British Airways unveils new economy and premium economy seating

3 Sep 2010 by Tom Otley
British Airways premium economy WTP5

British Airways has officially unveiled its new economy (World Traveller) and premium economy (World Traveller Plus) product today, on its new B777-300ER aircraft.

The new seats will be fitted on new deliveries of the B777-300ER aircraft, as well as B787 and A380. They will also be retrofitted on 18 of BA’s existing B777-200s currently fitted with the old, non-AVOD ‘GMIS’ IFEs, due for an upgrade. (Although BA’s B777-200 fleet numbers more than 40, IFE on the GMIS-fitted aircraft cannot be upgraded to the Thales AVOD system without changing the seats altogether.)

BA’s remaining B777-200 fleet and its B747 fleet will not be retrofitted, but instead will be “refreshed”.

The flight taking place today to Mumbai (BA139) has BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh on board, and a full report will be published on tomorrow (Saturday September 4).

In the meantime, to see images from today’s unveiling click here for the big picture, or read on for fact and figures for the new seats:

World Traveller

BA’s new economy product is still in a 3-3-3 configuration (ie: 9-across in each row, ABC – DEF – HJK), good news in these straitened times with so many airlines introducing 10-across seating on the B777 aircraft.

BA says “everything has been designed with customer comfort in mind, from ergonomically designed seats complete with lumbar support, adjustable footrest and a new hammock style headrest, to bigger a personal seat-back video screen, to help while away the hours.”

As can be seen from the seatplan here, World Traveller is split into two sections – a smaller cabin with a 3-3-3 configuration offering up to 63 seats across eight rows and a larger cabin offering 122 seats across 14 rows. The new seats have adjustable headrests and wider seats (17.8in), a larger seat back literature pocket with increased personal storage, and upgraded soft furnishings which include new pillows, fleece blankets and amenity kits. There is also a new Thales inflight entertainment system with seat back screen of 8.9 inches, 35 per cent larger than the existing economy screens. For more on the IFE system, see below…

To view more images of the new World Traveller seating, click here.

World Traveller Plus

BA’s new premium economy product has six rows with a 2-4-2 configuration offering up to 44 seats on the new B777-300ER. For a seatplan, click here.

The seats have a 38ins seat pitch, a new “hammock style” and fully adjustable headrest and footrest. There are also new upgraded soft furnishings which include new pillows featuring a heritage design, fleece blankets and amenity kits. Other services include complimentary newspapers, a hot towel service and increased baggage allowance on selected routes.

The seat back video screens are 60 per cent larger than the existing premium economy screens (10.6 inches) and all WTP seats have individual in-seat power with a socket compatible with UK, US and European plugs, and two USB ports and a RCA port to allow customers to use their electronic devices with the IFE system.

To view more images of the new World Traveller Plus images, click here.

Inflight Entertainment (IFE) 

The new Thales IFE system across all cabins features more than 230 TV programmes, 70 films and 400 CDs. 50 per cent more choice on movies and doubling the range of TV and music options, plus plug and play technology.– providing customers with, as well as up to 60 per cent bigger high-resolution screens. The IFE handset allows passengers to play games against other customers onboard and also a socket allows power electronic devices with access to a personal in-seat power socket compatible with UK, US and European plugs.

B777-300ER facts


  • The aircraft seats 297 passengers, with 14 in First, 56 in Club World, 44 in World Traveller Plus and 183 in World Traveller.
  • Initially it will fly to Mumbai, Delhi, Chicago and Dubai
  • BA is the first UK airline to fly the B777-300ER. It has ordered six Boeing 777-300ER’s, with three going into service before the end of 2010 and the remainder by early 2012. The second goes into service on October 1.
  • At 242ft, the B777-300ER is 11ft longer than a B747 and 33ft longer than a standard B777-200
  • In typical British Airways configuration, the GE powered B777-200 has a range of 5,400 nautical miles with a full passenger load, compared to the 777-300ER which will carry over 30% more passengers 7,600 nautical miles. The B777-300ER is powered by two General Electric GE90-115BL engines, the world’s largest and most powerful commercial jet engine, producing 115,300 pounds of thrust.
  • Each wing has been extended by 6.5 feet (1.98 m) by adding raked wingtips to improve overall aerodynamic and fuel efficiency. The raked wingtips help reduce fuel burn and offer improved take-off performance
  • The B777-300ER is extremely fuel efficient, with CO2 emissions per seat 23 per cent lower than the 747-400 and up to 15 per cent lower than the 777-200ER
  • The registration of the new aircraft is G STBA
  • Tail-strike protection is standard on the 777-300ER. The fly-by-wire system includes this feature which ensures adequate clearance between the aircraft  tail and the runway at takeoff or landing by commanding elevator movement if the aircraft’s attitude exceeds preset limits
  • It has a cruising speed of Mach 0.84 (approx 560 miles per hour) and a maximum takeoff weight of 775,000 lbs (351,530 kg), almost the weight of four Blue Whales


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