The concept of Premium Economy is reasonably simple. The cabin provides a middle-ground, offering discerning customers greater comfort than traditional economy class at a price below that of Business class. But, what benefits do Premium Economy passengers receive exactly, and do they justify the extra cost over regular economy?

I may need to do a quick trip SYD-AMS very soon. I don’t want to waste points at this time and I am conscious of my spending… In terms of arriving not stuffed from the Y experience is PE that much different to Y to be worth the extra?

While Premium Economy is generally not up to the high standard set by modern-day Business class cabins, it does come with some noticeable benefits over economy. Firstly, the seats are wider and come with more leg-room, greater recline and more features.

While the seats definitely offer more comfort than a typical economy class seat, they don’t offer the same comfort as the lie-flat beds typically find in business or first class. By way of comparison, one member likens Premium economy seats to domestic business class seats with greater room but limited recline.

To be brutally honest, PE is going to be the same as sitting in QF domestic business class, or a US carrier’s domestic First class. You won’t be fighting your neighbour for shoulder space. You won’t be fighting your neighbour for an armrest. And you’ll get a bit more legroom.

But seat recline is a potential issue… unless you can score a bulkhead, the additional seat recline (unless SQ is different) will mean the seat in front gets pretty close. If you’re sitting in a window, it may not be possible to get out without disturbing the passenger in the aisle seat.

Premium Economy passengers also miss out on perks such as lounge access, but there are some other key benefits over economy that do justify the price for many travellers. The superior meals are sometimes compared to those served in front of the curtain, and on some airlines meals are even served with metal cutlery and placemats. The cabin is also smaller, with more flight attendants looking after fewer passengers. This means that the service is often more attentive. Additionally, passengers are often able to use priority check-in and boarding queues. For some, it’s these small things that make all the difference.

There’s certainly less stress in PE… the whole experience will be more relaxed.

On long-haul flights, Premium Economy is usually priced at roughly double the cost of Economy, but about half of the cost of Business class. Some airlines will also let you use your frequent flyer points to upgrade into Premium Economy for fewer points than would be required for an equivalent business class upgrade. Using your points to upgrade is often a very good value use as the points required often pale in comparison to the additional cash fare that would be required.

Have you flown in Premium Economy? Share your experience HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]