American Airlines offers more Premium Economy than almost any other airline in the United States. As one of the first airlines to reconfigure their long-haul fleet, American Airlines Premium Economy is available on nearly every long-haul flight. Premium Economy passengers enjoy the extra comfort many travelers seek on long segments without the price tag or the lay flat business class experience.
The same can be said for long-haul flights to Asia or Europe. Don’t expect a true premium experience, but an upgraded experience over economy. The AA Premium Economy experience is similar to domestic first class, but long-haul in this case.
Premium Economy American Airlines Experience
Somewhere between a lay-flat seat in the front of the plane, and ten abreast in economy, Premium economy finds itself in the middle. American Airlines’ 777-300ER Premium Economy has 2 seats by each window and 4 in the middle of the plane. With only eight seats across, there’s more room for each passenger than economy. Looking at the seat, it also appears as though American Airlines took their 737 first class seat and plopped it onto the 777.
The American Airlines Premium Economy seat is much more comfortable than economy. Since there’s only 8 seats across, each seat is 18.5 inches wide. This is 1.5 inches wider than an economy seat. The armrests are much wider in Premium and the tray tables are slightly larger too. The seats really aren’t much larger than economy. The real perk is that each each passenger can comfortably rest their arms on their own arm test. There is no fighting for arm rests in Premium.
The legroom is plentiful too, each seat offers 38 inches of pitch. That is 7 inches more than the standard economy class seat. The seats also have leg rests, just one more perk over economy. To round it out, each seat has a larger tv screen and comes with USB power adaptors.
Once on board, each seat offers Casper bedding products. AA Premium Economy provides a large pillow and a light Casper throw blanket at every seat. There is also a State branded amenity kit with the all the basics: Hand lotion, lip balm, socks and eye mask, toothbrush and ear plugs. There are also American Airlines branded semi noise canceling headphones. If you didn’t know better, you’d think you were in business class lite. Or domestic First.
AA Premium Economy Meals
Meal service onboard is also a step above economy. Meal service includes a printed meal card with a couple of meal options. I honestly am not sure if the meal is really any better than the economy option, but it is presented in a better way. Every passenger enjoys complimentary beverages and a hot meal with real china. AA claims meals are upgraded, but they really are pretty basic.
Dinner service first started with a drink. In a plastic cup, and then dinner was served. Dinner options are provided, and all alcohol is free. This is a step above just free beer or wine in economy. The entire meal is on one tray. Dinner service was completed within the first 90 minutes of the flight. Flight attendants working Premium economy cabin also worked the main cabin. Yet, I found them to be friendly and checked on refills often.
Between meals in the galley there is a light snack basket. Drink refills are also never a problem. Whenever I needed a refill of my wine someone was there to refill it. The wine was honestly not that great, even Vivino only gives it 2.6 stars. Pretty poor for a $10 wine. Thankfully beer and hard alcohol is also free!
Before landing in Brazil there is a second light meal service. This meal is basic and includes fresh fruit, a croissant, and yogurt. Breakfast service begins about 90 minutes before landing breakfast. I would recommend sleeping through this meal if you can. It’s pretty basic and not that great.
Is American Airlines’ Premium Economy Worth It?
This is going to be up to the individual. Some people want more space and more amenities without the price of business class. In this case, Premium Economy is worth it.
Think of Premium Economy as domestic First Class. It’s an upgrade from economy. Are you willing to pay an extra few hundred dollars for slightly better service? If so, then yes, American Airlines Premium Economy is worth it. It’s no AA First Class, but it’s an upgrade!
American Airlines has done a good job finding a happy medium between Economy and Business Class. By adding domestic First Class seats and offering it on long-haul flights, there is now a good middle ground between Coach and Business. Is the experience amazing, no. Is it better than Economy. Absolutely! There’s nothing special about the ground experience, but the inflight experience is a step above.
Other Airlines with Premium Economy
History tells us that Eva Air and Virgin Atlantic were among the first airlines to introduce premium economy. Now you can find Premium economy on the majority of long haul flights. In the United States all three major international airlines offer premium economy. United, American and Delta Air Lines. In Europe the major brands also offer premium economy. Including British Airways, KLM, Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss and others.
As most airlines retired First Class we are seeing a resurgence of the middle class offering. Recently, Emirates introduced Premium Economy. Asian 5 star carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific also offer solid premium economy products on most long haul flights.
American airlines now offer premium economy on all international flights and select domestic routes. Fleet wide, all Boeing 777s and 787s offer premium economy. Meaning no matter what long haul flight on AA you’re flying, you can opt up to Premium economy. Premium economy can also be purchased using Aadvantage miles awards. If you are looking for an award ticket, it’s now possible to burn those valuable credit card points and flight miles on a Premium economy ticket.
At the end of the day, Premium economy passengers enjoy a slightly elevated inflight experience with more leg room, free booze, and a slightly better meal. Premium Economy is worth every cent in this case. I would be willing to pay a few hundred extra dollars for this, but not double the price
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