British Airways has started to upgrade its Economy and Premium Economy cabins, with new World Traveller and World Traveller Plus seats with improved IFE screens.
Passengers flying from Gatwick will now be able to experience the upgraded Boeing 777 fleet and the latest premium economy and economy seats. The new World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins, have been fitted with elegant new seats with 50 per cent larger entertainment screens. The airline will roll out these changes across the fleet of 10 long-haul aircraft based at Gatwick.
Don’t get too excited as the upgrade has only just begun, these refits are not a five minute job. First in the queue are the six three-class Boeing 777 aircraft which will be completed by winter 2018. These will be followed by the four four-class variations which should be finished by summer 2019. Those passengers flying to Punta Cana, Cancun and Kingston, Jamaica will get to try out the new cabins first. This will be followed by a gradual roll out across all of British Airways’ 22 long-haul routes from Gatwick.
The new World Traveller cabins have been fitted with a six-way headrest with adjustable ears and the usual movable middle arm rests.
The new in-flight Panasonic entertainment system – which has the capacity to offer four times as many films, TV and audio – has been updated with larger HD screens and gesture control to navigate the interface like using a tablet. The IFE screen size will increase from six to 10 inches in World Traveller and there are new USB sockets at every single seat. This will allow all passengers to charge a range of different electronic devices during their flight
The new seats have been developed by the airline’s in-house design teams, in collaboration with a leading seat supplier. Great attention to detail has been paid to how a passenger uses their seat. For the new World Traveller Plus seat design there is a new leg and footrest, as well as an improved fully adjustable six-way headrest.
The new seat also has a cocktail table at the front and in-arm tray tables. In response to customer demand the size of the World Traveller Plus cabin will double. BA has improved the IFE screen size, it has doubled from six to 12 inches and the new World Traveller Plus seats also have an additional power outlet socket for UK, US and EU plugs.
Bespoke lighting has been fitted in every cabin and can be set to reflect the time of day, helping to lull travellers to sleep at night and wake them in the morning so customers arrive feeling fresher and the effect of jet-lag is lessened.
Sean Doyle, British Airways’ director of network and alliances, said: “We are one of the very few global airlines that offers a choice of four cabins for customers to travel in and World Traveller Plus appeals to a broad mix of both leisure and business travellers. In response to demand we’re increasing the size of the cabin so we can offer more of these popular seats to our customers, while keeping the cabin intimate and retaining the expert, attentive service that our travellers love.”
These improvements are the latest in the airline’s continued investment for customers. In January, British Airways announced a multi-million-pound investment in its World Traveller catering with the introduction of more, better quality food and greater snacking options throughout long-haul flights. BA will also increase the World Traveller Plus cabin in the fleet’s three class 777 airliners. They will increase from 24 to 52 seats, while the Club World cabin will be reduced from 40 to 32 seats.
At Gatwick, the airline has also increased the number of routes it serves from 48 different destinations in 2012 to 74 today.
Heathrow’s Boeing 777 fleet will be fitted with the new World Traveller Plus seat from autumn 2019.