WTP flight, just after the the Club mains were on offer, they ran out of the chicken mains by the time they got to me. I was in 11J, and they started with 12AB, worked back, then on my side I was the first to be offer a choice, that couldn't be satisfied.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 2:13 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
WTP is going to have a relaunch of some sort in the next few months, though I think the focus is mainly on food and drink, perhaps some improvement to blankets/pillows.

From what I see as an observer, WTP is now not very standard. The 787 and 380 WTP looks very smart and spacious (particularly the 380 version), the older 777s and 747s are quite another matter. We've seen some reports of the new LGW WTP product not being very good but I haven't seen that yet and I'm not sure there's an accurate comparison going on in these reports. The variation is greater than any other cabin, to my mind.
Thanks cws, good to hear that they're going to improve WTP. I think any improvement is welcome!

From a pax perspective, my experience chimes with your observations. i had a truly excellent flight on the 789 NRT-LHR - smart cabin, comfortable seats, polished service - vs 777-200 - old, dirty cabin, tiny IFE, meh MF service.

For me, the benchmark is VS PE - oh so comfy soft leather seats (even on an old A340), delicious and plentiful meals served on proper crockery, post prandial liqueur service, and consistently excellent and friendly service. It definitely feels premium, not something other airlines’ PE offerings achieve.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 2:13 am
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With company policies changing a lot in recent years regarding business travel, WTP is becoming a more valuable solution for carriers. Indeed, I often wonder why there aren't more PE seats on planes, as the cabins are rather small (helps drive up the price, I s'pose).

Also: WTP will seem better when economy is further downgraded with additional seats being crammed in, more HBO flyers scattered around asking to swap seats in order to sit together, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if, eventually, BA ditches long-haul free booze too (AA doesn't offer spirits for free, for example, it's at a charge), which would save a chunk of outgoing costs for the carrier.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 2:29 am
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Hmm. My recent WT+ experience wasn’t that great either TBH. An old 747 from MIA to LHR.

Water and OJ was offered on boarding, which was fine. The seats are OK and obviously have more leg room, but as the seat in front reclines quite far you’re not left with much more room, unless you recline yourself of course.

Two wines were offered (I had both !) and the meal, out of MIA, was indeed slop, but a menu card was presented. The food DID NOT live up to the menu description and presentation !

The breakfast was the cream cheese pretzel bun thing, and I was genuinely appalled. It was inedible. To be served this in WT+, let alone WT is simply unacceptable. No fruit, no yoghurt ? My wife’s GFML wasn’t any better. The CSM ended up bringing us fruit platter from F.

The IFE screen is too small and you can see the grid lines on it; the cabin really needs an overhaul. Badly. My son’s IFE didn’t work, even after four or five resets.

Good points ? Umm, 2 cases, small quiet cabin and, well, that’s about it ! Oh, more TPs and Avios I suppose…………………

Can’t comment on other aircraft types, but yes, VS premium is probably better.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 2:45 am
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Going to try AA's offering in a few weeks time (LHR-MIA on a 77W) which certainly seems a step up from BA right now based on posts like this one: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/show...&postcount=258. It will be followed by a WT+ on a 86J aircraft out of JFK which in theory will get BA's best service - should be an interesting comparison.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 2:46 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by heartstring View Post
I am surprised at this.
I flew on the densified 777 to YYZ from LGW a few weeks ago (avios in Y) and was op-uped to W, my first time seated in W (have been upgraded a few times to CW).
I thought it was fantastic - a significant step up from Y and the DUT definitely made the sale for me - when not going CW (i.e. personal travel, westbound TATL) I'd pay for W over Y now (if the difference isn't too crazy).
I was surprised too, the two reports are in this thread:
High density 777 from FLL to LGW

Now I'm wary of diverting the thread from the main line of argument, however these LGW's refits are potentially the future shape of WTP. From the official BA photos the new cabin looks quite impressive, but from the link above, not everyone is happy with it. There are some differences with the LGW seat judging from the photos.

Photos from @firstlight here of the new LGW 777 WTP cabin:
[First FT Pictures] G-VIIX refurbishment [LGW B772, including 3-4-3 seating in WT]

and in the main A380 thread, some WTP photos of @PETER01
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/21623505-post134.html
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Old Aug 15, 18, 2:58 am
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Sounds like the OP didn't fly on the latest WT+ which is certainly an issue, not sure how long these seats will still be around but its definitely an issue while they are still flying.

If flying on the latest seat however I find WT+ to be a significant improvement over WT. I'm gold and always sit at the front of the cabin so I've never not got my choice of main, which has always been pretty good recently.

What really lets WT+ down however is the second meal, this is bad for WT and quite frankly a travesty for a PE product which on my upcoming trip to Japan is selling for £2,900, £300 more than Business on Korean Air...

BTW - to the person upthread who found it a problem when WT+ is full and WT half empty. I had this recently on an A380 and simply downgraded myself after the meal to sleep on a spare set of 3 seats and then went back to WT+ once it was time to land. Not sure if that would officially be frowned on but no one cared in reality.

Last edited by RobDBA; Aug 15, 18 at 3:10 am
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