We put the three major U.S. legacy carriers to the test, flying various transatlantic routes in premium economy with American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. In the video, we reveal whether premium economy was worth the upgrade from regular economy flights to the U.S.
Delta Premium Select
TPGer: Nicky Kelvin.
Route: Dublin Airport (DUB) to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).
Plane: Boeing 767-400.
Cost: 925.80 British pounds ($1,170 USD). The fare included Dublin to New York in premium economy and a return flight from Charlotte to Paris in economy.
- Even though the aircraft was over 20 years old, it was retrofitted with a new cabin inside, and it felt very modern and fresh.
- Priority check-in and security were offered with Delta, which isn’t the case with all premium economy products. This meant I had a very efficient, quick and smooth airport experience.
- The food served inflight was fresh, tasty and plentiful. The paratha flatbread was an interesting and welcome addition to the curry that was served.
- The Boeing 767 is significantly noisier than other more modern aircraft, and the premium economy cabin is close to the engines.
- The food felt like an upgraded economy-class meal rather than a slightly downgraded business-class meal. For example, there was no proper crockery.
American Airlines Premium Economy
TPGer: Maren Gimnes.
Route: London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).
Plane: Boeing 777-200.
Cost: 53,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles, plus 259 British pounds ($327) and tax.
- The legroom was very generous, and the seat was comfortable with a nice leather finish.
- I liked that the cabin was quite small, which made it feel more exclusive.
- The food was lovely and well presented — I received metal cutlery and a fabric napkin, which was a nice upgrade from economy.
- The table was very unstable, and I didn’t like that it folded down into the armrest as it made it hard to move around or get up without having to fold it down every time.
- The charging points and USB ports were not in a convenient location.
- I paid $37 for the Wi-Fi, but it didn’t work at all.
- I didn’t have fast-track security.
United Premium Plus
TPGer: Liam Spencer.
Route: LHR to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
Plane: Boeing 767-300.
Cost: $1,152.15. Fare also included onward flight from Newark to Charlotte.
- The seat was incredibly comfy, with a good amount of personal space and excellent depth of recline. On a long-haul flight, this makes a huge difference when it comes to grabbing a few hours of sleep.
- I was really impressed with the size and quality of my lunch. It included harissa chicken, chickpeas, a huge side salad, bread and delicious chocolate truffles.
- The small cabin, consisting of just four rows, felt secluded, private and peaceful.
- The toilet facilities were shared with the much larger economy cabin, meaning they were often occupied and busy.
- I was disappointed not to receive a menu ahead of the meal service and instead given a very economy-feel choice of chicken or vegetable. The food turned out to be very tasty and plentiful but I would have appreciated a wider range of options.
Check out the full video comparison on TPG’s YouTube channel.