I am planning to book a ticket for my father from India to US. Most probably in British airlines. He is old and I don't want to book his ticket in economy class due to long travel time. Business class looks a little costly to me. So, I was thinking to book ticket in premium economy but after reading some reviews I am not sure if premium economy is better than economy seating comfort-wise. If you traveled in premium economy, can you please share your experience? If it's not comfortable, I will buy a business class ticket for him.

Also, if you suggest any other airline which has better premium economy or similar service service please let me know.

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    Having flown internationally on different airlines (United, Hainan, American, etc.) the only difference I could tell is that premium economy gives you a tad bit more legroom in addition to a few perks. If you want your father to be comfortable during the flight, business class might be better as the seats can fold flat, thus allowing him to lay down and save his back.
    – Michael
    Jul 25, 2017 at 21:12
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    BA has essentially first gen Premium Product which definitely an improvement on Economy, the newer ones, Cathay, JAL, American even, look nicer. There's lots of picture reviews and YouTube videos that show all the current products.
    – DTRT
    Jul 25, 2017 at 21:42
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    My suggestion would be to fly him Business with Emirates, which is cheaper than British Airways. Business gives you lie-flat beds, which can be a life saver especially for older people - remember, as an older member of society, your father is at a higher risk of DVT when sat upright for long periods, and the adjustable seat in Business goes a long way to avoiding this. Emirates Business class product is also a lot nicer than British Airways (I have flown both).
    – user29788
    Jul 25, 2017 at 22:26
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    @MichaelC. United do not offer Premium Economy. You are referring to Economy Plus which is a very different product to something like BA's Premium Economy (aka World Traveller Plus)
    – Doc
    Jul 25, 2017 at 22:56

3 Answers 3


Also, if you suggest any other airline which has better premium economy or similar service service please let me know.

For the India to US route, its very competitive. You should definitely shop around for deals.

I have experience on KLM, British Airways, Qatar Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, Gulf (all fly to the US).

I would rank, in order of comfort of business class travel:

  • Qatar Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • BA*
  • KLM*

For BA and KLM, they fly their older aircraft so that affects the experience a lot. If you are getting a chance to fly the BA on the A380 for example, it would be totally different than the 747 I had to fly on.

Things you get in premium economy over normal economy:

  • More legroom (and sometimes, wider seats)
  • Priority boarding (at some airlines)
  • Bonus miles
  • Seats at the front of the plane, for quick deplaning.

Things you get in business class, that you don't get in premium economy:

  • Larger seats which may have features like fully reclining seats, larger entertainment screens, etc.
  • Premium catering
  • Free amenities, such as WiFi access
  • Premium amenities, such as toiletry kits and noise cancelling headphones
  • Priority luggage handling
  • Lounge access
  • A large bonus in frequent flier miles
  • Larger luggage allowance
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority placement if the flight is delayed

The benefits of business class depend on the aircraft. I flew KLM on business once and a segment was on the 737. Their idea of business class was to block the middle seat to give more elbow room; but the seats were exactly the same as the rest of the airplane.

So all I got for my business class fare on that segment was [a] lounge access, [b] priority boarding [c] a piece of plastic to rest my elbow on.


There is a great deal of variance depending not just on the airline, but the specific route flown, and it pays to do your homework with sites like SeatGuru. The rule of thumb these days, though, is:

  • Premium economy gets you more legroom (often 36-38" (91–97 cm) instead of the usual 30-32" (76–81 cm)), wider seats, a tiny bit more recline, and, on some airlines better food
  • Business class gets you a lie-flat or angled bed and much better service all around

But there are exceptions in both directions, and the best premium economy seats & service (eg. some Air New Zealand 777s) are better than old-style non-lie-flat business class seats (eg. Hawaiian's older planes).

  • And KLM (short haul at least, haven't flown long haul with them in a long time) premium economy tends to be business class seats with economy class service.
    – jwenting
    Jul 26, 2017 at 5:28

I have flown Premium Economy with Singapore and especially Lufthansa a lot. The existing answers cover most of the ground already.

You have more space, not only for legs, but very importantly for your elbows as you don't have to share the arm rests with your neighbor. Also service and amenities (toothbrush...) are better.

I prefer Premium Economy a lot over Economy. Of course, business is nicer, but I wouldn't pay the usual additional fees for private flights. You may consider this though as it is your grandpa visiting.

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