View Full Version : BA WT+ v AA economy?

Tony Flynn
11th Jul 2004, 15:19
I'm off to Chicago for a week in early September and having checked flight prices I'm stuck between American airlines economy at around 325 or BA world traveller plus ie, premium economy for around 640. My question to you seasoned and jaded travellers is, In your opinion is the BA product worth another 300 quid?

Lily Rowan
11th Jul 2004, 16:21
In my opinion, yes but you really have to make an individual value judgment based on whats important to you.

BA WT+ is generally under 10 rows deep (which usually translates into less movement around the cabin a good thing if you dont sleep well on planes), has wider seats, greater pitch, and is placed at the midpoint of the aircraft good for getting to, and through, the immigration line before the majority of your fellow passengers. (The last time I flew WT+, I was the 3rd person off the airplane to arrive at the immigration line :p) If I remember correctly, WT+ also gets some extra channels on the IFE system that are unavailable to regular economy pax. The major drawback (aside from the extra $$$) is relevant only for fairly empty flights the BA WT+ seats do not have movable armrests, so its not possible to create one bed from several seats.

Everyone says that AA has greater room throughout economy than other airlines. While this has been apparent on some of the domestic AA flights Ive taken, the last time I flew AA internationally (15 months ago), I didnt notice the extra pitch and Im not a tall person! Check the websites for the exact figures, but it may only be a couple of more inches than a standard 31-inch pitch on the international AA flights (compare to BA WT+ at, I believe, 38-inches). The seats themselves are standard economy and therefore dont offer any extra width or the ability to recline further than on other airlines. Also, if it makes a difference in your decision, AA charges $4 - $5 on its international flights for alcoholic beverages.

There may be several people posting after me who believe that WT+ is not worth the extra charge. And thats perfectly OK; everyone has different priorities when it comes to travel some people will endure a lot in order to save money while others will pay extra for things they deem important. In which category would you place yourself? Are wider seats and the extra legroom of WT+ worth GPB 300 to you?

P.S. If you have a BA Exec Club account with enough miles to upgrade from WT+ to Club, then Id definitely go for that option!

11th Jul 2004, 21:17
Depends if you're small or tall, skinny or just "big-boned"!! I've tried both BA and AA. If you are Mr Average, then the AA seats have legroom aplenty. BA WT seats are marginally wider, but not 300's worth wider. You can pre-book your seat on AA - don't go for a seat with a bulkhead behind, though - can't recline it fully. Majority of AA seat armrests also fold back - check when you prebook the seat. This is useful if the flight is empty - extra kip-space. AA90 ORD/LHR is a good one for this.

Yes you do have to pay for alcoholic drinks/headsets on AA, but the service is usually better than BA overall, and the crew know how to smile! And you'll have an extra 300 in your back pocket.

As an aside, chances for upgrade on AA are better than BA - AA don't cabin roll their staff! Wear a shirt and tie, and be nice!

Pax Vobiscum
11th Jul 2004, 21:20
The way I like to look at these questions is: what do you want to spend 300 on?

You could upgrade your hotel accommodation for the week or have a bl00dy good night out (probably more than one) with 300 in Chicago. Personally, I'd rather do that and put up with the constrained space for 16 hours (but then I've only got little legs).

As Lily says - it's your money and your choice. Have a great trip, whatever your decision!

Wot No Engines
12th Jul 2004, 09:00
Or compromise - pay the extra for the return flight if it's overnight - the small amount of extra space is just enough to get a reasonable sleep.

If on airmiles / points, then WT+ is only 25% extra.

12th Jul 2004, 14:26
The BA site gives WT+ as "Maximum of five rows" and "Seven inches more leg room at 38 inches."

Me? I'd be in WT+.

"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

12th Jul 2004, 15:58
Big fan of AA across the pond. done it in Y 4 times in the past 18 months., every flight completely full. I'm 6'4" and the 34" pitch is fine for me where 31" is unbearable. I'm also a big fan of WT+ too, and used it LHR-SYD. If it was me, I'd stick with AA to ORD and keep the cash for a WT+ flight that would really make a difference, like SFO, LAX, BKK or SIN. I find it much easier to cope with 7-8 hours rather than 12.

12th Jul 2004, 18:24
As everyone says, it's a personal thing. I'm quite happy to pay 150 more each way for WT+ for a trans-Atlantic. It's not simply the better seat (and it's definitely better, not just wider with more legroom), nor the slightly upgraded bells and whistles; the entire ambience of the W cabin is half a world removed from normal Y.

If you're lucky enough to be on a flight that's oversold in the back but not in the premium cabins, you should also be well up in the queue to be rolled forward into J, which is a very pleasant experience.

I should add that my value judgement is based on going from BA Y to W. The choice between AA Y and BA W is even clearer. You get a bit more space in AA Y than in BA Y. Other than that, everything else is markedly inferior - it's a much less pleasant experience. I have done four trans-Atlantic sectors on AA in the last few years, and would clamour to pay the 150 extra to go in BA W.

Final 3 Greens
13th Jul 2004, 06:08
I'm a big fan of WT+ and use it for sectors such as Boston and New York, since it saves a fortune over J class.

In fact, it is quite similar to the original J class of 25 years ago, but an order of magnitude less expensive.

As Globaliser says, the atmosphere is very different and the section is quite small.

13th Jul 2004, 11:48
F3Gs, If I recall correctly, the VS PE and BA WT+ are exactly the same as the original Biz when it arrived. I recall hearing this stated by Branson. In due course, Biz overtook First and so something else was needed to replace it.

Final 3 Greens
13th Jul 2004, 13:50

Sounds reasonable to me :D

fescalised portion
15th Jul 2004, 00:51
All of AA's 777's and 767's have 35" Y class seat pitch, all seats recline fully and have individual IFE and all headsets are free. Save your money and go AA!

Tony Flynn
15th Jul 2004, 14:53
Thanks for all of the replies, I found out that the WT+ fare was part of the BA sale so put my hand in my pocket and bought it - It's now on their website for 850, I got it for 635. I'm actually going to Indianapolis, what I normally do is Fly Delta into Cincinnatti and drive the 125 miles rather than hang around in O'hare waiting for the connecting flight but last year I got fed up with the tired high mile Delta 767s on this route and it costs about 550. This year I'll fly BA WT+ to ord and drive the 200 miles to Indy.

15th Jul 2004, 16:35
I think WT+ is well worth the money, here's a pic of the WT+ cabin on a 747-400:


and here's a pic of Y on a similar aircraft:


15th Jul 2004, 18:16
Tony Flynn: This year I'll fly BA WT+ to ord and drive the 200 miles to Indy.635's a good fare. Enjoy it.

You know you could fly from ORD to IND for another 65 or so round-trip? Of course, it'll be a matter for your judgement as to whether it's worth paying that to avoid driving 400 miles - and one has to admit that it'll be a bit of a come down sitting on a regional jet after the trans-Atlantic hop in W.