Economy Vs Premium Economy Seat: What Are The Differences Between Them (2024)

To provide passengers with more options when flying, airlines are now offering Premium Economy seats with improved comfort and amenities. But does it really have many differences compared to the Classic Economy?

Economy vs premium economy seat: What are different features that you need to know? The following article will dive deep into this matter to provide necessary insights for travellers, so they can make the right decisions when flying.

What is Premium Economy?

Economy Vs Premium Economy Seat: What Are The Differences Between Them (1)

Explore the Premium Economy Class and its perks - photo byJohn McArthur on Unsplash

If Economy and Business Class has a child, then it’s definitely Premium Economy. Fits nicely between the two classes, a seat in Premium Economy offers better space and amenities compared to that of Economy.

At the same time, passengers won’t have to pay up to multiple times their Economy ticket for a Business upgrade. It’s a great option for those who wish to explore the benefits of a premium ticket without having to break the bank.

In premium economy, you'll enjoy a more spacious seat with extra legroom, because let's face it, nobody wants their knees to be best friends with the seat in front of them. You'll also be treated to a fancy welcome drink (cheers!) and some upgraded meal options that will make your taste buds do a happy dance.

But wait, there's more! Premium economy often comes with additional perks like priority boarding, extra baggage allowance, and access to exclusive lounges. It's like being part of a secret club where you can sip your pre-flight co*cktail in peace, away from the hustle and bustle of the airport.

Economy Vs Premium Economy: The Main Differences

So, if you’re interested in getting one of these, it’s best to understand the differences between Economy and Premium Economy. Here, we’ll discuss the main differences between the two classes regarding all important factors. As wise travellers, you can then decide if they are worth spending extra money on.

What perks do you get in premium economy?

  1. Double the price, but you get what you pay for
  2. More leg room and wider seats
  3. Seat recliner
  4. Better amenities
  5. Prioritized services
  6. Improved in-flight entertainments
  7. Slightly elevated or much better food options.


Economy Vs Premium Economy Seat: What Are The Differences Between Them (2)

Can you see the differences? Delta News Hub, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

First thing first, you need to know what you’ll be paying to get that extra seat room and flying services with a Premium Economy boarding pass.

Generally speaking, the price for your Premium Economy seat often doubles that of an Economy. This is quite reasonable, considering all the benefits and perks that you’ll receive.

Not to mention that a major step up to Business or First Class can sometimes cost you five times the Economy ticket. So, unless you are willing to spend a lot more, a simple Premium Economy upgrade would be a better option.

For example, a round trip from Miami to New York with Delta Airlines will cost about $200 for an Economy ticket. But if you want the Business Class experience, you’ll have to pay triple, while, on the other hand, a Premium Economy ticket will only cost a hundred more.


The most notable difference is definitely the more spacious seat with better legroom. We are all familiar with the cramped Economy seat, where your elbows bump into each other and the leg room is often limited. This isn’t good for your leg joints or your comfort when flying.

Also, a more comfortable seat where you can lean back further will offer a more restful experience, especially during long and exhausting flights. Make sure your back won’t suffer after you get off the plane.

And in some cases, the Premium Economy seats can come with luxurious leather padding, lumbar support, extra cushion, leg rest, and a few more perks. All are designed to elevate your experiences and improve comfort while travelling.

Keep in mind that the seats will be different for each airline and on their specific plane models. So, it’s always best to check with the airlines or go to Seatguru to check what your seating would look like.

For instance, British Airways’s World Traveller/Economy seats on the Airbus A380-800 (388) has a pitch and width of 31 and 17.5 inches, respectively. On the World Traveller Plus/Premium Economy on the same plane, you get 38 and 18.5 inches, an upgrade for sure. Not to mention you can recline your seats, too.

Check-ins, security, and boarding

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Enjoy faster check-in and boarding. Photo by tarapatta -

While the policies can be somewhat different, Premium Economy passengers can usually expect speedy check-in and priority boarding included with their tickets.

Even if none of these are available, just staying away from the long Economy check-in lanes will still save you a lot of hassle. Also, airlines will usually provide additional perks for your checked baggage, which are often neglected if you’re flying in Economy.

Not to mention that many budget airlines will even ask their customers to pay extras for the bags and other luggage. Therefore, going for a Premium Economy pass can still be a good save, even for budget flyers.

When flying with Japan Airlines, customers can enjoy the dedicated check-in counter for a quick and hassle-free boarding experience. You’ll also receive a prioritized baggage service by having access to the area at the same time as other Business and First Class passengers. And finally, the included lounge access makes Japan Airlines a great choice for your Premium Economy investment.


The amenities kits for Premium Economy travellers can be a lot better compared to those of Economy Class.

Many airlines will provide additional items and accessories to make your journeys more enjoyable. Have softer and more comfortable blankets for better sleep. Ear plugs and eye masks are provided to prevent noises and intrusive lights.

Keep your mouth clean with the mini toothbrush and toothpaste. And even have the moisturising cream and lip balm being served to keep your skin hydrated throughout the entire trip. You can find everything included in the Shinola and D.S. & Durga amenity kit from American Airlines.


Also, Premium Economy passengers will receive better flight services than regular Economy travellers. Oftentimes, airlines will have a dedicated crew to serve your cabin. So, you’ll enjoy having better services when flying.

For example, Singapore Airlines offers priority treatment for their Premium Economy customers. Here, all your requests will proceed before those of the Economy Class. So always expect your meals and airline amenities to arrive faster with minimum waiting time.


Economy Vs Premium Economy Seat: What Are The Differences Between Them (4)

You will enjoy better flight entertainment and services. Delta News Hub, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In-flight entertainment is a deciding factor for many passengers, especially if you’re going on a long trip. In many cases, the improved entertainment system in Premium Economy, while not significant compared to Economy, can still elevate your flight.

To begin with, the more spacious cabin allows you to enjoy in-flight entertainment more comfortably. Plus, it also let the airlines enable better pieces of entertainment for their customers.

Oftentimes, you can have a larger backseat TV screen with better display quality. And the included headphone usually provides excellent noise cancellation, so you can fully immerse in the movies or shows.

You can find the classic in-flight entertainment system on all Airbus A330-333 models from Air Canada, together with a premium 8.9-inch monitor. And in many cases, Premium Economy passengers can access airlines’ premium entertainment packages which contain many exclusive content.

Food and drinks

Premium Economy foods and beverages can be a mixed bag, depending on which airline you choose to fly with.

On one hand, you’ll have the chance to skip the pre-packaged foods from Economy class and enjoy decent meals from the airline. But on the other hand, some airlines will just simply change how they serve and present their dishes. So, unless there are significant changes in the beverage menu, we just don’t see any good reasons to switch your ticket.

While many passengers will be fine with most meals on planes, if you really care about the quality of the food, then you should make sure the upgrade is worth it. Sometimes, along with the improved meals, you can enjoy better snack options, like with Delta Airlines.

Always ask the airlines for the type of foods and drinks that you’ll be receiving before booking a Premium Economy. Just keep in mind that it won’t be a gourmet meal like in the first-class cabin.

What Is Best For You?

As flyers, you’ll need to decide on yourself, Economy vs Premium Economy, which is the better option. Try to consider all the main differences that were pointed out by us, then decide if they’re worth your savings or upgrades.

Things to consider

Economy Vs Premium Economy Seat: What Are The Differences Between Them (5)

Premium Economy Class can be a good upgrade for long exhausting flights - photo by Matteo Raw on Unsplash

From our experiences, the flying length and destinations, together with your personal preferences, are extremely important. If you are going on a long flight, between 6 to 12 hours or more, then having the extra legroom and spacious cabin can make a huge difference.

Plus, tall people can avoid suffering from fatigue and pain, by giving their legs and back more room to work with.

When moving from West to East, you’ll likely go through a night flight. So, the better padding and cushion, together with extra seat recline, will let you enjoy a restful sleep. Not to mention that the extra blanket, eye marks, and other amenities will significantly improve your comfort.

During the busy travel season, a Premium Economy boarding pass can let you skip the endless Economy lanes and crowded check-in counter. Also, travellers will enjoy better privacy when boarding the plane.

Foods and drinks can be a hit and miss for both Economy and Premium Economy Class. So, we suggest you check with the airlines and look for trusted reviews if you really care about the quality of your meals and beverages.

And finally, it all comes down to the overall cost and your budget. If you’re willing to pay relatively double the price, then a Premium Economy upgrade isn’t a bad deal. Considering all the benefits and perks that you’ll be receiving.

Who Should Upgrade To Premium Economy?

As travellers who are on a budget, you wouldn’t mind sitting on a cramped seat for just a few hours, so you can save money for other activities. But if the flight is getting longer, then you should consider an upgrade, especially if you can find a good deal.

On the other hand, for people who are looking for better flying comfort and are willing to spend a little more, then the Premium Economy Class will make a good investment. Enjoy all the added amenities and additional services that aren’t available for Economy passengers without breaking the budget.

No matter if you’re travelling or going on a business trip, the upgraded seat will offer better flying experiences. Enjoy the restful flight so you are always ready for business and fun after arriving.

You might want to pay more for the better seat. Photo by Kaysha on Unsplash

Using Miles To Book Premium Economy Seat

It’s possible to get your Premium Economy upgrades without paying extra, thanks to the miles rewards from certain airlines. But you don’t necessarily have to travel a lot to earn this perk.

If you have multiple credit cards but never used them for accumulating miles, then you’re missing quite a lot. Many airlines provide travel deals through credit card sign-up bonuses.

So with a little bit of research, you can find certain credit card companies that offer flexible and significant point systems.

A few popular options are Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, Capital One Rewards, and Discover it Miles.

You can immediately look into them and learn more about their miles rewards. But feel free to dig a little deeper and find the best options for yourself.

Using these miles systems allows you to accumulate your points a lot quicker. Plus, they’ll also provide better travel deals when booking your Premium Economy tickets.

The last thing to do is to wait until you have enough points and make the booking whenever you wish to travel.


What Is The Extra Cost To Upgrade To Premium Economy?

This depends on the flights and airlines. But generally speaking, your Premium Economy ticket can cost from 1.3 to 3 times the Economy booking. As smart travellers, it’s important to balance the benefits and booking fees, so you’re making the most of your money.

Does Premium Economy Come With Lounge Access?

In most cases, the answer is no. Airlines will only provide access to airport lounges to their elite members. And unless you’re flying first-class there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to access this area. Still, there are ways for you to unlock the airport lounge, oftentimes, by redeeming certain royalty or affiliate program rewards. The only exception to the rule is Japan Airlines.

What’s Economy Plus And Is It Different From Other Economy Options?

Come in slightly more affordable compared to Premium Economy, Economy Plus is a nice step from Economy Class if you don’t want to spend a lot extra. Passengers can enjoy more spacious seats and legroom, and on some occasions, the seat quality is also better depending on the airline.

How Much Extra Leg Room Does Premium Economy Have?

You will have wider seats and more legroom when flying with Premium Economy instead of the regular Economy Class. However, the exact number depends on the airline and the plane models that you’re flying with. It’s best to check with the airlines to receive the most accurate information.

Premium Economy: Worth It?

From our experience, the upgraded seat class is slightly better than Economy while maintaining a reasonable price.

If you really want that wider seat and more spacious legroom to make your trip more comfortable, then it’s worth spending some extra money. Not to mention that the additional services and amenities will certainly impress the long-time Economy passengers.

However, if you are looking for a truly luxurious experience, then a Premium Economy won’t do you justice. In our opinion, it’s only from Business class upward that you can truly feel the differences.

Nguyen Kim Vuong

Economy Vs Premium Economy Seat: What Are The Differences Between Them (2024)


Economy Vs Premium Economy Seat: What Are The Differences Between Them? ›

Premium economy's big selling point is more space. The seats are an inch or two wider on average than the typical coach seat, and the rows are farther apart, offering several more inches of legroom. Most premium economy seats recline, and many have footrests. How much space you actually get depends on the airline.

Is the difference between economy and premium economy worth it? ›

Flying Premium Economy

A bit more legroom space and a bit of a wider seat does make for a little more comfort. Although the seat may recline a little more, if you are not used to sleeping in a sitting position, then this isn't going to make a huge difference.

Is it worth it to upgrade to premium economy? ›

Is Premium Economy Worth It? For travelers with extra cash or miles to spare, premium economy is obviously a much nicer experience that can be worth the money. On overnight flights or longer journeys, the extra space and recline could be the difference between getting some rest or arriving sore, cramped and tired.

How much is the price difference between economy and premium economy? ›

On average, you can expect Premium Economy tickets to cost approximately 1.5 to 3 times more. The big selling point for premium economy tickets is more space.

Is the food different in economy to premium economy? ›

Premium Economy foods and beverages can be a mixed bag, depending on which airline you choose to fly with. On one hand, you'll have the chance to skip the pre-packaged foods from Economy class and enjoy decent meals from the airline.

How much should I pay for premium economy? ›

Well, it all depends on the airline and the route, but on average, you can expect to pay around 1.5-3 times more for premium economy. For example, if an economy class ticket costs $500, a premium economy ticket for the same flight could cost anywhere from $750 to $1000.

What extras do you get with premium economy? ›

Here's what you can expect in Premium Economy seats compared to Economy class:
  • More leg room.
  • Wider seats.
  • Extra inches of seat recline.
  • Power outlets.
  • Larger personal entertainment screens.
  • A larger selection of foods.
  • Greater privacy.
Aug 22, 2019

How to get free upgrade from economy to premium economy? ›

8 ways to get a free upgrade on your next flight
  1. Achieve elite travel status. ...
  2. Use an airline rewards credit card. ...
  3. Watch for sales & deals. ...
  4. Ask at the gate. ...
  5. Report bad experiences to customer service. ...
  6. Fly solo. ...
  7. Take advantage of oversold flights. ...
  8. Use airline miles.
Apr 30, 2024

Is it cheaper to book economy and then upgrade? ›

The cheapest way to get a business or first-class ticket is to buy an economy ticket then buy an upgrade. You can either do this immediately after booking or look for last-minute upgrades as your travel date approaches. The price for premium cabin fares decreases as you get closer to departure.

Which airline has the most comfortable economy seats? ›

According to a new study from WalletHub, there's a tie between two U.S. airlines: Both Delta and JetBlue earned the honors for being the most comfortable airlines.

How much more expensive is business class than premium economy? ›

According to Skyscanner, premium-class tickets cost 65% less than business-class tickets. If you are traveling a long distance, it may be worth purchasing a premium economy ticket. You'll have more legroom and a wider seat that reclines a few inches more than seats in economy.

Is premium economy good for long flights? ›

“I often pay for premium economy on long-haul flights for the additional space; it's significantly more than what you get in economy, even extra-legroom economy seats, and I value that,” says Edward Russell, an aviation expert and journalist.

Is business class much better than premium economy? ›

Premium Economy is less expensive and has more legroom than Economy. Business Class offers more legroom, luxurious seating, fine dining, and enhanced entertainment​​.

Do you get lounge access with premium economy? ›

Travel in Premium Economy does not give you access to lounges. Lounge access is available to Airpoints™ Elite, Gold or Elite or Elite Partner or Koru members, or a Star Alliance Gold member. Take a look at our lounges section for more information about lounge access. How well did this answer your question?

Why is premium economy so popular? ›

Premium economy's big selling point is more space. The seats are an inch or two wider on average than the typical coach seat, and the rows are farther apart, offering several more inches of legroom. Most premium economy seats recline, and many have footrests. How much space you actually get depends on the airline.

Do you get priority boarding with premium economy? ›

Enjoy a premium start to your journey with priority boarding, spacious seats, thoughtful service and an award-winning inflight entertainment system.

Can you lie down in premium economy? ›

While Premium Economy today doesn't offer a fully lie-flat bed, daytime flyers can benefit from the extra perks such as more comfortable seating, tastier meals, special amenity kits and speedier airport processing.

Is premium economy better than comfort? ›

Delta Comfort Plus is a seat upgrade from the main cabin that offers up to 3 inches of additional legroom and dedicated overhead luggage space. Conversely, Delta Premium Select seats let passengers stretch out with a reclining feature, wider seat, footrest and premium amenities.

Is premium economy better than business class? ›

Premium Economy is less expensive and has more legroom than Economy. Business Class offers more legroom, luxurious seating, fine dining, and enhanced entertainment​​.

Does premium economy get priority check-in? ›

Enjoy the following priority services : Priority check-in with personalized services. Priority boarding. Priority baggage handling.


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