Premium economy is a “sweet spot” for international airline discounts—to use the words of Joe Brancatelli. Because first and business class seats fill up regularly, airlines are pulling their promotions on these classes of service. Premium, on the other hand, hasn’t yet obtained such loyal followers. This means that while premium comes with many of the advantages of first and business class, you will only pay 1/3 to 1/2 of the price.
Like first and business class, premium economy passengers have their own priority check-in lines. On some airlines, premium economy also means priority baggage handling. Not waiting in line when you check-in at the airport and having your luggage arrive first at baggage claim means you will save time—time that you can spend on vacation, or getting back home already!
Premium economy is the section of seats near the front of the plane behind first and business class. (In fact, many premium economy seats are identical to the business class seats of the past.) In these seats, you can expect around 6 extra inches of legroom. While this may not sound too exciting, a little extra room is—in reality—a very big deal; having just one more inch of seat space can help you sleep 53% longer, according to a study conducted by Airbus and The London Sleep Centre. (Another tip for longer sleep on planes: buckle your seat belt over your blanket to prevent it from slipping!)
In premium, there are upgraded food and beverage options, such as better quality wine and espresso. You can reasonably expect flight attendants to be more accommodating in premium. The service and food options won’t be as luxurious as first or business, but in many cases, they can come close.
But perhaps the most attractive reason for flying premium economy is not flying premium economy. What do we mean? If you’re lucky, the plane you are booked won’t have premium economy, and you’ll receive a surprise upgrade to business. This is just what happened to one writer for The Points Guy.
“…my travel companion and I found ourselves in 180-degree flat-bed seats aboard a 747-400. While we only got to enjoy our flat beds for about four hours, that business-class ticket afforded us all the same amenities as those enjoyed by full-fare business-class passengers, including exclusive business-class lounge access and VIP passport-control lines in both Taipei and Bangkok.”
Of course, we’d love to fly first and business class every time. But premium economy is often a smart and economical option. If you are flying internationally, you may want to consider a lay-flat business class seat so you can sleep on the plane and arrive rested, and premium economy on your return so you can save money.
If saving even more money off published fares sounds good to you, ask one of our agents about premium economy for your next flight.