Air China and China Southern will introduce Premium Economy seats on their domestic routes, creating three-class configuration on some of their aircraft.
Air China, for starters, will retrofit the first three rows of its Economy Cabin on the Airbus A330 (see image below), serving the Beijing-Shanghai and Beijing-Guangzhou routes. It will eventually roll out the product on routes to other Chinese cities. Of the 311 seats in the A330, 20 will be designated as Premium Economy. The new seating is not found on any of the carrier's international routes.
No date has been announced as to when the enhanced A330s will be flying.
China Southern Airlines is certain about when it will make Premium Economy section available to the public – from March 28, 2010.
The product is currently found on the airline’s non-stop Guangzhou-Los Angeles route. Now, it will appear on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen, Guangzhou-Beijing and Guangzhou-Shanghai routes and eventually be phased in on other domestic destinations. By July, the airline expects to have installed 7,000 Premium Economy seats on nearly 300 aircraft, including the Airbus A330-200/300, A319, A320, A321 and the Boeing 777 and 737NG.
Depending on the aircraft type, there will be between 24 and 53 Premium Economy seats on China Southern. New amenities consist of a bottle of mineral water, pre-flight snacks, newspapers and thick woolen blankets.
Ground services will be improved, covering policies such as the customers will wait no more than eight minutes in the check-in line, and if the Premium Economy cabin is overbooked, they will receive priority class upgrade and priority baggage delivery.
Margie T Logarta