air china premium economy

Long-haul flight in the Economy class is a kinda hard experience, especially when you travel like that very often. Therefore the majority of airlines offered the upgrade of Economy class called Premium Economy class. Air China is also offering this class and recently I had a chance to test it for the very first time. Is it a good deal to pay for it? In this article, I will share with you my experience from the flight Frankfurt-Beijing in Air China Premium Economy. 


The aircraft type was Boeing 747-8 which is the third generation of 747-8, announced in 2005. It carries 467 passengers in a three-class configuration. The plane is huge, modern and widely used by airlines all over the world (currently 128 planes produced).

air china premium economy - 747-8
Boeing 747-8

The thing which I don’t like in Boeing’s is the compartment – it’ opens like oven doors. This makes difficult to close the compartment if it’s heavily loaded. I’ve seen a flight attendant trying to close it but she was not able to without support from passengers. My user experience with Airbus solution is far better.

This article might be also interesting for you: where to look for support when applying for compensation for delayed or cancelled flight

Another thing is that 747’s compartment is difficult to access from the aisle. It’s quite deep (see photo) and you need to strongly lean out to reach it.

air china premium economy - compartment
Boeing 747 compartment – opens like oven doors and not easy access.

Air China premium economy seats

Premium Economy seats are located at the height of the wings and the seat setup in a row is the same as in the Economy class: 3 – 4 – 3. Below you can see the seating plan from

air china premium economy - seat plan boeing 747-8
Boeing 747-8 Premium Economy seat plan, source:

I compared Air China Premium Economy with Lufthansa in terms of seat pitch (the distance to the next rows of seats – in other words, leg room :-), seat width (the distance between armrests) and Seat Type in Boeing 747-8 airplane:

air china premium economy comparison with Lufthansa

As you can see above, Lufthansa has more leg room (+6 cm more than Air China) and 2cm wider seats.

The chart also shows the difference between the regular Economy class and the Premium Economy.

In Air China, there is no difference in seat width and seat type – in both classes you will seat on standard flight seats. The only difference is more leg room. In Air China Premium Economy you will get an additional 12 cm for your legs comparing to the Economy class.

If you are interested in a more detailed comparison of space for different airlines, read my previous article about the premium economy vs. economy.

If you want to check the latest prices for premium economy deals, you can use the search widget: 

Below photos show the seats in Air China Premium Economy in Boeing 747-8:

air china premium economy - seats
air china premium economy - seats

There are two tables – one is hidden in your armrest:

air china premium economy - seats

The second is folded, on the back of the seat in front of you:

air china premium economy - seats

Both unfolded create quite big space for your meals, drinks or other stuff – I like that:

air china premium economy - seats

A tiny thing but useful – there is a hook sticking from the seat in front of you. You can hang there something like a small bag, headphones or a jacket:

air china premium economy - seats

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Practical Tactics to Get Your Flight Delay Compensation - Air China Premium Economy post

Air China premium economy amenities

Below listed things you can find on your seat and in-seat pocket was:

  • Blanket,
  • Pillow,
  • Bottle of still water,
  • Headphones for the onboard entertainment system,
  • Slippers – I like this. In other airlines I have to bring my own slippers – here, they give it
air china premium economy - amenity kit

That’s not a lot. For example in Lufthansa you get, an eye-mask, earplugs, toothbrush, toothpaste, and compression socks.

Before takeoff you will be served with a refreshment towel:

air china premium economy - amenity kit

and a selection of newspapers:

air china premium economy - amenity kit

Air China entertainment system

A few words about Air China’s in-flight entertainment system – this is available for all travel classes on board.

  • The screen is quite small but fair enough to watch the movies. You can adjust brightness and volume.
air china premium economy - entertainment system
  • You can plug in your 3,5 mini-jack headphones cable and use your own headphones instead of the ones delivered in the amenity kit.
  • USB socket allows you to charge your devices and show on the screen your own media (see “USB” option in entertainment system menu).
air china premium economy - entertainment system
  • After selection of your main language (you can choose among Chinese, English, and French) you will see the main menu screen:
air china premium economy - entertainment system

Among the others, the most interesting positions are:

  • Movies – you can find some recent cinema hits. It’s easy to find what you are interested in as the categories are displayed above the list.
air china premium economy - entertainment system
  • When viewing the movie details you can add it to your Playlist by clicking the “+” button at the top right “Add to Video Playlist”
air china premium economy - entertainment system
  • You can come back to your Playlist by hitting the Playlist button on the top menu:
air china premium economy - entertainment system
  • Under the “Map” icon you will be able to view the details about your route and destinations:
air china premium economy - entertainment system
  • The most important screen with the progress of the flight is available after selecting “Your Flight” from the top menu:
air china premium economy - entertainment system
  • In the “Tools” menu, select “Settings”:
air china premium economy - entertainment system
  • In the “Settings” menu you will be able to again change the language, adjust brightness, volume, call crew and turn on the reading light:
air china premium economy - entertainment system

Short Resume

Below I’ve listed my subjective list of the pros and cons of Air China Premium Economy comparing to the Economy class.


  • +12 cm more leg room
  • Two foldable tables create a huge space for meals and drinks
  • Slippers in the amenity kit


  • 3-4-3 seat configuration
  • Standard flight seat as in Economy
  • The same seat width as in Economy
  • Sparing amenity kit.

I hope that the above information will help you to take the decision if you should pay more for the Premium Economy class.

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Photos and  featured image: Lucas

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  1. pros is 4 more inches of leg room???? more table space for worst airline meal reviewed??? Slipers so you can walk in comfort???? Out of your mind!!!

    • Thanks for the comment. It seems you don’t like Air China’s Premium Economy offer πŸ™‚ My understanding of pros in the text above is that it’s more than compared to the economy class – more leg room is a fact and a bigger table – I liked it because I could use it for my laptop and notes.
      Usually, meals served on the plane are not my favorite but the one served by Air China was not worst than from Lufthansa. Regarding slippers – today I returned from Mexico with Lufthansa, also in Premium and I was missing slippers – this is an advantage, at least for me. Cheers πŸ™‚

  2. Hey there, just a note. China Airlines is not the same as Air China, so the link you provided for the amenities is incorrect. As far as I know I didn’t see anything on Air China’s website about premium economy service. Article was pretty good tho and very informative. Cheers πŸ™‚

    • Hi Renaud, thanks for your comment. You are right, I mixed these two… All fixed now πŸ™‚ I also couldn’t find anything on Air China website.

  3. Is the food and beverage in CA premium economy any different from CA economy? I’m trying to work out if it’s worth paying an extra Β£120 to upgrade to premium economy – I’m thinking “no” at the moment…

    • Hi Dave. I did not focus on what was served in Economy on this flight, but I guess it’s the same food. You are asking if it’s worth to upgrade for 120 pounds – I’ve red once a good hint on that saying that if the extra cost is 10-15% more than standard Economy, then take it – it’s worth.

  4. I took a trip from JFK to PEK with premium economy. I loved the extra legroom for long haul flight. I booked it earlier and it’s about US100 extra for each way, compared to economy saver fare. During the departure day, the check-in counter offers US150 for the premium economy upgrade.

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