Premium economy is more expensive than coach, less expensive than business and far cheaper than first class. It’s becoming a popular choice among airline travelers.
Found mostly on international flights, premium economy is a separate class of seating and service. Currently, 15 of the 20 largest airlines that offer international flights have installed premium economy cabins. While American, Delta and United don’t have premium economy, they all have some sort of premium offering with fewer perks, such as main cabin extra, comfort plus and economy plus.
According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, premium economy fares range from about 50 percent to 85 percent more expensive than standard economy when booked in advance. If you book close to your departure date, however, premium economy is generally only 35 percent more expensive than economy. Compared to business class, premium economy is almost a bargain, at an average of 65 percent less expensive.
Premium economy perks typically include: about 5 to 7 inches of extra legroom; 1 to 2 extra inches of seat width; 2 to 3 extra inches of seat recline; adjustable headrests, leg rest and lumbar support; larger personal TV screens; laptop power ports; and premium food service.
Amid the increasing popularity of premium economy and heightened customer demand, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa are now adding it to their long-haul flights, which are six to 12 hours long.
Staring December 1, Singapore will debut premium economy with flights to Los Angeles. New York and San Francisco will be the next destinations to feature premium economy. In addition to lots more space, flyers can look forward to gourmet cuisine. Dishes will include specially prepared braised short ribs, lamb biryani and dim sum from the crowd-pleasing Los Angeles in-flight caterer Harcor Inc.
Lufthansa, meanwhile, will complete the launch of premium economy on all of its long-haul flight in October. Since introducing it earlier this year, bookings have run 10 percent higher than Lufthansa expected.
Premium economy on Lufthansa includes a welcome drink at boarding, an amenity kit and bottled water at your assigned seat. While meal choices are limited to two, compared with standard economy, serving sizes are larger, and the food is better. You’ll also get a bigger baggage allowance.
More and more airlines are offering premium economy, and the service varies widely from carrier to carrier. So make sure you check the description before you decide what class you’ll fly.
And remember, the closer you get to your departure, the better your chance at getting a discounted fare for a seat in premium economy.