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Review: British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Economy Class (YYZ-LHR)

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Review Overview

A totally fine long-haul Economy Class product. Nothing more. Nothing less. While nothing about British Airways' A350-1000 Economy product will blow your mind, it was a perfectly pleasant way to cross the Atlantic Ocean.


I recently flew on British Airways’ Airbus A350-1000 in World Traveller (British Airways’ name for Economy Class) from Toronto Pearson to Hong Kong. While we’ve reviewed British Airways’ A350-1000 in Club World, as well as British Airways’ Boeing 787-9 in World Traveller, we haven’t looked specifically at this particular product. In this post, I’m going to briefly share my experience on this flight.

an airplane on a runway
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 at Toronto Airport

British Airways Toronto Check In

I checked in at Toronto Pearson Airport Terminal 3 around 4 hours before my flight. While I initially booked a bulkhead seat for the flight, the gate agent informed me that there would be a baby sitting next to me. It’s worth noting that the vast majority of bulkhead seats on British Airways’ A350-1000 aircraft are right in front of the bassinet. Hence, any traveller booking these seats runs the risk of being seated next to a baby.

Thankfully, the ground agent was extremely helpful and proactively moved me to a standard aisle seat. He also offered to block a middle seat to give me more room. While I wouldn’t describe many things about British Airways as industry-leading, they do an excellent job of blocking seats adjacent to elite members on flights.

I spent the rest of my time waiting for my flight at the British Airways/Plaza Premium Lounge in Toronto, where I got an excellent view of our Airbus A350-1000 taxiing into our gate.

British Airways Toronto Boarding

As is the case with virtually every British Airways flight, boarding was a disaster.

Boarding was slightly delayed due to a large number of wheelchair passengers. Meanwhile, passengers – irrespective of boarding group – started to crowd around the gate area in a long line. Once all special needs passengers boarded the aircraft, the ground crew yelled for Group 1 passengers to come forward for boarding. Needless to say, the experience was unnecessarily complicated and stressful.

a group of people in a terminal
Boarding Chaos at Toronto Pearson Airport!

After a short wait on the jet bridge, I was greeted by the Inflight Manager and directed towards my seat.

British Airways 98
Thursday, 30th of May, 2024
Origin: Toronto Pearson (YYZ) Terminal 3 Gate: 35 Dep: 21:55 (22:27) 
Destination: London Heathrow (LHR) Terminal 5 Gate:  N/A Arr: 10:10 (09:52) +1
Duration: 7 h 10 min (6 h 25 min)
Aircraft: Airbus A350-1000 XWB Reg: G-XWBO
Seat: 52D (World Traveller) 

I got a glimpse of the Club World (Business Class) and World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) cabins on my way to my seat. Alvin reviewed the Club World cabin on the A350-1000 on a flight to Vancouver back in 2022, so be sure to check that out if you’re curious about that experience.

a seats in a plane
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Club World

a seat in an airplane
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 World Traveller Plus

British Airways A350-1000 World Traveller Cabin

British Airways’ A350-1000 World Traveller Cabin consists of 219 seats spread across a mini cabin and a larger rear section. The cabin consists of seats in a 3-3-3 configuration, which is the industry standard for the Airbus A350. Each seat is 18 inches wide – which is much more comfortable than the 17 inches of width that you’ll find on British Airways’ Boeing 777 aircraft.

a row of seats in an airplane
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 World Traveller Mini-Cabin

The seats are a generic version of Recaro’s CL3710 seat, which is a very popular seat also used by Cathay Pacific, KLM, Starlux Airlines, Singapore Airlines, EVA Air, China Southern, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Virgin Atlantic… (I think you get the point…)

a row of seats in an airplane
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 World Traveller Main Cabin

A pillow, blanket, and earbuds were on each seat during boarding.

The seat pitch on these seats is allegedly 31 inches, although it definitely felt a little tighter than some other seats that I’ve flown with similar legroom. For reference, I’m around 175cm tall (or 5’8”).

a person's legs in a seat
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 World Traveller Legroom

For better or worse, British Airways hasn’t changed the design of its World Traveller cabin since the mid-2010s. I’m not complaining though, as I found the cabin to be modern, smart, and perfectly inoffensive.

a row of seats in an airplane
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 World Traveller Cabin

As I mentioned above, British Airways did not customise the seat beyond the “base” product from Recaro. Each seat had a literature pocket – which held no literature. The seat also had a bi-fold tray table with a cup-holder, and a very sturdy headrest with foldable wings. There was also a seat pocket, which contained the safety card.

a black and white object with white text on it
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 World Traveller Literature Pocket

a white object on a plane
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 World Traveller Tray Table

I appreciate that British Airways installed both USB-A and AC power outlets in each seat – both of which worked well throughout the flight.

a row of seats with monitors on the back
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 World Traveller Cabin

Overall, I found the seat to be average, but comfortable enough for our 6-hour journey across the Atlantic.

British Airways A350-1000 Pushback and Departure

Boarding wrapped up several minutes after our published departure time. The captain then welcomed us aboard our “luxurious” A350-1000 to the “Hounslow Emporium of Aviation” and gave some information of our journey across “the wet stuff” (i.e., the Atlantic Ocean). The safety video was then played as we pushed back from the gate. Our flight ended up going out mostly full in all cabins.

a screen shot of a television
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Safety Video

Unlike virtually every other A350 operator, British Airways doesn’t have a tail camera feature on its inflight entertainment system, which is a shame.

Our takeoff was uneventful, and the crew began the meal service shortly after.

British Airways A350-1000 Entertainment & WiFi

As I waited for the meal service, I took some time to check out British Airways’ Highlife entertainment system. Overall, I found the selection of both movies and television shows to be excellent, with a decent amount of new releases. In particular, I really liked the emphasis on British movies and television shows as part of the entertainment offerings. To get into the spirit of things, I decided on an episode of The Great British Bake Off.

a screen on a plane
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Highlife Entertainment

a screen on a device
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Highlife Entertainment

a screen with a picture of a group of people
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Highlife Entertainment

The system interface was generally responsive. That being said, I didn’t use the system much given that I tried to get as much rest as I could on this short transatlantic flight.

For WiFi, British Airways offers a choice between a messaging plan and a “browse & stream” plan. The messaging plan is available free of charge for all British Airways Executive Club members; passengers can sign up for the programme onboard to access the WiFi. While this feature is nice in theory, I’ve found that the messaging plan is so excruciatingly slow that it’s basically useless. Meanwhile, the browse & stream plan works well, but is on the pricier side (at up to GBP 22 for a long-haul flight).

British Airways World Traveller Meal Service

Much to my surprise, the crew started the meal service relatively quickly. I appreciated that the crew decided to combine the drink and meal services to allow passengers to get as much rest as possible. I received my meal around 30-50 minutes after take-off, which must be some sort of record for a British Airways transatlantic flight.

As is the case with virtually every British Airways World Traveller flight, there was a choice between a chicken main or a vegetarian pasta. I went with the chicken, which turned out to be a chicken tagine served with white rice. The meal came with a grain salad, cheese and crackers, a cold roll, and a pre-packaged apple cake.

food on a tray on a plane
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Dinner

The meal itself was fine – definitely not the best airplane food I’ve eaten in Economy, but far from the worst. The main was a little bland, but still relatively filling. I really liked the grain salad, which was light, refreshing, and tasty. Unfortunately, the apple cake dessert was dry, although that’s to be expected from any sort of pre-packaged baked good.

The crew then came through the cabin to collect trays and offer coffee and tea.

Overall, the meal was perfectly fine. Nothing mind-blowing, but filling enough. What was impressive, however, was that the meal service wrapped up just a little over 90 minutes after take-off, which gave me a bit more time to get some rest.

British Airways A350-1000 World Traveller Service & Sleep Comfort

The crew on this flight were nice enough and generally responsive to requests. However, some of the crew members did seem quite stressed at certain points during the meal service. At one point, I noticed one flight attendant snapping at a passenger who followed up on a drink order.

The mood lighting was then switched on after the meal service concluded.

inside an airplane with blue lights
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Mood Lighting

I spent the rest of the flight napping. The seat is quite well-padded, but the recline is a little restrictive. Having an empty seat next to me definitely helped me stretch out a little more, and I managed to get a couple hours of shut-eye before landing.

British Airways A350-1000 World Traveller Descent and Arrival

Unfortunately, I slept through the pre-arrival service, which was similar to what was offered on my flight last year from Montreal to London in World Traveller Plus. British Airways offers a choice between two different hot options as a pre-arrival meal on all transatlantic flights, which was a nice touch but – in my opinion – rather unnecessary.

a group of people sitting in an airplane
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 World Traveller Cabin

a screen on a wall
British Airways Airbus A350-1000 Moving Map

After a smooth descent, we landed at London Heathrow Terminal 5. Unfortunately, we ended up at a remote stand (or as our captain called it, a “cheap seat on the outer reaches of Terminal 5… shall we say”). Unfortunately, British Airways is painfully inefficient when it comes to deplaning remote-stand passengers at its main hub.

  • First, passengers were only de-planed via the second set of doors, meaning that there was a massive bottleneck of passengers to get off the aircraft.
  • Next, the busses that British Airways uses to ferry passengers between remote stands and the terminal building are quite small. Hence, passengers were only able to get off the aircraft in very small batches.

Even though we landed around 20 minutes early, I only got off the aircraft around 20 minutes after our scheduled arrival time. I imagine that passengers with tight connections were not happy about the de-planing situation.


British Airways’ World Traveller product screams “average” – and that’s not a bad thing. The seats are comfortable enough (but nothing too fancy), the food is edible, and the service is generally friendly. There was nothing actively unpleasant about my experience, but also nothing particularly exciting. That being said, I’m not sure that British Airways even needs to do much to differentiate its onboard product product considering that it maintains a fortress hub at one of the world’s busiest airports. As a oneworld loyalist, I’ll continue to fly British Airways.

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