What You Need To Know About Business Class & Premium Economy

Two men sitting in business class on a plane looking at a laptop together

1.74min read

Published 5 December 2017


Every long-haul flyer could do with more space, the little extras and a some creature comforts to make the long journey easier to manage. And with premium economy seats now industry-standard, it's bridging the leap from economy to business class by offering a whole new range of seating options and inflight experiences.

Here's an inside glimpse at the key differences between flying business class and premium economy - both perfect for frequent travellers who need to arrive ready to hit the ground running.

Business Class

Ever wondered what it's like flying up the pointy end of the plane, in business? Travel expert Jason Nooning shares his insight into the business class flying experience.

Top tip?

Investigate what type of plane you’ll be flying on before purchasing your ticket.

business class Etihad
Get more rest on a comfortable journey in business class. Image: Etihad Airlines

In a snapshot how would you describe business-class flights?

As a self-confessed airfare geek, I get excited every time I check in for a business-class flight. It’s reminiscent of the golden age of aviation where flying was an experience. Everything ensures maximum comfort, from check-in to arriving at your destination. 

What are the perks?

Fully flat beds are what most people think of, but it’s only half the experience. With the food and wine menus on board the world’s leading carriers, it’s like eating in a 5-star restaurant from the comfort of your lounge room. Add in a pair of free pyjamas and you have a recipe for comfort nailed.

Emirates business class standup bar
Some airlines, including Emirates A380 flights, feature a stand-up bar in business class.

Any celebrity encounters?

We’ve flown with the Kardashians from LA to Miami but my personal favourite was the time our group took all the first-class seats while singer Chris Brown and his entourage were relegated to business class.

What’s your secret tip for air travel?

There are times (like flying domestically within the USA) when you can score a firstclass seat for the price of an economy ticket.

Premium Economy

You don't have to go business to enjoy an in-flight experience that's a step above economy. Travel expert Omar Mohamed tells us what it's like in premium economy.

Top tip?

Arrive early and dress well to give yourself the best chance to receive an upgrade.

In a snapshot how would you describe premium economy flights?

Premium economy bridges the gap between economy and business class. It’s a comfortable way to travel without breaking the bank.

Virgin Australia premium economy
Enjoy more space and creature comfort in premium economy, for just a slight difference in price. Image: Virgin Australia

What are the perks?

Extra legroom; wide, comfortable seats; better meals; plus sweeteners, such as priority check-in and additional luggage.

Any downsides?

Not all aircraft offer premium economy. Depending on your destination, you may have to travel a portion of the journey in economy class.

Where are you off to next?

My next flight overseas will be to… Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and I’ll be flying Economy Plus on United Airlines.

Air New Zealand was recently named Best Premium Economy 2017 in TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice Awards. Here's a sneak peak: 

business class premium economy

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