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Are Premium Economy Seats Worth the Extra Fare?

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It’s more expensive than coach, but cheaper than business class. More and more airlines are offering something called “premium” economy seats on long-haul overseas flights. But what are you really getting for that price?

As travelers become less willing to pay for business class, there has been an upswing in premium economy tickets for travelers who want more comfort than coach.

Qantas, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are among the carriers with premium economy seats. Air France- KLM is planning to add them fleet-wide.

These seats can cost anywhere from $100 to $800 more than a coach seat, but are often thousands of dollars lower than business class.

The problem is, there is no one definition of premium economy.

The biggest benefit across the airlines is that you get more legroom than coach.

But if you can score a seat by the emergency exit or bulkhead in coach, that legroom comes for free.

With an airline like Virgin Atlantic, however, you’re getting a 38-inch seat pitch, priority check-in and priority boarding and baggage claim, an amenity kit and better meals than coach.

And, if you’re a business traveler with an expense account, it can be worthwhile.

You’re cutting costs for your company compared with higher classes of service, and you’ll probably be more productive when you leave the plane if your knees haven’t been in your chest the whole flight.

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