Premium economy

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Premium economy "shell" seats on Japan Airlines.

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 was the first airline company to introduce this class.


As of 2011, the term is not standardized among airlines, and varies significantly between domestic and international flights and between low-cost or regional airlines and other airliners.[1] 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.[1]

Airline premium economy cabin. Rows of seats arranged between aisles.
Elite class, premium economy on EVA Air

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 (5–13 cm) more leg room as the only difference; they market the class as "main cabin extra",[2][3] "economy plus", "economy comfort", and "even more legroom" (respectively).[1] At the other extreme,[1] Air New Zealand's and Qantas' "premium economy" and Virgin America's "main cabin select" include more amenities such as premium check-in, large customized seats (some for couples, others targeting solo travelers), seat pitch up to 41 inches (104 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.[4]

Service codes used by airlines vary, but are often O, Y, W or T – for example, Virgin Atlantic uses W.[5]

Examples of differences[edit]

Differences between Premium Economy and Economy class may include:[citation needed]

  • a free upgrade to premium members of frequent-flyer program and passengers flying full-fare economy[clarification needed],
  • a separate section of the economy/coach cabin with more legroom (36–38" (91-96 cm) seat pitch), along with some form of leg rest,
  • improved in-flight entertainment features
  • dedicated cabin crew
  • better seats (often fewer seats per row, to increase shoulder/elbow room)
  • at-seat laptop power
  • at-seat telephone
  • a lounge
  • priority boarding
  • entertainment
  • 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.[citation needed]

From 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 passengers. They are designed as collectibles: the bags can hook up to each other to form a wall-hanging accessory. The first two available are 'Joy' and 'Fortune', with designs that respectively depict Chinese gods relaxing in-flight, and auspicious clouds. 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.[6][7]


Airlines offering this service include:

  • Aerolineas Argentinas: Club Economy: Only on 737's and E190's. Replacing business class on all domestic flights and international flights under 4 hours. Offers similar benefits to business class, including lounge access.
  • Aeroméxico: Aeromexico Plus, now standard across the entire 737 fleet. Offers 4" extra leg-room, 1.5" 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 Boeing 777-300ER and all routes using the Boeing 787. [1]
  • Air Caraïbes: La Classe Caraïbes (Long haul only. Offers 36" of pitch, more recline, a wider seat, a larger PTV and more)
  • Air China: Premium economy(Only on A330-300's and select 777-200's. Wider seat with at least 36" of pitch, nearly double recline and a PTV, plus more amenities)
  • 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, Boeing 787'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. Pacific Premium Economy is also offered on Boeing 787's.
  • Alitalia: Classica Plus (Premium Economy Class) on the new Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Boeing 777-200ER have been upgraded later.
  • All Nippon Airways: Premium Economy
  • American Airlines: Main Cabin ExtrAA [3] (offers a slightly wider seat, 2" more recline and 4-6" 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 more recline and 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. Short haul planes have the middle seat blocked off and no extra legroom or recline.[8]
  • Delta Air Lines: Economy Comfort (Offers up to 36 inches of pitch(especially on planes with a pitch of either 32 or 33 inches in economy class) and free HBO programming. 50% more recline and free spirits are also offered on long-haul, transcontinental and international flights. Transcontinental flights between JFK and LAX/SEA/SFO also get 1 free premium snack) [9]
  • Edelweiss Air: Economy Max: Coming summer 2014 to newly configured A330's. Offers 15cm/6" more pitch and 5cm/2" more recline(91cm/36" of pitch and 20cm/8" of recline in lieu of 76cm/30" of pitch and 15cm/6" of recline in Economy), as well as free alcohol.
  • EL AL: Economy Plus (Economy +) On 747's and 767-300's. Offers 4" more pitch (36" up from the usual 32"), 33% more recline, a footrest, priority ground service, a comfort kit and more.
  • 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 and exit rows of Airbus and EMB 190 offering a minimum of 36in pitch. Some ex-Midwest EMB 190's also offer wider seats because those planes still have the former Signature seats.)
  • Hawaiian Airlines: Extra Comfort (Only on Airbus A330-200 aircraft beginning August 1, 2014 comes with priority boarding, full 36 inches of legroom, complimentary on-demand in-seat entertainment, complimentary pillow and blanket on all domestic routes, souvenir pillow and blanket set on international routes only) [10]
  • 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)[11]
  • JetBlue Airways: Even More Space (offers a min. 38" of pitch, as well as both priority boarding and screening)
  • KLM: Europe Select (Only on inter-Europe itineraries, on B737-700/800/900 models) Economy Comfort(Long-Haul only). Similar to Delta's Economy Comfort, offering similar seat pitch, recline, and amenities.
  • LOT Polish Airlines Premium Club (Long-haul only)
  • Lufthansa (from March, 2014, starting out on 747-8 and is expected to be installed on all long haul planes by summer 2015)
  • 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 (only on A321's and select A330's)
  • Qantas: Premium Economy (Available on Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s)
  • SAS Scandinavian Airlines: SAS Plus(previously named Economy Extra, the features remain the same)
  • 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)
  • Sunwing Airlines: Elite Plus: Offers at least 6" extra pitch, larger baggage allowance, and priority boarding, check-in and baggage handling.
  • Thai Airways International: Premium Economy (only on Boeing 747-400 routes to Copenhagen and Stockholm)[12]
  • Transaero Airlines: Premium Economy (offers anywhere from 34 to 36 inches of pitch, 29 degrees(just over 7") of recline, an amenity kit, and more)
  • Turkish Airlines: Comfort Class (Only on 777-300's)
  • Ukraine International Airlines: Premium Economy (only on 767's. Offers 35-37" of pitch and a wider seat, plus priority ground service, better food options including a free glass of wine, and increased baggage allowance)
  • United Airlines: Economy Plus (Offers 5" of extra legroom and up to 2" of extra recline)
  • 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
  • WestJet: Economy Plus: Located in the 1st 3 rows and exit rows, offering at least 36" of pitch, free food and drinks and priority boarding.

Some airlines no longer offer Premium economy:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Brett Snyder (February 14, 2011). "The long and short of 'premium economy'". CNN Travel (CNN). Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b The Main Cabin ExtrAA stylization no longer appears on the above airline's website.
  4. ^ premium economy from the Air New Zealand website
  5. ^ Virgin Atlantic – Our cabins
  6. ^ Drescher, Cynthia (24 October 2012). "Cathay Pacific's Amenity Kits are Down with G.O.D.". Jaunted (Condé Nast). Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "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. 
  8. ^ "Condor Premium Economy Class; Condor Air Lines". Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  9. ^ "Economy Comfort™ | Delta Air Lines". Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  10. ^ "Hawaiian Airlines Introduces New Extra Comfort Economy Seating". Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  11. ^ JAL International Flights – Premium Economy Class (In-flight Service)
  12. ^ "Thai Airways - Service ombord". Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  13. ^ "Singapore Airlines to Launch First All-Business Class Flights From USA to Asia" (Press release). Singapore Airlines. 

External links[edit]