I say “finally” because it’s almost 30 years since our Virgin Atlantic and Taiwan’s Eva Air launched what later was branded premium economy.
So it’s been a long time in coming for Swiss, especially as most major airlines worldwide now offer a premium economy class of one sort or another.
The carrier first announced plans for a premium economy seat in 2019, and has now confirmed that it will install 24 premium economy seats on its fleet of 12 B777-300ERs. It means the B777-300ERs will adopt a four-class configuration: first, business, premium economy and standard economy.
Swiss’ B777-300ERs are deployed on the carrier’s long-haul network.
Installation will commence from the fourth quarter of this year with the entire fleet completed by April 2022 – bookings open today.
Customers who find themselves onboard a premium economy-fitted B777-300ER flight before then will be offered an upgrade (at a fee) subject to availability.
“We are delighted that, in introducing our new premium economy class, we are meeting our customers growing demand for more privacy, more comfort and more individuality,” says Swiss CEO Dieter Vranckx.
Swiss will be installing seats from manufacturer ZIM. Naturally these provide more space than those in economy.
Width will be 46 to 48 cm (43.4 cm in economy) while pitch will be 99 cm (78.7 cm in economy).
Swiss says the one-way fare will be CHF 250 to 350 higher than the economy equivalent.
With its premium economy Swiss will be providing similar extras to those offered by other carriers. These include extra baggage allowance, better ground handling and (it’s expected) there will be extra FFP miles.
There will also be improvements made to onboard catering.
Fellow Lufthansa Group carrier Austrian introduced premium economy in 2019, while Brussels Airlines unveiled plans to do so the same year.
- Austrian Airlines launches long-haul premium economy
- Brussels Airlines unveils new long-haul cabins with premium economy class
Lufthansa has had a premium economy product for some years, and plans to launch a new version (in fact the same as this new Swiss seat) on its much-delayed B777-9 aircraft.
At the end of the day readers must note that that premium economy is not business class. Tickets will cost substantially less and therefore this fact must be remembered.