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Who Has the Best Transatlantic Premium Economy

Last updated: September 07,2023
Originally Published: September 30,2023
by Pradeep Chandravanshi

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Are you looking to add a touch of luxury to your transatlantic flight but not quite ready to splurge on business or first class? It could be the start of your upgrade journey, and you must know which airlines offer the best Transatlantic Premium Economy. Many airlines offer “premium economy,” which is like a comfy middle ground between regular economy and the fancier classes.

Premium Economy
Image Courtesy of Pexels

When considering the best transatlantic premium economy, factors such as seat comfort, culinary offerings, in-flight entertainment, and additional amenities play a pivotal role in decision-making. Travelers seeking an elevated experience across the Atlantic can select from all the airlines, each offering a distinct blend of comfort, service, and style.

In this article, we will take an in-depth look at some of the leading airlines’ transatlantic premium economy offerings, helping travelers decide which one suits their needs best.

British Airways – BA Premium Economy

The Premium Economy of British Airways is known as “World Traveler Plus.” British Airways brings its signature touch of sophistication to the premium economy experience with wider seats, enhanced dining experience, and all the other amenities that are lacking in Economy Class.

BA Premium Economy Seats

The seat arrangements in British Airways premium economy cabins are set up depending on the aircraft type. You might find it in a 2-3-2 arrangement or a 2-4-2 arrangement.

premium economy
British Airways Premium Economy Class. Image Courtesy of SeatGuru

Throughout the cabin, you’ll notice a significant, fixed armrest between each seat. When you compare it to the economy class, British Airways premium economy offers you more space in every direction. You get 38 inches of pitch, 7 more inches as compared to economy class. Not only that, the seats are wider by 18.5 inches, giving you more room to stretch out comfortably; there’s also more legroom to make your journey more enjoyable.

Food and Drinks

When you’re in World Traveller Plus, get ready to savor a glass of bubbly as you soar into the skies and relish a full-course meal with a starter, main course, and dessert. Throughout the flight, you can enjoy a variety of snacks, hot and cold drinks, and even alcoholic beverages brought right to your seat.

Premium Economy
Image Courtesy of British Airways

From a pre-departure drink to a choice of post-takeoff refreshments, British Airways has your taste buds covered, offering both vegetarian and meat-based meal options, along with delectable desserts and a selection of wines to complement your dining. The premium economy experience is all about efficiency and warmth, with the attentive cabin crew ensuring your comfort every step of the way.

Other Amenities

  • Priority Boarding: You will be boarded prior to the economy class.
  • Seat Amenities: You’ll find your cozy essentials like a little pillow, a snug blanket, and a neat package holding noise-canceling headphones. In the amenities kit, you find socks, an eye mask, lip balm, a pen, etc.
  • Extra Baggage Allowance: Premium economy allows two free checked bags at no additional cost. Click here for more information.

Book With Avios

British Airways Avios stands out as one of the best loyalty programs for frequent flyers. When it comes to redeeming awards, British Airways Executive Club follows the distance-based award chart and whether you’re flying during peak or off-peak times.

For example, you can take New York(JFK) to Heathrow(LHR) One Way Premium Economy flight with 26,000 Avios + taxes and fees, Off Peak. The amenities you will get with the premium economy are greater than the economy, but also, the points required are just double.

Transfer Avios Points

Transferring Avios Points is another option where you can accumulate points. You can transfer points between British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Qatar Airways at a ratio of 1:1.

You can also use these major credit card rewards to transfer them to Avios:

American Express Membership Rewards

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Avios at a ratio of 1:1. Credit Cards you can use to earn points and transfer them to Avios points are:

Capital One Miles

You can also transfer  Capital One Miles to Avios. Typically transfers are at a ratio of 1:1. Credit Card you can check to earn Capital One Miles:

Chase Ultimate Rewards

You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Avios. In terms of ratios, Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Avios at a ratio of 1:1.

Citi ThankYou Points

Transfer of Citi ThankYou Points is easy, and typically, transfers are at a ratio of 1:1. Credit Card you can check to earn Citi ThankYou Points:

Marriott Bonvoy Points

Marriott Points transfers occur at a ratio of 3:1 with a minimum transfer of 3,000 points. For every 60,000 points you transfer, you will earn a 5,000-mile bonus. So transferring 60,000 points will yield 25,000 Avios Points instead of 20,000 at a 3:1 ratio.

Bilt Rewards

Another credit card you can use to transfer points is the Bilt Rewards Credit Card. With Bilt, you can transfer points to Avios at a ratio of 1:1.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Premium Economy

I mentioned earlier that the idea behind choosing premium economy over regular economy is to enjoy more space in your seat, especially with extra legroom. This holds true for Virgin Atlantic’s Premium Economy as well.

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Seats

premium economy
Image Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

In Virgin Atlantic’s premium economy, you’ll find seats that measure 38 inches of pitch, 7 inches more than what you’d get in economy. On their Airbus A330-300 planes, these seats stretch up to 21 inches wide, while on other flights, they’re still close to economy 18.5 inches. You’ll have the luxury of reclining these seats 7 to 8 inches, and they come with adjustable headrests and footrests for added comfort. Each seat is equipped with universal power and USB outlets alongside a user-friendly in-flight entertainment touch screen to keep you entertained throughout the journey.

Premium economy
Seating Configuration of Boeing 787-9 Premium Economy section. Image Courtesy of SeatGuru

The Boeing 787-9 premium economy section has 35 seats arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration, and the Airbus A350 steps it up with 56 premium economy seats in a 2-4-2 layout, while the Airbus A330 falls in between with 48 seats in a 2-3-2 setup, including two partial rows for that extra bit of comfort.

Food and Drink

Premium economy
Image Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

In terms of food and drinks, what I have found between British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy is that British Airways comes out as the winner. In Virgin Atlantic, you’re treated to a pre-departure beverage like water, juice, or even a bubbly drink. You can choose your meal in advance from a selection of three delicious dishes. Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic’s Premium Economy passengers enjoy a meal in the air, complete with an appetizer, dessert, and a choice of three main dishes, including a vegetarian option. Additionally, there’s a second meal served by Virgin Atlantic before landing.

Other Amenities

  • Priority Boarding: You will be boarded prior to the economy class.
  • Seat Amenities: In the amenities kit, you find socks, an eye mask, lip balm, a pen, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.
  • Extra Baggage Allowance: Virgin Atlantic Premium allows 2 x 23kg checked bags.

Book With Virgin Atlantic Points

Virgin Atlantic also follows a distance-based award chart, and prices depend on peak or off-peak times. You have the option to book Virgin Atlantic awards either directly through Virgin’s Flying Club program or by using Delta SkyMiles. You can use Virgin Atlantic’s reward finder to check award availability.

New York(JFK) to Heathrow(LHR) Premium Economy flight with 17,500 points + taxes and fees:

Premium Economy
Image Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

American Airlines – AA Premium Economy

American Airlines boasts the most comprehensive and consistent offering in the US. It was the first among the prominent US airlines to introduce a premium economy. You’ll discover American Airlines’ premium economy seating installed on all of the airline’s Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft for international flights.


Premium Economy
Image Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

Premium seats have approximately 38 inches of pitch, which is more than what you’ll find in its economy range. AA has introduced Collins Aerospace MiQ seats that are slightly wider, around 18.5-19 inches which is an inch more than its economy class. The premium economy seats come with an in-flight entertainment screen and are equipped with either a footrest or a legrest.

Premium Economy
Boeing 777-300ER (77W) Seat Configuration. Image Courtesy of SeatGuru

On Boeing 777 aircraft, American Airlines has set up seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. Conversely, American’s 787 aircraft feature seven seats per row arranged in a 2-3-2 layout.

Food and Drinks

Premium Economy
Image Courtesy of American Airlines

In American Airlines’ premium economy, you can savor “chef-inspired dining” and complimentary beer, wine, and spirits. However, it’s worth noting that not all routes offering premium economy service come with such a delectable meal. The type of meal you receive depends on the region and distance of your flight, so on certain routes, premium economy passengers might receive the same meal and drink service as those in the economy. On the flip side, there are flights where American Airlines pulls out all the stops with multi-course meals. Coupled with an impressive array of drinks, opting for an American Airlines premium economy ticket could easily measure up to the great experience.

Other Amenities

  • Priority Boarding and Priority Check-in: You will be boarded prior to the economy class. Also, you will get priority check-in.
  • Seat Amenities: In the amenities kit, you find socks, an eye mask, body lotion, and a dental kit.

Book With AA Miles

For the smoothest experience in booking American Airlines premium economy awards, it’s usually best to go straight through American’s AAdvantage program. They operate with dynamic pricing, so keep that in mind while planning your travel.

With dynamic pricing, prices can vary greatly on demand. For New York(JFK) to Heathrow(LHR), a Premium Economy flight can cost 36,000 miles but can vary as high or more than 90,000 miles.

Premium economy
Award Calendar American Airlines. Image Courtesy of American Airlines

Delta Premium Select

Delta, a major player in the US aviation scene, introduced its premium economy class, known as Premium Select, in 2017. If you’re looking for more space to stretch out and a step up in meal quality, Delta’s Premium Select offers a definite upgrade from economy class.


Delta’s Premium Select seat is designed for ultimate comfort, featuring a fold-out adjustable footrest and leg rest that gives you ample space to stretch and relax. Depending on the aircraft type and size, seat configurations might vary.

Premium Economy
Boeing 767-400ER Seat Configuration. Image Courtesy of SeatGuru

For instance, on the Boeing 767-400ER, with a 2-2-2 seat configuration, you’ll find a slight increase in seat width compared to Economy, with Premium Economy offering- 18.5 inches while Economy provides 18.1 inches. The Premium Select seat also boasts an enhanced recline of over 7 inches – more than what Economy offers. Additionally, the in-flight entertainment screen measures 13.3″, providing ample entertainment. Do note that noise-canceling headphones aren’t available on the 757-200 aircraft.

Food And Drinks

Premium Economy
Image Courtesy of Delta

In the premium cabin, you can enjoy a step-up dining experience with premium eco-conscious dining ware as you explore a new menu selection. Enjoy your meal with complimentary beer, wine, and spirits. The kind of food you receive might vary based on your destination, but rest assured, the overall quality of food in the Premium cabin is a definite step up from the main cabin.

Other Amenities

  • Priority Boarding: SkyPriority, you will have access to priority security lines and will be boarded after Delta One passengers.
  • Baggage Allowance: Two free checked bags are allowed, included with the boarding pass.
  • Seat Amenities: In the amenities kit, you find socks, an eye mask, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.

Book With SkyMiles

Delta Premium Select might come with a heftier price tag when compared to its perks, but you can use your stacked SkyMiles, and if you get a good redemption value, it could totally be worth it.

New York(JFK) to Heathrow(LHR) Premium Economy flight with 120,500 points + $6

Premium Economy
Image Courtesy of Delta Airlines

As of now, when considering this flight, the value you’re getting for your SkyMiles is around 1.11 cents per point. It’s not incredibly high, but if you’ve accumulated a good amount of SkyMiles, it might still be worth using them for this kind of flight.

Bottom Line

Choosing the best transatlantic premium economy option ultimately depends on individual preferences, priorities, and loyalty to specific airlines. Virgin Atlantic offers a trendy and contemporary experience, while British Airways offers timeless elegance. American Airlines and Delta Airlines both offer a seat pitch of 38 and a width of up to 19 inches.

When considering the best transatlantic premium economy, factors such as seat comfort, culinary offerings, in-flight entertainment, and additional amenities play a pivotal role in decision-making, so make sure that you are getting all your personal requirements while choosing your flight.

Interest in flying around the world using credit card points? Check out our site to learn the basics, and follow our blog for more tips on making your dream vacation a reality. You can also sign up for our travel concierge and get unlimited credit cards and travel assistance for one year.

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