Is flying long-haul in premium economy actually worth the price hike?

*Disclaimer, this post is entirely useless if you are low on funds – in which case obviously it is not worth flying premium economy. But it might be useful if you’ve just got a pleasantly surprising tax rebate, or a promotion, or are feeling a bit – but not massively – flush. If you’re feeling massively flush, fly business class, obviously, and perhaps purchase a yacht for good measure.

I was, until yesterday, skeptical about shelling out extra for premium economy – being very much an all-or-nothing sort of person in general.

The reason business class is three times the price of economy is because you to get to lie down. That’s what we all want when it comes to long flights. Horizontal-ness.

So no, I will not be paying double the price of an economy ticket to enter premium class for a bit more leg room and some slightly fancier cutlery.

And it really annoys me that airlines sell premium economy with phrases like ‘state-of-the-art entertainment system’, and ‘access to a full bar’. The entertainment system is exactly the same as it is in economy, suckers, and you can get drunk for free on a plane no matter what class you’re sitting in.


I just got off an 11-hour flight from London to Texas, flying premium economy with British Airways, and I have officially been swayed.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 8.24.30 am.png
BA’s premium economy seats. Roomy. 

Why? Five reasons:

1 – The seats are genuinely a lot more comfortable. They’re significantly wider, they recline further (although not all the way, obviously) and they’re equipped with a decent padded footrest that springs out. This, for whatever reason, really does make a huge difference comfort-wise. In an ‘ooh, my legs are supported by a horizontal surface, this feels a bit like lying down’ kind of way. Also, the seats have special ‘lumbar’ padding which hugs your lower back in a way that is pleasing.

2 – It’s a small cabin, and much more spread out, with curtains that divide you from the peasants in economy. So you feel a lot less like a sardine. And you get that horribly smug sensation every time you swish through the curtain to get to the bathroom on the other side. The peasants look at you. You avert your eyes in manner of Marie Antoinette. 

Economy, significantly more sardine-ish

3 – The trays – which are bigger than the ones in economy – pop out from the arm rest, and you can slide them more towards you (less chance of dropping food morsels onto your lap), or away from you (I’m finished, get all the empty vessels out of my face). And yes, it’s nice to have silver cutlery and a proper napkin, but I wouldn’t say it’s particularly game-changing.

4 – The service. Less bodies in this cabin doesn’t only mean more room, it means faster service. Specifically, it means you’re not waiting around for your meal, or for that second third glass of wine.

5 – The noise-cancelling headphones. Proper squishy over-ear ones that drown out the hum of the engines.

Decent lean

I flew to Austin for a mere two-day stay, so if you’re going on a worky type trip that’s far away, for a short time, then I’d say premium economy – on BA at least – is definitely worth it. If you’re the sort who, like me, considers sleep valuable enough to buy.

I got a good seven hours. 

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