What are your Premium Economy preferences over the North Atlantic – and why…?

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  • sparkyflier

    What got me thinking about this topic was firstly the excellent discussion started by RFurguson2 recently looking at the best Business Classes across the Atlantic, and then last week I was having a chat with a French friend based in UK, who was looking to go to New York for a holiday and he wanted my input on the best premium economy on airlines flying London to New York.

    So I thought it would be good to hear your experiences of different Premium Economy services to/from UK/EU and the Americas, what your favourites were and why. What makes you choose AA against UA for example in “W” class?

    Considerations would include:-

    Seat comfort/ space/configuration (which can vary between aircraft types)
    Food and beverages
    Perhaps fast track security or check in (that would not otherwise come with loyalty status), or even lounge access.
    Baggage allowance
    Crew service and attitude
    Benefits/loyalty to an airline/alliance is of course not to be overlooked.[/ul]

    For me on flights up to 7-8 hours, premium economy can be just fine and a good budget/benefit balance and I personally enjoy and find the BA World Traveller Plus seat and service pretty good. I have tried it on 787, A380 & 777 but not yet BA’s A350…

    The latter I believe has a narrower seat than the other aircraft types. This insight from you would be valuable. Most airlines have 8 across on A350 in this class (2+4+2), but did you know Lufthansa’s A350 have only 7 across – 2+3+2 (the ones not leased)?

    Most airlines of course cannot make premium economy too good in case it reduces demand for their J offering. I suspect Brussels Airlines would fit in that that category especially as their long haul routes are all in the 6-8 hour category.

    As far as I know here is what is offered by different airlines who have a full Premium Economy service, as opposed to a economy + offering with a bit more legroom:-

      Air Canada – A330/777/787
      WestJet – 787
      American – 777/787
      Delta – A330/330neo/A350/767
      United – 767, 777 & 787
      British Airways – 777, 787, A350 & A380
      Virgin – A330/A330neo/787/A350
      Iberia – A330-300/A350
      Air France – A330/787/777/A350
      Brussels Airlines – A330
      KLM – 787/777
      SAS – A330/A350 (not sure if A321 LR have this class)
      Finnair – A330/A350
      LOT – 787
      Lufthansa – A330/A340/A350/A380/787
      Swiss – 777/A330/A340
      Austrian – 767/777
      ITA – not sure which aircraft have this cabin – many of their long haul planes came from Hainan I believe.

    There may be some I have missed out – for example French Bee or other smaller carriers but thing the above list covers most scheduled airlines. But feel welcome to add whatever you think is missing if it is a product you have used and choose.

    I look forward to hearing of your preferences, why you choose certain products over others and other nuance which influences your choices and decisions..


    Being 30 mins from LHR and flying fairly regularly to NYC, and generally not wishing to pay the pretty high J fares, I almost always book Prem Econ, and around 50% of the time use miles to upgrade to J.

    Reasons for using BA/AA:

    Largest choice of flights – great as I like to fly mid to late afternoon and I have a choice of at least 3 departures.

    Large number of flights means there is often an Avios upgrade available.

    Being OWE I can use the First check in, dedicated security and straight into the lounge – makes life easier.

    Can choose front row seat for extra leg room etc.

    Tier points for WT+ is fairly generous so helps for re qualifying annually

    I’m completely agnostic on any carrier’s Prem Econ – to me, once I’m on the plane there is little to differentiate: similar seat width, recline, slightly better meal, average service etc.

    I’d probably go for AA over BA for quicker service and better AVOD on board, but I do like the convenience of BA’s T5 offering and I think you can only upgrade on BA metal.

    My choice is all down to the schedule offered and the associated perks high freq flier status offers.

    I wouldn’t for the life of me fly indirect to somewhere like NYC for a marginally better Prem Econ offering.

    Best Prem Econ seat I’ve flown on is BA A380 front row window seat. Great legroom and side storage for extra width.

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    AA 787 to ORD.

    Decent seat, acceptable food, like the 78 and I don’t trust BA to operate a stable schedule.

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    FDOS – re AA to ORD, I guess you stick with Oneworld airlines to get points etc, but just wondered if you had ever tried UA to ORD in premium economy? Would have been good to hear your views on how they compared re seating/food/crew service etc.

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    Not too bothered about avios, tbh, AA just do a decent schedule that suits (daytime flights).

    Unfortunately, never tried Untied in W.


    I guess the other Premium product to look at is Norse – though as they don’t show on GDS will not have much exposure to the Corporate market.

    When Norwegian did TATL – They looked to have a pretty solid Premium product.


    Tim, I used the Norwegian Premium product, before they withdrew bundled lounge access and thought it was class leading.

    Just like business class in the ’90s.


    Personally i would go with Virgin. Their product ia far superior to BA. you can also go through paris and use air france which has dedicated shells for its premium product. For budget norse atlantic is hood


    I definitely prefer Virgin. Their seats are comfortable, legroom is good and service is simply excellent!


    Between major Atlantic carriers, I have found both AA and UA premium economy products to be quite comfortable, though I give a slight edge to AA. Their 777 and 787 premium seats offer excellent legroom and pitch, feeling quite spacious even on longer flights. I also appreciate the amenities provided by AA, as meals are consistently of high quality.

    UA’s 777s and 787s also provide ample room in a 2-3-2 configuration. However, in my experience, service has been more inconsistent relative to AA. Food quality does not always match the high standards of AA.

    Within Europe, British Airways (BA) provides a very reliable premium experience across their wide-body fleet, as noted. The BA 777 and A380 stand out particularly in this regard, with premium seats offering a noticeable upgrade over regular economy without the steep cost of business class. I have not yet tried BA’s A350 cabin but am curious how the slightly reduced seat width may impact comfort on long flights.

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