What is Premium Economy?
If you’re a modern traveler, comfort is likely of utmost importance to you. Also known as elite economy class or economy plus class, premium economy is a step up from economy but not as expensive as first or business class. It was first introduced in the early 1990s by EVA Air and has increased in popularity over the past several years
Interesting Facts About Premium Economy
- 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.
- A separate food menu and enhanced entertainment may also be included with premium economy.
Economy vs. Premium 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.
- Greater privacy.
What is Premium Economy Like on Various Airlines?
Since premium economy is different on each airline, let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from premium economy on some of the most popular 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 domestic and international routes. Here’s what you’ll get if you fly premium economy on American Airlines:
- Fast check-in.
- The chance to get your bags checked first upon landing.
- Wider, adjustable leather seats with extendable foot and headrests as well as power outlets and USB ports.
- Complimentary, personal on-demand entertainment on larger monitors.
- Onboard Wi-Fi.
Delta flights now have an improved Delta Premium Select cabin seat available on some international routes. The Delta Premium Select cabin offers the following amenities:
- More space to stretch out.
- A wider seat with an additional recline and an adjustable leg rest on some routes.
- Improved entertainment.
- Dedicated flight attendant.
Premium economy seats on United flights are known as Economy Plus fares. If you opt for Economy Plus on United, you can benefit from these perks that you simply won’t get with regular economy:
- More legroom.
- Additional space to work or relax during your flight.
- Seat towards the front of the cabin for easy exiting once you arrive at your destination.
Air Canada is another airline that is committed to expanding its premium economy class fares across its routes. When you book a premium economy ticket with Air Canada, you’ll reap the following benefits:
- A larger seat with a greater recline.
- Extra legroom.
- Next-generation entertainment system.
- USB port for charging
- Complimentary wine and spirits.
- Premium onside boarding.
- Two free checked bags.
- Priority boarding check-in and baggage handling.
Frequently Asked Questions on Economy vs. Premium Economy
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 you may also pay double the price of an economy ticket. Keep in mind that since airlines price tickets based on supply and demand, 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. However, 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.
When deciding considering premium economy vs. economy, you should also consider your unique situation. If you’re a tall person, for example, that extra legroom could make a huge difference in your comfort. Also, if you’re traveling for business and your company doesn’t permit business class, premium economy would make an excellent alternative.
Since the cost difference between premium economy and economy is only 15-20%, the splurge may be very well worth it.
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 $300 price difference between premium and economy.
|Chicago||$ 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. This means the higher your status is with the airline, the greater chance that you’ll be upgraded.
Following those with status are children traveling 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.