Have a long flight to look forward to but the prospect of spending five or more hours in an economy or coach seat is an unwelcome thought? But the price to upgrade to first-class is prohibitive? You just might be the right person to consider flying “Premium Economy”.

Leg Room

And elbow room. And knee room. And head room. Yes, a Premium Economy seat is just simply bigger than a seat in the economy section. The seats themselves are wider, with more width of the actual cushions as well as a greater distance between armrests – which gives more wiggle room for someone who wants to sleep but can’t do so completely still. In addition, the seats are often spaced further apart between rows for more leg room between the end of the seat and the start of the footrest at the back of the seat in front of you. Another factor Premium Economy seats may employ is increasing the available pitch or tilt radius of the seat in its reclining function. This gives you more room to relax and also more room to climb past the person in the aisle seat with less awkwardness and more space to “remain seated while the pilot has the fasten seatbelt sign on” in greater comfort.


Many Premium Economy tickets come with additional perks beyond the leg room. These perks may include more options for your in-flight entertainment and an increase in your luggage allowance. For instance, in economy class you can only bring on one carry-on item and one carry-on bag. This means most travelers end up having to check one piece of luggage – which often is at a cost. Premium Economy often means you can bring in an additional full-sized carry-on bag to accompany you in the cabin on the flight. And expanded inflight entertainment options means you will be less likely to need to break out your credit card to splurge on a high quality and recent television show or theatrical released film. Premium Economy seats may have not only increased numbers of available programming, but also more options for plugging in your own devices to watch what you may have already queued up.

Food and Drinks

Typically, on a Premium Economy flight you will have a far larger menu of available food and drinks to choose from to keep you sated during your travels. This means not only will you have more choices overall, but also more choices that are included in the base price, meaning no extra fee.

Some may even offer a wide range of beverages, including top-shelf spirits and premium brand beers to say nothing of the select vintage wines. These food and drink perks alone may make it worth your while on a long enough flight. Some Premium Economy flights also come with complimentary comfort kits – so you can finish your meal with a proper toothbrush and toothpaste. And then settle in for the night (or early afternoon, depending on where you’re flying to) with ear plugs and an eyeshade, all as part of a Premium Economy package.

In all, Premium Economy is a tremendous value upgrade for most fliers. Whether your main concern is comfort, ease, or price, Premium Economy is an excellent compromise. Take advantage of same-day travel price drops and upgrade opportunities if you keep a careful eye out for them. And if you can’t get authorization to fly Business Class, see if your office will allow Premium Economy instead of regular coach. It may slip past the penny-counters as a simple “Economy” booking.