What is the Difference Between Business Class and Premium Economy Class?

Many wonder what is the difference between business class and premium economy class?

Whether you’re planning to visit Italy for the educational experience or for a vacation getaway, one thing you’ll need to do is reserve a flight that meets your travel needs. There are many options to choose from, including what class you’ll be flying in.

It might not be readily apparent what the exact differences are between First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy, and so on. Business and Premium Economy in particular are confused from time to time, so let’s take some time to sort this out.

On international flights, the differences are significant. We’ll start by defining each of these classes, then we’ll compare the benefits to help you decide which will meet your needs on your trip to Italy.

Business Class Defined

Business Class is most easily defined as the level just below First Class, but it still offers plenty of luxury for those who want to fly across the Atlantic in comfort. The perks of Business Class usually include extra leg room, larger seats, quality food and wine, and more entertainment options than Economy. The proportion of staff to travelers in Business Class is also larger than in Economy or Premium Economy, which means you’ll get more personalized and efficient service.

Premium Economy Defined

In general, Premium Economy class is more of a step up from Economy Class rather than a step down from Business Class. In other words, Premium Economy is not Business Class minus a few features. It’s Economy class with some extras added on. This class is also most prevalent on international flights, though some domestic carriers offer it as well.

Now, exactly what those extras might be depends on the airline. Naturally, some offer more than others. On international flights, these differences are overall a bit more generous than on domestic flights, so for your trip to Italy, Premium Economy Class is worth looking into.

Benefits Offered

For our comparison, we’ll look at the benefits offered on international flights. Domestic flights are far different and usually don’t offer anywhere near the same perks as international. For Premium Economy, the benefits on international flights usually include:

  • A few extra inches of seat width and legroom (also called seat pitch)
  • TV on demand
  • Power ports for laptops
  • Various ways to adjust seating
  • Food services

On Business Class, the benefits are naturally far more generous. When compared with Economy Class, they will generally include:

  • A couple more inches of seat width
  • Double the legroom
  • Wider reclining freedom
  • Electronic reclining controls
  • Large personal TV screens
  • More diverse viewing options
  • Power ports
  • More cabin staff
  • Amenity kits
  • Premium food and wine

When comparing the features of each, Business Class offers a high level of luxury (though not nearly as much as First Class), whereas Premium Economy offers a slight improvement in comfort over standard Economy. For some travelers, Business Class might seem like a bit much. For others, Premium Economy simply might not be enough to meet their needs.

Cost Differences

For many fliers, pricing is an issue, and both Premium Economy and Business Class are more expensive than Economy. Generally speaking, Premium Economy is over 60% less expensive than Business, but the large difference in price is to be expected. After all, you don’t get nearly as much in Premium Economy as you would flying Business Class.

The real kicker is how Premium Economy compares to standard Economy Class. The pricing here can vary significantly depending on how far in advance you book the flight, the time of year you’ll be traveling, the airline itself, and even which ocean you’ll be flying over.

For flights over the Atlantic (which you’d take to Italy), booking Premium Economy in advance will usually cost nearly double what Economy would. Interestingly, this difference goes down the closer to the departure date you get. In some cases, you might get it as low as 10% more than Economy, making it a great bargain. Also, sometimes flights don’t have their Premium Economy seating filled up by the time of departure, so you might be able to upgrade from Economy at a large discount.

Which Should You Choose?

Ultimately, it comes down to your own preferences and travel needs. If having enough space is vital to your flight, then Premium Economy probably won’t be enough. If you are on a tight budget, however, then you might find Business Class to be a little steep. Trips 2 Italy can help you determine the best flight arrangement for your needs when traveling to Italy.