My first travel piece for Fox News went live a couple of days ago. Here’s a snippet!
Priority boarding. Extra legroom. Champagne before takeoff. It’s not just the stuff of business class dreams.
With fewer available flights, widespread passenger dissatisfaction, and glamour a distant Eisenhower-era memory, the ailing airline industry is rolling out the red carpet in small but significant ways to woo back customers. Enter “Premium Economy” class, an increasingly popular option offering a superior flight experience at a fraction of the exorbitant cost of business class.
A hybrid between Business and Economy, Premium Economy has been available for years on long-haul international carriers like Air New Zealand and Virgin Atlantic—where 10+ hour flights necessitate extra conveniences to keep passengers from revolting. Recently, U.S. carriers have also adopted the trend, with Premium Economy options (known respectively as Main Cabin Extra, Economy Comfort, Economy Plus and Main Cabin Select) now available on American, Delta, United and Virgin America.
In short, pay a bit more money—a nominal fee on U.S. domestic routes, a more significant but still relatively-affordable one for long-haul international—and enjoy, at a minimum, several more inches of legroom. Depending on the carrier and the route, Premium Economy might also garner you priority boarding and 50 percent more seat recline (such as on Delta), or a separate cabin with dedicated bathrooms (such as on Air New Zealand). For an hour-long puddle jump, the extra space might barely register. But on a five and a half hour LAX to JFK redeye—to say nothing of international flights for small business owners or honeymooners—suddenly every little bit counts.