Premium Economy – BA & AA

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  JCB2 18 Jun 2019
at 13:53
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)

  • AlanOrton1
    Participant

    Having taken a few transatlantic flights with both I thought I’d share a few thoughts (as a OWE), in case anyone else flying across the pond was wondering in differences between the two.

    Check In:
    At LHR for OWE, BA offers the First Wing, which bypasses regular security (not so at LGW).
    At JFK & ORD, AA offer Flagship check-in and a fast track service to pretty much the front of the TSA line. (There is flagship check in at MIA, but I’m not 100% sure if there is also fast track. Could well be).

    Lounge:
    BA offers F lounge access.
    AA offers Flagship lounge, which is premium offering to their regular lounge. For a US airline, I think this is a significant improvement upon previous US airline lounges. I’d rate the ones I’ve used in this order. ORD, MIA then JFK. To be fair even the regular lounge (at least at ORD) had a decent food offering when I visited it prior to 5am, when the flagship lounge opens.

    Seat:
    The negative with BA is on certain aircraft you can never be quite sure which version of the seat you’ll get. The newer one is good, the original one is poor.
    The seats appear to be uniformly the same on AA, black leather, comfortable and new as PE is newish to them.

    Amenity kit:
    BA, poor.
    AA, not far off a business class kit.

    AVOD:
    BA, if on certain aircraft it is old, low res and poor. On newer aircraft, a good offering.
    AA, I’d rate as very good as both an extensive selection of movies etc and what appears to be a larger screen than BA.

    FOOD:
    BA, I like the ability to pre-order the main course and in general always been content with the offering.
    AA, I’d rate a bit behind BA.

    SERVICE:
    BA, Perhaps I’ve been fortunate, but I can only think of only one PE flight were the crew haven’t been polished, warm and efficient.
    AA, ok, bit rushed and not quite at BA’s level.

    All in all (IMHO), BA is better with food and service, AA with the consistent seat and AVOD

    8 users thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    I think AA also has wifi, with BA promising it soon, although on my recent flight with AA, it wasn’t working.

    Flight review: American Airlines B777-300ER Premium Economy

    For those who haven’t seen the AA seat, there’s a quick tour (on the ground) here by yours truly.


    Lisa
    Participant

    Hello,

    I am new to this so do bear with me but I’ve noticed something interesting on AA.

    I flew with BA London to JFK four times in 2018 (between May and October) and always ended up on an AA operated flight instead – at first, randomly, eventually on purpose. AA offers a rate called Main Cabin Extra (https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/experience/seats/main-cabin-extra.jsp). As a BA Bronze (soon to be Silver) EC member, I always got complimentary choice of a Main Cabin Extra seat – for the price of an Economy seat.

    Frankly, I found them equal or even superior to most PE BA seats I’ve been in. The seats are fully separated from each other and spacious, the Cole Haan amenity kit is great, you get a nice blanket and a real cushy Casper pillow, and way enough drinks. It’s pretty impressive frankly and perfectly adequate for the London-New York route which is what I’d call a short long-haul.

    Any thoughts on / experience of this?

    Lisa

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    Hi Lisa – I think the cabin you are referring to is AA’s new Premium Economy cabin. (Apologies if I have this wrong).
    MCE is a great offering for OW elites when flying in Y. However, the amenities you list above are the ones found in the PE cabin.
    I think a possible explanation may be that AA was seating MCE pax in their PE cabins for a while, while they were updating their booking systems (the planes had the PE seats fitted, but the airline was not yet selling PE revenue seats).

    The only flip side to this for MCE is this ‘cabin’ has now been greatly reduced by the introduction of PE.
    For example, AA’s 773 used to have a great MCE cabin in between J and Y. Good leg room and 9 seats across rather than the now standard 10.
    However, this has gone to make room for PE.

    MCE seats are still widely available on their domestic narrow body fleet for OW elites. They have a bit of a hit and miss approach with OWE, sometimes being offered a free snack / food box and alcoholic drink and at other times not.

    I do agree, the AA PE seat is good and given their AVOD and screen size, would rate it a bit above BA’s latest PE offering.


    SwissExPat
    Participant

    I just did a Y+ between LHR and JFk with AA. (as a BAEC Gold). I wanted to try the CX lounge in T3 which was excellent.

    I noted that AA provided a very substantial second meal before landing (full tray table with linen napkin and crockery) which I believe BA does not (although will be introducing as part of the 2019 upgrading of Y+). The last time I was on a day flight Y+ with BA, the offered tea/coffee in paper cups plus some chocolate bars !

    Hence IMHO the AA offering in Y+ on the catering side is substantially better than BA. The main meal served after take off was near on business class as far as I could see. One slight let down on AA is that all drinks on AA in Y+ were served in transparent plastic cups (incl wine) where as BA are particularly picky in always serving Y+ drinks in proper glasses. .

    All told I was impressed with AA Y+ product.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Keith
    Participant

    I flew DFW NRT return in AA Premium economy and thought it an excellent product. Seat and pitch and IFE all seemed better than BA. IM FLYING LHR DFW next week on AA and whilst I’m hoping for an upgrade ( hope springs eternal) I will be content in PE. I HAVE A LHR KUL on BA again in PE agsin in Feb so well placed to experience the two products


    TominScotland
    Participant

    I have just come off BA125 from Heathrow to Bahrain, travelling in Premium Economy. As the aircraft was a 777-200, I was expecting the old PE seating and catering.

    Not a bit of it. Seating was 1980s Business Class + and excellent for both working and relaxing. Now, the load was very light so I had gallons of space and a bulkhead seat as well but, for a daytime flight, it would be hard for me to justify Business. In any case, I had originally been booked in Economy at a very low fare but was offered a move to PE for £169 which was excellent value.

    Food was excellent – the Middle Eastern fish dish I had was up there with any meal I have had in the air. A Magnum half way acrosss was a lovely touch and the Economy snack pizza was a real pizza and streets ahead of equivalent snacks I have had recently on Qatar and KLM.

    The service really made it – a mature crew, chatty, addressed me by name as BAEC Gold, offered me champagne (I refused) and could not have been friendlier. Actually looking forward to my PE return early on Sunday morning, especially as the load looks very light again.

    Probably the best all-round PE experience I have had.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    CocktailMike
    Participant

    You don’t get lounge access with BA Premium Economy – nor business class check in


    Tinp0tTaipan
    Participant

    The best PE in my experience is Qantas. Great seat, both roomy and comfortable, food OK, decent selection to drink. You board with the business class passengers.
    BA is average: seat spacious but lacking in padding, food dire, but you can get quite keen pricing.ww
    Cathay PE is rubbish and overpriced.


    CathayLoyalist2
    Participant

    Tinp0tTaipan, I was surprised you think CX PE is rubbish. Are you basing that on one trip?. I gave found PE over the years to be very good. The only “complaint” was on the 777-300ER configuration where seat 30G front row was right opposite the toilet which Y passengers can use and congregate around hence people tripping over your feet.Other than that a very comfortable seat, food fine and the crew very good. I guess you can´t please everyone all the time.


    AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    My one and only experience in PE was on BA, and was apalling. Toghether with my other half, it was the only ‘premium’ cabin still available one way from BGI to London. Now I know the Gatwick fleet is used to having the poorest of the cabins, or last for refit, but PE on this 777 was I guess their first rendition and it was impossible to get comfortable. There was no way to sleep, the service was abyssmal, and food offered was a dissappointment. From the photos I have seen, the AA product looks leaps and bounds ahead of what I experienced exit BGI.


    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    I believe most of the LGW fleet have now been updated with the newer WTP seats (along with 10 across in WT).

    I’m due to fly on what is currently rostered to be a refreshed 777 from LGW next month in WTP. Significantly larger cabin, with circa 50 seats.

    Travelling back from JFK to LHR on AA as I don’t wish to run the risk of the old seat that I think are still on select 777’s and mid J 747’s.

    Am hoping there will be WiFi on the BA leg(!)


    BrotherJim
    Participant

    The best PE in my experience is Qantas. Great seat, both roomy and comfortable, food OK, decent selection to drink. You board with the business class passengers.

    BA is average: seat spacious but lacking in padding, food dire, but you can get quite keen pricing.ww

    Cathay PE is rubbish and overpriced.

    Which aircraft on Qantas as there is a big difference between the older seat on the A380/747 and the 787 seat.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    Tinp0tTaipan wrote-
    ‘Cathay PE is rubbish and overpriced.’
    I would be interested to know in what respects the poster finds the CX seat ‘rubbish’ i.e. on which aircraft – this as there are several generations of this seat with / without foot rest etc.
    I checked PE pricing ex AU and it seems that Cathay is cheaper than Qantas. Are they then both overpriced ?

    This Au web site was less than complementary about the Qantas seat
    https://www.ausbt.com.au/review-qantas-boeing-787-9-dreamliner-premium-economy-seathttps:

    The points guy was not too impressed ether
    https//thepointsguy.com/2017/12/review-qantas-787-9-premium-economy/

    Not impressed ether:

    Qantas overhypes, underdelivers 787-9 premium economy “revolution”

    Huge negative generalisations in posts by infrequent posters indicate to me that the post is very possibly a ‘plant’ by a competitor or an agency. Fortunately we don’t see many on this forum


    miningguy
    Participant

    My one and only experience in PE was on BA, and was apalling. Toghether with my other half, it was the only ‘premium’ cabin still available one way from BGI to London. Now I know the Gatwick fleet is used to having the poorest of the cabins, or last for refit, but PE on this 777 was I guess their first rendition and it was impossible to get comfortable. There was no way to sleep, the service was abyssmal, and food offered was a dissappointment. From the photos I have seen, the AA product looks leaps and bounds ahead of what I experienced exit BGI.

    Yes the old LGW 777 fleet is in terrible condition. I also find the service incredibly variable. Some flights, the crew are fantastic. Others, they are downright rude. There seems to be no pattern between class of travel. I find flights ex-LHR are much more consistent in terms of service (if not exactly world class, they are I find always about the same!).

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