There’s something about boarding a plane, walking past those luxurious seats in first class and business class, to your spot in economy that makes me curl my lip with jealousy. I look at the people in the fancy seats and I want to be sitting where they are. I want to be glamorous and have all loads of room, amazing food and a little gift set with socks and a toothbrush!
Pretty much every time I book a flight I think ‘You know what, sod it. I’m not as poor as I used to be. Why don’t I bite the bullet and upgrade to Business Class or Premium Economy?’ I stick in the dates and destination and boom – THE PRICE! I clutch my chest as if I’m having a frugal-based-heart-attack. It’s never a hundred or so quid more – it’s THOUSANDS.
So maybe the high life just isn’t going to be for me – or maybe is, because you can do Business Class on a budget with Primera Air.
Flying with Primera Air
Everyone now and then, something bloody miraculous happens and I get an email from a brand offering me a press trip. (Read all about it here!)
I know I’m supposed to act cool here like it’s no big deal and it happens all the time, but no – these trips make my year.
Primera Air is one of those low budget airlines we love like Ryanair and Norwegian Air, where you don’t get a lot of frills, but the flight is CHEAP and it gets you where you want to go.
The airline flies out at London Stansted and had just launched the first long-haul flight to NYC ever – and they wanted me to come along and try it out.
I obviously jumped at the chance for a free trip abroad, and what made it even more exciting was that I was going to be flying Business Class. That’s right, you heard correctly – Lotty over here was finally going to be sitting in the best seats on the plane.
So, I had some preconceptions before seeing the plane. I thought because it was a low budget airline, the best seats in the house were not going to be particularly good. In my head, I compared it to what Economy Class would be on a British Airways flight or something along those lines. Primera Air also doesn’t have onboard entertainment, so honestly was a bit like – bloody hell, what am I going to do for seven and a half hours?!
London Stansted Airport
I’ve never actually flown from London Stansted before, so it was a new one for me. It’s about an hour and a half away from my house in South West London, so it’s not too bad to get to thanks to the Stansted Express.
I took the Stansted Express from Tottenham Hale train station and it was around £16 one way, and £24 return. I wasn’t very organised because I had been away for the Bank Holiday Weekend and I was at an awards ceremony the night before – so I didn’t book ahead (I know, must have money to burn right?!).
The train took us right to the airport and I had a quick wander around before meeting the press team and the other bloggers and vloggers who would be coming on the trip with me (Emily Canham, Lucy from Shiny Thoughts and Kavita from She Wears Fashion).
I was LOVING the fact I could go through the express lines to check in, and through security – felt like a proper Hollywood star!
We had about 30 minutes to wander around the Duty-Free and everyone manning the stands were incredibly friendly. Most of the booths offer free massages or make-overs that last around 15 minutes, so decided to get my face sorted out (you can’t look rough in Business class you know! 😉 in Bobbi Brown.
The MUA moisturised my face and topped up my eye makeup. She explained what she was doing but there was no pressure to buy anything at all – so don’t worry about that if you’re at London Stansted Duty-Free. It’s so worth making the most of the freebies there. Don’t feel shy.
For Christmas, my boyfriend bought me a little bottle of Jo Malone Orange Blossom and as soon as I sprayed it on my skin, there was no going back. It’s BEAUTIFUL. It’s hard to describe a smell, but picture what a rich, blonde lady who lives in Kensington smells like – well it’s like that.
The problem with Jo Malone is that it is seriously pricey and they NEVER discount. There’s no getting around it… OR IS THERE?! Well, there is! if you pick up a bottle at Duty-Free, you’ll get 20% off. In a normal Jo Malone shop, a 100ml bottle will cost you £95, while at the Duty-Free in London Stansted airport, it was £75 about. That’s a pretty decent saving, so as I was feeling baller – I picked myself up a full-size bottle. No regrets.
We then went to the Windmill which is a Wetherspoons. For me, a holiday begins with a Wetherspoons breakfast (I tend to usually book the cheaper early morning flights) or a quick drink. This time I had a chicken BBQ burger and it was really good. What I like about ‘Spoons is that it’s still pretty cheap (though not as cheap as the ones outside of the airport), but it’s a good place to waste a bit of time before your flight.
So after that, we went to the gate where Primera Airlines were celebrating the first flight. I was offered a cheesecake on the way in, some apple juice (The Big Apple – geddit?!) and there were singers and dancers performing West Side Story. I don’t think you understand the self-restraint it took for me to not belt out ‘Maria’ with the singers, but I had only just met the other bloggers and didn’t want to show myself up yet. Yet.
What it’s like flying with Primera Air
Usually, I never really understand why people are so keen to board a plane first. Why would you want to sit in a cramped seat longer than you need to? But we were Premium fliers and I was not going to waste a chance to get in those fancy seats as quickly as possible
First off, the seats are AMAZING. Properly luxurious. It was big with loads of legroom space and really wide (as you know, I don’t have a small arse), so it was so lovely to have space either side of me while flying.
You got a little goodie bag with socks, a shoe horn (god knows why), an eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste, hand cream and earplugs (currently playing the Generation Game in my head). It’s grey, a felt material and I think pretty chic personally. Put it this way, it’s what the boyfriend is getting as a gift from this trip!
Before boarding, I had the option to choose some food. There were your specialist food options such as Vegetarian, Diabetic, Low Calorie, but also ‘hot food’ and ‘premium beef’. To be honest, ordering ‘premium fish’ doesn’t sound particularly appealing to me so really wasn’t expecting much – but OMG – look what arrived. How impressive is that?!
I was a little disgruntled by the idea of having no entertainment initially, but the more I thought about it (and when I actually experienced it), it really wasn’t a problem. You get a charging port so you can keep your tablet, phone, laptop or whatever topped up while you watch downloaded TV shows/programmes from Netflix etc – so you don’t really need it.
The lovely cabin crew told me that they are going to be introducing WIFI when they get 5G – so when that happens, I genuinely think little screens at the back of a chair with a limited choice of films will become outdated quickly.
Cabin Crew wise – they were SO nice and seemed really excited about working with Primera. We had a chat about how Primera was expanding quickly (they will be flying to Toronto. Boston, Washington soon – then maybe Orlando and Goa!).
Can you imagine how popular these flights will be if they go direct to Orlando at this price?! Disney World goers are going to get excited!
They said that the problem is there is currently a worldwide shortage of the type of engines that are in Primera planes, so the extra destinations have been delayed. Every day is a school day eh?
What’s Primera Economy like?
Ok, Ok, enough of the showing off – I get it. So if you don’t want to fork out extra for a Business Class flight, you’re going to sit in economy. Tickets (according to the website) start from £73, but the vast majority of cheap flights were £117.
The Cabin Crew said that they had worked for Virgin and BA, and that the economy seats had a massive pitch compared to Virgin and BA and were pretty impressive.
You don’t get food included with your ticket (but you can always pop to Boots in the terminal and get a meal deal if you want to cheap it cheap). You can choose to buy food though, which starts from a few quid for some pot noodles on the plane, £11.99 for a standard meal or £39.99 for a premium meal with booze/water etc.
If you want extra room in Economy, consider paying for the front row seats (£16 each way), because you got even more legroom than in Business Class.
Be aware that you can take on hand luggage, but if you want to check in a bag, it will set you back £24.99.
How much does it cost to fly with Primera Air?
So let’s go back to Business class. A business class flight with BA to NYC will set you back around £6079 (ONE WAY!) depending on when you’re flying. To me, that’s just unachievable to most people.
I thought to be extra fair, I’d compare it to Premium Economy which costs around £1826, which is still about £1,500 more than the Primera flight, which will cost you around £350 – £500 each way (direct). A Premium Economy seat with Virgin Atlantic is about £1,600. BA and Virgin are the two main carriers going to NYC.
That’s still not small fry, but if you wanted to upgrade, it’s certainly an amount that you can save up for. Honestly (and you know I don’t pander to brands), I 100% think it is worth the money, especially if you can get it on the lower end.
It’s easy to find the cheap tickets because Primera Air has a Low Fare Calendar where you can pick and choose prices.
It felt so luxurious and the flight was really enjoyable, rather than a chore. If you’re someone who long legged or generally on the larger side, you can relax on a long haul flight with plenty of space. I know being so cramped in a bad economy seat can ruin a holiday for lots, so if space is important to you – I’d recommend it. I certainly will be travelling in Primera Business class from now on – and will be keeping an eye out for deals to Toronto and Goa!
I also loved it than on the way back, I could properly sleep! The flight was over in an instant and I didn’t spend the next morning horribly sleepy.
As I’m sure you can gather, I absolutely loved flying Business Class with Primera Air. I felt really special and it is an affordable treat – for me. I get it’s not for everyone, but the economy seats were good too and super cheap.
Come back to the blog because I’ll be writing up loads on my trip to NYC and how you can do it in style, but also on a budget.
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