This past November, I was invited by Air Canada to try its new “Premium Economy Class“, taking the international direct flight from Haneda International Airport (HND) in Tokyo, Japan to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ).
As the Air Canada official website states, “Designed to enhance your travel experience, Premium Economy Class offers superior comfort and personalized service. Inside this exclusive, quiet cabin, you’ll have ample room to stretch out – in a larger seat with more recline and extra legroom. Experience dining service you’ll love, an 11” personal touch TV, and a variety of airport priority services along the way.”
In summary, there are basically 3 classes of seats in an Air Canada international flight.
A) Signature Class
B) Premium Economy
C) Economy Class
As you can see, Premium Economy Class flight is categorized in between the higher level of Signature Class and above the regular Economy Class. So, exactly what do you get by paying for the Premium Economy Class? Great question! Let me sum it up for you below.
For Premium Economy, you get the following:
- More room to stretch out – you are in a larger seat with more recline and extra legroom as compared to the Economy Class. For example, I was sitting near the window side of the plane. For Premium Economy, we have 2 wide seats. But for Economy Class, the same window side section, you will have 3 seats with narrower seat space.
- I was given 2 complimentary check-in luggage
- Priority check-in line, lineup as way shorter and quicker to get boarded
- My luggage will be in priority so when I pick up my luggage at the baggage claim, it shows up quicker than the economy ones. This is KEY coz I want to grab my luggage quicker than everyone and leave the airport to see my loved ones quickly.
- Better food and beverage menu items
- Bigger touch screen TV monitor
- Blanket, bottle of water and an amenity kit
- Boarding after Signature Class but ahead of the Economy Class passengers. This is so KEY as I don’t want to lineup and wait to get into my cabin so I can put my carry on. Since I can board quite quickly with Premium Economy, it’s a peace of mind.
The direct international flight from Haneda Tokyo International Airport (HND) to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) took about 13 hours, so it was a long distance flight for me. So, it was very important that I am as comfortable as I can and the Premium Economy Class didn’t disappoint. My Premium Economy seat is wider than the normal Economy Class seat. There was much more leg room that I could stretch. I am less than 6 feet tall, so ample of leg room for me. But if you are 6 feet tall or more, I am sure you will have enough room. My seat could also recline quite a bit that I felt very comfortable with the sitting position and angle. Have you ever watch a movie at a theatre in the VIP section? Where there is a wide, comfy recline sofa with leg room? That was exactly the similar experience I got with the Premium Economy seat, so it was awesome, especially when I was watching movies. LOL
The TV monitor was a good size with a remote control panel for me to choose my channels, movies, song list and volume. There were overheard cabin storage space if you need to put your carry on in it. And of course, there was power outlet for me to recharge my Smartphones.
MoVernie TIP: Although all Premium Economy Class seats are very comfortable with good space, but I highly recommend you to try to book your seat near the aisle side of each side of the plane. For example, the left or right side of the Premium Economy section. Coz each side, there are only 2 seats, so it’s only you and another person. If you are flying with your significant partner, you basically have your own row to yourself. But more importantly, there are 4 seats side-by-side in the middle section. Personally, I prefer not to sit with 4 seats in a row. That’s just me. That’s my preference. Perhaps, some family of 4 would pretty much prefer the middle section with 4 people sitting together in one row.
Food & Beverage Menu
During this flight, we will be served with lunch, snack and breakfast.
- Main course
For my lunch, I got a green salad with vinaigrette.
As for my main course, we got a choice and I chose beef cheeks with miso sauce, along with deep fried tofu, sticky steam rice with daikon radish, bok choy and steam rice. I love beef cheeks or pork belly so I was quite impressed that I would be able to have beef cheeks as a meal on a flight. Well done Air Canada Culinary team! The sticky steam rice mixed with the miso sauce was so delish!
And to finish it up with a cookie and my beloved gin & tonic was a nice way to finish this meal.
- Light refreshment
After watching a movie and there was snack time! I love instant noodles and they also gave me a sandwich, definitely a good snack.
Rise n Shine Breakfast!
For breakfast, we were given a piece of bread, seasonal fruit and scrambled egg with pork sausage, roasted potatoes and sun dried tomato with cheese. The egg was good, not too liquidity, not overcooked, just the way I like it. I didn’t really like the bread as it was cold but the texture was a bit hard for me to bite. But that’s ok, the portion of the scrambled egg was generous that I had enough to eat.
NOTE: The food & beverage menus are printed in 3 languages: English; French and Japanese
Overall Experience of the Premium Economy
Some people may have the following questions.
- Is it worth it for me to pay extra money to fly Premium Economy instead of the regular Economy Class?
- Or better yet, if I am going to pay extra, shouldn’t I “go home or go big”, and opt for the Signature Class instead? Why settle for the middle price range?
Quite honestly, I think whether you fly with Signature Class; Premium Economy or Economy Class, it’s really subject to your preference, what factors are important to you during a flight, what makes you happy and of course, your financial situation.
For those who are on a budget, then flying Economy Class would be the only option. But for others, they are rich or they work so damn hard 24/7 and money is not an object, go ahead, go for the top Signature Class. But perhaps some people are not super rich, nor they really need to go “All-Out” on a flight, perhaps they just want a little bit more comfort and some premium service that they don’t mind paying a little bit extra to get the Premium Economy. So, to me, I don’t think there is right or wrong decision, every individual’s situation is different and what they value are different as well.
As for me, it’s a no brainer that if money is not an issue, I will want the best everywhere I fly, but I ain’t rich but I do willing to pay for what I feel is of great value. Here is my own MoVernie guideline. If I am flying to a destination that is less than 8 hours, then I can live with flying the Economy Class. I still consider myself as a healthy and young individual, cramping for a 8 hour flight is manageable. However, if I am flying to a destination that is flying in the air for more than 8 hours? Then, I will either opt for a Signature Class or Premium Economy. In particular, I personally think paying extra for the Premium Economy is reasonable for me. I could afford the extra cost and I could see the added value by paying extra. Sometimes, I may want all the bells & whistles of the superb premium service from a Signature Class, but sometimes, I don’t really need it all the time.
I think Premium Economy is great for my lifestyle and my taste.
Here is why:
- Priority check-in. I like this, less lineup, quick service to check-in and drop off my check-in luggage
- Priority baggage claim. When I arrive at my destination, I want to grab my checked in luggage ASAP so I can the hell out of the airport and see my family and friends instead of waiting around for a while.
- 2 complimentary check-in luggage (pretty much self-explanatory)
- Better food and beverage menu on flight. I mean, I am a foodie, beef cheeks? Good food? It makes me happy!
- More recline space, wider seat, more leg room, bigger TV monitor, these are key elements that will make me happy and more enjoyable for my flight.
Although this Premium Economy flight was provided by Air Canada, however, if I ever have to pay for my own Premium Economy flight to fly somewhere, I will definitely pay for it. I know I am still young and healthy and I will survive in the Economy Class, but if I have a choice and I work so hard that it’s a matter of rewarding myself and striving for the type of good lifestyle that I am looking for. Sometimes, I deserve better and if getting a Premium Economy flight makes me happier, more relax, more calm and a peace of mind from checking-in, boarding, sitting at my seat for the flight and picking up my priority luggage at the baggage claim, it’s all worth it!
The Signature Class Flights & Services from Toronto, Canada to Tokyo, Japan were provided by Air Canada. However, as always, the opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.