We upgraded our two long haul flights from economy to premium economy paying about 30% – 40% extra. Because we were travelling with an infant, this meant we were also assigned the bulk head seats.
We flew British Airways on a shiny new A380 from London to Hong Kong (11 1/2 hours), and Cathay Pacific on an archaic A340 from Hong Kong to Auckland (10 1/2 hours).
So, was the extra money for Premium economy worth it?
- Heaps of leg room. You really could completely stretch your legs and then some. Also plenty of space for baby to safely crawl around in front of you.
- Significantly wider seats. The configuration is 2, 3, 2 (In cattle class it’s 3,4,3 or 3,5,3 depending on the air craft). We were seated in the middle row, meaning there was one other person in our row. We barely noticed them. Not only are the seats wider, but there is a very generous amount of arm rest space. You will not be rubbing elbows. At all.
- You can actually sleep. Even while holding an infant.
- You can use the airplane carry cot. Now, I wouldn’t recommend using these for actual baby sleeping. Baby is not strapped in. The cot is not very tall, and it’d be easy for baby to climb/fall out. It offers no protection from turbulence. And, if there is turbulence you have to wake baby, take him out, and put him into your seat-belt harness. The cot is also at an awkward height so that you are unable to see the baby while sitting in your seat. We found it easier and better just to keep junior on our lap. However, the cot (or even just the table) did make for great fast access storage area.
- USB power and regular power outlets. Yep, you can run your laptop, tablet, or phone for the duration of the flight.
- Extra classy meals with real metal utensils, and cloth serviettes. As an example, included in our breakfast was a croissant and mini glass jam jar with metal lid.
- Welcome drinkies!
We arrived in NZ 7.30am having traveled for 34 hours. We felt surprisingly good, and refreshed. The baby showed no problems coping with the 12 hour time difference, and wasted no time exploring his new surroundings, before crashing at his usual bedtime of 7 pm much later that day.
Verdict: If you have the means to pay the extra 30-40%C it is well worth the money. Even if it is just for the one flight. You will be able to sleep. And if you are travelling with a baby, it makes everything just sooo much better. In general, we found the British Airways flight slightly better than Cathay Pacific, but only because it was a newer aircraft.
In summary, it’s the extra leg room and wider seats that makes premium economy worth the price.