British Airways is a major European carrier based in London. Chances are, wherever you want to go in Europe and beyond, British Airways or one of its Oneworld alliance or codeshare partners can get you there.
British Airways offers four classes of service: first, business, premium economy and economy — although not all of its planes have every cabin type.
What you will find on every plane is British Airways economy class. On long-haul flights, it’s called World Traveller. On most short-haul routes, it goes by the name Euro Traveller.
Here’s what you can expect when traveling in British Airways economy class as well as several tips on how to maximize value should you decide to book a ticket.
British Airways World Traveller
World Traveller is British Airways’ economy cabin for long-haul flights outside of Europe. It’s similar to other airlines’ economy offerings on international routes, providing free meals, entertainment options and, in some cases, a baggage allowance.
There are two types of tickets available to World Traveller passengers: basic and standard. Basic fares will be less expensive, but don’t include as many perks as a standard ticket.
Here’s what all World Travellers passengers can expect, whether you’ve purchased a basic or standard fare:
Food and beverage. World Traveller passengers receive complimentary food, including a starter, main course and dessert, plus cold, hot and alcoholic drinks. On longer flights, there is a second meal and mid-flight snacks. Children’s meals are also available.
Entertainment. Personal entertainment screens and headphones are available for all World Traveller passengers, with access to hundreds of films, short-subject programs and music. Children’s programming is available too, and parents have the option to switch on a parental lock for unapproved channels.
Seats. World Traveller seats come with a headrest, pillow and blanket. Across British Airways’ fleet, its World Traveller cabins are in the process of being updated. For that reason, they may vary in style and size depending on aircraft and route. For example, Boeing 777-200 aircraft flying from London Gatwick now have seats with a six-way headrest and movable middle armrests.
Power outlets. A growing number of planes now offer 110V AC power outlets in addition to the USB outlet available to economy passengers.
Amenity kit. Passengers can request a small amenity kit with a dental set, socks and eyeshades.
Priority boarding for families. Those with infants or children in a stroller can board early.
There are two areas where your benefits will differ depending on if you choose a basic or standard World Traveller fare: seat selection and luggage allowance.
Seat selection. Choosing a standard fare allows you to select your seat 24 hours before departure. If you purchase a basic fare, you’ll be assigned a seat on the day of departure. Earlier seat selection options are available for a fee.
Baggage allowance. If you purchase a basic fare, you can only travel with a carry-on bag and personal item, whereas a standard fare ticket also allows you to check one bag up to 50 pounds for free. Additional baggage options are available but will cost you extra.
British Airways Euro Traveller
Short-haul flying on British Airways is quite different. These flights offer far fewer amenities, which can come as a surprise to those who are accustomed to taking long-haul World Traveller flights.
There are three fare classes for Euro Traveller tickets: basic, Plus and Plus Flex. The basic fare, similar to the World Traveller version, offers fewer benefits for a lower cost, while Plus and Plus Flex give you a few more options.
So, what do Euro Traveller passengers get on British Airways? All passengers, regardless of fare class, will receive:
Food and beverage. Passengers receive a light snack and a bottle of water. Everything else is for sale from the Speedbird Cafe, including coffee and tea. Advance online purchase of meals and drinks is recommended if you want to make sure your selections are available on board.
Wi-Fi and entertainment. Despite the short duration of these trips, the airline offers online connectivity on most flights.
Seats. Euro Traveller passengers will sit in leather seats with movable headrests and in-seat power.
Priority boarding for families. Those with infants or children in a stroller can board early.
Similar to World Traveller tickets, Euro Traveller benefits, such as seat selection and baggage fees, will vary depending on the type of fare you select.
Seat selection. Basic economy passengers will receive an assigned seat when they check in — unless they have British Airways elite status, which allows them to select a seat sooner. For Plus fares, passengers can choose their preferred seat within 48 hours of departure, and Plus Flex fares come with free seat selection at any time.
Baggage. Basic fare passengers can bring a carry-on bag and personal item but will have to pay to check any luggage. Plus and Plus Flex passengers can bring a carry-on bag and a personal item and can check one bag for free.
Flexibility: Basic fares only allow you to change your ticket if you pay a fee and any difference in price. Plus passengers can make same-day flight changes for free, but will pay a fee and fare difference for other changes. Neither of these fares offers refunds for canceled tickets. Plus Flex fares allow free same-day changes, a refund for cancellation and the ability to make fee-free changes to their ticket at any time.
World Traveller Plus vs. World Traveller
Travelers with room in their budget might consider upgrading their economy ticket to the airline’s premium economy option, dubbed World Traveller Plus.
The difference between British Airways World Traveller Plus and an economy ticket is that World Traveller Plus offers these amenities:
Fewer rows with more spacious seats in a separate cabin.
A guarantee of two meals, regardless of flight length.
More free baggage allowance. World Traveller Plus passengers can bring both a carry-on bag and personal item on board and can check up to two bags.
Priority boarding in Group 3 (rather than Groups 4-9).
Ways to get good value in British Airways economy
Whether you’re booking a British Airways economy ticket using miles or cash, there are a few ways to maximize value.
Book with miles
British Airways Executive Club operates on a distance-based award system. This means redeeming Avios (the airline’s loyalty currency) for shorter, direct flights will bring you the best value for your miles.
Transfer points from partners
Executive Club is a transfer partner with many programs, although the transfer ratio will vary (and there’s sometimes a minimum transfer requirement). Transfer partner programs include:
Bonus point transfers
On occasion, credit card companies may offer a transfer bonus when moving miles or points from a credit card program to Executive Club. Keep an eye out for these, and see what’s been offered in the past.
Look for Reward Flight Saver awards
Reward Flight Saver awards impose reduced taxes and fees, which vastly increases their potential value. To book one, you need to be an Executive Club member and you must have earned at least one Avios in your account within the past year.
Euro Traveller Reward Flight Saver round-trip awards start at 18,500 Avios plus one British Pound. World Traveller Reward Flight Saver round-trip awards start at 50,000 Avios plus 100 British Pounds.
Pay with Avios and cash
If you can’t pay for a British Airways economy flight totally in cash or totally in miles, you can use a combination of Avios and money. In doing so, you’ll still be able to earn Avios and Tier Points in the Executive Club program, too.
Use miles to upgrade your flight
You may be able to upgrade to a higher cabin using Avios or Avios plus cash if the price makes sense. Just be aware that the lowest airfare classes cannot be upgraded, and upgrade requests must be handled before arriving at the airport.
Book with the right credit card
As with other flights, when you use a card that provides bonus points for booking air travel, you can really maximize your value. Even if traveling in economy, you may be earning lots of bonus points. We recommend using a card with travel protections when booking a flight.
Booking through a travel portal
On occassion, there are also bonuses for using credit card travel portals to book your flights. Here are some of the top travel portals that sometimes offer bonus points:
Using a travel portal, however, is like using a travel agency. If you have issues with your travel plans, you’ll likely need to work those out with the agency that operates the travel portal.
British Airways economy, recapped
British Airways offers two economy products — World Traveller and Euro Traveller. Which one you use will depend on the length and type of the flight.
Both are similar to what many U.S. carriers offer on both long- and short-haul flights, which means you should expect more perks on longer flights than on shorter jaunts.
It’s also important to understand the different fare types, even within economy class, as there can be restrictions that can affect your flight plans.
(Top photo courtesy of British Airways)
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