The Joy of Inexpensively Flying Premium Economy Overseas

Fly in Luxury at a Low Cost

Author: The Traveling Professor/Thursday, October 17, 2019/Categories: Save on Airfare

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Who doesn't hate getting crammed into coach class on an overseas flight to Europe?  The seats are too small and too uncomfortable.  It is almost impossible to sleep.  Meals are horrible, there is little space to store luggage.  But there is a better way.  Many airlines are introducing "premium economy" class at an affordable rate that make flying those trans-Atlantic flights more than bearable.

On a recent flight from Milan to New York's JFK we flew premium economy on American Airlines.  The seats were large and comfortable enough to get some good shut-eye.  We had preferred boarding.  The meals were good (that is good for airline food), and there was plenty of overhead storage for our luggage.

The hardest part of flying to Europe is the overnight trans-Atlantic part. So, let's go over an example of how to do the trans-Atlantic part on the cheap.   In example #1, let's look at a non-stop coach flight from JFK to Paris CDG departing April 5 and returning April 14.

The fares are:

  1. Basic Economy: $294
  2. Main Cabin: $626
  3. Premium Economy: $923

Premium Economy is only $297 more than coach.  But remember, there are fees for seat selection and preferred boarding on the Main Cabin fares.

But what if flying from another destination, like Dallas DFW?  A coach class ticket is $1243 with Premium Economy pricing at $1793.  But wait, you can purchase a R/T main cabin fare between DFW and JFK for $407 and then connect to the Premium Economy flight between JFK and CDG.  Doing it that way saves $463.  

What's even more surprising are the fares between LAX and CDG.  A main cabin fare is $1215.  Premium Economy is $1035.  That's definitely a no-brainer.

In my research, the least expensive Premium Economy flights originate from JFK and go to Barcelona, Milan, Madrid and yes, Bologna.   The Traveling Professor often gets an inexpensive Premium Economy fare into one of these cities and then takes a regional flight to his final destination, rested and relaxed.

Join The Traveling Professor on a small group tour to Paris and many other destinations in Europe.

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