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Thread: Fllying premium economy to Europe?

  1. #1
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    Fllying premium economy to Europe?

    Hello fellow frugal ones,

    I've recently learned about something called "premium economy" on international flights, which did not exist the last time I flew to England in the early 1980s. Back then, it was just Coach and First Class, IIRC.

    Being frugal, of course, I'm wondering if it's worth the upgrade. I'm trying to plan a trip to England in the next year or so. It seems outrageous to me that they have made planes smaller and you now have to pay more for a decent amount of legroom.

    For the record, I am 5'8", 155 lbs and somewhat large in frame.

    Interested in your thoughts on an eight-hour flight in a smaller space, or paying more.

  2. #2
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    Guess it depends on how much more. If a lot probably wouldn't pay it... only 8 hours.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I'm a United frequent flier and their "premium economy" seats do give you a little bit more legroom, but nothing else. It's not like you get free drinks or anything.. you might get an electrical socket under your seat so you can keep your computer charged, and you'll be closer to the front so you'll get the food & beverage carts faster. That's about it. Those seats typically range in price, domestically, from about $29 to $89. Not sure what the international costs are.

    Depends on how uncomfortable you are in the regular seats, which have gotten more uncomfortable since the 80s. Also beware that I've noticed all planes are filled to capacity. It's not like the old days where you could luck out and get a row to yourself. You will most likely be squished in with 3-4 other seat mates, so take that into account as well.
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    I've read some airlines have the "drinks" thing and since I don't really drink, it wouldn't matter much to me. I will probably bring my own snacks on board b/c of my dietary needs as well.
    Won't be bringing a computer either so that's not an issue.

    I remember flying in March '86 and stretching out across a whole row to sleep. At the very least, this time I will try for an aisle seat (one of those that is near an exit).



    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    I'm a United frequent flier and their "premium economy" seats do give you a little bit more legroom, but nothing else. It's not like you get free drinks or anything.. you might get an electrical socket under your seat so you can keep your computer charged, and you'll be closer to the front so you'll get the food & beverage carts faster. That's about it. Those seats typically range in price, domestically, from about $29 to $89. Not sure what the international costs are.

    Depends on how uncomfortable you are in the regular seats, which have gotten more uncomfortable since the 80s. Also beware that I've noticed all planes are filled to capacity. It's not like the old days where you could luck out and get a row to yourself. You will most likely be squished in with 3-4 other seat mates, so take that into account as well.

  5. #5
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    I would never fly less than premium economy on a long flight. The foreign airlines do it much better than domestic (American, Delta, United, etc.) and it gives better seats and more room which is so important. Seatguru.com can help select a good seat.

    We took Virgin Atlantic once in PE and got business class seats with huge armrests and wonderful service. I always figure about 50% more than economy and it is so worth it. I use kayak.com to check on flights but have gotten better deals by going to the airlines after I have identified routes and flights from kayak. kayak allows searching for PE flights as an option.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    If I'm doing a long flight I will usually spend the money on the upgrade. The airlines have gotten very good at making the experience as miserable as possible. And, as mentioned above, they are able to fill pretty much every plane now. Premium economy on most domestic planes is still pretty mediocre, but having a little extra space is worth it, at least for me.

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    Senior Member kib's Avatar
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    SAS, my mom opted for Premium economy when we went to Denmark a few years ago. I don't know if it was totally worth it, but the little amenities can add up over a long tiresome flight - we got free booze, nicer blankets, comfy armrests more leg room, and fewer people around us. For that flight it wasn't crazy expensive, I think an extra 20%.

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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Honestly, air travel (especially on U.S. carriers) is such a poor experience that if I could not afford "premium economy" or "business class" seats, I probably would not fly to wherever. Several years ago my first wife and I purchased the third seat in a row so the two of us could stretch out for a trip to Europe. But I suspect that's no longer possible because security theater.
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    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    I love to fly, as long as it is only a couple of hours. I'm only 5'3 and I hate being cramped. If it is going to be a long one I want to be able to get out of my seat without feeling intimate scooching across somebody else. A few years back we were flying to London so I cashed in all my FF miles and got business class on British Airways. OMG, I thought I died and went to heaven. I have never forgotten how lovely those flights were. Haven't been far from home in several years so I had miles to burn. Just cashed them all in for a first class flight to Boston. It will be on American so it will be interesting to see if they can live up to business class on BA.
    I would seriously consider it for the leg room alone.

  10. #10
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    First/business in the US is not much. Get on and off first, more baggage, maybe a few more inches side to side and front to back. It all depends on the plane they give you. You can check ahead by plugging in the plane to seatguru.com and check to see if it is even a separate section of the plane.

    We did business class to Japan and France and slept most of the way because the seats reclined completely flat. 13 hours in economy would have killed me. We did Premium Economy from San Franscisco to Taiwan and then Bangkok on Eva Airlines and they were comfortable large seats in a separate section. Hubby said the biggest complaint he had were the Economy people who kept coming up to our section to use the restroom because they had a line.

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