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.
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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).
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 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 seatguru.com:
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:
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
Below photos show the seats in Air China Premium Economy in Boeing 747-8:
There are two tables – one is hidden in your armrest:
The second is folded, on the back of the seat in front of you:
Both unfolded create quite big space for your meals, drinks or other stuff – I like that:
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:
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Air China premium economy amenities
Below listed things you can find on your seat and
- 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
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:
and a selection of newspapers:
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.
- 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).
- After selection of your main language (you can choose among Chinese, English, and French) you will see the main menu screen:
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.
- When viewing the movie details you can add it to your Playlist by clicking the “+” button at the top right “Add to Video Playlist”
- You can come back to your Playlist by hitting the Playlist button on the top menu:
- Under the “Map” icon you will be able to view the details about your route and destinations:
- The most important screen with the progress of the flight is available after selecting “Your Flight” from the top menu:
- In the “Tools” menu, select “Settings”:
- In the “Settings” menu you will be able to again change the language, adjust brightness, volume, call crew and turn on the reading light:
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