BA vs The Flying Roo

British Airways and Qantas
Premium Economy Head to Head

I recently flew Melbourne to London return on a combined Qantas and British Airways Premium Economy fare and it was a great opportunity to directly compare the two One World carriers product.

RouteQF: Melbourne to Singapore, 9 hours
BA: Singapore to London & London to Singapore, 13 hours
AircraftQF: A380
BA: A380
CheckinQF: Priority check in and boarding. Smooth and seamless

BA: No priority for Premium Economy. 
Self serve check in and self serve bag drop at LHR
with no one to help when the computer says ‘no’.
A disaster and a frustrating start to our London Singapore leg.

Qantas wins hands down
CabinQF: Premium Economy 35 seats. Definitely in need
of refurbishment soon, but matches BA for comfort 

BA: Premium Economy 55 seats. Fresher interior than
Qantas, but more seats means less attentive service and
more demand on the 2 bathrooms 

A clear win for Qantas
LootQF: lip balm, eye mask, socks, toothbrush and paste
in a Naopleon Perdis pouch

BA: eye mask, socks, toothbrush and paste, pen, in a plastic bag

Narrow points win to Qantas
SeatingQF: 2-3-2. We selected window seats as soon as our booking
was live on Qantas. Free seat selection. Side storage bins are
a bonus on the window.

BA: 2-3-2. We were assigned middle/aisle seats. Seat
selection not included with BA PE fare. $85 per person to
select window seats.

Qantas wins big here
ComfortQF: plenty of leg room and storage space. Good amount of
recline makes sleeping easy enough

BA: as above with foot rests

BA wins narrowly, for the foot rests
IFEQF: screen mounted in arm rests. Standard range of movies
and TV. Typically laggy touch screens. Noise cancelling
headphones

BA: screens on back of seats. Similar selection and lagginess.
Noise cancelling headphones

It’s a draw
Baggage2 x 23 kg QF & BA
ServiceQF: Friendly and attentive, I suspect a better ratio
of staff to passengers due to smaller PE section

BA: Unobtrusive but efficient service.

Excellent service from both, but Qantas a bit more friendly
and welcoming
FoodQF: 2 full meals on 9 hour flight to Singapore seemed
generous. Both of excellent quality

BA: dinner and breakfast en route to Singapore. Not quite
up to the Qantas standard

Points to Qantas
DrinksQF: standard range of beer and spirits, excellent Australian
wines

BA: ditto for beer and spirits, wines not as good as Qantas

Narrow win to Qantas

The Verdict

These Premium Economy services made the long haul from Melbourne to London a very comfortable experience. We arrived early morning in Heathrow feeling quite fresh and rested – enough to spend the whole day on our feet exploring London, before retiring to bed at a respectable hour in the evening and avoiding jet lag.

However, Qantas was a clear winner: complementary seat selection, priority check in and boarding lanes, and a smaller Premium Economy cabin make Qantas’s Premium Economy decidedly more Premium than BA.

All in all, Qantas made us feel a lot more special than BA managed to do.

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