• Premium Economy class options

    While CWT’s North America travel forecast for the upcoming year estimates flat to moderate travel price increases, clients are still wary of giving the green light to travelers to rest comfortably in first class when economy cabins send their employees to the same end destination.

    Airlines are meeting the needs of cautious travel managers and eager travelers by adding or enhancing their premium economy class or premium economy seating options. Traveling on business does not guarantee a posh business- or first-class flying experience, but here are two premium economy options that will provide many of the same benefits at a fraction of the cost:

    Cathay Pacific
    Cathy Pacific introduced its new premium economy class this past February. The new premium economy class features a quieter and more spacious cabin with 26 to 34 seats per aircraft. It’s an entirely new seat with a 38-inch seat pitch and a bigger recline. Travelers can enjoy a welcome drink and an enhanced onboard meal selection that rivals first-class cuisine.

    The new seats will be added to 36 Boeing 777-300ERs and 26 Airbus 330-330s by December 2013. Ticket prices are estimated to be 50 to 80 percent higher than a standard economy class ticket, but prices will remain below business- and first-class levels.

    Cathay Pacific Premium Economy seat. Source: cathaypacific.com

    Delta Air Lines
    Delta is leading the pack for U.S. domestic carriers with its successful Economy Comfort seating option, which is a part of its $3 billion investment in enhanced global products, services and airport facilities through 2013. Originally only available for booking at delta.com or within 24 hours before takeoff based on availability, Economy Comfort seats can now be booked through CWT, giving travelers greater access to this great product.

    While not an entire cabin, Economy Comfort seats are available in the first three to five rows of the economy cabin and feature three to four inches of additional leg room, as well as priority boarding. On long-haul international flights, the seats have up to 50 percent more recline and travelers can enjoy complimentary beer, wine and cocktails. As of June, this option is available on all two-class Delta flights worldwide.

    Delta Economy Comfort seat. Source: delta.com

    Have you or any of your colleagues flown in premium economy? Is it worth the upgrade from economy class, especially if your company’s travel policy does not allow for business- or first-class travel opportunities?

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