Premium Economy Vs. Economy: What Are The Main Differences?

Premium Economy Vs. Economy

Last Updated on Feb 2nd, 2024 by Sidakbir Singh, Leave a Comment

When reserving plane seats, going through the various options can be challenging. Airlines often use distinct names for their cabins, which are confusing even for frequent travelers. If you’re looking to keep your flight expenses in check, the likely choice would be economy seating. However, the decision-making process doesn’t end there. So, what’s the difference between economy and premium economy fares? 

Here in our guide to premium economy vs economy, we’ve broken down all the different types of economy and premium seating. It’ll provide you with the clarity to help you make a perfect decision for your future flights.

What Is Economy Class?

Economy class, also commonly known as standard class, is the most basic cabin class offered by airlines. It is designed to cater to passengers who prioritize cost efficiency over premium amenities. Here are key details about economy class – 

  • Cost Effectiveness: For passengers on a tight budget, economy class is the best choice. It is perfect for people who want to minimize their trip costs.
  • Seating Configuration: Wide-body aircraft usually have a 3-4-3 or 3-3-3 configuration. The standard height and width of the seats offer a minimal degree of comfort.
  • In-Flight Entertainment: Limited in-flight entertainment options compared to higher classes. It can be necessary for travelers to carry their entertainment things, like books or iPads.
  • Meal Services: Basic meal options are provided, often included in the ticket price. Special dietary requirements can be accommodated upon request on your international flights (like Chicago to Delhi flights, etc.).

What Is Premium Economy Class?

Premium economy seeks to bridge the space between economy and business class, providing a more cost-effective option for a comfortable flight. It is worth noting that it is most certainly a “premium economy” and not a “business class” – all airlines’ premium economy experience is much closer to economy class than business class. 

Don’t expect a seat that goes fully flat or you get gourmet cuisine and Champagne — it’s much more like an economy class with a few more bells & whistles. Here are key details about the Premium Economy class:

  • Comfort and Space: More spacious, comfy seats with more room for the legs. Usually placed in a wide-body aircraft’s 2-4-2 configuration.
  • In-Flight Entertainment: Enhanced entertainment options with larger screens and noise-canceling headphones. Some airlines offer premium economy passengers access to a wider selection of movies and TV shows. To enhance the in-flight experience, Air India reveals luxury amenities for passengers.
  • Dining Experience: Improved meal services with better menu options and complimentary beverages. Priority meal selection and special dietary requests are often accommodated.

Difference Between Economy And Premium Economy Class 

Here are the key differences between Premium Economy and Economy Class. 

Key DifferencesPremium Economy Economy Class 
Seating Spacious seats with extra legroom.Standard seats with limited legroom.
Perks Priority boarding, more luggage allowance.Standard boarding, limited luggage allowance.
Meals Upgraded menu options with plated meals.Basic meal options, sometimes for purchase.
AmenitiesAmenity kits are on longer flights.Limited or no amenity kits.
EntertainmentLarger screens, improved headphones.Standard entertainment options.
Cabin AtmosphereQuieter, smaller cabin.Larger, more crowded cabin.
CostHigher cost than Economy.More budget-friendly.
Reclining Some reclining, not fully lie-flat.Limited recline.

Tip – If you want to knoe about the difference between Business Class and First Class, here’s our detailed guide to Business Class vs First Class. Know everything!

Economy vs Premium Economy On International Flights

Premium Economy is mostly offered on international flights where its additional benefits can be best appreciated due to longer flight times. Usually, newer and larger planes like Airbus (A330s, A340s, A350s, A380s) and Boeing (777s, 787 Dreamliners) support Premium Economy. However, availability can vary based on the airline. 

Additional ground perks might involve more baggage allowance, priority check-in and boarding, occasional airport lounge access, and more reward points/miles, along with less cost regarding points for an upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy versus upgrading to Business. Some airlines also allow bids for cash upgrades.  

Note – Know about the other most asked comparison – Round Trip vs One Way and plan your next travel accordingly! 

Airlines That Provide Premium Economy Class 

Several airlines provide premium economy options for travelers. Some of them are as follows:- 

  • American Airlines offers premium economy, as does
  • Air Canada and Singapore Airlines.
  • Recently, Air India launched premium economy seats on its international flights.
  • Other airlines provide similar amenities under different names for their premium economy class:
  • Delta’s premium economy class is called Premium Select, available on select international flights. 
  • United Airlines brands its premium economy as Premium Plus. 
  • Virgin Atlantic simply calls it Premium.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Premium Economy?

A: Premium economy is a class of seating on airlines that is higher quality than standard economy class but lower than business class. It is designed to provide passengers with a more comfortable and enhanced flying experience without the higher cost associated with premium cabins. 

Q: What is Economy class?

A: Economy class is the standard seating option on most airlines and is suitable for budget-conscious travelers and those prioritizing affordability over additional comfort and amenities.

Q: What is the main difference between Premium Economy and Economy?

A: Premium Economy offers a more enhanced flying experience with wider seats, extra legroom, and additional amenities compared to the more basic accommodations in Economy.

Q: Is Premium Economy more expensive than Economy?

A: While yes it is more costly than Economy, Premium Economy is generally more affordable than Business or First Class.

Q: What should I consider when choosing between Premium Economy and Economy?

A: Consider your budget, travel preferences, and the duration of the flight. If comfort and luxury travel is your priority then Premium Economy may be the ideal choice for a more enjoyable in-flight experience.

That’s it! We’ve tried to cover most of the details regarding the difference between economy and premium economy. Have additional questions? Feel free to leave a comment, and we’ll be glad to assist you!


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About Sidak | View Posts

A creative person by profession and by passion, Sidak Bir is an enthusiastic writer who adores his job. His passion for writing has inspired him to pursue writing as a career. His commitment to creating quality content shines through, offering readers a blend of enlightenment and knowledge in every piece. Because he reads, writes, travels, and has an enjoyable time, some people claim he is leading the best life possible. They're right because what more could a person possibly need!

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