American Airlines’ Premium Economy offering shows that airlines are going beyond the traditional cabin hierarchy to provide passengers with elevated in-flight experiences at a range of price points.
American Airlines has expanded its offerings to provide travelers with upgraded experiences at flexible price points in recent years. Its Premium Economy product, available on international flights and on select flights to Hawaii, is yet another example of this focus.
“Premium Economy demonstrates our commitment to create a world-class experience and gives our customers more options when flying with us,” said Alison Taylor, senior vice president, Global Sales. “With added amenities and more room, it’s perfect for customers who want a little extra on their longer flights.”
American Airlines is the first domestic carrier to offer Premium Economy, though international carriers such as British Airways, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, and Cathay Pacific have operated similar products for a number of years.
American introduced the product with the airline’s brand new Boeing 787-9 in 2016, following up with a full launch in 2017. American currently offers Premium Economy on its 777-300s, 787-9s, A330-200s, and on select 777-200s flying internationally and to Hawaii, and expects its 787-8s, receive Premium Economy in the coming years. Premium Economy is located behind Flagship Business or First, depending on the route.
There are a number of benefits to passengers who choose the Premium Economy option. They’ll enjoy spacious seating, with wider seats, more legroom, adjustable head and foot rests, and extra recline. Premium Economy passengers also receive elevated meals with complimentary beer, wine, and spirits, exclusive amenity kits, and pillows and blankets designed by sleep technology company Casper. Other in-flight perks include Wi-Fi capabilities and an entertainment library that includes hundreds of free movies, TV shows, music selections, and games, complete with a pair of noise-reducing headphones.
Prior to boarding, Premium Economy passengers receive Priority privileges that make it easier to check-in, go through security, and board. Additionally, Premium Economy passengers get priority bag handling.
As far as loyalty goes, passengers can earn more Elite Qualifying Miles when they buy a Premium Economy ticket, helping them get to elite status faster. And while AAdvantage awards and upgrades into Premium Economy aren’t yet available, they will be in the future. Passengers can currently upgrade from Main Cabin or Premium Economy to First or Business using their AAdvantage miles or systemwide upgrades.