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What is Premium Economy and why does it cost more?

We’ve all seen it when we’ve booked a flight, but how many of us truly know what Premium Economy means?

Cheaper than Business and First Class but more expensive than Economy. Is it worth the upgrade and what do you actually get for your money? We’ve looked at some of the most popular airlines flying from New Zealand to see what they provide. The airlines we looked at are:

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Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy class

In 2018, Air New Zealand was found to have the best Premium Economy class, as you know you’re in good hands. As with almost all airlines, Premium Economy is only available on Air New Zealand for international flights. Compared with economy class, you get the following benefits:

  • More legroom and a seat that reclines more
  • A second piece of carry-on luggage
  • A second checked luggage
  • A different menu
  • More frequent flyer points
  • An amenity kit (with eye mask, toothbrush etc)

Qantas’ Premium Economy class

Behind Air New Zealand, Qantas is one of the preferred options for flights from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. If you decide to upgrade to Premium Economy with Qantas, you’ll receive the following benefits:

  • More legroom and wider seats
  • A cabin with no more than 40 seats, and a better cabin crew to passenger ratio
  • A dedicated check-in counter
  • Priority boarding and disembarkation
  • A Country Road amenity kit and noise-cancelling headphones
  • An upgraded menu

Singapore Airlines’ Premium Economy class

When you fly to Europe, it pays to fly with an airline that has a great layover spot. Singapore Airlines’ base at Changi Airport, repeatedly voted the best airport in the world, means you get a comfortable journey from start to finish. If you opt for the Premium Economy upgrade, this is what you’ll receive:

  • A seat with more legroom and a calf/foot-rest
  • A personal reading lamp and a second USB-charging port
  • Extra storage space for books, laptops and similar items
  • A premium dining menu
  • A bigger screen for inflight entertainment
  • Priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling

Virgin Australia

Premium Economy is only available on Virgin Australia’s long haul international flights, which it defines as flights to Hong Kong or Los Angeles (or passing through these airports) either through Virgin Australia or its partners. Trans-Tasman flights or journeys to South East Asia or the Pacific are classed as short-haul flights which do not have this option. If your flight is eligible, Premium Economy offers these benefits over Economy class seats:

  • An extra 20cm of legroom, plus seven more centimetres to recline
  • A bigger seatback screen
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Amenity kit
  • Champagne cocktail and canapes when you board
  • Premium menu
  • Priority check-in
  • A higher weight limit for checked baggage

Japan Airlines

Japan remains one of the most popular destinations for New Zealand’s holidaymakers and with great reason. If you’re flying with national carrier Japan Airlines, here are some of the perks of booking Premium Economy:

  • Seats with 10cm more legroom, 7cm more slide, a legrest and adjustable footrest
  • Larger screen
  • Bigger fold-down table
  • A divider between seats for extra privacy
  • Seatback bottle holder
  • A wider choice of drinks
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • A bigger amenity kit, which includes slippers
  • Access to JAL and oneworld lounges
  • Priority check-in and baggage services

No matter if you’re planning to fly Economy, Premium Economy or better, use our search panel below to find the best deals on international flights.

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