When flying, there have been attempts to make economy class feel more tolerable. However, the narrow seats, limited carry-on bag policies, subpar food (if offered), and virtually nonexistent legroom still make it a less than desirable experience for many business travelers. Although business class was created for business travelers, that doesn't mean that they or their company can afford it.
However, with the rise of business travelers wanting to experience more comfortable flights, a third, less extreme option has been gaining popularity. Premium economy, normally found on long-haul domestic and international flights, offers more comfort than standard economy, but at a fraction of the cost of business class. Though airlines have different definitions of what premium economy is, many passengers still find it valuable.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider it.
1. Shorter lines.
Not all airlines offer premium economy passengers priority check-in, but the ones that do (like American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic) make the check-in and boarding process less of a hassle. No one likes waiting in long lines for check-in and security, only to wait in an even longer line at boarding. By flying with airlines that offer priority check-in to passengers, it allows you to wait in shorter lines and relax before your meeting.
When possible, some airlines will also ensure that you don't have to wait around for long to retrieve your checked bag.
2. More space.
At the very least, every premium economy cabin offers you more legroom. For those of us who are tall, it's impossible for us to get comfortable when we have no wiggle room. On average, premium economy seats have anywhere between five to seven inches more of legroom than standard economy.
You'll also have at least an extra inch of seat width in premium economy. Though one inch might not sound like much, it matters. If you always fly in standard economy and tend to feel cramped, you'll notice that subtle difference.
I don't know about you, but when I'm forced to sit mostly still on a flight, I'm typically in a sour mood. And if my meeting is scheduled right after I arrive at my destination, then there's hardly any time for me to relax and raise my energy levels.
Also, If sitting up straight is bothersome for you then you'll be happy to know that your seat might also be able to recline a few inches.
3. In-flight entertainment.
Another universal feature of premium economy cabins across airlines is that you have a larger personal TV screen, Wi-Fi, and a power outlet for your laptop.
4. Better food options.
Besides the legroom and entertainment, one of the biggest features on planes that passengers remember is the food. One of the most luxurious food services offered to premium economy passengers is Singapore Airline's "Book the Cook" service. It lets passengers preorder their celebrity chef cooked meals.
Other less luxurious, but still far more superior options are from American Airlines which offers a dining experience that's seasonal and personalized to the location you're traveling to. They also serve complimentary drinks.
Delta Airline's dining experience involves complimentary drinks and seasonal meals that are served on Alessi flat and service ware. Even if you're not looking for celebrity chef cooked meals, it's a far better experience than what you'll get in standard economy.
Since premium economy is normally found on long-haul domestic or international flights, sometime during your flight, you'll want to go to sleep. And although you usually get a blanket and pillow in standard economy, the quality isn't the best.
On American and Delta Airlines, you receive quality bedding and amenity kits with your essentials. Inside the bag includes essentials such as an eye mask, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. Many airlines also provide noise-canceling headphones to maximize their in-flight entertainment experience.
6. Personal service from flight attendants.
In standard economy, it's normal for the flight attendants to always be busy. There are dozens of passengers that each has needs throughout the trip. Your flight attendant's job is to maintain safety, cater to those needs, answer questions, and help passengers when they can.
It's difficult for them to give you more attention than the next passenger. But when you're in premium economy, you have dedicated flight attendants.
While premium economy couldn't compare to business class, it's still in a far greater league than standard economy. For someone who's tired of being uncomfortable in standard economy, you'll certainly see the immense value and experience that premium economy provides for business travelers. If your comfort is important to you, the price associated with upgrading from standard to premium economy is well worth it.