If you’re reluctant to buy a business-class ticket but don’twant to squeeze into economy for a long-haul flight, try premium economy.Dozens of airlines, including Qantas, Virgin Atlantic and America, and BritishAirways, have introduced this new cabin class, offering some of the comforts ofbusiness—priority check-in, an average of five to seven inches ofadditional legroom and seat width, bigger personal TV’s, and betterin-flight services (more meal options; amenity kits)—at a reduced price.We found a round-trip premium economy ticket on British Airways from NewYork’s JFK to Heathrow in September for $1,356—nearly $1,400 lessthan the business-class fare. (Coach, it should be noted, was a wallet-friendly$577.) On Qantas, round-trip premium-economy tickets from Los Angeles to Sydneyin September were $3,129, almost a whopping $12,000 less than those in thebusiness/first cabin. And this October, Air France is launching its PremiumVoyageur class, with 20 percent more legroom than in economy and wider seatswith adjustable head- and footrests. The starting cost? $1,457 round-trip fromJFK to Paris. But buyer beware: The benefits of premium economy varysignificantly between carriers. Virgin Atlantic’s premium seats, forexample, are 21 inches wide with a pitch of 38 inches (the larger the pitch,the greater the legroom), while some Air New Zealand seats are only 17.5 incheswide with a 35-inch pitch. So do your research before booking, either bychecking seatguru.com, which offers detailedcomparisons of airlines’ cabins, or by calling your carrier directly.
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Receive exclusive travel deals, insider tips, inspiration, breaking news updates, and more.