We compare Air Canada Economy vs. Premium Economy. We outline 10 reasons why it’s worth paying for the upgrade. We review the cost, seat, food, check-in, and airport lounge you’ll get if you book Air Canada Premium Economy. Is it worth paying to upgrade your next flight to Premium Economy?
Let’s look at some facts. The Air Canada seat reclines to 17.8cm Premium Economy and offers plenty more width and legroom (with a pitch of 96.5cm) than regular Air Canada Economy. This is not a lie-flat seat, but the extra space and recline make it easier to sleep. While the Premium Economy seat is very good, the food is even better, almost Business Class in presentation and quality, and this justifies paying the extra for the upgrade to Premium Economy.
The Premium Economy facts:
- Width 51 vs. 44 in Economy
- Legroom 96cm vs. 79cm in Economy
- Recline 17.8cm vs. 12.7cm in Economy
- Two Hold Bags (23 kg each) vs. 1 in Economy
- Priority Baggage
- Priority Boarding
- Premium food served on real plates vs. Economy Food On Trays
1. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Price
If the price is your biggest factor when deciding on which class to fly in, you should probably choose to fly Economy. After all, the entire plane will get to its destination, whichever class you are sitting in. Air Canada is aiming their Premium Economy at Economy Class passengers willing to pay more for an all-around better travel experience and more space. Prices are competitive, and although more, they are not anywhere near the shocking price tag of Business Class.
If your business is paying, then the situation is different. You don’t have to worry so much about the cost. With this in mind, the Premium Economy offering does have more space and better food as well as more and better drinks. If your business is paying, book Premium (or Business Class).
2. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Check-in
Air Canada has a separate Premium Economy check-in and priority boarding over Economy, so there is a nice advantage at check-in and before you board.
3. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Baggage
You get two hold suitcases when traveling in Premium Economy versus one in Economy, which is a big bonus.
4. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Lounges
When flying in Premium Economy you don’t get access to any Air Canada lounges for free although you can pay a hefty fee for access on booking or once you are at the airport. Alternatively, if you have not paid for Business Class or First Class, you can still access lounges at this airport for a fee or for free if you have a Priority Pass. Get an unlimited Priority Pass with the Amex Platinum card, or you can also access most Priority Pass lounges for free using the free American Express Gold with its two free Lounge Club passes. To get extra referral points and advice on these free-lounge-access cards and more, have a read of our best credit cards for luxury travel.
5. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Cabin
The Air Canada Premium Economy is in a separate small cabin between Business and Economy Class and it is laid out in a 2-3-2 arrangement on many Air Canada planes and in 3-3-3 on others. The 2-3-2 arrangement is particularly good for couples who want the duo of window seats.
6. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Seat Width
When flying in the Premium Economy seat, you get a wider seat with additional pitch. For Air Canada, the width totals 19in. For me, the extra elbow room in the Premium Economy seats enables me to work more comfortably on my laptop. The extra recline also enables me to sleep for a short period, a crucial reason to choose to fly Premium Economy if you are flying overnight.
7. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Legroom
Expect around 96cm of legroom, around 17cm more legroom than their Economy seats. This will give you much more room.
8. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Entertainment
Expect a larger inflight video screen in Air Canada Premium Economy featuring a personal touch-screen TV. The screen is 28 cm (11 in) on the Boeing 787-8 and 26.4 cm (10.4 in) on the Boeing 777-300. The Air Canada entertainment program includes hundreds of hours of top-rated on-demand entertainment.
9.Economy vs. Premium Economy: Food & Drink
A big bonus traveling on British Airways in Premium Economy is getting Club World standard meals (with fewer choices) served on proper crockery with a real napkin.
The food on Air Canada is pretty great too, and a reason to upgrade in itself. Once in the air, you get a hot towel before your food. The food is excellent and served on proper crockery and glasses. It is also presented beautifully, much as I would imagine a similar meal in Business Class. Expect dishes like ravioli or chicken with two lunch choices. There are three courses in your main meal, a fresh and tasty salad, the main and a dessert. Drinks tend to be of Canadian origins, such as Canadian Club and Molson Canadian beer, along with wines and spirits, which all come with nibbles.
The relatively small number of Premium Economy seats also results in a notably better level of service on Air Canada, with more crew assigned per passenger.
10. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Sleep
You may wonder whether it is worth upgrading from Economy to Premium Economy at all. Well, it is. The biggest reason to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy is to get some sleep, or at least some rest, particularly if you are flying on an overnight flight.
For overnight flights, being stuffed in a sardine-tin, with little space to move and next-to-no recline, means that sleep is difficult. Or impossible. When I fly in Economy, I find, if I do manage to nod off, the fact that my head then droops to one side because of the lack of seat recline means that I almost always wake myself up as soon as I drop off.
The result is that you can feel pretty grotty after an Economy flight by the time you get to your destination. This matters if you are potentially ruining the first day of your trip because you haven’t spent the extra on upgrading your flight.
Even if the price is your biggest factor when choosing between Economy and Premium Economy, Premium Economy can mean that you avoid wasting a day of your holiday, which may ultimately be worth more than the price difference.
Air Canada Premium Economy seats are comfortable, and it’s possible to sleep on them. Big thumbs up!
Economy vs. Premium Economy: Conclusion
Air Canada Premium Economy is worth the extra cost. It is worth paying for the upgrade if you can afford it. We particularly love the better seats, which are comfortable, and the larger legroom. The food is also outstanding and well worth paying extra for. Air Canada is one of the best transatlantic airlines for Premium Economy.
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