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Is it worth paying more for Premium Economy on a flight?

(31 Posts)
MrsPresley Wed 20-Feb-13 09:51:54

I want to go to Memphis, either this year or next year.

Was looking at flights with BA, which means going Edinburgh - London - Chicago - Memphis, in total roughly 17/18 hours.

London to Chicago is around 8.30 hours. Booking Premium Economy will cost around £800 extra and will also mean I have to wait till next year sad I'm impatient and want to go NOW

Is it worth paying for the extras? I'm thinking more of the extra space with the seats, also this will be my once in a lifetime holiday and I've waited years to go, so do I make the most of it, go later and travel a bit more comfortably or do I go this year and save some money and have more to spend on Elvis stuff

Nervousfirsttimer Wed 27-Feb-13 09:32:41

We did this trip last year and it was awesome! We flew with united an the flight service was pretty awful however they do fast track you through ohare if your connecting flight is with the same airline and tight turn round. However while we made the plane, it luggage did not and we did not get it till the next day. If you do this option take spare pants in your hand luggage!

PassTheTwiglets Wed 27-Feb-13 09:18:44

Have a look at standard seats with extra legroom... Virgin do this, not sure about others... that was about £20 extra each way and WELL worth it.

kalidanger Thu 21-Feb-13 21:24:24

God, sorry. I've been waffling on about first and business blah.

kalidanger Thu 21-Feb-13 21:20:53

I have to agree that if the destination is the special treat then spend the money on that. Not many of us can easily afford First, Business or Upper class for a personal break and as others have said its not that much better than economy. Especially on Virgin. Their brand image is fab but the actual product (experience) isn't anything to write home about.

Going aaaallll that way in a day is going to be miserable a challenge however you do it. So spend the money in Memphis, maybe a fantastic hotel? smile

AllSWornOut Thu 21-Feb-13 19:43:11

Whether PE is worth the money does depend on the airline to some extent but if it means the difference between going this year for your 50th or putting it off until next year then I probably wouldn't bother. Unless an upgrade on the way back won't break the bank.

Some US airlines have PE but it's generally only a pitch (legroom) increase and free alcoholic drinks rather than a completely different seat.

That said, it might be worth looking into booking business class on the US domestic sector. That's going to be a long flight after a transatlantic flight and they do treat you a bit more nicely ime.

BettyandDon Thu 21-Feb-13 19:28:55

I think PE is useless. I didn't notice any difference to economy on BA. I think you need business or above for a truly comfortable flight.

For me comfort = a seat big enough to curl up and kip in!

Southeastdweller Thu 21-Feb-13 19:12:50

I flew back from New York on the red eye with Virgin Atlantic a few years ago in a P.E seat. In hindsight I think it was a mistake because going in economy with Virgin is fine and like others have said, you don't get much for your money in PE. Service was the same as usual and the food was only slightly better. Yes there's a bit more room and it's more quiet but I wish I'd used the £250 extra I'd paid on spending money instead. I'd rate the whole experience 7/10 compared to 6/10 when I flew back in economy a few times before. I think I'd feel the same about a longer flight.

I wish they'd give you lounge access.

kalidanger Thu 21-Feb-13 15:21:49

This any good?

30SEP DEP: Edinburgh 0615 ARR: Paris 0920 DL8677 operated by Air France
30SEP DEP: Paris 1045 ARR: Atlanta 1405 DL8504 Operated by AF
30SEP DEP: Atlanta 1600 ARR: Memphis 1627 DL1778
7OCT DEP: Memphis 1140 ARR: Paris 0610 DL28
8OCT DEP: Paris 0715 ARR: Edinburgh 0815 DL1286 Operated by City Jet

Economy on short legs, Premium Economy on longhaul £2310

ujjayi Thu 21-Feb-13 01:01:23

Mrs P, no advice re flights but just wanted to will LOVE Memphis! I went there many years ago now and it was brilliant and yet surreal smile

mummymeister Wed 20-Feb-13 20:02:50

we went to usa in December. the flight out was full so PE was great. on the way back PE was full but the rest of the flight was empty so we had to sit in just one seat whilst economy had rows each to sleep in! not sure i would go PE again if going on a quiet flight out of season tbh. you certainly dont get any better service or food.

MrsPresley Wed 20-Feb-13 19:48:02

Thanks again for even more replies, I had to go to work.

kalidanger only £2050 are you sure that's not the cheap seats grin

Seriously though shock,

Anyway I'd like to go either 30 September this year (my birthdays the 29th) or maybe April/May next year before it gets too hot for me.

The BA flights I've been looking at are around £600 for PE based on prices this May here and £400ish for economy

Dont know if that link will work

newpup Wed 20-Feb-13 14:05:50

Hmmmm. I would come back PE if it has to be only one way. Night flights are better in PE. I agree with the poster who said PE is just a bit more peaceful, they clear trays quicker and little or no queueing for loos. Although we came back from the USA a couple of years ago and treated ourselves to a PE upgrade as it was a nightflight. A couple in the seats in front of us had a baby that yelled the whole 8 hours!!!!!

kalidanger Wed 20-Feb-13 13:09:02

United is the only carrier that goes direct Edinburgh to NYC.


kalidanger Wed 20-Feb-13 13:08:03

US carriers don't have Premium Economy. Edinburgh to NYC is business class on United and is....wait for it.... ~£2050.

kalidanger Wed 20-Feb-13 13:05:06

Easyjet Edinburgh to LHR ~£80
Virgin LHR to NYC premium economy ~£900
United NYC to Memphis economy (there's no premium eco on US domestic flights) ~£450

Total fare ~£1450 + perhaps a Travelodge at LHR if the flights don't match

gregssausageroll Wed 20-Feb-13 12:59:14

you should look at the flights from Edinburgh to New York and then connect.

kalidanger Wed 20-Feb-13 12:47:36

What dates do you want to go?

exexpat Wed 20-Feb-13 11:59:22

If you are really tall then it might be worth it for the extra legroom, but otherwise I wouldn't really bother for a transatlantic flight. I've flown longhaul (to Asia & Australia) in a variety of economy, premium economy & Virgin upper class, and I didn't find I had any better chance of getting any sleep in premium rather than standard economy. The flat beds in upper class are another matter - but you'd pay thousands more for that.

I certainly don't think it's worth postponing a trip for a year just to afford premium economy.

gameday Wed 20-Feb-13 11:50:20

Is it worth it to you to pay £800 for a slightly more comfortable flight? That's a lot of cool Elvis stuff you could buy!! In my experience, what leaves you feeling awful isn't the flight itself, it's all the stuff before & after: waiting in airports, waiting in immigration, shuttling to and from the airport, dragging bags through the airport, having to change from one flight to another (twice) is stressful and makes you worry about connections. If you go Edinb-Chic-Nashville, then the worst part will be Chicago-Nashville.

I'd be tempted to spend a fraction of the £800 on making the journey from Nashville airport to hotel as easy as possible, and on a better class of hotel across the whole holiday. Find a hotel with a spa and book a massage!

I would be willing to spend the £800 on a more direct flight. But if that's not going to happen, then no, premium economy isn't worth it.

middleagedspread Wed 20-Feb-13 11:33:41

I agree. PE is a better bet on a night flight unless there's a really good deal. Are you flying BA?
Sometimes they do good offers on upgrades but you do have to keep checking the website.
I also agree that it's worth paying more for the shortest possible journey time.

PuffPants Wed 20-Feb-13 11:32:06

I agree you don't get a great deal more for your money in PE but you do get a degree of privacy and it's quieter. It's usually the smallest cabin and you don't have to put up with people endlessly walking up and down the aisles as they do in economy. Just a bit more tranquil.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 20-Feb-13 11:27:46

I was also going to suggest that alternative routing through Newark, that would also cut out using O'hare.

Chicago O'Hare is a massive airport and you would have to allow plenty of time (say around 3 hours) before boarding the next flight. Also you would likely have to leave one terminal to enter another terminal thus going through security again.

Would use PE on return flight to UK; not worth it going outbound. Bear in mind too that on BA the armrests in PE do not move at all.

EldonAve Wed 20-Feb-13 10:59:17

It depends how much the original flight cost is
I might pay 10% - 20% more for premium but I'd rather spend the cash elsewhere

Most direct flight looks like EDI - EWR - MEM

Billwoody Wed 20-Feb-13 10:40:35

I don't rate premium economy at all. The seats and legroom are not that much bigger for the money and you still get the same food and no lounge access. Having said that, I am 5ft2 and can fit quite happily in an economy seat (and actually find premium economy seats are more uncomfortable as I can't touch the floor and my head doesn't reach the headrest). If you are tall it would probably make more of a difference.

MrsPresley Wed 20-Feb-13 10:33:25


Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be anywhere in the UK straight to Memphis sad, so it's either via Chicago, Newark or Dallas.

But I really really want to go and I'm going to be 50 this year, this is my special birthday treat to myself.

I've even looked at going from Amsterdam but still have to go via somewhere else sad

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