Can’t find a cheap business class ticket? And flying in economy just doesn’t cut it? Premium economy seats may be the best-kept secret in flying. Premium economy is the most recent and least established class of flying. It’s also a great means of travel because it seems to “slip between the cracks” and airlines often offer premium economy discounts, free upgrades, and cheap ticket options to spur interest.
Economy class, despite an increasingly friendly price tag, can often be downright hostile to your comfort and peace of mind. Many airlines have reduced seat size and legroom in order to cram in more seats and thereby generate more revenue. Sure, economy class fliers save money, but they pay dearly in comfort and wellbeing. And first and business class tickets are simply out of price-range for many fliers. For those who seek to balance comfort and cost, premium economy hits that sweet spot. Here is why premium economy may be your best option…
Cost can be factored in different ways. In the past few years, economy class tickets have, overall, gone down in price – but so has the service, amount of space afforded the traveler, and the meal options (which are priced exceedingly high, given the quality of the food). A premium economy seat allows the flier to keep the space, service and meal options (more about those later) while paying considerably less than the price of a business class ticket. Of course, prices vary depending on the airline and time of year, but a premium economy ticket can be up to 70% less than a business class ticket. How much more than an economy ticket? That also depends. Sometimes they can range from 30%-100% more than an economy ticket; sometimes you can upgrade for free!
Curious about prices now? Compare at business-class.com
Space, one of the most-coveted features on a flight. In economy, seats are tightly packed, leaving very little legroom and the discomfort of sharing your armrests with strangers. Economy seats also don’t recline more than a few inches and are roughly 17” wide. By comparison, premium economy provides between 5-7 inches more legroom, seats that are 1-2” wider with an ability to recline 2-3” further. The added space pays off in dividends: recently, Airbus partnered with the London Sleep Center to conduct a study on passenger flight conditions and sleep. Researchers found that just one extra inch of seat space provided a 53% boost in passengers’ quality of sleep! This means those in the smaller seats experienced more sleep disturbances and arrived far less rested.
Premium economy is located toward the front of economy class. This is significant for one reason: it means easy on and off the airplane. Premium economy fliers do not have to lug their bags down narrow aisles to find their seats; their seats are right by the cabin doors. Thus, premium economy fliers are first on and off the plane in that section. In other words, priority boarding and deplaning.
Yes, premium has more to offer! Most airlines assign a dedicated flight attendant to those in premium economy. This translates to a significant boost in service. Next, the food options (and the food itself) are often much better in premium economy. In terms of in-flight entertainment, if you’re looking for a larger screen and more entertainment options, premium economy has those too. Some airlines also allow the premium economy traveler to check two bags for free (Air Canada, for example) – and some grant access to the VIP lounges at airports. Lastly, to encourage more premium economy travel, many airlines pad your air-miles account.
All this adds up to more comfort, convenience and a better in-flight experience – without the business class or first class price tag. However, as the newest class, premium economy is still a work in progress. The level of service and the offerings differ across airlines – and sometimes even on the same airlines. Best practice: check airlines for the features you treasure most or have an agent help you compare to see what works best for you. I recommend business-class.com. They excel in these kinds of things!