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xxcr
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Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:48 pm

I've seen the number of airlines that offer Premium Economy increase in the past years, and it makes wonder why its so popular?

Some airlines charge near $2,000 for a premium economy seat? is it really worth the price when you dont even have a lie flat seat? i mean yes you get an upgraded meal serviced, a seat that is maybe an inch or two wider then regular coach seats, high seat pitch.

ANZ: SFO-AKL in september is $2,100 RT for Premium Economy
Cathay Pacific SFO-HKG RT is #1,500 in September

what are the major perks and hype of Premium Economy?
Who started the premium economy trend?

.
 
jomur
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:52 pm

Basically you have answered the question yourself... Wider seat, bigger seat pitch and better meals.
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:58 pm

"Premium Economy" is popular because it introduces a step up from the Economy class which has become more and more cramped with less and less service. It offers comfort and service levels that are much more tolerable to people who don't necessarily need lie flat seats and the full modern Business/First experience. The seats and service offered in "Premium Economy" varies between different carriers, but some are very close to what Business class was 15-20 years ago. The race to the bottom with regards to costs has opened up a gap above Economy. It doesn't always have to be expensive. I've seen Premium Economy ticket prices that are about double the price of Economy.
 
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adamblang
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:59 pm

Premium Economy today is basically the business class of a decade ago. People found value in it then. They find value in it now.

For someone who doesn't want to spend the extra cash on business but doesn't want the discomfort of economy, it's a way to split the difference.

I'd rather spend 12 hours to New Zealand in this than this, 14 hours to Hong Kong in this than this
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:01 pm

Market segmentation. Marriott has 30 brands. How many brands does VW Group have? And how many models?
 
EddieDude
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:02 pm

I personally think Premium Economy is a great thing if priced right. I have tried BA's (old product on the 744) and VA's (old product) premium economy, and I loved them. I must say the BA fare was a true bargain, whereas I got a full-fare or almost full-fare ticket on VA, but I loved it nonetheless. Would love to try NZ' product, which is supposed to be the best in the market. I was going to sample AF's A380 premium economy earlier this year but got upgraded to J, so... Anyway, Premium Economy is here to stay I think, especially now that AA and DL will be fitting aircraft with a dedicated true premium economy product. It really is the new Business (now that Business is the new First).

Having said that, it is not for everyone though. A friend recently upgraded him and his wife to Premium Economy with LH at the counter (A346 MEX-MUC) and he wrote me after the flight and told me he thought it was not worth it. To each their own.
Last edited by EddieDude on Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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xxcr
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:04 pm

JetBuddy wrote:
"Premium Economy" is popular because it introduces a step up from the Economy class which has become more and more cramped with less and less service. It offers comfort and service levels that are much more tolerable to people who don't necessarily need lie flat seats and the full modern Business/First experience. The seats and service offered in "Premium Economy" varies between different carriers, but some are very close to what Business class was 15-20 years ago. The race to the bottom with regards to costs has opened up a gap above Economy. It doesn't always have to be expensive. I've seen Premium Economy ticket prices that are about double the price of Economy.



shouldn't they offer more seats then? most airlines only have what 6 rows at most of PE seats
 
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fbgdavidson
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:07 pm

adamblang wrote:
Premium Economy today is basically the business class of a decade ago. People found value in it then. They find value in it now.


Not on real airlines it wasn't. It's not even comparable to the business class of two decades ago, really...

Here's a decent article with pictures of various business class seats going back to the evolution of the product. Even BA's business class introduced in 1996 is still way ahead of almost every premium economy of today.
https://thepointsguy.com/2017/05/evolut ... ass-seats/
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xxcr
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 pm

jomur wrote:
Basically you have answered the question yourself... Wider seat, bigger seat pitch and better meals.


lol i know i did, just wanted other peoples opinions on it.
 
xxcr
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:19 pm

fbgdavidson wrote:
adamblang wrote:
Premium Economy today is basically the business class of a decade ago. People found value in it then. They find value in it now.


Not on real airlines it wasn't. It's not even comparable to the business class of two decades ago, really...

Here's a decent article with pictures of various business class seats going back to the evolution of the product. Even BA's business class introduced in 1996 is still way ahead of almost every premium economy of today.
https://thepointsguy.com/2017/05/evolut ... ass-seats/



Great article, thank you for that. IMO, i see a First class making a major comeback in 10 years.
 
tonyban
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:22 pm

I am not a business traveler nor do I have the 'extra' finances to purchase a Business Class ticket. To me the Premium Economy brand is the best thing to ever happen to someone like myself. I can afford to pay for Premium without busting my bank balance. I always fly Premium whenever the opportunity exists and I have on occasions enjoyed the free upgrade to business.
 
airbazar
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:52 pm

In a nutshell: Corporate travelers. Many companies (including some big ones that i know), have stopped allowing people to travel in Business class, or limit J travel to flights over a typical amount of time, usually 7 or 8 hours. That rules out a lot of long haul travel previously done in J. So the alternative was to provide an experience that is better than Y, that is still called "Economy", that corporate travelers are allowed to purchase at a higher yield than a typical discounted Y seat.
 
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aeromoe
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:58 pm

I paid $150 one way for Delta Economy+ (or whate3ver it was called 12months ago) between LAX-SYD. So for two of us travelling it was a total of $600 round trip added to economy tickets that cost about $1100 each...so it was hardly twice the price. Long story short the outbound LAX-SYD flight we missed it due to a snafu in Phoenix so we drove to LAX and picked up DL the next morning to HNL then connected to HA. DL gave us the E+ on their 767-300 to HNL but HA only had seats in the middle section in the back so we had no choice but to take those. Well, the HA flight to SYD diverted back to HNL four hours out and we ended up spending the night at HNL. Next morning upon check in I asked HA if we could upgrade and they sold us their E+ seats for $125 each. After the trip, DL refunded half the E+ upgrade cost due to us not having E+ on them between HNL and SYD due to them rebooking us on DL/HA for the LAX-SYD segment. So their refund covered the cost of what I paid to HA plus a little more. Bottom line, was it worth it? I think it was considering the segment lengths. I haven't done the exact math but it was something a little more than 25% of the original coach fare. On Hawaiian it was definitely worth it since we were the next row behind first class and the leg room was outrageous...and we had the benefit of using their under seat storage. Just my 2cents.
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maortega15
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:18 pm

xxcr wrote:
IMO, i see a First class making a major comeback in 10 years.

On what airline? Even major carriers like SQ are cutting back on First.

Airlines like Qatar are improving the business class experience to make it feel like a first class experience, but without the first class price tag. Same with Premium Economy. Cathay has just upped the legroom in Premium Economy to 40 inches - 2 inches up from the common 38. It's now like a domestic first class seat, similar to what you would get on a narrowbody.

First class is a niche product these days. There isn't really much of a market to support such a product unless in a really wealthy area like London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Paris, New York etc.

Most folks just want a flat bed and today's business class offers that.

And First these days is mostly paid via points redemptions rather than paying for it by cash.
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:27 pm

xxcr wrote:

shouldn't they offer more seats then? most airlines only have what 6 rows at most of PE seats


That's how the market works. Supply and demand. If there's demand for 6 rows of Premium Economy, 6 rows will be offered. If they become more popular, airlines can either increase price, or install more seats. Most people are happy with economy seats as long as they're dirt cheap. Others want more comfort and are willing to pay for it.
 
xxcr
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:31 pm

maortega15 wrote:
xxcr wrote:
IMO, i see a First class making a major comeback in 10 years.

On what airline? Even major carriers like SQ are cutting back on First.

Airlines like Qatar are improving the business class experience to make it feel like a first class experience, but without the first class price tag. Same with Premium Economy. Cathay has just upped the legroom in Premium Economy to 40 inches - 2 inches up from the common 38. It's now like a domestic first class seat, similar to what you would get on a narrowbody.

First class is a niche product these days. There isn't really much of a market to support such a product unless in a really wealthy area like London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Paris, New York etc.

Most folks just want a flat bed and today's business class offers that.

And First these days is mostly paid via points redemptions rather than paying for it by cash.


Qatar never had a true F product, IMO they were the one that were always playing catch up with the other ME3.

Maybe SQ, CA, LH, BA. those are the only airlines that i think could make First work due to their top notch service.
Last edited by xxcr on Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:32 pm

What's now business class is far better than international first class used to be. Economy class is more cramped than it used to be. While the new 10 abreast 777 and 9 abreast 787 have seats about The same width as the old 707's and DC-8's, the pitch between rows has decreased from what it was in previous decades. The chasm between business class and economy class has never been wider. Premium economy fills the gap that has been created by the airline marketing people. Depending on the airline, international premium economy comes with amenities beyond just the increase in seat size and room. Some airlines have extra baggage allotments, better food, and access to lounges and clubs at the airports.
 
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maortega15
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:36 pm

xxcr wrote:
i can see SQ, BA, LH, CA bringing back first class in the next decade maybe.

They all still have first class. Just that they reduced the size, but not eliminate it completely.
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:44 pm

maortega15 wrote:
xxcr wrote:
IMO, i see a First class making a major comeback in 10 years.

On what airline? Even major carriers like SQ are cutting back on First.

Airlines like Qatar are improving the business class experience to make it feel like a first class experience, but without the first class price tag. Same with Premium Economy. Cathay has just upped the legroom in Premium Economy to 40 inches - 2 inches up from the common 38. It's now like a domestic first class seat, similar to what you would get on a narrowbody.

First class is a niche product these days. There isn't really much of a market to support such a product unless in a really wealthy area like London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Paris, New York etc.

Most folks just want a flat bed and today's business class offers that.

And First these days is mostly paid via points redemptions rather than paying for it by cash.


Modern international first class seems to be competing against chartered jets for long distance travel. One could by a very nice new car for what some airlines charge for what some airlines charge for first class suites. The advantage being that a wide bodied jet can offer more space than private jet to make up for less flexibility, but it's difficult to provide the same level of privacy that a private jet affords.
 
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maortega15
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:55 pm

flyingclrs727 wrote:
maortega15 wrote:
xxcr wrote:
IMO, i see a First class making a major comeback in 10 years.

On what airline? Even major carriers like SQ are cutting back on First.

Airlines like Qatar are improving the business class experience to make it feel like a first class experience, but without the first class price tag. Same with Premium Economy. Cathay has just upped the legroom in Premium Economy to 40 inches - 2 inches up from the common 38. It's now like a domestic first class seat, similar to what you would get on a narrowbody.

First class is a niche product these days. There isn't really much of a market to support such a product unless in a really wealthy area like London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Paris, New York etc.

Most folks just want a flat bed and today's business class offers that.

And First these days is mostly paid via points redemptions rather than paying for it by cash.


Modern international first class seems to be competing against chartered jets for long distance travel. One could by a very nice new car for what some airlines charge for what some airlines charge for first class suites. The advantage being that a wide bodied jet can offer more space than private jet to make up for less flexibility, but it's difficult to provide the same level of privacy that a private jet affords.

What car we talking about?! A Peugeot or a Porsche?!

I'm curious to see what SQ and EK come up with on their next generation product.
 
xxcr
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:26 pm

maortega15 wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
maortega15 wrote:
On what airline? Even major carriers like SQ are cutting back on First.

Airlines like Qatar are improving the business class experience to make it feel like a first class experience, but without the first class price tag. Same with Premium Economy. Cathay has just upped the legroom in Premium Economy to 40 inches - 2 inches up from the common 38. It's now like a domestic first class seat, similar to what you would get on a narrowbody.

First class is a niche product these days. There isn't really much of a market to support such a product unless in a really wealthy area like London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Paris, New York etc.

Most folks just want a flat bed and today's business class offers that.

And First these days is mostly paid via points redemptions rather than paying for it by cash.


Modern international first class seems to be competing against chartered jets for long distance travel. One could by a very nice new car for what some airlines charge for what some airlines charge for first class suites. The advantage being that a wide bodied jet can offer more space than private jet to make up for less flexibility, but it's difficult to provide the same level of privacy that a private jet affords.

What car we talking about?! A Peugeot or a Porsche?!

Peugeot maybe???? We dont have those cars in the US so i have no idea how much those cost.

I'm curious to see what SQ and EK come up with on their next generation product.


im excited to see what SQ offers, they always set the standard for the premium product.
 
spacecadet
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:48 pm

It's important in a discussion like this to distinguish Premium Economy from Economy Plus. They are two different levels of product and service. Economy Plus is not worth $2,000, because all you typically get is a couple more inches of legroom and maybe a free drink. Premium Economy may be worth it, though, depending on your level of wealth, because it's more space in all dimensions, a more comfortable seat, and sometimes even the same food and alcohol that they serve in business class. (I'm pretty sure ANA does this, or used to.)

Economy Plus is typically only priced at a $50-$100 premium, though, so it's always worth it to me. But it's just best not to conflate the two when talking about whether PE is worth it.

Some airlines seem to have PE cabins mainly for upgrades. ANA, for example, wouldn't even let you buy a PE seat for a while - the only way to get one was by upgrading. This lets them pack the people who previously would have been upgraded to business class into a smaller space, leaving more room for them to sell those business class seats. Now they do let you buy a PE seat, but I think it's mostly a case of "we had this cabin for upgrades anyway, we may as well try to make sure it's always full and make as much money from it as we can". The primary use seems to still be upgrades, though.

I'm sure there is a market, however small, for someone who can (and wants to) pay more to get more than an economy seat, but can't afford a business class seat. That's another reason why these cabins are usually pretty small. But airlines make constant small tweaks both to save money and maximize revenue, and if you can make an extra $10,000 per flight from 60 square feet of floor space, why not do it?
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Chemist
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:32 am

spacecadet wrote:
It's important in a discussion like this to distinguish Premium Economy from Economy Plus. They are two different levels of product and service.


The problem is that many airlines have different names for their "between economy and business" class and you can't really always tell which of your concepts is being offered. I've seen wild pricing for basically a couple of extra inches in economy and a drink. And that's the only upgrade. Sometimes it is just a gouge for money from the airlines.

If there were reasonable additional prices for the amount of space/amenities being offered then I might be tempted. But more often than not it is hundreds of dollars for very little extra.
 
r2rho
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:30 am

There is a lot of confusion between Premium Economy and Economy Plus, which are two very different products.

PE is effectively J minus; it is meant for business travelers whose company policies won’t pay for J, and priced accordingly beyond the reach of a normal citizen, since the company is paying for it. It is a return to reason, as over the last decade J class had been overinflated to an F minus.

Y+ on the other hand is for normal people wishing to avoid the cramped feeling of Y minus, and willing to pay a bit extra. It is a return to the Y class of 10 years ago.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:35 pm

In the so-called golden age of air travel in a 707/Douglas 8 you got a 17 inch seat and about 35 inch pitch. It was comfortable, and for most of us the trip was one of the high points of the vacation. I would save my Science American magazines to read on the plane. The food tended to be a little p*ss elegant, but that was OK - it was still fun to briefly banter with the FAs.

I don't need a 20 inch seat to be comfortable, I need 35 inches or so pitch, and no seat in front of me in the day time in full recline. (night time different)
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caetravlr
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:01 pm

My 2cents comes from my only Premium Economy experiences being on Air France JFK-CDG-JNB and back on two different occasions. While the seat cushions were a little thin, I found it far more comfortable than coach and worth the price that I paid. I do wish they offered pre-departure bubbly like some of the others do in the cabin, but I was able to relax when I wanted to relax, and I was able to plug in and get work done comfortably because of the way the seats are encapsulated. Meaning, when the person in front of you leans back, your laptop screen doesn't get broken. Delta's Comfort+ does not compare to this, but they will be offering a similar concept on their A350s when they enter service I believe.
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r2rho
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:11 am

In the so-called golden age of air travel in a 707/Douglas 8 you got a 17 inch seat and about 35 inch pitch.

..and let's not forget: a well more than 50% chance of an empty middle seat, thanks to 60% load factors.
 
FlyHappy
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:36 pm

its all about long haul and twin aisle aircraft.

I have yet to see any offering, regardless of name (+ , premium, blah blah), on a single aisle plane that was anything more than a recreation of what standard economy typically was in past decades (ie, reasonable pitch, maybe a drink, maybe checked bag). I do not consider this "premium economy" - it should be named "class economy" or "retro coach" ;)

Twin aisles are different. There is space to increase the seat AND aisle width back to humane levels, without reaching the near ostentatious level of modern business class (and its associated cost).

Premium isn't quite the business class of the 1980's, but its closer to it than today's economy, this is certain in my mind.

I believe that PE is a natural development due the widening comfort and cost gap between Y and J on long haul. I have no data, but my perception is that the rise cost of J/F have far outstripped the rise in Y cost, all other things being equal. I think the gap is due mostly to the price pressure created by the rise of lower cost Asian/ME carriers in Y specifically.

Not having PE on a 300 pax aircraft means the carrier is leaving "money on the table" - sure, 240 of those prefer the $700 flight, while 60 might willing to pay $5000+ for J/F , but until you install PE seating, you'll never know who many of the 240 pax might pay $1500, or even $2500 for significantly increased seating comfort. This is an excellent revenue increase for a pretty minimal increased footprint, and is far less financially risky to install than J/F .

I only fly long haul for leisure, so expense is all my own. I would pay those 2x fares for 2 pax (myself/spouse), but am far more reluctant to do for 4 (+kids).
My elderly parents fly long haul every year, and this year, have switch carriers outright, to get a PE offering on their 21 hour flight.

I think PE on long haul is a winner and is here to stay. Carriers will continue to tinker with cabin size and fares until they feel they've mastered the revenue side of things.
 
xxcr
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:24 pm

For airlines that have fly a 4-class plane, do you think having 1st, business, PE, and Econ is a good thing? the cost between the classes would be super close no??
 
FlyHappy
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:35 pm

xxcr wrote:
For airlines that have fly a 4-class plane, do you think having 1st, business, PE, and Econ is a good thing? the cost between the classes would be super close no??


I think that's exactly the (er, my) point - the cost between todays 3 classes is **massive** (and I think wider than ever). At least it is on true long haul where the fixed costs are minimized relative to time/distance. Take a look at routes over 8 hours, I think you'll find 4x multiple from Y to J and 2x to 3x from J to F . Sure , if its a short/cheap route, lots of people can afford $200Y/$800J/$1800F (I'm not saying this route exists), but far fewer have choices on a long haul that is priced: $800Y/$4500J/$10000F (this is a pretty common spread, base on my personal research).

Seems to me there's a pretty big "Middle of Market" :) between those Y and J fares to increase revenue with the very same number of pax onboard.
 
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readytotaxi
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:08 pm

r2rho wrote:
In the so-called golden age of air travel in a 707/Douglas 8 you got a 17 inch seat and about 35 inch pitch.

..and let's not forget: a well more than 50% chance of an empty middle seat, thanks to 60% load factors.

And then the "fight" over the middle seat. :rotfl:
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IAHWorldflyer
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:18 pm

On this topic, can anyone relate what they thought of flying in AC's premium economy seating? I've been on their 77W's and the PE they have didn't seem to me to be worth the upcharge, It is a bit wider seat with a bit more legroom, but it didn't seem substantially different. Now the PE product on NZ, AF, and NH does seem to be a big difference, especially with the shell seating that means no one reclines into your forward space.
 
Ned Kelly
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:56 am

I wonder if an all Economy plus airline would be a success or not? How many Economy + seats could you fit in a A320? I know that when they first entered service they were I think fitted with 150 seats, now they have 186! Does the industry need to take a step backwards?
 
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aerorobnz
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:22 am

NZ has 7 abreast on a 787 and 8 abreast on the 772. That's a big difference in personal space vs their 9 abreast 787 Y and 10 abreast 777 Y. It's also a good way of ensuring 100% mileage on your tickets, especially given that most Y class fares are only 0/25/50/70%.

I have flown all the previous iterations of NZ U Class, and the current one is a great product. On a day time flight I prefer it to the lie flat J class seat.
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Kent350787
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Re: Premium Economy Hype

Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:45 am

aerorobnz wrote:
NZ has 7 abreast on a 787 and 8 abreast on the 772.


JL is the same (although doesn't have PE on 772, only 77W). Being 195cm (6'3"ish), the 40" pitch makes 24 hours of travelling almost bearable for half the price of C. Onboard food offerings are Y a bit + on JL, but lounge access is nice bonus.
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