The Premium Economy class is a sort of an improved Economy class. It is not standardized on all airlines and they differ greatly between them, the biggest difference is usually between those offering it for domestic flights or for longer and night flights.
Almost all airlines are currently offering a category that is between the typical Economy and the great Business Class.
Until now I had never flown in the Air France Premium Economy class and on my flight from Santiago de Chile to Paris I was finally able to try the experience. It was one of the longest flights I ever made and it was 14 hours to really prove what it was this about.
Flying in Premium Economy, the experience
The experience of flying in Premium Economy starts from before trip since you have the right to greater quantity and weight of luggage.
When you arrive at the airport you will notice the difference, since during the whole trip you have Priority treatment, which means that you can access the rows especially determined for it. With less waiting and a more comfortable and fast approach. In addition, depending on the airport and final destination, your luggage should leave the first ones to the baggage claim.
You can access the Lounge paying an extra fee that in this case I did not need because the flight started from my hometown and I arrived just in time for my flight.
The configuration and seats in Air France’s Premium Economy
This time we fly with a Boeing 777-300 and in the Premium Economy are only 3 rows with a configuration 2-4-2. The seats are (38 inches) 97cm long and 48cm (19inch) wide.
It is a quieter cabin since it is a closed area by curtains separating this area from the Economy class behind and the Business class located above.
By the time I got to my seat I had a Welcome Kit including the standard socks, eye-mask, toothbrush, earplugs, headphones covers and a bottle of water in the front compartment. The best thing about the seats in this category is that they are an individual capsule, so you will not jump every time the passenger behind you has to take something out of the front compartment and touch your lowest back (let’s be real..booty) through the seat fabrics.
The space between seats is considerably bigger than Economy and it’s great to be able to have support for your elbows without having to fight with your seatmate. They have a footrest, pillow and a good size and soft blanket.
Each seat has a big touchscreen with a very varied entertainment menu, which includes even mindfulness meditation and stretching sessions to perform on your same seat and make the trip less tiring physically. I tried several of them and they are well thought out to be able to do without disturbing your seat partner.
In addition to the display, each compartment has a plug, signature noise-canceling headphones and a table wide enough to work comfortably during the flight. I wrote two articles while traveling!
It’s still a little awkward having to go to the bathroom when you sit at the window like me (#windowteam !!!) and maybe the only thing I didn’t like was the quality of the stuffing in the seats, which feel a little rough after several hours sitting.
The seat reclining system is different from Economy and you have to move your body to recline it, which took me a few minutes to pick up and the recline is bigger but you still feel you are sitting, it’s still a rather small seat to be able to turn on your side to sleep for example.
Crew and Onboard Service
I love flying with Air France because the crew is generally super friendly. As they are almost all French the announcements during the flight are in French, English and some even in Spanish, because the flight connected Chile with France.
Food and beverages
The food in all categories of Air France I’ve tried has been surprisingly good! On this flight we were given a menu with a choice between two options: the one I chose included smoked salmon, duck foie gras as a starter and a beef stew, mushrooms and mashed potatoes. It included bread, camembert cheese and a wine that was not too bad to accompany dinner. For dessert a really tasty and crunchy chocolate tart.
Something I love about flying with Air France … Everyone can have champagne before dinner!
Throughout the flight, you can access some snacks and drinks in the galley of each area.
Is it worth to buy a Premium Economy ticket?
Obviously, a regular business class user will not be much interested in moving to a lower category, but a regular economy class user if you can be very interested in being able to enjoy more comfort during your flights for a much more affordable price than buying a ticket in first class.
There are times when the price difference means only 10-15% and paying an Upgrade can mean traveling much more comfortable and you will notice it especially on a long flight.
If you want to enjoy more comfort during your flight, a personalized service and arrive less tired to your destination, the Premium Economy is a very good option.