Difference Between Economy and Premium Economy

Main Difference – Economy vs Premium Economy 

Economy and Premium Economy are two travel classes in airlines. Economy is the lowest and most inexpensive class of seating in air travel. Premium economy is leveled between economy class and business class, but this travel class is only available in some airlines. The main difference between economy and premium economy is that premium economy offers more amenities and facilities than economy class.Difference Between Economy and Premium Economy - infographic

What is Economy Class

Economy class is the lowest travel class in airlines, and it is most often the most inexpensive travel class. Economy passengers are seated in the main cabin of the aircraft. The seats can be reclined and there is a fold-down table. But the seats are small and packed more closely together. The in-flight services are also limited compared to business class.

The distance between two rows of seats is generally 29 to 36 inches: 29 to 32 inches in domestic flights and 30 to 36 inches in international flights. The seat pitch (the distance between two rows of seats) is usually slightly longer in international flights.

Many major airlines do not serve meals in economy class for short flights; meals are generally provided for only international flights. In most cases, passengers have to pay for their meals and snacks separately from their ticket.

Since the economy class is often associated with connotations like busy, crowded and unpleasant, it has a poor reputation. Hence, many airlines have renamed the economy class. For example, the economy class of Air France is known as voyageur, the economy class of British airways is known as World Traveler, the economy class of Kingfisher Airliner has been renamed Kingfisher Class.

Difference Between Economy and Premium Economy

What is Premium Economy Class

Premium Economy is a higher travel class than Economy, which is available only in some airlines. It is usually leveled between Economy and Business Class. Since Premium Economy is leveled higher than Economy class, it is higher in price, comfort and amenities.

Premium Economy Class is mostly found in international flights. One of the most common features of this travel class is that it offers extra legroom. In addition, it can also offer services like extra inches of seat width and seat recline, adjustable headrests or leg rests, laptop power ports, premium food services, and larger personal TV screen. The seat pitch in Premium Economy class ranges from about 36-40 inches and the seat width ranges from about 18.5 – 21 inches. Power outlets are generally available for all the seats and adapters are also not needed since AC power is available. 

Although Premium Economy Class does not offer the comforts and facilities of Business Class, it is about 65% less expensive. However, Premium Economy Class is about 85% expensive than Economy Class, especially if you book in advance. But, you may be able to find a less expensive Premium Economy ticket if you book closer to your departure date.

Main Difference - Economy vs Premium Economy

The following table looks at some differences between Economy and Premium Economy Class in some major airlines. Difference Between Economy and Premium Economy  - 3

Difference Between Economy and Premium Economy 


Economy is the lowest travel class in airlines.

Premium Economy is positioned between Economy and Business Class.


Economy is available on all airlines and flights although it may be known by another name.

Premium Economy is available on some airlines, especially on international flights.


Economy Class has fewer amenities and services compared to Premium Economy.

Premium Economy offers services like extra legroom, seat width and seat recline, adjustable headrests or leg rests, premium food services, etc.

Seat Pitch

Economy seats have about 29 to 36 inches of seat pitch.

Premium Economy offers extra leg room; seat pitch is about 36-40 inches.

Seat Width

Economy seat width is about 17 – 18.5 inches.

Premium Economy  seat width is about 18.5 – 21 inches.

Laptop Power

Economy class doesn’t generally provide power outlets for each seat.

Premium Economy class provides power outlets for each seat.

AC power

Economy may not provide power outlets.

Premium Economy class usually provides AC power.


Economy doesn’t always serve free meals.

Premium Economy offers free meals. Meal is often upgraded and premium.


Economy is less expensive than Premium Economy.

Premium Economy is less expensive than Business Class but more expensive than Economy Class.

Image Courtesy:

Airbus A380-800 Economy Class” by Rudy Herman Uploaded by Altair78 (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

“JAL Premium Economy Class” by 衛兵隊衛士 – Own work  (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.