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9 Reasons to Upgrade to Premium Economy

Angela Griffin

Angela Griffin

Sick of being stuck in cattle class? Looking for a little more leg room? Business Class too pricey? Next time you fly, bridge the gap between economy and business with a seat in Premium Economy class.

What is Premium Economy?

Premium Economy is an airline travel class that sits comfortably between economy and business class in terms of both standard and price. It’s not featured on every airline, but popular ones that offer it include Air New Zealand, Virgin, Cathay Pacific and British Airways, where it’s known as World Traveller Plus.

Virgin plane

Virgin Atlantic offers Premium Economy class cabins

Here are 9 reasons to make the upgrade:

You’ll add a touch of luxury

Premium Economy is just that: a premium version of Economy Class. Economy Class with a touch of luxury if you will. Think: free drinks, free newspapers, WiFi and three-course dinners. Your journey will be just that little bit more comfortable than in economy, and you’ll feel just that little bit more refreshed and pampered when you touch down at your destination.

Seats in BA World Traveller Plus

British Airways World Traveller Plus seats

You’ll get more leg room

If you’re tall, then this will probably be your number one reason to upgrade. It’s all about seat pitch – the distance from one row to the next – which in Economy Class is 30-32 inches. In Premium Economy, this increases to 38-40 inches, a whole eight more inches for you to stretch your legs. If you’re super tall or just like to spread out, Qantas even offer selected seat pitches at a whopping 42 inches! Better yet, the seats sometimes recline further too. Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy seats recline 50% further than in Economy Class and Cathay Pacific allows eight whole inches of tilt room.

There’s no massive price hike

While seats in Business Class can cost almost as much as the rest of your holiday combined, in Premium Economy, we’re talking a much smaller increase. The exact figure depends on where you are flying to and how far in advance you book – book further in advance and premium will likely be around double the price of economy; book nearer to the date of travel and the increase can be as little as 10%, which is great value considering all the extras you get with the upgrade. However much you pay for Premium Economy, it’s still much, much cheaper than Business Class tickets.

Air New Zealand Premium Economy

Relaxing in Air New Zealand's Premium Economy class

Seats are comfier

Often covered with plush leather and more cushioning, seats in Premium Economy not only have more leg room, but they’re comfier too. Singapore Airlines’ lush seats have more in common with Business Class than economy while Virgin Atlantic’s leather-coated chairs are perfect for sitting back and relaxing – they’ve got headrests, footrests, pillows and blankets too. Furthermore, Premium Economy seats are wider than Economy Class seats, with Virgin Atlantic winning the prize for the widest seats in premium – theirs are a massive 21 inches!

You’ll get priority boarding

Be the first to board the plane with Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific’s priority boarding service. You’ll be seated and checking out the movies with a drink in hand while the people in economy are still squabbling over the overhead locker space. You’ll also be first to disembark the plane and your luggage will come out first on the carousel, so you’ll also be first in line for a taxi at the other end.

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy meal

Meal time in Cathay Pacific's Premium Economy cabin

You can enjoy improved meals

The good news is that meals in Premium Economy are usually included, and they’re significantly better than the economy versions. Think three courses and fine dining. Air New Zealand even has a wine pairing list to match their menu. British Airways, Virgin and Qantas serve their food on real china too – yes, there’s none of those economy-style plastic tubs here. Many airlines use metal cutlery and linen napkins too. Virgin and Qantas go one better and serve all Premium Economy passengers a glass of fizz before you’ve even taken off, while Singapore Airlines offer Singapore Slings.

You’ll get an amenity kit

Everyone loves a freebie, and many airlines, including Virgin, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Singapore Airlines all give away comprehensive amenity kits, often stuffed with toothbrushes, travel-sized toothpaste, earplugs, eye masks and travel socks, and you can keep it all when you disembark. Air New Zealand goes one step further and offers complimentary hand-selected skincare products in the bathrooms.

You can pack more

If packing light is an impossible feat, fear not, as Premium Economy luggage allowances are higher than economy. Not only is the weight allowance higher, but sometimes more than one carry-on bag is allowed. For example, British Airways’ World Traveller Plus allows travellers two hand luggage bags and two in the hold – double the allowance for Economy Class travellers.

Qantas Premium Economy

In-flight entertainment in Qantas' premium Economy cabin

You’ll get improved entertainment

Most Premium Economy cabins have TV screens in the seat-backs, and offer on-demand entertainment, including the latest movies, album releases and TV shows, and top-of-the-range games. Singapore Airlines’ screens are 13.3 inches wide, while Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific and Qantas have USB ports so you can hook up your own device, a charge port so you never run out of power and from Qantas planes you can even make calls and send text messages.


Want to upgrade to Premium Economy? Speak to one of our Travel Experts about booking your flight today.


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