It is interesting when the class between economy and business enters the too expensive category. Premium economy is usually not so different to economy that it would justify a huge price increase.

I am used to the price of premium economy to be something in the region of around half as much again as economy class. This would mean a €900 return economy fare would see the same airline offering premium economy for about €1,350.

What Exactly Do You Get?

Most airlines premium economy offer wider seats with more recline as well as more pitch which results in increased leg room. All of this improves passenger comfort. The decreased passenger count is touted as possibly giving better service but this is unlikely as the economy class cabin crew also work premium economy.

The trend is to offer one part of one meal from the business class cabin. Above are examples from Cathay Pacific and British Airways, where the main dish is from the class above. Sometimes the pillows are bigger and sometimes the blankets better but that is the end of the usual differences.

So Just What Is Too Expensive?

My earlier example is what I expect to pay on a flight from Dublin to Sydney via London and Hong Kong. It is pricing I have paid in the past and at that level it is okay. I would pay up to about €1,600 for the same reason I would not pay more than €1,100 for economy.

Searching various dates between now and April 2018, the price being charged for premium economy is regularly just over €2,200 with economy being €1,100. I think double the price for premium economy is far too expensive.

How About This For Comparison?

Further illustrating the point is the fact that Qatar Airways recently had a sale where business class flights from Stockholm to Auckland were €1,950. While the cities are different, the flight times are quite similar. Granted, it is a sale fare, but it shows just how expensive the premium economy fares above actually are.

Business class on any airline is a substantial upgrade over both premium economy and economy class. The main reason for this is the fact you have lie flat seats. In addition, you get a better crew to passenger ratio, much better food and drink plus various other soft product enhancements from amenity kits to pyjamas.

What About Other Airlines?

Air New Zealand spring to mind as they had an amazing looking premium economy class though that is now being changed to conform with everyone else. Economy from London to Auckland is as low as £850 in November with premium economy at a crazy £2,500 plus!

More reasonable is their Sydney to Auckland pricing on a one way flight which is $285 in economy and $393 in premium economy. That would make me pay the extra with little thought.

Overall Thoughts

People are paying these expensive amounts for premium economy flights, otherwise the airlines would not put them on sale at these prices. For me, the huge amounts being asked for do not provide enough value compared to what you receive on board. One and a half times the price of economy on the same day is appropriate – more is not.

As with anything you need to shop smart when buying flights and of course some may be happy to pay whatever is asked in order to get more space. Each to their own! Always do your research before making a purchase. I hope you have found this useful and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image via British Airways, Spaceseat image via Air New Zealand.