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Unlike international flights, where the separate category existed for a while, in U.S. it looks like an attempt to squeeze out more revenues from existing assets, in keeping with increase in ancillary fees all around.

There is an emerging middle class on U.S. airlines. Going by many names—Economy Comfort on Delta, Main Cabin Extra on American and Economy Plus on United/Continental—these premium-economy seats are situated in the forward part of the economy cabin, offer a few more inches of seat pitch than standard economy and provide some additional perks like early boarding.

The emerging premium-economy options on U.S. carriers differ from…”real premium economy” on such international carriers as British Airways, Air France, Japan Airlines and All Nippon, “where it’s really a significantly different seat, different service and a different booking class for it.”

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