Premium Airline Services Comparison of Classes

Airlines are continuing to adjust their seating configurations, associated pricing, and perceived value to business travelers. How do you determine if it is the right time to consider amending your program to adjust your policy and decision criteria around elevated in-flight experiences? TI can help:

What is a Premium class, and how does it differ between domestic and international flights?

Not to be confused with domestic Economy Plus offers, a new class of service is available for international travel that bridges the gap of Economy and Business Class cabins. There are many subjective components to what is important to a business traveler, but one area that everyone can agree on is comfort. The airlines are investing in more modern aircraft and, as a key consideration, are increasing the benefits of Premium Class services to lure more business travelers.

 Domestic:

Enhanced Economy services for domestic travel were initially designed to respond to the complaints of the Economy Class smaller seat width and reduced leg room, thus expanding personal space with some additional features.

 International:

Over the last six months, the airlines have determined there is more opportunity to bridge the gap between Economy and Business for international/long-haul routes, providing an enhanced experience, including greater comfort, without the price tag of the Business Class cabin. When traveling internationally, the newer aircrafts are providing an enhanced level of service above economy, but not yet to the level of flatbed seats. We did a comparison based on publicly available information to show the differences:

Chart or Graph comparing the services offered by Delta, United and American Airlines

So how does cost figure into this decision?

Industry reports estimate the cost of a Premium Class ticket over a Business Class can save approximately 50% of the Business Class fare. We ran some specific examples based on publicly available international flights to provide a baseline for all our customers – specifically those clients who do not have the travel spend that would enable a unique negotiated rate program:

Chart showing service class cost for airlines

If you have an existing airline agreement – now is the time to discuss how Premium Class can fit within your overall program to further boost your discounts.

TI Recommendations:

Depending on your corporate culture and cost savings objectives, TI suggests you may want to consider a two-tier policy option for your international travelers.

1) Consider a shift from Business Class to Premium Class for international routes under eight hours and under executive level title. The savings achieved for this class of service allows for an extra hotel night upon arrival, ensuring your traveler is well rested, as well as providing the opportunity for personal time at the destination.

2) For routes longer than eight hours for a nonstop flight, TI does recommend maintaining a Business Class option, as this supports a strong culture of traveler well-being along with their overall level of job satisfaction.



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