Transport : Airlines

Which is the best airline to fly to Europe in Premium Economy? I have picked Norwegian, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Delta as the best airlines to travel transatlantic in Premium Economy.

Top of my list comes Norwegian Airlines. Billed as 1980’s Business Class, the seats on Norwegian offer significantly more leg room than any other Premium Economy with 46″. With a modern fleet and excellent prices (if you book early enough).

The American airlines are new to the Premium Economy game and will be launching their versions within the year. American Airlines has already started selling AA Premium Economy seats on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. These come high on my list because like Norwegian and unlike BA and Virgin, their products are brand new with brand new seating and brand new technology. As a result, they have better products.

Delta Air Lines already offer Comfort Plus with extra leg room but have launched a complete Premium Economy cabin called Delta Premium Select on long-haul aircraft.

It is worth noting that United currently offers Economy Plus with a 37-inch seat pitch, five inches more than economy, but this currently has no other advantages over the normal economy seats, so does not count as the full Premium Economy product and is not included in this listing.

1. Norwegian Airlines Premium Economy

The facts: 19″ seat width, 46″ leg room, free drinks, free food.
We like: Priority boarding, reclining seats with lots of leg room, new fleet of lovely long-haul Dreamliners, complimentary pre-flight access to the No1 Lounge in Gatwick and other airports, prices (from £649 one way from London to New York) and Norwegian Rewards cashpoints loyalty program. A PremiumFlex seat costing around £1,200 plus taxes will earn 20% of this price in cashpoints which means receiving a credit towards future flights of £246.
We don’t like: The limited (but expanding) route options – Currently long haul is offered on flights to/from U.S., Thailand, Singapore and Caribbean.
We have reviewed Premium Economy on Norwegian Airlines.

2. Delta Airlines Premium Economy

The facts: 19″ seat width, 38″ leg room, 7″ recline free drinks, free food.
We like: adjustable leg rests and head rests. The Westin Heavenly® In-Flight Blanket with a pillow. The TUMI amenity kit featuring Malin+Goetz Travel Essentials. The carefully created food presented with Alessi serviceware. The 13.3-inch, high-resolution in-flight entertainment screen, noise-cancelling headphones and in-seat power ports. The Sky Priority service, which includes faster check-in, accelerated security, priority boarding and expedited baggage service.
We don’t like: The fact that we would prefer to be travelling in the new Delta One Business Suite. You can read my more detailed review of Delta Premium Economy.

3. American Airlines Premium Economy

The facts: 19″ seat width, 39″ leg room, free drinks, free food.
We like: The more spacious cabin on the 777-200 arranged in three rows of 2-4-2 compared with the tight 10-wide seating in Economy (in a 3-4-3 layout). On the 787-9 Dreamliner, the layout is 2-3-2. The fact that the window seats are in twos ideal for couples. Priority boarding, reclining seats (although the recline is not noteworthy). Thick pillow and blanket. Getting an amenity kit with noise cancelling headphones.
We don’t like: 11.5-inch IFE touchscreen which isn’t large.

4. Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy

The facts: 21″ seat width, 38″ leg room, free drinks, free food.
We like: Priority boarding, wide reclining chairs with footrest, the enhanced menu offering served on china with stainless steel cutlery, the snack bar on the new 787 aircraft with free snacks and drinks that you can help yourself to, the fact you can book your seat on Virgin Flying Club miles which you can collect at Waitrose and earn via their credit card.
We don’t like: The very average leg room and the fact that some of their planes are older and offer a downgraded version of Premium Economy.

5. British Airways World Traveller Plus

The facts: 18.5″ seat width, 38″ leg room, free drinks, free food.
We like: Jolly British Airways Biggles pilots, the menu (three-course) with options from the business class menu served on china with linen napkins and that it is easy to collect Avios at Tesco or with the Lloyds Avios credit card.
We don’t like: The lack of priority boarding, the thin seats at 18.5″ which are not very comfortable and the very average leg room.
We have reviewed British Airways World Traveller Plus.

You may also be interested in my top 10 best Premium Economy airlines in the world.