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American Airlines has announced that it has completed the retrofitting of all its wide-body aircraft with a Premium Economy cabin and is laying claim to the fact that not only is it the first US airline to finish installing Premium Economy seats on its widebody fleet, but that it also now offers more Premium Economy Class seats than all other US airlines combined.
Here’s how American Airlines describes its Premium Economy product:
When traveling in Premium Economy, customers can relax with a Casper day blanket and lumbar pillow, enjoy a premium amenity kit and a chef-inspired meal with wines selected by master sommelier Bobby Stuckey. On the ground, customers receive two free checked bags and priority benefits when checking in, going through security and boarding.
With American Airlines now offering 3,025 Premium Economy seats across 124 Boeing 787, 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft, the rollout of the new cabin (which was announced 3 years ago) has been pretty swift…and that’s because it has been a good revenue source for the airline.
With Economy Class cabins reaching new depths of awfulness on a near-yearly basis, more and more passengers appear to be prepared to pay extra to make their flights a little more bearable.
With Business Class fares out of the US often priced out of most people’s reach, the Premium Economy cabin has become the primary refuge for travelers who don’t want to stop flying but who also can’t stand the thought of 8 – 14 hours in a 17” wide seat with just 31” of pitch.
It’s amazing how quickly an airline can roll something out when it has the incentive of extra (and easy) revenue – sadly they’re rarely as quick with the rollout of revenue-neutral improvements that travelers really need (you just have to look that the length of time BA is taking to introduce wi-fi to see what I mean).
If you’re a flyer who regularly looks look book something better than Economy Class but not as expensive as Business Class then the fact that American now offers Premium Economy on all its long-haul aircraft is good news for you…but make sure you’re aware of what it is that you’re booking.
“Premium Economy” is actually a very good name for this American Airlines product as it’s simply a step-up from the horror of Economy Class – if you’re expecting it to be closer to Business Class than Economy Class you’re going to be disappointed.