Premium economy is a travel class offered on some airlines, positioned in price, comfort, and amenities between economy class and business class. In 1991, EVA Air became the first airline company that have this kind of class in aircraft.
As of 2011, the term is not standardized among airlines, and varies significantly when comparing its use on domestic versus international flights or when comparing low-cost or regional airlines with other airliners. Premium economy is sometimes limited to just a bit more leg room, but at its most comprehensive can feature multiple "creature comforts" that are only a notch below Business class.
For example, in the United States domestic market, airlines such as American, United, Delta, and Jet Blue have an upgraded Economy class with 2–5 inches (5.1–13 cm) more leg room as the only difference; they market the class as "main cabin extra", "economy plus", "economy comfort", and "even more legroom" (respectively). At the other extreme, on Air New Zealand and Qantas' "premium economy" and Virgin America's "main cabin select" includes more amenities such as premium check-in, large customized seats (some for couples, others targeting solo travelers), seat pitch up to 41 inches (100 cm) with 50% more recline, premium meals, a self-service bar for drinks and snacks, a personal in-flight entertainment center with remote control, noise-cancelling headphones and choices in games and movies for children and adults, skin care products in the lavatory, and an amenities pouch containing items such as socks, sleep masks, earplugs, and toothbrush.
Examples of differences
Premium economy can encompass differences from economy class such as:
- a free upgrade to premium members of frequent-flyer program and passengers flying full-fare economy,
- a separate section of the economy/coach cabin with more legroom (36–38" seat pitch), along with some form of leg rest,
- enhanced or improved in-flight entertainment features
- dedicated cabin crew
- better seats (often with fewer seats per row, to improve shoulder/elbow room)
- at-seat laptop power
- in-seat telephone
- a lounge
- priority boarding
- exclusive amenity kits
- upgraded meals and drinks
- increased luggage allowance
Some airlines may designate an entire economy class as premium, such as United p.s. on its transcontinental Boeing 757-200 premium service aircraft. Premium Economy tickets also normally earn more mileage in an airline's frequent flyer program, attracting a bonus between Economy and Business.
Starting in October 2012, Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific collaborated with local lifestyle store G.O.D. and introduced a new range of amenity kits for premium economy passagers. They are designed as collectibles with each bag being able to hook up to each other to form a wall-hanging accessory. The first two available are 'Joy' and 'Fortune, with designs that depicts Chinese gods relaxing inflight and of auspicious clouds respectively. The two types are available on outbound and inbound flights respectively. They include 90% recycled plastic bottles and toothbrush made mainly from biodegradable corn starch and cellulose.
Airlines offering this service include:
- Aeroméxico: Aeromexico Plus, now standard across the entire 737 fleet. Offers extra leg-room, more recline and adjustable leather headrests. Includes priority check-in, baggage handling, boarding and deplaning, as well as extra millage for frequent flyers.
- Air Austral: Classe Comfort
- Air Canada: Premium Economy - on some International routes with new B777-300 (on 77W). 
- Air France: Premium Voyageur (Economy Plus Class), (except for their Boeing 747-400), Alizé (flights to French overseas territories in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean), Seat Plus (upper deck on the Boeing 747), Premium Eco (Domestic and European).
- Air Transat: Club Class
- Air New Zealand: Long-haul flights on Boeing 747's and Boeing 777, feature Pacific Premium Economy, while on short-haul flights the cabin is turned into a Space+ zone exclusively for premium members of Air NZ frequent flyers (Gold Elite, Gold, Koru) and Star Alliance Gold members, as well as passengers flying full-fare economy on space available basis. On the new Boeing 777-300ER they have new seats called Spaceseats.
- Alitalia: Classica Plus (Premium Economy Class) on the new Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Boeing 777-200ER will also be upgraded.
- All Nippon Airways: Premium Economy
- American Airlines: Main Cabin ExtrAA  (offers a slightly wider seat and more legroom but no other benefits)
- Avianca: Economy Plus (Only International Service Airbus A330-200 between Bogota-Madrid-Bogota, Bogota-Barcelona-Bogota, Cali-Madrid-Cali, Medellin-Madrid-Medellin)
- British Airways: World Traveller Plus
- Brussels Airlines Bflex economy +
- Cathay Pacific Premium Economy (only on long-haul models, but soon to enter short-haul as well)
- Condor: Condor Premium Economy offers 15 cm/6" more legroom on long haul flights in its Boeing 767-300 fleet, free spirits during meals, free amenity kits, free headsets and more.
- Delta Air Lines: Economy Comfort (extra legroom only, free spirits on transatlantic flights) 
- EL AL: Economy Plus (Economy +)
- EVA Air: Elite Class (on all Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 747-400), Evergreen Deluxe (on Boeing 747-400 Combi and retired MD-11)
- Estonian Air: Flexible Economy (extra legroom, free drinks, complementary meal)
- Frontier Airlines: Stretch (first 4 rows of Airbus and EMB 190 offering a minimum of 36in pitch)
- Hawaiian Airlines: Extra Comfort (Only on Airbus A330-200 aircraft beginning June 1, 2014 comes with priority boarding, extra legroom, complimentary pillow and blanket on all domestic routes, souvenir pillow and blanket set on international routes only and premium meal selections on international routes only) 
- Icelandair: Economy comfort
- Japan Airlines: Premium Economy (Only International Boeing 777 fleet serving London, Frankfurt, Paris, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Delhi, Moscow, and Sydney to/from Tokyo)
- JetBlue Airways: Even More Space
- KLM: Europe Select (Only on inter-Europe itineraries, on B737-7K2/8K2/9K2 models) Economy Comfort(Long-Haul only)
- LOT Polish Airlines Premium Club (Long-haul only)
- Norwegian Air Shuttle: Premium Economy (Long-haul only)
- Oman Air: All Economy Cabins are Premium Class
- Olympic Air: Premium Economy
- Pakistan International Airlines: "Economy Plus+"
- Philippine Airlines: Premium Fiesta Class
- Qantas: Premium Economy (Available on Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s)
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines: Economy Extra
- Spirit Airlines: Big Front Seat (these were marketed as First Class until the carrier's transition to a no-frills airline in 2007, the seats themselves have not changed)
- Thai Airways International: Premium Economy (only on Boeing 747-400 routes to Copenhagen and Stockholm)
- Transaero Airlines: Premium Economy
- Turkish Airlines: Comfort Class
- United Airlines: Economy Plus (Only offers extra legroom)
- US Airways: Preferred seating (bulkhead and emergency row seats, can be reserved by Dividend Miles elite members at the time of ticketing, and by others at check in for a small fee)
- Vietnam Airlines: Deluxe Economy (Only available on selected Boeing 777-200ER serving European routes)
- Virgin America: Main Cabin Select (not its own cabin - includes 12 bulkhead and emergency row seats on each plane)
- Virgin Atlantic: Premium Economy
- Virgin Australia: Premium Economy
Some airlines no longer offer Premium economy:
- Midwest Airlines: Signature Service (was only found on Boeing 717s)
- Singapore Airlines: Executive Economy used to run on non-stop flights from Singapore to Newark and Los Angeles (both operated by an Airbus A340-500). This was discontinued in favor of all-Business Class flights.
- China airlines: Premium Economy class, which were installed on two Airbus A330-300 leased by Virgin Atlantic; now returned. And CI has renovated all economy class seats.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Economy class.|
- Aircraft cabin
- First class travel
- First class
- IATA class codes
- Wide-body aircraft
- Traveller's thrombosis, sometimes nicknamed "Economy class syndrome"
- Brett Snyder (February 14, 2011). "The long and short of 'premium economy'". CNN Travel (CNN). Retrieved 2011-02-14.
- The Main Cabin ExtrAA stylization no longer appears on the above airline's website.
- premium economy from the Air New Zealand website
- Virgin Atlantic – Our cabins
- Drescher, Cynthia (24 October 2012). "Cathay Pacific's Amenity Kits are Down with G.O.D.". Jaunted (Condé Nast). Retrieved 19 November 2012.
- "Cathay Pacific unveils new inflight amenity kits designed by G.O.D for premium and economy class passengers". Incentive Travel & Corporate Meetings. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
- "Condor Premium Economy Class; Condor Air Lines". www.condor.com. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
- "Economy Comfort™ | Delta Air Lines". Delta.com. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
- "Hawaiian Airlines Introduces New Extra Comfort Economy Seating". Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- JAL International Flights – Premium Economy Class (In-flight Service)
- "Thai Airways - Service ombord". Thaiairways.dk. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
- "Singapore Airlines to Launch First All-Business Class Flights From USA to Asia" (Press release). Singapore Airlines.