Travel News Premium Economy Vs. Economy 2019 – What’s the difference?

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Premium Economy Vs. Economy 2019 – What’s the difference?

Premium economy is clearly better than economy, but what are the actual differences and how much will it cost? We’re about to break down everything you need to know.


Current Flight Deals in Premium Economy

RoutePremium Economy Price
New York – Los AngelesFrom $538
New York – ChicagoFrom $235
Chicago – TorontoFrom $525
Los Angeles – San FranciscoFrom $165
Los Angeles – Las VegasFrom $225
Atlanta – OrlandoFrom $175
San Francisco – New YorkFrom $485
New York – Mexico CityFrom $497
San Francisco – ParisFrom $893

*Prices valid as of June 3, 2019, and are subject to change.
**When searching Premium Economy fares, specific dates are required

What is Premium Economy?

Comfort is a priority for modern travelers. Before you book your next cheap flight tickets, consider what options are available to you. To understand the pricing of seats, it’s important to understand what is Premium Economy.

Airlines are increasingly offering Premium Economy as a separate seat class. These seats are a feature of modern aircraft and are often found on international routes. 

Delta recently renovated their fleet of wide-body Boeing 777 aircraft that fly to (mostly) international destinations to include more Premium Economy seating. 

Some facts?

  • A Premium Economy fare is generally 65% less expensive than a business class fare. You will not have the same level of service or comfort but you will be assured a more comfortable and relaxing journey.
  • A typical Premium Economy fare includes around 5-7 inches of extra legroom, wider seats, and more space to recline.
  • You may also have a separate food menu and enhanced entertainment. 

What is the difference between Premium Economy and Economy?

The difference between Premium Economy and Economy can vary between airlines and is often influenced by the type of aircraft you are flying from. In terms of what separates Premium Economy seats from standard Economy, you can expect: 

  • More leg room
  • Wider seats
  • Extra inches of seat recline
  • Power outlets
  • Larger personal entertainment screens
  • A larger selection of foods

Quite often the Premium Economy section is closed off with a curtain for that added privacy. 

Premium Economy on American Airlines

A Premium Economy ticket on American Airlines includes special amenities with seats behind Flagship, Business or First. You can buy a ticket on a range of routes, both domestic and international. 

Speed through check-in, security and boarding at the airport is included in the fare and you can get your checked bags first when you land. Seats are wider with more legroom and wider, adjustable leather seats with extendable foot and headrests. There is free, personal on-demand entertainment on larger monitors and onboard Wi-Fi. Seats include power outlets and USB ports. 

Premium Economy on Delta Flights

Delta flights now have an improved Delta Premium Select cabin seat available on some international routes. You will have more space to stretch out and a wider seat, with additional recline and an adjustable leg rest on some routes. Premium Select has a dedicated flight attendant and an improved entertainment offering to offer a better long-haul experience.

Premium Economy on United Flights

Premium Economy seats on United flights are known as Economy Plus fares. You will have more legroom and space to work or relax during your flight. Your seats will be at the front of the cabin so you can exit the plane easier at your destination.

Premium Economy on Air Canada

Air Canada is another airline that is committed to expanding its Premium Economy Class fares across its routes. Book this ticket for a larger seat, extra legroom, and priority airport services. You will have a greater recline compared to Economy Class, a next-generation entertainment system, a USB port for charging, complimentary wine and spirits alongside premium onboard dining. Your fare also includes two free checked bags. Premium Economy travelers will have priority boarding, check-in and baggage handling.

How much more expensive is premium economy than economy?

The price difference between premium economy and economy depends on the airline and route that you’re flying. Generally speaking, you’re looking at a minimum of a 30% price increase, but it could also be double the cost of an economy ticket. Airlines price tickets based on supply and demand, so there’s no set formula to determine what price you can expect to pay.

That being said, premium economy can be of good value when flying domestic since the flight times are shorter. However, quite often, domestic premium economy sometimes just means a seat at the front of the plane with a guarantee that there will be no one in the middle seat. You’d be slightly more comfortable, but you wouldn’t get all of the features that are listed above.

Is it better to fly premium economy or economy?

There’s no denying that premium economy is a better flying experience compared to economy, the question is, how much are you willing to pay for that privilege? As stated above, there can be some good value, but it can also be quite expensive.

It also depends on your personal situation. If you’re a tall person, that extra legroom could make a huge difference in your comfort. Now, if you’re traveling for business, it might be company policy that business class is not allowed, so premium economy would make an excellent alternative.

For the general public, if the cost difference is only 15-20%, it may very well be worth splurging for the upgrade.

Premium Economy vs. Economy to the 10 Most Popular Destinations

We’ve analyzed our 2018 booking data to bring you average round trip flight prices on economy vs. premium economy to top destinations throughout the world.

Our findings? International flights will bring you the biggest difference in price when flying premium. More popular domestic destinations such as Chicago, Miami & Atlanta have less than a $300 price difference between premium & economy.

Chicago $ 247  $ 435  $ 187 
Miami $ 309  $ 533  $ 224 
Atlanta $ 243  $ 478  $ 235 
Orlando $ 236  $ 474  $ 238 
Denver $ 230  $ 484  $ 253 
Washington $ 274  $ 562  $ 287 
Cancun, Mexico $ 386  $ 675  $ 288 
Fort Lauderdale $ 244  $ 545  $ 301 
New York $ 283  $ 587  $ 304 
Las Vegas $ 240  $ 562  $ 322 

*Please Note: To see the prices for Premium Economy when searching on Skyscanner, you need to enter exact dates.
**Based on our data from 2018 average roundtrip flight prices.

How to get upgraded from economy to premium

Most airlines will try their best to get people to pay for the premium seats before they offer them up for free. However, it’s quite common for premium economy seats to be offered at a discount when you’re at the gate. In this case, it would be on a first come, first serve basis.

When free upgrades are provided, there tends to be an unofficial way of handing them out. Anyone with status will get first dibs. The higher your status is with the airline, the greater chance that you’ll be upgraded. Following those with status are children travelling with a single parent, but that would require two premium economy seats to be available. Read this useful article for more tips on getting a flight upgrade on your next flight.