Monkey Mag – International Lifestyle and Travel Blog

Paying A Premium: Deciding if an Airline Upgrade is Worth It


The offer to upgrade to premium economy can be very tempting when you are contemplating spending a few hours in a cramped and crowded section of the plane, but is the offer of an upgrade worth that extra slice of your travel budget?

Here is an overview of the pros and cons of upgrading to premium economy so that you can make an informed decision each time the option of a better flying experience is being sold to you by the airline.

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A good starting point when talking about paying a premium for your flight is to bust the popular perception that premium economy is standardized across all airlines and you get the same benefits whoever you choose to fly with.

In just the same way that a hotel like a Marriott Renaissance, for example, will strive to offer a different and better customer experience and level of comfort in competition with a rival in the same price-space, airlines can vary significantly in terms of what you get for your money.

Premium economy is not created equal and, therefore, you do have to treat each offer on its own merits and see just how extra legroom you are paying for and whether the food and beverages are any different or better to what you would be served further down the back of the plane.

Domestic difference

It is also worth remembering that there can be substantial differences between the perks and advantages of paying for premium economy for an international flight or whether you are catching a puddle jumper and will only be in the air for a short distance.

Some airlines might even consider an upgrade to be a dedicated overhead bin space and an extra bag of snacks on a domestic flight, so don’t expect an international-style upgrade on a flight that is not venturing outside of domestic airspace.

Defining what “more space” means

The big selling point attached to a premium economy upgrade is the promise of extra space, but it is quite clear that each airline has its own definition of what that actually means you will get in return for an extra payment.

The one aspect that is universal across the airlines is that you can expect to have more space in some form or another than you get in coach. What is down to individual interpretation is how many extra inches of legroom you get and whether your meal options are enhanced.

Value for money

The ultimate question is whether you are getting value for money when you upgrade to premium economy.

You can sometimes find that the price difference is not that substantial, but if the figure is close to double or more than the cost of an economy ticket you might want to consider sticking with what you have or busting the budget by booking business class, which might actually be better value in general terms.

If you can find a premium economy deal that isn’t vastly different in price compared to traveling in coach, it is probably worth it. Which is a view you will concur with when you get the chance to stretch your legs out a bit further.