The Pros and Cons of Premium Economy for Travel Buyers

Travel News 27 Nov 2015

As more air carriers establish premium economy as a distinct service class, buyers gain a tool to increase both traveller satisfaction and savings.

As business class travel has risen, 3 percent to 5 percent higher in 2015 than it was a few years ago, buyers have become more lenient with their premium class policies, said American Express Global Business Travel global business consulting manager Thomas Nicholson.

In a recent Travel Leaders Group survey of 392 United States-based executives at agencies that handle mostly business travel, 67.4 percent of respondents said more than 10 percent of their bookings are for first or business class. That’s a slight uptick from a year ago and significantly higher than the 55.9 percent of respondents who said the same in fall 2013.

“It’s very pronounced in California, where talent retention and recruiting is the focus,” Nicholson said. “A lot are allowing the traveller who has to go internationally six times a year to fly business instead of coach.” Not all segments are thriving like the tech industry, however, and some companies continue to tighten their premium class policies. The Travel Leaders survey indicated that 4.1 percent of respondents had zero premium class bookings in 2015 so far, up from 2.3 percent a year prior.

For those allowing more premium class travel and those cutting back, premium economy is another option, said Bob Brindley, vice president and principal of BCD Travel consulting unit Advito. His U.S. clients both have allowed travellers formerly restricted to standard economy to fly premium economy and have moved international travellers from business class down to premium economy. “It’s not widespread, but there’s been a little bit of movement in both directions toward premium economy,” he said.


By Michael B Baker. This article is a fragment originally published on and can be read in full here