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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

British Airways World Traveller Plus | Boston to Edinburgh

View from Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland
Time to hit the road again and this time was a trip to Scotland.  Airfare being as high as it has been these days, I opted for British Airways as they have a few different options including their premium economy class or "World Traveller Plus."  With this class of service, you're afforded more legroom and wider seats, two checked bags, smaller cabin, and power supply for laptops and other electronic devices.  My husband, Rich, would be traveling with me and at 6 feet tall, the extra legroom for him is always helpful.  World Traveller Plus sounded perfect to me and after booking, I continued with the planning of my trip to Scotland.

Air France Graf lounge at Boston Logan
Unfortunately, the one major downside with World Traveller Plus is the fact that we would not have access to any of the lounges with this class of service since we were not flying in Business or First Class.   But since I always like to plan ahead, we took advantage of our Priority Pass membership.  At Boston Logan International Airport in Terminal E, the lounge that is available for Priority Pass members is the Air France Graf lounge, which is located after Security near Gate E4.  A slightly depressing, bare bones lounge, it does offer you the ability to grab a drink, a snack, and a chance to charge your electronics before flying out so it does serve its purpose well, but don't expect anything above what you see here.

When the time came to board, we discovered that flying in World Traveller Plus class does not afford you early boarding.  In fact, nearly everyone else boarded the plane, from First down to regular Economy before we had the chance to get onboard.  Since it was the very start of our trip, I wasn't about to get upset about that, but it made me already wonder about my purchase.  We opted against the $800 per person upgrade and waited to board our seats.

Once in our seats, we looked over our smaller cabin size and our amenity kit, which included a non-branded pen, toothbrush and toothpaste, eye mask, and socks.  We were also given a blanket inside a plastic bag (scratchy blanket, too), a pillow, and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.  Despite our expectations, there were no in seat jacks for charging items.  I suspect that this was not available on this particular plane type only.

The in seat video entertainment system, although on the small side, had a variety of movies, television, and audio recordings.  Our seats on this Boeing 747-400 included a foot rest and our seats reclined and had another foot rest that extended up.  The seat width was fairly average, but I immediately noticed that I wasn't going to be comfortable.  There was something about how the seat reclined that made it absolutely impossible for me to sleep and even feel slightly relaxed throughout the flight, which is so foreign to me.

British Airways World Traveller Plus vegetarian meal
The flight attendants were definitely attentive and we had a choice of water or orange juice upon boarding.  I preordered our vegetarian meals for our flights, which were basically the same meal as everyone else with a different entree.  Nothing says British Airways more than Crystal Geyser Alpine Water from the U.S.


For our outbound flight this was pasta with marinara sauce and cheese.  Nothing fancy, which is why we always pack protein bars, nuts, etc.  Not sure why vegetarian or vegan to most means carbohydrate heavy meals.  I picked at the veggies in the sauce and called it quits.

About an hour before landing, we were given a boxed croissant, which I passed onto my husband.  At this point, I just wanted to wash my face, drink a ton of water, and move.

The UK Border at Heathrow Airport (photo courtesy of dannyman)
We arrived at London Heathrow with about 90 minutes for us to get to our connecting flight to Edinburgh. Follow the purple signage to get to your connecting flight.  Our flight arrived in Terminal 5 and what we thought would only take a few minutes, well, let's just say didn't. Although we quickly passed through passport control, the next step at biometric capture, is what held us up. There were two lines, one for Fast Track passengers (Business or First) and another line for everyone else. The Fast Track line had an employee getting everyone through incredibly fast.  The other line, the one we were in, had an employee who had difficulty turning the computer monitor on - no joke.  At first I was fine and thought we would be in and out in no time. But when we saw that we had less than five minutes left to get to our gate, then I panicked.  There were a few British Airways "suits" nearby that I asked why someone wasn't assisting the gentlemen who clearly was having problems.  I was told that he was an airport employee and they couldn't do anything to help.

It was finally my turn and somehow as I suspected would happen, he couldn't operate the biometric machine without an issue.  He asked me to take my glasses off and I stood there for what seemed like an eternity while he fumbled about trying to do his job.  We then proceeded up the escalator to the security screening area with a line that makes the ones at DisneyWorld seem short.  Having absolutely no pride, I found an employee nearby and told him we had less than five minutes to get to our gate.  He said he was concerned that others might want to jump the queue, but he was able to move us to the head of one of the lines.  The couple that we got in front of was less than accommodating and as soon as he left, they wouldn't let us in the line so we waited.  Apparently, security was having what seemed like excessive problems that morning because everyone was leaving liquids in their carry on bags.  We placed our items in the bins and crossed through security and bolted for our gate.

Believe it or not, the flight was still at the gate and we were permitted to board.  I was a hot, sweaty mess at this point and was pleased to be able to sit down and take my jacket off.  Our flight was  delayed about 15 minutes because two people never showed and they had to remove their luggage from the plane.  I was hoping that they didn't mean our bags.  My guess is that they were still in the security line.  Our one hour flight to Edinburgh was uneventful and my husband was happy to receive two breakfast trays as they served us a breakfast burrito (tortilla and eggs are not part of my diet) along with copious amounts of coffee.


Our flight landed and we headed out into the airport to begin our new adventure in Edinburgh.  Overall, I found our British Airways experience to be about the same as one of the economy airlines I might fly domestically.  Would I want to pay for the upgraded experience again in the future?  The slightly more leg room was nice, but I'm not sure you're getting anything that warrants the extra money.  Take a look at the two pictures above from the British Airways website.  Can you tell the difference between World Traveller (Economy) on the left and World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) on the right? Probably not.  If I could, I would definitely want to fly Business or First, but then again who doesn't?

Marian Krueger
Email: mkrueger@travelshopgirl.com

3 comments:

  1. Wish flying was a more comfortable experience, love the food pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Abby! They definitely are providing far less for far more money.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh wow I just flew this as well to London and Edinburgh! I was NOT impressed with BA at all. :(

    ReplyDelete

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