Is premium economy worth it?

Let’s face it, for most of us the cost of business class flights is out of reach, yet we’re often keen to get a little more space and comfort than the standard economy seat affords. Over the last few years, airlines have responded to this ‘need’ by increasing the number of premium economy seats on offer, but the question remains – is premium economy worth the money?

Premium economy offers something a little special for those who are taking a celebration trip, travel business class for work and don’t want to fully downgrade when paying for personal travel, or just can’t cope with the size of an economy seat. With the added extras, travellers are increasingly happy to pay the additional cost, especially on long haul flights.

Typically, premium economy fares will be 30–50 per cent more than standard economy fares. However, they can be markedly more expensive when travelling in peak season. Considering business class fares can be three or even four times the cost of discount economy, premium economy may be seen as a more affordable upgrade option.

So, what do you get for your money?

A designated check-in desk and additional baggage allowance are the advantages before you fly. Some airlines will give you lounge access, so it’s worth checking if this is vital to your travel experience. Priority boarding can also take a lot of the stress out of flying – no one enjoys the jostling and rushing that typically goes on at the gate.

Once on board, a wider seat with more leg room is the obvious advantage of premium economy, and when coupled with fewer travellers in the cabin, this can make the flight more bearable. Noise-cancelling headphones provided as standard also help block out any cabin noise which threatens to disrupt your journey.

Once you’re settled in your premium economy seat you’ll be treated to a glass of champagne – just as you would if flying business class. And the meal choices are served on proper plates with real cutlery, and are a cut above the reheated meals served in economy.

Is it worth it?

It really all depends how much money you have to spend and just how much you hate being in economy. Personally, I would much rather spend the extra money at my travel destination, on things that I consider fun and frivolous.

Written by Debbie McTaggart