Travel SOS: Which airline has the best premium economy?

Mick is planning a trip to the US and wants to know how to find the best seats he can afford.

Best premium economy in the air?

Mick is planning a trip to the United States and wants to know how to find the best seats he can afford.

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Q. Mick
My wife and I are planning to travel to the United States later this year to visit our son who has been living there for the last 18 months. We don’t have the budget to travel first or business class but travelling to the US is too far to sit in economy, so we will probably fork out the extra for seats in premium economy. Which airline offers the best premium economy options?

A. On average, buying a seat in premium economy will provide you with 12-18cm extra legroom, 3-5cm extra width in your seat and 5-7cm extra reclining space.

Airline experts skycanner.com.au rate Singapore Airlines as the best airline offering premium economy. The seats offer 15cm extra legroom over standard economy, with the ability to recline 20cm. There is also a calf and footrest as well as two USB ports, a universal power outlet, an adjustable reading lamp and more storage space. Additional perks are Wi-Fi access, a 33cm high-definition entertainment monitor and noise-cancelling headphones. As well as priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling, premium economy passengers on Singapore Airlines can use the ‘book the cook’ service, where you can pre-order your meal before you fly.

If you want to feel a little more special about your premium economy seats, German airline Lufthansa has a separate compartment for its premium economy passengers and as well as the bigger seats and extra legroom, all meals are served with china tableware and real cutlery, which I think is even better than the extra space. Lufthansa also provides premium economy passengers with priority boarding and access to business class lounges for $25. You also get an additional baggage allowance of two checked bags up to 23kg each.

What has been your best premium economy experience? Which airline do you rank highest? Which is worst?

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    COMMENTS

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    maxchugg
    15th Jun 2019
    8:17am
    I agree, Singapore airlines every time! I have flown PE in Virgin Atlantic, cabin and seats excellent, ratio of passengers to toilets is much better in PE than in cattle class, although some from cattle class do sneak in and I can't say I blame them. As for meals, I have always had better meals in Singapore's cattle class than in Virgin Atlantic PE.

    Second choice would be Cathay Pacific.
    maxchugg
    15th Jun 2019
    8:17am
    I agree, Singapore airlines every time! I have flown PE in Virgin Atlantic, cabin and seats excellent, ratio of passengers to toilets is much better in PE than in cattle class, although some from cattle class do sneak in and I can't say I blame them. As for meals, I have always had better meals in Singapore's cattle class than in Virgin Atlantic PE.

    Second choice would be Cathay Pacific.
    TOR888
    15th Jun 2019
    8:44am
    Just flew with Singapore from Sydney to Paris return in Premium and it was terrible.The food was horrible and the service from the cabin crew very ordinary.Even paid for the extra legroom seats and that was also a waste of money..I will not be flying with them again and Virgin,Qantas,Cathay and JAL leave Singapore for dead..
    MICK
    15th Jun 2019
    8:52am
    Premium economy? Why? Cattle Class is quite adequate at half the price. Save your money for fun when you get to your destination.
    Maggie
    15th Jun 2019
    9:22am
    You are lucky Mick! You are obviously not a big person and here I am not talking about obesity. If you have a smallish girth and your legs are short enough for your knees not to be in mind blowingly painful contact with the seat in front of you, and if you are always lucky enough to have at least one armrest entirely to yourself, it's not impossible to get some sleep and survive a long haul flight sufficiently well to jump straight into fun st your destination.
    MICK
    15th Jun 2019
    2:21pm
    If you fly on an Airbus A380 then legroom will never be a problem. If you fly with Virgin in their Boeing 777s then it will.
    I guess the choice is yours. We'll never go back to Virgin. They can keep their tin pot operation and treat their (remaining) customers like dirt if they so choose. We're gone.
    For the record Qantas, Emirates, Singapore, etc. all operate the A380s. Nice comfy seats and plenty of stretch legroom. Your choice Maggie. For my part I'd rather pay around $1000 return on a cattle class with comfort than heaps more for a tin pot plane.
    Digby
    15th Jun 2019
    9:05am
    I usually go business class and find Singapore Airlines pretty ordinary. Qantas, Air NZ, and Lufthansa, Etihad and Emirates are all pretty good though. Good friendly service in Virgin but planes old. The best I have ever flown though is probably British Airways. And believe it or not Vietnam airlines is pretty good value for money although it's planes are usually a bit older. But don't get me started on Olympic, Latar or Argentinian Airlines (not good!!)
    sueh
    15th Jun 2019
    9:49am
    Hi Digby. I am going to be flying from Sydney to London soon and was thinking of flying Vietnam Airlines business class. Were you happy with the space etc? I flew British Airways last time and absolutely loved it but as you say Vietnam looks like good value for money.
    Digby
    16th Jun 2019
    12:40pm
    Hi Sueh,

    I fly a lot internationally and usually in business, and I very much liked Vietnam Airlines. Their cabin was roomy enough, service excellent, and food pleasant though I am not a great lover of asian food. They are good value for money, but I found the planes a bit old and noisy (that may have changed by now) .I think they are a hidden treasure as their prices are very competitive. The one thing I didn't like though was the day lay over in Ho Chi Minh City (arrive early and fly out at night) .... a stinking hot humid place (I detest that weather) with very little to see or do. They do however put you up in a nice hotel for the day with meals and guided tour of the city sights. But the organisation to get the visa for the day took hours even with an airline rep doing it for us.
    Hardworker
    15th Jun 2019
    9:41am
    Of the airlines I have flown Singapore airlines are the best in the air for everything from very clean planes, good pilots, good food, comfort, lovely staff and the one I love the best - they keep the toilets clean. Premium Economy is also much more comfortable than Economy on Qantas especially if you are a poor sleeper. The food is also better, but it is such a small area of the bigger planes it can be hard to book unless you get in early. I had to try Premium Economy and last time Business Class as I was starting to feel totally claustrophobic in Economy. Not to mention those who constantly kick the back of your seat. Now I will not fly unless I have the money to go Premium or Business.
    JBP
    15th Jun 2019
    9:53am
    The enquirer cites travel to the USA, presumably from Australia. You suggested Singapore and/or Lufthansa... Neither fly between Australia and the USA. Mostly this route is flown by QANTAS, Virgin Australia, and Air NZ. Air NZ premium economy has more leg room than any of the others (41” versus 38”) and repeatedly wins the ratings prizes for best premium economy. Having flown premium economy on a range of airlines, I’d choose Air NZ for this route.
    Virginia
    15th Jun 2019
    3:00pm
    Last trip from Dubai with Emirates I had a spare seat next to me . it was great just the extra breathing room and arm rest etc
    My next trip in August this year I have actually booked two seats in Economy. No colds and respiratory problems next to me and room to stretch out a bit more.
    A lot cheaper than business.


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