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Premium economy

Premium Economy Explained and Compared

On this page you'll find information about Premium Economy and a sortable chart that can be used to compare Premium Economy seating among different airlines.

What is Premium Economy?

Some airline carriers offer Premium Economy, a separate class of seating and service, that differs from standard Economy. Premium Economy is found mostly on international flights and, compared to standard Economy, offers about 5-7 inches of extra legroom as well as additional amenities, which can include:

  • 1-2 extra inches of seat width
  • 2-3 extra inches of seat recline
  • Adjustable headrests, leg rests, or lumbar support
  • Larger personal TV screens
  • Laptop Power Ports
  • Premium Food Service


How much does Premium Economy Cost?

While there are a number of factors that determine airline ticket prices, we priced out a number of trips on each of the airlines offering a Premium Economy service to give you a general idea of cost.

  • Compared to booking standard Economy for flights over the Atlantic Ocean (i.e. USA - Europe):
    • If you book in advance, Premium Economy is generally 85% more expensive than your standard Economy fare.
    • If you book closer to your departure date, Premium Economy is generally only 35% more expensive than your standard Economy fare. The extra cost can be as low as just 10% more, so remember to ask about Premium Economy if you have a last minute Economy booking.
  • Compared to booking Economy for flights over the Pacific Ocean (i.e. USA - Asia/Australia):
    • Premium Economy fares across the Pacific Ocean don’t vary quite as much with purchase time; they are generally 95% more expensive than standard Economy fares (yes, almost double).


When is Premium Economy a good value?

  • When the extra cost is 10-15% more than standard Economy, we believe this represents a good value for the comfort conscious flier. Also, keep an eye out for day-of-travel upgrade opportunities. If an airline hasn't filled their premium seats ahead of time, they may be offering a discounted upgrade at check-in.
  • If your employer's travel policy doesn't allow Business Class travel, Premium Economy can be a great choice. You'll have upgraded seats and an "Economy" ticket on your expense report.


How does Premium Economy compare to Business Class?

A Premium Economy fare is generally 65% less expensive than a Business Class fare. In terms of space and amenities, these two classes are VERY different with Business Class offering up to 50% more legroom, significantly greater recline, more substantial legrests and headrests, and superior food and wine offerings.


Premium Economy Comparison Chart

Premium Economy Comparison Chart

The table below can be sorted by any column. Simply click a column header (i.e. Airline) to re-sort the table. Clicking the header a second time will reverse the sort. Have questions? See the Chart Key.

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