Who has the best premium economy class?

Airlines: Is Premium Economy Class worth it on the plane?

Economy, business and first class - this is how long-haul aircraft are divided. But the premium economy has been around for some time. Is the higher price justified?

Economy - most air travelers know the "wood class" in the airplane quite well. Seating with little legroom and an armrest that you have to share with the person sitting next to you. On the way there, passengers sometimes pass through Business Class, and on long-haul routes there is another intermediate stage: Premium Economy, also known as Economy Plus or Comfort.

British Airways pioneered the introduction of Premium Economy Class

Almost all major airlines have introduced them in the past few years. British Airways was a pioneer: the British airline established a "World Traveler Plus" class in the early 2000s.

"The airline has made a virtue out of necessity," says aviation expert Cord Schellenberg from Hamburg. At that time, companies began to save and denied many employees the business class ticket they are used to on long-haul routes. "You suddenly found yourself in economy class and were anything but happy," he says.

So British Airways invented a better economy class, but not a "lower business class" - a big difference, as Schellenberg says. Because the Premium Economy made it through the travel guidelines of the companies and was still much more comfortable.

Premium Economy: More baggage allowance and better meals

"In the beginning, old business class seats were often used for this," says David Haße, publisher of the air traffic portal airliners.de. That has changed, however, but there are still some advantages: "You often have a significant increase in legroom and seat width as well as better sleeping options." In addition, there is often more baggage allowance, sometimes lounge access, better entertainment and better catering.

In Germany, Lufthansa is the airline with the largest range of premium economy seats. They are found on all long-distance machines, says spokeswoman Sandra Kraft. "Depending on the type of aircraft, the seat is up to three centimeters wider".

In addition, a separate, wide armrest on each seat and a center console between the seats provide more privacy and a total of around ten centimeters more free space to the side. "The backrest can be tilted further back and the seat spacing is much more generous at 97 centimeters."

Personal freedom, she says, is growing by around half compared to economy class. The food comes from a menu and from porcelain crockery, and you can also set yourself up better at the seat.

American Airlines offers the world's largest premium economy offer

Nevertheless, the premium economy only accounts for around two percent of all Lufthansa seats on offer, says Haße. "Eurowings also offers a Premium Economy on long-haul routes, but only has a relatively small fleet."

American Airlines has the largest range of seats in the Economy Plus, Economy Comfort or Premium Economy categories worldwide, ahead of Delta Air Lines and China Southern. "The name of this intermediate class is not protected, so the airlines name it differently," says Schellenberg. That sometimes creates confusion.

The Gulf airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways are the only larger airlines to have no premium economy so far - but that is set to change soon.

Travelers have to calculate whether the premium economy is worthwhile

Whether a premium economy ticket actually pays off is a matter of taste. "If you get a good daily deal for an upgrade, it can be worth it," says Schellenberg. "Personally, however, I would rather look for a cheap business class offer," he says.

The added value to an economy ticket does not always pay off, especially with a day flight. "And at night you have the advantage in Business Class that the seats can be converted into beds." In the Premium Economy you have a better seat inclination, but you are far from lying down.

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