It’s not all bad news in the economy cabin, in fact, some airlines still offer wonderfully refined seat experiences. But as others contemplate charging to use the lavatory- more travelers are eyeing up the cabin just through the curtain- premium economy. The truth is, some premium economy cabins are so nice, it’s hard to justify business class, though we wouldn’t blame you. Here are the very best airline premium economy experiences you’ll find in the sky.

a row of chairs in a plane#5 Virgin Atlantic

Premium Check In, Extra Bag, After Dinner Drink, Amenity Kit

Why: Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy is often very reasonably priced and offers a big upgrade. We love time savings from the dedicated premium economy check in, the extra checked bag and the welcome glass of bubbles upon boarding. But it’s the substantial extra space, amenity kit, after dinner drink and extended recline that make this a great way to fly.

Power Ports: Yes Wifi: Yes Blanket & Pillow: Yes

a row of red chairs in an airplane#4 Qantas

The Most Legroom, Neil Perry Food, Storage Space, Power Ports

Why: 42” of pitch is just extraordinary- and you’ll really appreciate it on virtually any of Qantas long haul flights. We’re big fans of speeding through the airport, and Qantas dedicated check in lanes make a big difference. We adore Neil Perry’s inspired seasonal menus, the extra storage space these seats provide (super handy) and the best in class seat padding. Plus, great wine.

Power Ports: Yes Wifi: No.  Blanket & Pillow: Yes

a row of blue and white seats#3 ANA

Lounge Access, Champagne, Privacy And Pitch

Why: Though ANA business class is stunning, it’s pretty hard to argue with the airlines highly refined premium economy offering. Things of course, hit a high note early with priority check in, but then they begin to soar with lounge access. Throw in champagne, reading light and a privacy divider, at eye level between seats, with top notch recline and you’ve got a real contender for the world’s best premium economy seat.

Power Ports: Yes Wifi: Yes on most of fleet. Blanket & Pillow: Yes

a row of seats in an airplane#2 Japan Airlines

Lounge access, business class champagne, Custom Seat, Priority Bags

Why: We’ll be honest- Qantas is mainly on the list because sleep is the most important driving factor for flying premium economy, and 42” of pitch is phenomenal. But Japan Airlines offers that and so much more. You’ll get lounge access, priority bag tags, an extra bag and all the good fast tracks. But the refinement of Japan Airlines catering, the Gardet Brut Champagne, a choice many airlines offer in business class really set this cabin apart. And of course, you can expect power ports, extra large entertainment screens and a privacy divider too.

Power Ports: Yes Wifi: Yes on most of fleet. Blanket & Pillow: Yes

Invalid request error occurred.#1 Singapore Airlines

Book the cook, Top Entertainment, Priority Lane, Extraordinary Service

Why: Not surprised in the slightest? Perhaps it’s the over the top service, the champagne, the brand new seats with leg rests, the “book the cook” option for phenomenal a la carte meals, noise cancelling headphones, amenity kits, blankets, pillows or the dedicated cabin? If you’re still not sold- Singapore Airlines consistently offers some of the very best premium economy prices in the sky, and we wouldn’t; hesitate for a minute to upgrade to some serious pampering. Oh, and they have Singapore Slings in premium economy too!

Power Ports: Yes Wifi: Yes on most of fleet. Blanket & Pillow: Yes

Footnotes: We love Cathay Pacific Premium Economy, but thought it was important to include the best option over the Atlantic, and not just airlines crossing the Pacific ocean. Air Canada and Lufthansa have seriously upgraded their premium economy cabins- so look out for those to creep into the rankings as they improve their service. 


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Funny that the JAL business seats on some of the 788 routes like SAN-NRT aren’t much better that the prem econ product you point out.

  2. Hi! Great article. I’m going to suggest, unless you have a reason for doing otherwise, that pictures go below the blurb discussing them. I noticed that in another article today and I think it’s unusual/confusing… maybe that’s just what we’re used to idk
    Just my two cents!

  3. Just to correct your article, all Virgin Atlantic aircraft now have wi-fi installed as they recently announced (Google it).

  4. Disagree with Singapore Airlines, they have among the worst perks on Y+ and you basically get the same meal in the same serving as economy. In my recent flight with them they didn’t even close the curtains between both classes. AF and BA should be there instead of SQ.

  5. Been on the Singapore airlines a-380 premium economy. Really good, comfy seats and service for the 13hrs 30 mins flight.

  6. Great post! What are your thoughts on Cathay Pacific and China Airlines Premium products ?
    I’m considering both as an option for LON-DPS
    OWstatus/loyalty Vs CI’s inviting prem cabins?

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