Premium Economy: Is It Worth It?

When I went to London this summer with my mom, I was lucky enough to escape cattle class and try out Premium Economy on British Airways. Below, I’ll break down all of the amenities of flying Premium Economy and whether or not it’s worth the extra splurge.

A view of the cabin from the back of it. Very zen.

1. Cabin
Right when I stepped foot onto the air craft, the premium economy cabin made a great first impression and felt like an upgrade from cattle class. Due to its  smaller size,  the cabin felt more exclusive and less crammed than regular economy. British Airways as a whole was wayyyy nicer than any American airline I’ve flown, so I think overall I was impressed, but the cabin size definitely made me feel less stressed overall about the trip because we weren’t packed into the plane like sardines. Plus, there were better odds I wouldn’t be stuck near a screaming baby. The plane was also brand new, very clean and streamlined in design.

Taking a snap of my neighbor’s seat before she boarded. 

2. Seating
A bit roomier seat than regular economy, but nothing too extravagant to write home about. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely had more leg room and wasn’t sitting on my neighbor’s lap, but it’s by no means business or first class level of luxury. My seat had a foot rest and reclined, but it did not lay flat, so sleeping wasn’t too much easier than regular economy. A definite improvement, but not overly luxurious or a sole reason to upgrade. If leg room is very important to you, and you can’t afford business, it was definitely a noticeable enough change to pay extra.

The menu for our London to LA flight.

3. Food
I’m very much a foodie and take my meals quite seriously, so the food alone would be reason enough for me to upgrade to Premium Economy again. You’re given access to Business Class dining, so instead of gnawing away at a nasty excuse for chicken curry, you’re treated to steak, salad and a fine glass of vino. Bon apetit.

My steak and veggies. Not bad at all for airline food, and better than some normal steaks I’ve had, to be honest. I’m looking at you Applebees.
Your in-flight entertainment. Pretty standard and the same as economy class, but plenty of great films to help you ignore your chatty seatmate. I definitely caught up on “Sherlock” and balled my eyes out to “Her.”

4. Entertainment/Amenities
Your in-flight entertainment will be the same as the peasants in economy class, but British Airways did supply a few more amenities to make the experience a little bit more fabulous. We each were gifted a pillow and blanket, sadly not always standard issue on airplanes anymore, and they were individually wrapped to appease my germophobe friends. Hidden in the seat pocket, however, was my favorite touch – a cute little amenities kit filled with goodies – aka your very own swag bag.

I of course was over-prepared and had already packed the necessities, such as ear plugs and an eye mask, but my new friend, good ole British Airways, would have saved me the trouble. The pack was complete with ear plugs, eye mask, socks to keep the toes nice and warm and toothbrush and toothpaste to help make me nice and fresh as I exited the plane to find my British boyfriend. Certainly a lovely touch that hearkened back to the good ole days of more enjoyable air travel.

My amenities kit. A well deserved touch of glam for any weary traveler.
The Verdict?
Overall, yes Premium Economy was worth it for me. It was only about $100 extra, a far cry from the $1000 or so it would take to upgrade to Business Class, and I felt like the little touches of sumptuousness, swag bag, extra leg room and delicious food definitely made my long haul flight more enjoyable. I’d hate to make another international trip without it.