Austrian Airlines announced Friday that it would be doubling down on its premium economy offerings for long-haul flights. Starting in the first quarter of 2022, the carrier will begin refurbishing its fleet of Boeing 767s to feature not 18 but 30 premium economy seats. The extended cabin will be available on flights to North America along with the summer schedule.
A divisive approach to comfort
The notion of a premium economy section of the cabin somewhat divides airlines. Emirates recently launched the concept and will be offering it on 5% of its A380 fleet by next month. Gulf rival carrier Qatar Airways remains adamant that the segment will never feature on any of its aircraft.
Aeroflot has halved its premium economy offering on its refurbished Boeing 777s. Meanwhile, this summer, SWISS revealed its premium economy to launch before next year. Fellow Lufthansa Group carrier Austrian Airlines just announced that it would be expanding the premium economy class on its Boeing 767 fleet. The airline’s Chief Commercial Officer, Michael Trestl, commented in a statement,
“As a genuinely Austrian airline, we carry ‘Premium’ in our hearts. With the expansion of the Premium Economy Class, we want to offer better travel comfort to even more passengers on long-haul routes.”
“This travel class appeals to all those who want a bit more comfort and service on long-haul trips yet still want to fly on a price-conscious basis. This is how we want to make the travel experience for each passenger individually customizable and improved,” Mr Trestl continued.
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Ready by summer
Austrian first introduced its premium economy offering in 2018, currently offering 18 seats per plane. The conversion of Austrian’s four remaining 767s will take place during the first quarter of next year and is set to double the number of seats to 30. Austrian says that the three aircraft that serve North America will feature the expanded cabin by summer.
Austrian’s premium economy seats have a pitch of 38 inches and have a spacious 2-2-2 layout. At 18.5 inches, they have a seat surface nearly two inches broader than that of their regular economy counterparts. The armrest between each pair of seats is six inches wide, making for more wiggle room and less passive-aggressive elbow positioning.
Austrian’s premium economy cabin also features 12-inch screens with remote controls for the In-Flight Entertainment, as well as personal power outlets and USB ports on the seats. Passengers are allowed to bring two pieces of check-in luggage weighing 23 kg each. They are also provided with an amenity kit with travel accessories. A three or four-course meal is also included in the ticket price.
What are your thoughts on premium economy? Yay or nay? Have you flown it? With which airline and was it worth the extra money? Leave a comment and let us know.