American Airlines announced today that they had finished retrofitting their entire widebody fleet with premium economy. Not only are they the only US airline to offer premium economy across all their widebody routes, but they now also have a bigger premium economy capacity than any other airline in the US.
What are the details?
American Airlines has now finished installing the premium economy class in its entire widebody fleet.
“American Airlines now has 3,025 Premium Economy seats across 124 Boeing 787, 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft” – Travelling For Miles.
If you don’t know what Premium Economy brings to the table, you only need to look at the description that fellow publication Travelling For Miles found on the American Airlines website.
When traveling in Premium Economy, customers can relax with a Casper day blanket and lumbar pillow, enjoy a premium amenity kit and a chef-inspired meal with wines selected by master sommelier Bobby Stuckey. On the ground, customers receive two free checked bags and priority benefits when checking in, going through security and boarding.
Typically passengers can expect free entertainment, free alcoholic beverages with every meal, in-seat power and access to WiFi, priority baggage and security in airports. The seats themselves offer more legroom; for example on the American Airlines Boeing 787-9, premium economy offers 38 inches of legroom compared the 31 in standard coach.
Why is this good news?
Premium economy has been a surprising and lucrative source of income for airlines. Passengers love the category in part for its affordability when compared to business, but also for the additional comforts over regular economy.
Passengers can expect better food (Virgin Australia offers business class meals in premium economy), bigger screens, better seats (Emirates is planning to roll out a whole new seat just for premium economy) and more flexible baggage options.
Airlines share a similar love with the class but for a very different reason. Typically, premium economy takes up less than half the space of a business class seat, so the cabin can fill four times as many passengers as business. Even so, airlines are able to charge double the cost of an economy ticket, which only really includes soft products that don’t cost the airline much extra at all.
The little dark side with premium economy is, however, that now it gives airlines the green light to make their standard economy even more crushing. If there is an alternative to upgrade to instead of business, then passengers might be even more encouraged to make the small upgrade.
With American Airlines now boasting the class across their widebody fleet, passengers and airline shareholders will be more satisfied.
What do you think of this news? Will you be flying American Airlines more regularly as they now have premium economy across the fleet? Let us know in the comments.
Correction: American Airlines has finished fitting Premium Economy to their widebody fleet, however, their A330-300s have not been retrofitted as they are due to be retired.