American Airliners Premium Economy in a Nutshell
American’s Premium Economy on a transAtlantic flight is good. I don’t think it is at the level with other European airlines, but it is certainly a step up from economy. I was upgraded at check in from economy, and I can say that if this becomes a perk of being Executive Platinum, it would make American a lot more lucrative for elite fliers.
The Good: Seat is wider than first class. Good pillow and blanket. You get a smaller amenity kit than the business class one, but it still has all the same items inside.
The Bad: There was only one option for breakfast, and I don’t eat fruit or yogurt, so I was left hungry.
The Noteworthy: I was upgraded at check in, which has happened to me once since, and I don’t know if this is now going to be an official AA policy, or if it is just a random occurrence.
I flew in from Houston and had about two hours before my flight departed. I did visit the new Flagship Lounge for a while, but I was craving some Cuban food so I had dinner at La Carreta before boarding began. In my opinion, La Carreta is one of the best restaurants in an airport, it serves great food, and the employees are kind and charming. I hands down recommend it.
Boarding began on time for the Madrid flight, with business class passengers called ot board first. This was followed by Executive Platinums, Platinum Pros and Platinums, and then Gold and Premium Economy.
Airline: American Airlines
Cabin: Premium Economy
Flight Number: AA 68
Route: Miami MIA – Madrid MAD
On Time: Yes
Cabin and Seat
Since I got to board before any other P/E passenger, I was able to snag a few pictures of the cabin. There are 3 rows arranged in a 2x4x2 configuration. The seats are basically the same ones you will find on reconfigured A319s and on the new 737-MAX8 in business class. The one difference is that these seats recline further.
To compare, here is the economy class cabin, configured in a tight, industry standard of 3x4x3. There is noticeably more legroom in P/E than in regular economy, and the IFE screens are larger. Waiting at my seat was a bottle of water, packaged pillow and blanket, and an amenity kit.
The amenity kit had all the essentials and the same content than what the business class kit contains. This is a HUGE upgrade to most P/E cabins, that sometimes don’t even offer an amenity kit. Contents were provided by C.O. Bigelow. Later on, flight attendants came by with noise reducing headphones, which were somewhat flimsy, but compare to what other airlines have in business class.
Each seat has a large IFE screen in front of it. There is also a small table between each seat. The IFE control is on the side of the seat and is really intuitive and responsive, as well as the screen being touch responsive.
Departure and Take off
The flight was completely full by the time boarding was done. The flight attendants came by and offered us glasses of water or orange juice as a pre departure beverage. The captain came on the PA and announced that we would be departing on time, expecting a smooth flight to Madrid and that we would land on time.
Food and Beverage
There are very little options for food and drink in P/E. They did hand out a menu, which had the two options for dinner. There were no liquors available, and the wines were (at least) not boxed wines. Here is the menu:
The whole meal was presented in one tray. I ordered the burrata ravioli, which was really greasy but very flavourful. The appetizer was bland, and the salad was tiny. The cake was very rich. It is basically what you can expect on a business class flight within the US on AA.
For breakfast, there was one option. The fruit plate and the yogurt were handed out about 80 minutes before arrival, and it was a small step above over the juice and pastry box handed out in economy.
The seat is better for sleeping than the economy class seat, but it is still hard to sleep if you aren’t in a window seat. There was also an issue with the lighting on the right side of the the cabin. The lights would not shut off, and even after the flight attendants tried to turn it off, the system did not turn the light out. This meant that if I wanted to sleep, I would need to deal with the light all flight long.
Notes on Service and Wifi
Service was fine. Some of the flight attendants were kind and attentive, and others were stale and not proactive. The lady who served me breakfast did not want to serve me coffee AND orange juice because “I wasn’t in first class”. Willing to bet that if I had pushed the call button afterwards for the OJ or the coffee, she would have barked at me.
Premium Economy is definitely a step up from coach. American has a good seat, nice amenities and good legroom. The food is lackluster, and the service is nowhere near as what you would get in business class. They should also allow for passengers in P/E to have liquors. American Airlines premium economy would be worth a few hundred dollars premium over economy, but it’s still not groundbreaking. Overall, a good flight, but American can still improve a bit on the breakfast.
Here is a list of all my flight reviews: The Millennial Traveler Flight Reviews
Here is a list of all my lounge reviews: The Millennial Traveler Lounge Reviews
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