British Airways Premium Economy (World Traveller Plus): LHR-SAN A350-1000
After a wonderful flight over to Europe on Lufthansa in Business Class, we decided to book British Airways in Premium Economy (World Traveller Plus) nonstop back into San Diego. Using 42,500 Alaska Airlines miles + $237.15 in taxes per person we were able to lock in VIE-LHR-SAN. Taxes are high for UK flights, but the nonstop from Europe into SAN was well worth it. The only other airline that offers service into SAN from Europe is Lufthansa from MUC, but award availability is hard to find.
With a 5 hour layover at LHR after landing from Vienna, we decided to try out 2 lounges. With my Oneworld Emerald status, I was able to get us access to Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge and British Airways First Galleries Lounge. I’ve been to the Cathay lounge and it was just as amazing as I remembered it. Great views of the tarmac and an excellent sit down dining experience. I opted for the Dan Dan Mien noodles along with some fresh fruit for breakfast. The showers at the Cathay Pacific Lounge were excellent and worth a detour. After the Cathay Pacific Lounge, we headed over to the British Airways First Galleries Lounge to give it a try. Wow, it was packed! It didn’t feel as exclusive and elegant as the Cathay Lounge. The food and drink options weren’t very impressive either. We should’ve stayed in the Cathay Pacific Lounge.
We boarded our A350-1000 bound for San Diego and found our seats. We were seated in 23A and 23B. The layout was 2-4-2 in Premium Economy so the pair with the window seat is the way to go. The seats reminded me of Cathay Pacific Premium Economy and offered a wide seat with great recline. The A350 offers large windows so snag a window seat if you enjoy looking outside.
We were on our way to San Diego on time and settled in for our 11 hour flight. Two meals were served during the flight. We started with lunch and I selected the Kadai Chicken Curry. The meal wasn’t much better than Economy, but still tasty for what it was. Nothing to write home about. About 2 hours prior to landing we were offered a light meal which wasn’t great as I selected the Chili con Carne. Inflight Wi-Fi was offered on the flight for £19.99 which was worth it to kill some time during a daytime longhaul and catchup on email, news, etc. Speeds were solid at 10Mbps down and 2Mbps up.
A footrest was offered which helped with the comfort in Premium Economy. The major issue was with so much recline in the seats, it was near impossible to get out of the window seat without jumping over the aisle seat. Terrible design and one major reason to select the aisle seat in this instance if you are flying solo.
We landed into sunny San Diego on time and with a clear view of the Coronado bridge while seated in 23A. After landing, we pulled into the international gates at the end of the terminal to join Lufthansa’s A350-900 and Air Canada’s CRJ-900LR.
Conclusion: I wouldn’t hesitate to fly this route again given how few international routes are offered at SAN, but LAX and SFO continues to own the market for international flights for San Diego based flyers. The food wasn’t impressive and the seating was tight when reclined. I’ll give Lufthansa a try next time when flying between Europe and SAN. In the end, it’s amazing to end an international trip at your home airport with a nonstop flight.