Premium Economy – BA & AA

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Keith 7 Feb 2019
at 10:45

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  • AlanOrton1

    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).

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

    5 users thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley

    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.



    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 ( 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?


    3 users thanked author for this post.


    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.


    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.


    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

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