Isn’t it Time You Tried Premium Economy?

Qantas' new premium economy class.

But before you do, read this. Why, because not all premium economy classes are created equal. Some are awesome and some aren’t worth the money—unless the company is paying for it, then it’s definitely better than the standard Economy.

There are currently only nine airlines that offer a true premium economy product originating in the USA. These airlines are Alitalia, ANA, British Airways,  EVA Air, Japan Airlines, Qantas, Scandinavian Airlines, V Australia and Virgin Atlantic.

DeltaEcon, nope
DeltaEcon, nope

The USA-based carriers’ so-called Economy Plus seats that they  flog for an extra $50 are not real Premium Economy seats or service. A proper Premium Economy product should offer, among other things, a dedicated and separate space in the cabin, better legroom, a wider seat and top-notch catering and service that is more akin to business class.

A definition?

Alright, here it is. Premium Economy is found mostly on international flights and, compared to standard Economy, is a huge leg up. Take a Look:

  • 5-7 inches of extra legroom as well as additional amenities, which can include:
  • 1-2 extra inches of seat width
  • 2-3 extra inches of seat recline
  • Adjustable headrests, legrests, or lumbar support
  • Larger personal TV screens
  • Laptop Power Ports
  • Premium Food Service

Next Question, How Much More Is It?

If you book a European flight in way in advance, Premium Economy is generally 85% more expensive than your standard Economy fare.

  • But if you book closer to your departure date, Premium Economy is generally only 35% more expensive than your standard Economy fare. The extra cost can be as low as just 10% more, so remember to ask about Premium Economy if you have a last minute Economy booking.

Compared to booking Economy USA – Asia/Australia:

  • Premium Economy fares across the Pacific Ocean don’t vary quite as much with purchase time; they are generally 95% more expensive than standard Economy fares (yes, almost double).
  • But if an airline hasn’t filled their premium seats ahead of time, they may be offering a discounted upgrade at check-in, so the value is greater.
  • If your employer’s travel policy doesn’t allow Business Class travel, Premium Economy can be a great choice. You’ll have upgraded seats and an “Economy” ticket on your expense report, which looks good.

Many airlines’ premium economy sections offer personal TVs. Some of the airlines that offer premium economy service include Air France, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Delta, United and Virgin Atlantic.

Here are some examples of fares you might find:

New York to London From $1875 Roundtrip Total on Virgin’s Premium Economy

Premium-economy virgin to london
Premium-economy virgin to london

Here’s what you get: Virgin Atlantic’s Premium Economy is a private dedicated cabin with a maximum of five rows. Lay back, relax, stretch out and enjoy free drinks bar, in a larger seat with adjustable headrest, lumbar support, leg rest, more legroom and greater seat recline.


BA’s Premium Economy product is called World Traveller Plus.


They offer:

  • Online check-in 24 hours before your flight.
  • A quick baggage drop-off kiosk at the airport.
  • Larger checked baggage allowance of 2 free bags (one free bag is the standard in regular coach class).
  • On board, the World Traveller Plus cabin contains only six rows of seats, offering privacy and spaciousness.
  • Complimentary bar service, a larger seat with adjustable headrest, lumbar support, leg rest, more legroom and greater seat recline complete the experience.
  • Each seat comes with BA’s world-famous entertainment system and noise-cancelling headphones.
  • The catering has been designed by leading chefs and serves all dietary preferences, from Kosher and Halal to vegetarian and gluten free.
  • Power sockets to recharge your laptops are provided and World Traveller Plus passengers earn 25% more miles.

Air France


A dedicated cabin at the front of the aircraft

The cabin´s first rows each comprise 4 seats (a tray table replaces the middle seat), reserved for Premium Affaires customers. These seats provide ample comfort for work or relaxation.
Premium Eco customers are seated in the next rows within the cabin, containing 6 seats per row.



Depending on your flight´s duration and departure time, you will also receive breakfast or a snack on board.

Other perks include:

  • Modify or have your tickets reimbursed without paying a fee.
  • Take advantage of automatic check-in and receive your boarding pass via e-mail 30 hours prior to departure.
  • Enjoy a higher baggage allowance.

So the next time you need to take a long-haul flight, do yourself a favor, book Premium Economy and feel the difference. Just take a look at this guy, that could be you.

air france baby

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