British Airways B787 World Traveller Plus30/10/2013
CHECK-IN I arrived at Toronto Pearson International airport at 1600 for my 1910 departure on BA92. British Airways recently moved the check-in area at Terminal 3 so that it is now at desks 213-227, opposite joint business partner American Airlines and codeshare affiliate Westjet. From check-in, it is a short walk to security.
BOARDING The flight started boarding at 1840 and there was priority boarding for top-tier cardholders and those in business.
THE SEAT The new premium economy World Traveller Plus (WTP) cabin is arranged in a 2-3-2 layout (A-B, D-E-F, J-K) and I was in window seat 11K. The product has a recline of eight inches (20cm) and 38 inches (96cm) of legroom, and even in an upright position there’s lots of space for both eating and working. There was also at-seat power (EU, US and UK) and USB sockets. I put my bags into the large overhead locker, and there was a storage pocket on the back of the seat in front, though it didn’t hold much – I struggled to fit in more than a couple of magazines and an iPad.
When we were ready to push back, orange juice and water were offered. The amenity kits contained earplugs, an eyemask, flight socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a pen. There are 10.6-inch seat-back screens and footrests that come down from the seat in front – apart from those in the front row, which rise up from underneath your own seat, and have monitors that come out of the armrests.
The WTP cabin has a curtain separating it from both Club World in front and economy behind. There are no dedicated washrooms, though, so you have to walk back through economy to use them. An innovative feature of the Dreamliner means you can control the darkness of the large electro-chromatic windows by pressing a button beneath them to gradually dim or lighten the glass. The size of them also meant the cabin felt a lot less oppressive and cramped.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? Generally, pairs of seats A-B and J-K are best. Middle seat E is to be avoided as you don’t have direct aisle access or a view. If you are sitting in row ten, you may find people try to cross the cabin in front of you, but once you stretch out, no one attempts it.
THE FLIGHT We pushed back on time and, shortly afterwards, were offered drinks. The crew said that while they would be as quick as possible, it was a new galley, so they might be a little slow while they got used to where everything was. It took until 2145 for the meal to be cleared away, by which time it was 0245 UK time. But they did well, and they will get better.
To start was a caesar salad, while mains were braised beef short ribs with red wine sauce, Yukon gold mash, glazed carrots and broccolini; or Thai chicken red curry with coriander jasmine rice, baby pak choi and sweet bell peppers. Dessert was chocolate caramel cake. I went for the Thai chicken, which was good.
At 2200, the cabin lights were dimmed. I slept until 0100 when we were offered breakfast. This was a strange purée type thing that I couldn’t identify, having lost the menu, plus fruit juice, a muffin, tea and coffee.
ARRIVAL The plane landed at London Heathrow on schedule at 0700 local time. Immigration was reasonably quick.
VERDICT The B787 is just as impressive in premium economy as in business. In a way, you appreciate it more in WTP, because the light from the windows is not blocked by the walls of the Club World seat. For overnight flights, the value of the WTP seat is in getting some sleep. The product offers plenty of space, several alternative positions and lots of recline and legroom.