Wednesday 21 November 2018

Premium Economy: Ireland gets 'half-way house' cabins on new North American services

Travel Insider

Premium Economy Cabin on the new AA 787
Premium Economy Cabin on the new AA 787
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Can’t afford to fly business? That doesn’t mean you have to cramp up in economy.

Two new  ‘Premium Economy’ cabins are cropping up on transatlantic flights from Ireland, offering perks like extra legroom, bigger screens and early boarding for roughly a third of business class fares.

Premium Economy isn’t new, but as Ireland’s economy improves and its air network grows (Dublin Airport just posted its busiest ever year), there’s room for ever more price points and products.

Similar to deluxe or executive hotel rooms, Premium is a halfway house for those who want creature comforts without breaking the bank.

American's Permium Economy amenity kit
American's Permium Economy amenity kit

Transatlantic passengers may already be familiar with Delta’s Comfort+.

Now, Air Canada has brought a  Premium Economy cabin to its Dublin/Toronto service, with seats offering a seven-inch recline, and extras including two free checked bags and priority check-in.

American Airlines has also developed a new Business/Economy hybrid as part of a $3 billion investment in its travel experience. It’s bookable on Irish services to Philadelphia and Charlotte Douglas from this Monday, for travel from May 4.

Lead-in rates start from €689 return to Philly versus €439 in economy and €1,726 in business, and extras include 38-inch seat pitches (about six inches larger than economy), leather seats, bigger touchscreens and noise-reducing headphones.

And Aer Lingus?

“We have no plans to introduce a Premium Economy service in the near future,” it says - though you can, of course, pay for extra legroom in exit rows.

Ryanair — a reminder

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Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. Passengers board a Ryanair passenger plane. Photo by Ulrich Baumgarrten via Getty Images

Speaking of priority boarding, Ryanair’s new baggage policy takes effect this Monday, January 15. The new policy only allows passengers who pay a €5 fee for Priority Boarding to take two carry-on bags onto its aircraft. All other passengers must check their larger, 10kg carry-on bags at the boarding gate, where they will be placed in the hold free of charge. All passengers are still permitted to take smaller carry-on bags (eg laptops and handbags) on board, however. The change will speed up boarding and cut delays, the airline says... let’s see if it works.

More: Ryanair Q&A: What does the new cabin bag policy mean for me?

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