Premium Economy on American –
This past week American Airlines announced the introduction of premium economy on international flights beginning in late 2016 on the 787-9 followed by it being introduced on some of the other international aircraft.
American posted the announcement to their webpage.
American said that the new cabin will feature:
This announcement follows a trend of other airlines, primarily international ones that offer a unique cabin that is a step above economy but not below business class. They introduced these cabins as a response to trends in corporate spending which shifted from allowing business class travel.
The change was a way for airlines to generate some additional income and offer a unique cabin.
Some of the airlines that feature the product include Air France, British Airways, Cathay Pacific among others.
Air France’s Premium Economy Cabin:
British Airways Premium Economy Cabin:
Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Cabin:
These airlines introduced a slightly better seat that offered additional recline. The airline also offers a premium meal selection for the cabin which is a step above the traditional economy offering. In addition, the airlines offer small amenity kits and for some noise-cancelling headphones.
I personally have never flown in a true premium economy cabin. Oftentimes the price difference is significant and I would rather spend my money on enjoying the destination.
US Airlines initially responded by offering economy plus cabins such as the American Airlines Main Cabin Extra or Delta’s Economy Comfort section. These offerings were simply a regular economy seat with additional leg room and recline. The airlines have generated additional income streams from the offering and they have reduced access to the seats by elites.
Recently Delta introduced premium snacks, free alcoholic beverages and free AVOD content for those sitting in the seats.
It will be interesting to see what happens as American introduces the new cabin. To me this just seems like an additional way for the airline to generate ancillary revenue. I am worried that they will remove the main cabin extra seats and squeeze all the economy seats together similar to what other airlines have done.
This will make flying in economy less enjoyable as the additional legroom will go away.
I have flown on some older aircraft that featured seats with the leg and foot rests. I have never found those seats to be that comfortable and generally it is only the recline portion that makes it comfortable. So I am not sure how great the new cabin will be.
The one area that I am interested in seeing is the introduction of the premium meal options for the cabin. It seems the general consensus among other bloggers is that American’s catering lacks that of other airlines. For me personally, I generally find meals that I enjoy; although when you compare them to other airlines they are not always at the same quality. I am excited to see what the new meals will entail.
For now, I will continue to enjoy the Main Cabin Extra seats when I travel.
Have you experienced a true Premium Economy cabin? What was your experience like?
Photos: Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific