Shrinking Airfares: ‘Premium Economy’ Is The Same Price As ‘Economy’ 4 Years Ago

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Believe it or not, the cost of a premium economy ticket is now the same price as economy four years ago.

This means that either you get more bang for your buck or it’s cheaper than ever before to fly!

Eva Air premium economy seating – read the review here!

What are the details?

Premium economy is a bit of an in-between class. We have always been comfortable with the idea of three classes onboard the typical jet. First class for the best experience (if you haven’t flown first class internationally, here is the best way), business class for those travelers who are looking for luxury but don’t want to break the bank and economy, for those just wanting to get to the destination.

But something funny started to happen a few years ago. As business class grew to rival first class (to the point that many airlines are removing the first class product altogether) airlines realized that the gulf between economy and business was growing larger. Thus, a new class had to be born, for those looking to slightly upgrade, but not good enough to cause business class passengers to downgrade.

But in an effort to remain competitive, airlines have been pushing the price of economy tickets down, rather than premium economy up! Of course, it is very likely that economy has slowly become a little more spartan with features being traded to premium economy (looking at you meals and luggage!), but for short haul flights this is fantastic for both sides of the coin.

qantas premium economy
Qantas premium economy also uses the lazy-Z style seat

As boardingarea.com points out, what used to be $700-900 for an economy ticket can now actually get you a premium economy ticket:

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And airlines are trying to make premium economy better than ever before. Now when you book this ticket, generally your luggage and meals are included (Some airlines offer the business class food in premium economy). There might be a fancy pillow, amenity kit and branded noise canceling headphones. Plus, you can have access to a lounge and priority boarding.

air new zealand premium economy
Air New Zealand took top spot for premium economy at the Skytrax awards 2018

Why fly premium economy?

Some of the readers might ask, what is the point in paying for a slightly better experience if you are stuck in relatively the same seat (not lie flat) and service? And they have a good point too, with most premium economy tickets costing double that of the cheapest economy ticket. If it is a short flight, then why spend more?

There are a few perks. For one, if you are trying to wrangle yourself an upgrade, most carriers only allow you to upgrade into the next cabin. Economy to premium economy, premium economy to business, business to first. If you are trying to win an upgrade, that is all you can do. This includes upgrading on points. If you want to upgrade with points to business, then perhaps consider premium economy as the normal price you would pay for economy anyway.

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premium economy happy
In premium economy, you could be this happy too!

Lastly, some airlines are even starting to create a new class between economy and premium economy. On a recent flight on Virgin Australia from LA to Sydney (Which you can read the review here), there was a Economy X class. It had better headphones and a bigger screen, but the same meals and service as economy. This is a push to get customers to buy a little more comfort a dollar at a time.

Overall, now is the best time to fly on premium economy, and with more airlines offering the class every day, we can expect prices to get cheaper than ever before.

What do you think? Do you like to fly in premium economy?

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