ytz
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Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:33 pm

Yesterday I had the pleasure of flying Comfort Class (Premium Economy) from IST to YYZ on THY as part of the return leg on my YYZ-BOM trip. On both the outbound and inbound legs of the trip, I noticed that Comfort Class was actually quite popular with lots of non-business types. There were families with young children, in Comfort Class, on both runs.

It made me wonder why Premium Economy isn't more popular in the airline industry? To me, this would really seem like an untapped market. The fact that families were booking this class, would seem to me, to show that there's a market for Premium Economy even for VFR traffic. On THY, the fare difference was only slightly higher for premium economy. The service level though, with the exception of the seat itself, was as good as J on many airlines. Seems to me this could be a win for both the airline (higher revenue) and passenger (more service at a reasonable rate). All this leaves me wondering why more airlines don't offer Y+?

Personally, THY and its Comfort Class offering might just have become my new default option for YYZ-BOM, even though Premium economy is offered only on YYZ-IST part of the trip. I can put up with a more cramped Y on an A330 from IST to BOM, if I know there's a nice wide seat for the 9-10hr YYZ-IST leg.
 
Avianca
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:58 pm

Quoting YTZ (Thread starter):
On THY, the fare difference was only slightly higher for premium economy

my ask how much the difference was?

Well I had so far feeling that the price difference is quite a lot hence not to much sence to book it.
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Sydscott
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:09 pm

Quoting Avianca (Reply 1):
Well I had so far feeling that the price difference is quite a lot hence not to much sence to book it.

My experience in Premium Economy has also been positive although I've never paid for a ticket, I've only been upgraded into it. QF's is quite nice on a long haul flight, BA's is ok but nothing special. For QF there is about a $1,500 difference in fare between economy and premium economy most of the time but if you can get it on points I think it's a great way to fly. Not as good as business but still much more comfortable than economy!
 
srbmod
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:25 pm

Some airlines are beginning to finally explore that market. DL has started rolling out their Economy Comfort product domestically after rolling it out on their international longhaul fleet and plans to have their entire mainline fleet (as well as Delta Connection a/c that feature a two-class cabin) fitted with this product by this summer.

Here in the US, there are airlines that do feature some form of a premium economy product domestically (although in some cases, it's more legroom in comparison to the regular economy without any other additional perks):

VX (Main Cabin Select)
F9 (STRETCH seating)
B6 (Even More Space)
UA (Economy Plus)
 
spacecadet
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:34 pm

For me, true premium economy is too expensive for what you get. For example, I'm currently in the middle of figuring out booking for a trip to Japan. JAL's economy fare from JFK-NRT is $1,156 (including taxes), while their premium economy is about $2,600. That's not really a good value for what you get, in my opinion. It's like they're pricing it based on just picking some arbitrary number between economy and business, rather than considering what the extras you get are actually worth to the consumer. (It may just be that there is no such thing as "discounted" premium economy, but still, that's semantics in terms of practical reality.)

I definitely would, however, consider something like Delta's economy comfort. All I really want is the extra legroom, and I will pay extra for that. Just not more than double the regular economy fare. Delta's got other problems on this route, however...

I feel like most people who would go for premium economy are like me. Airlines are never going to be able to offer extras in any sort of economy class that are worth a more than $1,000 premium. Premium Economy will never be considered a true class in between economy and business - it's always going to be economy with a couple extra inches of legroom and maybe free drinks (if they're not already offered - they are on JAL in economy) and priority boarding. I just can't see how that's worth $1,450 extra.

Give me 4 extra inches of legroom and charge me an extra couple hundred bucks on this route, though, and I will pay it.

[Edited 2012-01-17 13:35:40]
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FlyPNS1
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:40 pm

The big fear airlines have with Premium Economy is that it might erode too much of their high-yield business traffic. Right now, there is such a stark difference on long-haul between J/C and Y, that many business travelers cough up the substantial fare premium to be comfortable and productive. However, if you have a good Y+ product many business travelers (and their companies) might save the money and only take Y+. This is why some carriers (like DL and UA) have kept Y+ pretty bare bones (basically just some more legroom) with the hopes that most business travelers won't downgrade to that from J/C.

Of course, the hope is that you'll get more buy-ups from Y to Y+ to offset any loss, but I don't know if all the airlines feel comfortable with that math.
 
DualQual
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:46 pm

Quoting sydscott (Reply 2):
I've never paid for a ticket, I've only been upgraded into it

If this is the rule moreso than the exception, that is why few carriers offer it. I am not saying don't upgrade anyone, but if it is not generating additional revenue over the expense of installing/maintaining it than carriers won't offer it.
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GSPSPOT
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:36 pm

Good on DL for at least attempting it! It's kind of a hybrid between UA's Economy Plus and true PE. In addition to more legroom and nominally better seat recline, DL also includes free spirits (at least on international flights). I don't know about UA's product, but DL's also includes boarding before regular economy, etc.
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sandyb123
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:36 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 5):
Of course, the hope is that you'll get more buy-ups from Y to Y+ to offset any loss, but I don't know if all the airlines feel comfortable with that math.

I think that you're absolutely correct here.

Some airlines have been squeezing more space out of their Business cabins and bringing down the cost of J instead of introducing a 'middle ground'.

The dog leg J seating that's starting to appear (EK &CZ spring to mind) means that they can reduce J fares by squeezing more into the same space. For me, trading a bit of space, whilst still getting a flat bed, the service and a lot more space is worth the slightly reduced J fares that this format offers.

Take for example a route I fly maybe twice a year from GLA-JNB/CPT. EK economy comes in about £700, EK Business comes in about £1600 and F is over £3k. So I'll take the J fare. Compare that to BA which is looking for £2300 for J and involves a short hop to LHR then a ULH to CPT makes the EK attractive, even if it's 3 hours longer.

I don't see the point in Y+ It's another cabin option which introduces more choice and less profit.

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Sydscott
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:48 pm

Quoting DualQual (Reply 6):
If this is the rule moreso than the exception, that is why few carriers offer it. I am not saying don't upgrade anyone, but if it is not generating additional revenue over the expense of installing/maintaining it than carriers won't offer it.

Well it does depend on how much the Frequent Flyer Program generates in profits for the airline. At QF it's Frequent Flyer Program generated EBIT of $342 million in 2010/2011 so at a group level it is more than likely cash flow positive. The 3 times I was upgraded were;

- SYD-LAX - The 744 was oversold in economy.

- SYD-SFO - The 744 operating the service was sold as 3 classes but was operated by a 4 class aircaft. So people were moved around based on QF Club and FF status.

- SYD-FRA - The 744 was oversold in economy.

In my experience the people who are actually paying for Premium Economy are older, retired people travelling for pleasure and small/medium enterprise people who don't have the budget for business class but who don't want to travel in economy.


Quoting spacecadet (Reply 4):
Premium Economy will never be considered a true class in between economy and business - it's always going to be economy with a couple extra inches of legroom and maybe free drinks (if they're not already offered - they are on JAL in economy) and priority boarding

I don't know. If you have a look at the QF product there is a clear distinction between the economy and premium economy. On the A380 you have 2 - 4 - 2 seating rather than 3 - 4 - 3 in bigger chairs, which recline more, with more legroom, your own dedicated snack area along with business class style meals, drinks and IFE. So it's a hibrid class between the two. Is it worth an extra $1,500? For the average punter probably not. But again if the FF scheme profits can subsidise the expense of providing the seats then on a group level, if it's cash flow positive, it's worthwhile.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:58 pm

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 4):
For me, true premium economy is too expensive for what you get

Agree. I flew BA premium economy LHR-YYZ-LHR last October only because I was redeeming FFP miles and BA had a special 50% discounted redemption offer where you only had to burn half the usual miles. It was well under half full on a 744. I think J class had a higher load factor than premium Y. I would never pay the fare difference BA wants if I was paying the full fare. The difference can often be 2 or 3 times the lowest Y fare.

On the other hand, I would pay the difference for KLM's "Economy Comfort" service on widebodies (much like UA's Y+) with several rows of Y seats at the front with about 4 inches greater pitch, more recline, and a reasonable surcharge over any Y fare.

As someone else said, carriers like BA have to be careful with premium economy. With companies cutting back on business travel costs, there's a risk passenges will downgrade to premium economy. And there are many routes where there's little demand for a true premium economy product, meaning you lose revenue from Y seats you could have sold due to the space taken up by the premium Y seats.

The KLM type of product (like UA's Y+) is easier for a much larger number of passengers to justify than a true separate premium Y class and you're not going to lose more than one row of Y seats to had a few rows of Y+.
 
glbltrvlr
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:59 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 5):
The big fear airlines have with Premium Economy is that it might erode too much of their high-yield business traffic. Right now, there is such a stark difference on long-haul between J/C and Y, that many business travelers cough up the substantial fare premium to be comfortable and productive.

I'm sure the airlines have the numbers to support that position, but I would point out that many companies have banned business class tickets for everyone except the C suite. I work for a Fortune 50 and that's the case for us and I'm sure we're not the only ones.
 
dfambro
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:21 pm

Speaking for myself and a large number of UA elites - it's hard to imagine switching allegiance to a carrier like AA if it means giving up the extra legroom perk. I'm sure Smisek found that he'd have a mass exodus of elites if he chose not to keep Y+ in the merged airline.

I've been surprised that UA's Y+ didn't cause the other major airlines to copy the strategy.
 
Kent350787
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:59 pm

I suppose the move to premium economy depends on how long haul your long haul is. QF has found premium economy demand so strong for its flights to the US that Y+ seat numbers are being/have been increased.

For me as a taller person, Y+ is a great price/space compromise for a 12-16 hour flight!

But how many airlines have a significant number of 14-16hr flights in their schedule?
 
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seabosdca
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:13 am

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 4):
For me, true premium economy is too expensive for what you get. For example, I'm currently in the middle of figuring out booking for a trip to Japan. JAL's economy fare from JFK-NRT is $1,156 (including taxes), while their premium economy is about $2,600. That's not really a good value for what you get, in my opinion.

   For me, this seems true whether I'm paying or whether a client is paying. A PE seat is not going to get me there rested and ready to work after an overnight flight the way a J seat is, which is the only reason I can justify billing premium travel to a client.

Quoting dfambro (Reply 12):
I've been surprised that UA's Y+ didn't cause the other major airlines to copy the strategy.

DL absolutely copied the strategy...
 
cmf
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:44 am

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 14):
A PE seat is not going to get me there rested and ready to work after an overnight flight the way a J seat is, which is the only reason I can justify billing premium travel to a client.

How much do you charge per day? I would probably give you a free day day instead.
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cloudboy
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:08 am

I think we are still in an experimentation period with the concept, but I think more airlines are starting to look into it. There are two different animals - Y+ and Premium Economy. But marketing them as different is tricky, and the airlines themselves have difficulty in grasping it - I still think many of them forget people are three dimensional creatures.

What makes it really difficult is fitting it into current structures. Domestically you cant really differentiate Premium Economy from First, particularly in Europe. The Y+ does fit in nicely, and so has made a lot more inroads. True Premium Economy gets particularly tricky as many airlines got into the 2 class product, which didn't provide enough differentiation. When they do start introducing a premium economy product, I think many airlines too quickly drop into the 3 class mentality, pricing their premium economy product as a business product. People are unhappy with coach, but unwilling to pay a super high premium for something better. As stated above, the perceived value just isn't there.

Airlines need to figure out their structure, and (hopefully) realize that the model isn't an all-or-nothing price. Once they figure out most people look at the actual cost as the lowest fare they find, NOT what publish full coach fare is, I think you will find it becoming much more popular.
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fiscal
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:37 am

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 5):
The big fear airlines have with Premium Economy is that it might erode too much of their high-yield business traffic

I think you are right, and that is why prices are usually higher than expected for the additional benefits.

Quoting sydscott (Reply 2):
For QF there is about a $1,500 difference in fare between economy and premium economy

Not my experience. PER - LHR - PER in March. Y = $2194 Y+ = $4666 ($2452 Difference)

Which is sad really, as there are some of us that need the extra leg room and space, but cannot afford it at those prices. You are better to fly to SIN and catch EY business for a few extra dollars.
 
timpdx
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:44 am

I pulled the trigger on one of my DL legs LAX to Haneda just a couple of weeks ago. It was $120 extra O/W. That was a fair and reasonable price, IMO, and at that price would probably do it again, at least on one of the longer legs on an international flight.
 
frmrCapCadet
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:46 am

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 5):
The big fear airlines have with Premium Economy is that it might erode too much of their high-yield business traffic.

The crux of the problem. Make economy so dam* uncomfortable that those who can afford it (have points to spare) will upgrade, and those who can't will just fly less. Offer 15-25 % more space and charge something close to 15-25% more fare and many of us might be less cynical. I can do without the meals, IFE, free drinks, but really want a little extra room.
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koruman
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:16 am

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 4):
Premium Economy will never be considered a true class in between economy and business - it's always going to be economy with a couple extra inches of legroom and maybe free drinks

I think you're confusing Economy Plus with Premium Economy.

Both Air New Zealand and Virgin Atlantic state that their Premium Economy cabin is more profitable than their Business class cabin on long-haul routes.

The NZ formula is really simple, as follows for new deliveries:

1. Fares are double those of discount Economy, and half those of lie-flat Business class.
2. Food and drinks are the same as those in Business Class.
3. Each seat has in-seat power, and multi-channel AVOD.
4. The seats are superior to domestic First Class in the USA, with 38-42 inch pitch. But the one-way fare on a Europe-Australia ticket is not very different to a trans-continental First Class fare in the USA.



When I'm travelling long-haul for an employer, I'm often placed in Premium Economy on day flights.

When I'm travelling long-haul leisure with my wife and kids, I almost always buy Premium Economy tickets. Why?

1. Great product for the money (see above).
2. Only need half as many miles to upgrade to lie-flat Business Class as I would from economy class.
3. The product is all I could possibly need on a daytime flight like LHR-LAX. Even if I paid extra for a Business Class lie-flat bed I probably wouldn't even set it up on a day flight.
 
AirbusA6
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:08 am

Our company changed its rules, so that travellers can only use Business on the eastbound overnight transatlantic flights, and have to go PE on the westbound daytime flights, I wonder if other companies have done this?
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richardw
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:16 am

4 empty seats at the back of a widebody for the price of an off peak economy seat is a bargain.

I've always thought economy passengers want to fly PE and Business want to fly a best business product and then an airline goes and does this

http://hongkongairlinesclub.co.uk/seating_plan.html
 
hohd
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:44 pm

CO's new premium economy is a joke. Not sure about UA's economy plus, hope that it is better than CO's. All you get is a few inches of leg room, 2 bags to check in for free (instead of 1 bag on a trans atlantic) but the seats have the same width, so you still feel cramped and food/beverages are same as in Y (no free alcohol drinks either).

For me, the seat width is more important than leg room.
 
Rdh3e
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:04 pm

Quoting richardw (Reply 22):
I've always thought economy passengers want to fly PE and Business want to fly a best business product and then an airline goes and does this

"Club Premier will feature luxury suites in a 1-2-1 configuration which convert from a superbly comfortable seat to a fully flat 6'1" bed."

6'1" is not nearly long enough for a flat bed...
 
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Polot
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:10 pm

Quoting hohd (Reply 23):
CO's new premium economy is a joke. Not sure about UA's economy plus, hope that it is better than CO's. All you get is a few inches of leg room, 2 bags to check in for free (instead of 1 bag on a trans atlantic) but the seats have the same width, so you still feel cramped and food/beverages are same as in Y (no free alcohol drinks either).

"CO's" new premium economy is UA's Y+. Yes it is only Y with additional legroom, but it is priced accordingly (and I believe is free for elites), so many people find it perfectly acceptable.
 
airbazar
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:12 pm

Quoting YTZ (Thread starter):
It made me wonder why Premium Economy isn't more popular in the airline industry?

Because pax are unwilling to pay for it. Premium economy exists to give "free" upgrades to valued frequent fliers. Sure, there's always the occasional customer who actually pays for it but I suspect those are few. I have on occasion paid for a last minute upgrade to Y+ but most of the time I can't justify it, especially if the only Y+ seats available are middle seats. I would rather have less leg room and an aisle seat.

Quoting frmrcapcadet (Reply 19):
The crux of the problem. Make economy so dam* uncomfortable that those who can afford it (have points to spare) will upgrade, and those who can't will just fly less. Offer 15-25 % more space and charge something close to 15-25% more fare and many of us might be less cynical. I can do without the meals, IFE, free drinks, but really want a little extra room.

Some LCC's and charter carriers base their entire business model on that and they are flying full and making lots of profits. Simply put, pax want cheap fares even if it means being packed like sardines.
 
lax888
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:24 pm

I prefer to shop around and get a good deal in Business class instead of buying PE, which is usually not worth the price. If you are smart and flexible, you can get great deals. I could get a C class ticket on BA for 1000£ to HKG during their Christmas sale and a C class ticket in March on LH to SIN for 1000£ as well. Further you can get good tickets to Asia on Middle Eastern airlines or TK also has some good offers. So basically if you are prepared to spend between 1000-1600£ on a long-haul ticket, you can get good deals in C.
 
glbltrvlr
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:28 pm

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 21):
Our company changed its rules, so that travellers can only use Business on the eastbound overnight transatlantic flights, and have to go PE on the westbound daytime flights, I wonder if other companies have done this?

That was the first restriction for us. Then we went to no Business Class unless the legs were 10 hours or longer. Now it's no Business Class period.
 
hohd
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:31 pm

I dont think CO's pricing is good either. On a recent MAN-EWR flight, they wanted $450 for an upgrade to premium economy (I got the so called upgrade for free, being an elite), but for a paying passenger, it is a bad deal.
 
ytz
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:04 pm

Quoting Avianca (Reply 1):
my ask how much the difference was?

Well I had so far feeling that the price difference is quite a lot hence not to much sence to book it.

I booked last minute and paid about $2000. The difference was about $400 at the time. This was just 2 weeks before leaving in December. I just checked though. And if I wanted to book for December 2012, I would be paying $1400 for a BOM return with Premium economy on IST legs. That seems like a good deal to me.

[Edited 2012-01-18 08:15:04]
 
ytz
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:13 pm

Quoting glbltrvlr (Reply 11):
I'm sure the airlines have the numbers to support that position, but I would point out that many companies have banned business class tickets for everyone except the C suite. I work for a Fortune 50 and that's the case for us and I'm sure we're not the only ones.

This.

For all this talk about airlines being sensitive to regular J clients downgrading, surely, they must also be realizing that many of their regular clients will probably be dropping J altogether and may even opt to simply teleconference. To me, a reasonable Y+ may well be a good way to at least get some additional revenue.

But business pax aside, what struck me on Turkish, was the clear number of families in Y+. On both legs, there were several with young kids. For a family of four, the premium may well have equaled the cost of an extra ticket. Yet, they were willing to pay it. And of several families I chatted with, none were exceptionally well off. Just normal middle class professional couples.
 
ytz
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:33 pm

I find several points interesting in this thread. Clearly, the price differentials vary massively. On TK, the difference was a few hundred dollars. I considered the premium worthwhile. The seat that was better than North America/Domestic First Class on every airline I've been on, with food, beverages and service on par with TK's J class. I've seen a larger fare difference on Air Canada between full fare economy and discounted Executive class.

So maybe it's the case that TK is exceptional here. To me, those few hundred dollars was entirely worthwhile. I arrived significantly less tired and jetlagged than I normally would be on such a trip. It wasn't as comfortable as a lie-flat J seat, but it wasn't all that far from the experience I had on angled flat bed in J on my last OS flight. And of note, the service wasn't all that far from that OS run either. Yet, I paid only a little more for the TK flight all the way to BOM than I paid for going J on OS for just VIE-YYZ. Perhaps, the lesson here is that TK's Premium Economy is a hidden gem because the fare differential isn't as large as other airlines (vis-a-vis Y) and the service differential is significant (approaching J).

I know domestic Y+ in the US has entered the discussion. But is it really as relevant? There isn't much you can do for domestic Y+ other than offer a tad more leg room. And it's quite likely that the demand would be different. People are far less concerned about being comfortable or arriving rested on flight of a few hours. But when you're total travel time is over 24 hrs (front door to front door) and that includes 16-18 hours in the air, suddenly a few hundred dollars more for a much more comfortable trip, doesn't seem like an outlandish idea.
 
Rdh3e
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:05 pm

Quoting hohd (Reply 29):
I dont think CO's pricing is good either. On a recent MAN-EWR flight, they wanted $450 for an upgrade to premium economy (I got the so called upgrade for free, being an elite), but for a paying passenger, it is a bad deal.

That's odd. I thought UA's standard TATL fee was $129.00 at the gate (each way).
 
richardw
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:10 pm

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 24):
6'1" is not nearly long enough for a flat bed

That's 1" longer than BA's new club world bed.
 
airbazar
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:46 pm

Quoting YTZ (Reply 31):
Yet, they were willing to pay it.

How do you know how much they paid for it, or even if they paid at all?
I have bough last minute Y tickets that were definitely more expensive than advanced Y+ or higher advanced fares. Just because someone is sitting in Y+ it doesn't mean they necessarily paid more than some Y fares.
 
lhcvg
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:49 pm

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 4):
Give me 4 extra inches of legroom and charge me an extra couple hundred bucks on this route, though, and I will pay it.

That's been my thought about why UA (and now DL) went where they did - that they can get x greater revenue from doing nothing more than removing y rows of seats to make room for z rows with more legroom. All in all, low cost to do, little effort involved (i.e., no special service or anything), and I'd wager that the amount of marginal revenue required to make up for the (relatively few) lost seats is pretty low. It's not too onerous for me to pay $40 extra to get extra legroom on my UA flights, but for UA that's $40 in their pocket, whereas I may well not pay, for example, the $175 they want for me to upgrade to First on my upcoming flight.
 
ytz
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:11 pm

Quoting airbazar (Reply 35):
Just because someone is sitting in Y+ it doesn't mean they necessarily paid more than some Y fares.

Sure. But generally speaking, if they've booked Y+, then it's quite likely that they had a cheaper Y alternative at the time. How often do you see Y fares greater than Y+ fares at that specific moment?
 
frmrCapCadet
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:46 pm

Sooner or later government regulation may require some seats a few inches wider, and some seats with 4 inches more pitch, etc. and that they be proportionately priced for the obese, tall, handicapped who should have preferential access to them. These seats could be fit in around entrance area, bathrooms, carts, emergency exits as appropriate. "Til then" don't hold your breath.
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tullamarine
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:12 am

Can we get a list of those airlines that have introduced proper Premium Economy classes, not the cheap Y+ products in the USA.

I have
QF
VA
BA
VS
NZ
AF
TK

I'm sure there are plenty more. What is noticable is how the ME and Asian carriers have, so far, ignored the trend, probably to protect their J class yields.

I love Premium Economy. I think it fills a niche created by the original J Class. The modern J Class now exceeds F Class of 10 years ago so there is definitely a need for this type of product. The experience of airlines such as QF and VA is that this product is very popular particularly with leisure travellers who want something more than Y but can't stretch to a J ticket. There certainly are some employers who will downgrade from J to W but these employers are jsut as likely to have downgraded all the way to Y had there been no W class.
717,721/2,732/3/4/5/7/8/9,742/3/4,752/3,762/3,772,W,310,320/1,332/3,388,DC9,DC10,F28,F100,142,143,E90,CR2,D82/3/4,SF3,AT
 
Viscount724
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:29 am

Quoting YTZ (Reply 31):
But business pax aside, what struck me on Turkish, was the clear number of families in Y+. On both legs, there were several with young kids. For a family of four, the premium may well have equaled the cost of an extra ticket. Yet, they were willing to pay it. And of several families I chatted with, none were exceptionally well off. Just normal middle class professional couples.

Was Y class full on those flights? If so, those families may have been upgrades from Y paying nothing for the premium Y seat. You would be surprised how many passengers are upgraded to higher classes especially during peak periods and during times of the year when there's little business traffic (e.g. the summer and other holiday periods). Many airlines overbook Y to reflect the number of premium class seats they expect to be empty and simply upgrade Y class passengers at check-in. Unless you ask them what fare they paid, you will never know whether they've actually paid the appropriate fare for that cabin.
 
fbgdavidson
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:27 am

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 4):
For me, true premium economy is too expensive for what you get. For example, I'm currently in the middle of figuring out booking for a trip to Japan. JAL's economy fare from JFK-NRT is $1,156 (including taxes), while their premium economy is about $2,600. That's not really a good value for what you get, in my opinion. It's like they're pricing it based on just picking some arbitrary number between economy and business, rather than considering what the extras you get are actually worth to the consumer.

Well for each individual consumer that price point is going to be different. There are some people that won't pay a penny more for any comfort, whereas I'm someone who won't consider economy class on longhaul flights. If I can't get what I consider a reasonable deal in business class (default choice), premium economy or first class I'll use miles for a premium cabin ticket. Most people fall somewhere in between.  
Quoting sandyb123 (Reply 8):
EK economy comes in about £700, EK Business comes in about £1600 and F is over £3k. So I'll take the J fare. Compare that to BA which is looking for £2300 for J and involves a short hop to LHR then a ULH to CPT makes the EK attractive, even if it's 3 hours longer.

Whereas for some people having to break up the journey near the middle is a pain in the backside, particularly in premium cabins where having interrupted sleep is important. For those in economy I can see the benefit of wanting a break.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 10):
I flew BA premium economy LHR-YYZ-LHR last October only because I was redeeming FFP miles and BA had a special 50% discounted redemption offer where you only had to burn half the usual miles. It was well under half full on a 744. I think J class had a higher load factor than premium Y. I would never pay the fare difference BA wants if I was paying the full fare. The difference can often be 2 or 3 times the lowest Y fare.

One data point doesn't tell a story.

Quoting frmrcapcadet (Reply 19):
Make economy so dam* uncomfortable that those who can afford it (have points to spare) will upgrade, and those who can't will just fly less. Offer 15-25 % more space and charge something close to 15-25% more fare and many of us might be less cynical.

The airlines are in business to make money, if they can charge 50% more even selling 75% of the cabin they're still streets ahead of your 'neutral' plan which generates no more cash than just stuffing economy seats there.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
ytz
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:39 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 40):
Was Y class full on those flights? If so, those families may have been upgrades from Y paying nothing for the premium Y seat. You would be surprised how many passengers are upgraded to higher classes especially during peak periods and during times of the year when there's little business traffic (e.g. the summer and other holiday periods). Many airlines overbook Y to reflect the number of premium class seats they expect to be empty and simply upgrade Y class passengers at check-in. Unless you ask them what fare they paid, you will never know whether they've actually paid the appropriate fare for that cabin.

The family that I spoke did buy their tickets. And while the load was high, I did spy the odd empty seat in the back. So I don't think the families were upgrades.
 
twa@fra
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:53 am

I've also wonder about the concept of TK comfort class, on my routing PVG - IST - DUS or FRA & vs. which I've flew with TK Comfort class 4 times last year, they usually had been on the same level than then normal LH eco and compared to their Eco just a few 100 EUR more expensive + their ticket gives you usually more flexibility. (Also have to mention that I usually book not more then 1 or two weeks in advanced) . Similar to as mention previously, they are much lower than BA or AF's Premium Eco, which is usually price wise closer to TK business class, at least in off season.

Of course I love that it is the way it is, but wonder how that should become a financial success for TK. Well I hope they keep it and won't increase their rates too much once Comfort is well introduced (considering that it is on that route still less than a year on the market).
Except the very 1st time, Comfort was usually nearly full, but I don't know if it was due to upgrades or by paid passengers.
Anyhow, my fellow passengers in Comfort on that route (my assumption & based on talks to my seatmates) have been indeed also quite some families, but not that much. Majority had been still business people and the most of them seems to fly normal economy before. I've also meet one guy who didn't got a seat in business class and so gave Comfort a try, well, his comment was that he will never spend the premium for business again when Comfort is available....

Let's hope TK keep it and I'm look forward to CX premium eco product to have a back up, also I had been a loyal CX customer before as even in their standard Eco you are still treated as a human being ...
 
qf340500
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:54 am

I have flewn QF Premium Economy on 4 legs so far, 2 on 747 and 2 on A380, and i think also, this will be my default choice in future when travelling to FRA or MEL. More space, better food and service, proper cuttlery, less people in the cabin and more FF points - great! Pricewise, ok, its not cheap, but i would rather pay a little more for a overnight flight where i am comfortable and have a bit more space and a (nearly) J-class cabin service, than sitting in a cramped y-class seat (lucky us who can afford it). Over x-mas this year the price difference was, at time of booking, 800SGD for SIN-MEL-SIN, so thats not much difference, for what you get, i think...

In terms of who flies PE, don't really seem to be a pattern, but to and from MEL it was mostly single travellers (30+ years???) and middle aged couples, as far as i remember.

By the way, plan to write a trip report about this flight soon, maybe over Chinese New Year...

I can't wait until CX installs Premium Economy on their planes, in SIN we see a lot of CX longhaul planes, doing a in-between-leg between the longhauls flights, so good chances  
 
jetlag73
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:41 am

I was hoping CX going into Y+ would push SQ to consider it too, but seeing how full are SQ J most of the time (no upgrades on SQ, expensive tickets), why would they do such a move ? Do they really need it ?
Heck, Y and J (and F) are almost always full, and commanding a premium fare compared to other airlines.
Seems like SQ doesn't feel the crisis.
 
christao17
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RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:34 am

I regularly fly from Bangkok to SFO or LAX and have found that the premium economy (called Elite Class) on BR (EVA Airways) is an excellent value. For about a 20% fare premium, I get 40" pitch (vs. 33-34" in economy), 18" width (vs. 17") plus much wider armrests, and only 8 seats across (vs. 9 in 777 or 10 in 747). I also get a separate check-in counter and board ahead of regular economy.

For me, the additional space is the selling point. I'm 6' tall (183 cm) and 220 lbs (100 kg) and regular economy is much too tight for 16+ hours worth of flying.

Before moving to Bangkok, I was a 100k with UA and while I liked the extra legroom that Economy Plus offered, legroom is only part of the equation. Shoulder space is important, too. Plus, Economy Plus on UA widebodies is 34" pitch - only an inch more than BR's regular economy!
Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
 
spacecadet
Posts: 2794
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:51 am

Quoting koruman (Reply 20):
I think you're confusing Economy Plus with Premium Economy.

No, I was talking about Premium Economy on JAL. They do not have "Economy Plus".

I think one issue is that there is no standard for what "Premium Economy" is or how it differentiates itself from regular economy. For example, your list:

Quoting koruman (Reply 20):
1. Fares are double those of discount Economy, and half those of lie-flat Business class.
2. Food and drinks are the same as those in Business Class.
3. Each seat has in-seat power, and multi-channel AVOD.
4. The seats are superior to domestic First Class in the USA, with 38-42 inch pitch. But the one-way fare on a Europe-Australia ticket is not very different to a trans-continental First Class fare in the USA.

On JAL, #3 is the same in economy and premium economy. #2 is the same as regular economy. Drinks (including alcohol) are free in both regular economy and premium economy. So what you get extra is some added legroom - that's it. The seats certainly *look* nicer and I would obviously prefer sitting in one vs. regular economy, and like I said I did price it out. And I could justify a slight premium in pricing for a few inches more of legroom. But it's just not worth $1,450 extra per person (and my wife's flying too, so that's $2,900 for us both, and she doesn't really even need the legroom).

Part of JAL's problem is that their regular economy service is so good to begin with, offering things that a lot of airlines don't (that's why I fly them, or ANA). So they don't have things like at-seat power, alcoholic drinks or seatback VOD to use as differentiators. All they have is a 38" seat pitch, vs apparently 31" in regular economy. (I have always managed to get an exit row on JAL so I've never experienced that and hope I don't this time either.) I suppose they *could* give better food, but I don't think they do based on what it shows on the web site... and anyway, is better food on a 12 hour flight worth $1,450? I could go to any of the top restaurants in New York City (or Tokyo) and pay 10% of that.

And when you look at what an airline like Delta or even JetBlue are doing, just offering that same extra legroom (well, a little less) for a nominal extra fee, it just makes it doubly hard to justify spending so much for the same thing labeled "Premium Economy".

I could see an airline that has really bad economy service doing well with PE, but I wonder how an airline like JAL can be doing with it. ANA is removing PE from their long haul flights so obviously they couldn't make it work, and they had the same issues JAL has - you were just paying a lot more for a little extra legroom.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
ytz
Posts: 3033
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:31 am

RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:10 pm

Quoting twa@fra (Reply 43):
Similar to as mention previously, they are much lower than BA or AF's Premium Eco, which is usually price wise closer to TK business class, at least in off season.

I think that would make TK the only *A carrier offering PE on TATL routes.

Quoting twa@fra (Reply 43):
Of course I love that it is the way it is, but wonder how that should become a financial success for TK. Well I hope they keep it and won't increase their rates too much once Comfort is well introduced (considering that it is on that route still less than a year on the market).

I am seriously hoping this doesn't become too popular! I don't want to see the rates go up! That said, after a year or so in service, I can see the rates going up. The value at the moment is incredible. TK's PE is only slightly under J class on many 3-class carriers.

I think it's a success for TK. Or they wouldn't be offering it. The difference is so minimal, that I can't see them not filling the PE cabin virtually every time.

Quoting twa@fra (Reply 43):
Anyhow, my fellow passengers in Comfort on that route (my assumption & based on talks to my seatmates) have been indeed also quite some families, but not that much. Majority had been still business people and the most of them seems to fly normal economy before. I've also meet one guy who didn't got a seat in business class and so gave Comfort a try, well, his comment was that he will never spend the premium for business again when Comfort is available....

Sure. Most were singles, professional couples, etc. on my flight too. But how often do you see kids in any cabin where there is a price premium? That's what struck me about PE on TK. There are people willing to pay or use upgrades to travel with the kids in PE. That certainly means the value proposition is significant. That said, I don't know if a regular business traveller wouldn't rather travel in J, simply to avoid a crying baby.


And the kicker. I got 17 000 Aeroplan status miles for this trip. Since 8500 are in the 2012 qualifying period, if I make just one more of the same trip on TK in 2012, I will achieve Air Canada Prestige/Star Alliance Silver from just two trips, and by effectively having spent only CA$2700. As somebody who's never held any sort of status with an airline, and is strongly considering a second trip in 2012, this is an exciting prospect.

[Edited 2012-01-19 08:14:26]
 
frmrCapCadet
Posts: 1024
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 8:24 pm

RE: Why Isn't Premium Economy More Popular/available?

Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:48 pm

Quoting fbgdavidson (Reply 41):
The airlines are in business to make money, if they can charge 50% more even selling 75% of the cabin they're still streets ahead of your 'neutral' plan which generates no more cash than just stuffing economy seats there.

You kind of make my point, passenger comfort in that plan is of no value to the airline. And note, I said the Economy plus at close to the 15-25% figure. If you do not use fancy seats and fancier service the airline also gains a not insignificant weight advantage.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)

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