Is premium economic system actually well worth the value? I’ve heard many various opinions in regards to the product from my colleagues at TPG. To be sincere, I used to be initially skeptical given how comparable the product typically seems when in comparison with economic system, regardless of the massive distinction in value. Nevertheless, I made a decision to make the leap on a latest Iberia flight from Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) to El Dorado Worldwide Airport (BOG) in Bogota, Colombia.
Listed below are 5 issues that impressed me from my first premium economic system flight, and two issues that didn’t.
Need extra airline-specific information? Join TPG’s free biweekly Aviation publication.
Join our each day publication
Worth as a redemption
The explanation I booked a premium economic system ticket was because of the lack of award availability in economic system on my journey dates. I may discover award availability in economic system on the best way dwelling from Colombia, however not on the best way there. After some analysis, I made a decision to go for a premium economic system award ticket utilizing British Airways Avios on Iberia from Madrid to Bogota, because it supplied method higher worth than shopping for a money fare in economic system.
One of the crucial useful issues I’ve discovered since beginning at TPG is which you could save large by flying from mainland Europe as a substitute of from the UK. It’s because the U.Okay. has extremely excessive air passenger obligation taxes and costs, they usually improve with the category of service and distance. Searching for flights from different hubs in Europe is a superb thought if you wish to discover a whole lot — particularly if you happen to can guide an affordable one-way Ryanair or easyJet flight to a different hub, and even take the prepare to a European airport that doesn’t cost the identical quantity of charges.
I made a decision to fly from Madrid relatively than my dwelling in London. I spent 59,700 Avios and 258 kilos (about $276) in charges, taxes and surcharges on a MAD-to-BOG nonstop ticket (premium economic system out and common economic system on the best way again). On the time of reserving, the money fare for a similar ticket would have been 1,785 kilos ($1,907). I additionally checked the money fare for a return flight in economic system, which might have set me again 1,356 kilos ($1,448). I might by no means pay nearly 400 kilos extra to fly premium economic system one-way, however because it was a redemption, I felt it was good worth.
I solely needed to pay 18,750 additional Avios to fly premium economic system as a substitute of economic system. I earned the Avios by way of a British Airways American Specific Premium Plus Card, with a lot of the factors coming from a limited-time welcome bonus of 40,000 factors. A Marriott resort keep boosted my steadiness by one other 10,000 factors — as soon as I transferred the factors from my Marriott Bonvoy account to my British Airways Govt Membership account. Utilizing British Airways’ purchasing portal for on-line purchases was additionally an important supply of Avios; that is very true on Reserving.com, the place you at the moment get 8 Avios per pound spent whenever you undergo BA’s purchasing portal.
The seat itself is nineteen inches extensive, versus the roughly 17-inch seats present in economic system. I didn’t know this on the time of flying and was shocked once I came upon. I nearly couldn’t imagine how a lot wider it felt. The large armrests and additional legroom made it really feel much more spacious — there are 37 inches of house between the rows, which is 20% greater than in economic system. I’m used to flying in economic system, and premium economic system positively felt far more spacious by comparability.
The recline is the place this seat actually shines: You possibly can sit again nearly 40% greater than in economic system. This was the closest factor I’ve ever gotten to mendacity down on a aircraft (to this point!).
Sadly, I didn’t maximize the potential of this improvised “flatbed” till midway by way of the flight. I had no concept that you could possibly modify the footrest and elevate it to get much more comfy; I solely realized this once I wakened and noticed my neighbor comfortably sleeping in an nearly flat place. Remember that it takes up quite a lot of your house if the individual in entrance of you reclines totally. It could be arduous to have a laptop computer in your desk or use it in different methods if that is so. Throughout the meal, my neighbor had this challenge, because the individual in entrance of her was totally reclined.
I really feel it’s price calling out some aircraft etiquette right here: Put your seat upright throughout meals to permit your fellow passengers to eat correctly and comfortably.
Meals high quality
I’ve heard that airways typically serve the very same meals in premium economic system as in economic system, solely on china as a substitute of plastic trays. I used to be to see if this turned out to be the case right here too. With no bodily menu out there, the flight attendant vaguely requested me whether or not I’d like “rice or meat” for my meal. This rapidly jogged my memory that I used to be not in first-class, and I felt my pleasure take a plunge. The meal selection felt extra like a sport of roulette than a premium flight service, so I made a decision to play it secure and go for the nondescript rice choice.
Fortunately, the meal turned out to be scrumptious. It was a creamy Spanish-inspired risotto with mushrooms and parmesan. The dessert was a Manchego cheesecake, which was very tasty as properly. I additionally acquired a small bottle of sauvignon blanc to go together with the meal, which added a bit of sophistication. I came upon later that the second “meat” choice would have been home made gnocchi with braised oxtail in a cherry tomato sauce, which sounds unbelievable. It could have been good to know what the opposite choice was, particularly for the reason that meal turned out to be one of many key variations I paid for. The premium economic system meals come from the identical kitchen because the business-class meals. Iberia’s catering accomplice Do & Co ready the meals. Do & Co additionally caters for Turkish Airways, which serves a few of the greatest meals within the airline business.
In comparison with my economic system experiences, this premium expertise positively supplied an upgraded meal with much more aptitude and style. The truth that it was served on china and never plastic additionally made the entire expertise higher.
Bedding and amenity package
The fleece blanket I obtained was very tender and quite a bit greater and extra comfy than you’d count on in economic system. The identical goes for the pillow. I’m undecided what sort of amenity package business-class prospects obtain, however personally, I couldn’t consider something that might make my journey extra comfy.
The amenity package had all of the requirements for a long-haul flight together with a sleeping masks, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste. I additionally acquired noise-canceling headphones which made a giant distinction whereas watching motion pictures. The comfortable setup, mixed with the wonderful recline, put me proper to sleep.
For me, the truth that I managed to sleep so properly was nearly well worth the improve to premium economic system itself.
Checked baggage allowance messaging
After I booked the Iberia flight through British Airways’ website, it clearly said that the premium economic system ticket included two baggage. Checked baggage is included with all Avios redemptions whatever the class of service. So, I used to be very confused once I checked in on-line the day earlier than and the Iberia reserving website — in addition to my boarding cross — said that baggage was not included. Right now, it was late night, and I had tons of issues to repair earlier than my flight; the very last thing I wanted was hours caught ready in a dreaded telephone queue to talk to customer support.
I didn’t even know who to contact — BA, which I booked my flight by way of, or Iberia, the provider I used to be flying with? I gave up and determined to take my bag as hand baggage given the journey chaos surrounding checked baggage on the time. Numerous baggage had been misplaced or delayed this summer season, so perhaps this was the aviation gods making an attempt to ship me an indication.
I knew my bag was over the load restrict. After I say that, I imply it was method over the restrict — each when it comes to weight and measurement. I may hardly carry it for greater than 10 minutes with out breaking my again. I made a decision I might simply determine it out on the go. If I acquired stopped, I may all the time consult with the truth that my unique reserving had baggage included. Fingers crossed.
Weirdly sufficient, nobody ever requested in regards to the carry-on measurement on any of the Iberia flights or on home flights in Colombia. I simply want the messaging about my included baggage had been constant from Iberia.
Sadly, probably the most disappointing facet of your entire flight was the crew. In economic system I normally have the alternative expertise. As somebody who’s an everyday flyer with Ryanair and easyJet, I understand how an important crew could make a low-cost flight seem to be an journey. On this flight, it was the exact opposite.
All through your entire flight, it persistently felt just like the flight attendants actually didn’t need me or my fellow passengers to be there in any respect. I respect that the crew works lengthy hours, and it is tough to take care of a bouncy pleasant demeanor after an extended shift. Nevertheless, passengers ought to nonetheless be capable of really feel like they’ll ask questions or order drinks freely, and a smile goes a good distance (even when it’s by way of gritted enamel!) in taking any journey expertise from unhealthy to good.
Throughout the meal service specifically, I used to be shocked by the impatient crew member who served me. She solely introduced the meal decisions as “meat or rice” with out another particulars. Even after I requested politely what was hiding beneath the foil, she rapidly brushed me off and instructed me that she had “no thought.” For a premium ticket, that’s not a suitable degree of service.
I didn’t count on caviar and Champagne, however I did count on politeness. On high of the shortcoming to clarify the meal choices, there was nothing premium in regards to the service supplied, and this could catch the attention of Iberia in the event that they need to elevate the expertise.
My TPG UK colleagues mentioned that they had additionally skilled terrible service on their Iberia flight. Take a look at the total expertise right here:
Total, I had an excellent expertise flying premium economic system on Iberia. For somebody who has solely ever flown in economic system, this felt like an actual deal with. The quantity of house, the good recline and the standard of the meals made the expertise a giant improve from economic system. The tender bedding and the amenity package had been additionally unexpectedly good touches. The one actually damaging a part of the expertise was the unhealthy service from the crew. I’ve actually felt extra welcome flying with Ryanair on journeys that price a fraction of this one.
What I loved probably the most was how rested I felt upon reaching my vacation spot — I’ve by no means felt higher after a long-haul flight. This, mixed with the truth that it was cheaper to redeem Avios for premium economic system than shopping for a money fare in economic system, made me really feel very pleased with my selection of flying premium economic system. I might positively fly premium economic system once more if I stumbled throughout the same deal, and I’m now curious to do that service on different airways. I’ve heard Emirates’ premium economic system product is wonderful, and I might be eager to see how this compares to my expertise with Iberia.
There’s only one drawback: Flying common economic system will all the time really feel like I’ve been shortchanged now that I do know what’s hiding on the opposite aspect of the curtain.