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'Premium economy' takes wing among Indian flyers

Last updated on: December 30, 2012 10:45 IST

'Premium economy' takes wing among Indian flyers

Aneesh Phadnis

he premium economy cabin is getting popular among air travellers from India. Air France and Virgin Atlantic have seen 40 per cent and 60 per cent growth, respectively, in this class from India routes. The latter has increased the number of seats in the segment from 35 to 48 in its Airbus A330 planes.

British Airways, Turkish Airlines and Cathay Pacific also offer premium economy seating on their flights to India. The class has wider reclining seats and an exhaustive menu in comparison with regular economy. Cathay Pacific has separate check-in counters at airport for the segment's passengers.

Fares in this category are 20-30 per cent higher than the lowest economy fare, but cheaper than business class. For airlines, the segment helps to improve their loads and yields per flight.

Earlier in the week Air France announced that 1.5 million passengers have travelled in premium economy class across its network in the last three years. "The premium economy product has been very successful in India since its launch on Indian routes in 2010. We have seen an increase in preference of this product by our customers this year,'' said Yeshwant Pawar Air France general manager (India).

"We carried about 7,000 passengers in premium economy cabins this year which is a growth of 40 percent over last year,'' he added. The airline offers the service on its twenty weekly flights to Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi.

According to Stephen King, General Manager, Virgin Atlantic- India, "We have seen a strong demand in Premium Economy from India, with over 60 per cent growth this year to both London and New York from Delhi.

British Airways said nearly 1.2 million passengers fly in its premium economy passengers across the network and added that it is investing five billion pounds in new aircraft and upgrading its service. The airline refused to share India specific data.

Photographs: Kind courtesy,