When the first airliners flew there was only one class – First Class, with prices to match. Over the past 100 years or so we have seen the introduction of Economy Class, and in the late seventies, Business Class. With First Class out of the reach of many, we soon saw Business Class take its place. And in the nineties, Business lite in the form of a “premium economy” cabin was introduced by Taiwanese airline – Eva Air.

As we move into the third decade since it’s introduction, Premium Economy (PE) seems to be where all the action is. In the One World camp, Qantas and British Airways have had the option for some time, while Cathay have been rolling it out across their fleet in the last few years. Over at the Star Alliance, things have been a little slower, despite having Eva Air, the creator of PE, as a member. And it was one of the regional heavyweight members of this alliance and their announcement this month that got our members talking

Singapore Airlines are going to offer a Premium Economy service …….from second half 2015

With airline classes defined as marketing terms rather than having to meet certain standards, there can be a big difference between airlines and their product despite it having the same name. Some airlines treat PE as a “lite” version of Business Class, with similar meals and service, but less personal space. Other airlines treat it as economy plus, emphasising the extra room and wider seat as the main benefits. With such differing standards on offer, there was some discussion also about the price point of the intended offering.

It will be interesting what they offer, in regards to Seating, Service, etc. Will it be like Cathay or like Qantas, or more down the Air New Zealand service. In the end its the seat and space that make the difference.. cost as well, Qantas is too costly when compared to Cathay and it service

Other members thought the timing of the announcement was interesting given Qantas were withdrawing their PE product from Asian routes.

I was under the understanding that QF’s A330s are to be utilised on routes like SIN and HKG. SQ and CX see a need to provide Y+ on these routes, clearly the geniuses at QF see something else.

Perhaps the announcement will force Qantas to have a rethink about their upcoming A330 refurbishment. They may decide to put a PE cabin in after all so they can provide a PE product into Asia. Time will tell.

Would you look at Qantas if they once again offered PE to Asia, or is Singapore Airlines going to be more attractive? Perhaps you have an idea of what the ideal PE cabin is, why not join the conversation HERE.

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