Austrian Airlines has announced that it will introduce a premium economy cabin starting on March 6 of next year. Premium economy tickets can be booked now for all of Austrian’s long haul flights.
“The new premium economy class is an important milestone in our strategy aimed at linking the issue of individualization with quality,” said Andreas Otto, Austrian’s Chief Operating Officer. “The customer can individually choose the travel class according to her or his needs whether the preference is to fly in a price-conscious manner in economy class, treat oneself to a little more service and comfort in premium economy, or luxury travel in business class.”
Austrian has started the process of refurbishing all eleven of its Boeing 767 aircraft with the new cabin. The process is set to be completed by the spring of 2018. A 12th aircraft, which will be delivered in early 2018, will also have the premium economy cabin installed. Premium Economy will also be installed on Austrian’s 777-200ERs.
The seating in Austrian’s Premium Economy cabins will be similar to that used by Lufthansa, the parent airline of Austrian. Austrian’s 767-300ER planes will offer eighteen Premium Economy seats, while the 777-200ER will feature no fewer than 24.
The 777 will have a seat layout of 2-4-2, while the 767 will have a 2-2-2 seat configuration.
Austrian’s new Premium Economy will feature benefits including wider seats, foot rests, separate central armrests and fold-out tables, 12 inch entertainment screens with remote control, personal power outlets and USB ports, 2×23 kg free baggage, a welcome drink, and an amenity kit. An Austrian spokesperson has also confirmed that pitch can vary up to thirty eight (38) inches depending on the aircraft.
In the press release announcing the new cabin, Austrian said that “the new Premium Economy Class offers much more than a considerably more comfortable seat”. However, a spokesperson confirmed to RGN that there will probably not be any ground benefits whatsoever. In addition, the 12 inch entertainment screen mentioned above is considerably smaller than the industry standard, which is about 13.3 inches.
Austrian’s introduction of Premium Economy cabin is way behind its European competitors. Though Lufthansa introduced the third cabin about two years, other major carriers such as British Airways, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic have offered the product for much longer.
Austrian’s long-haul network consists of Asia-Pacific destinations like Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Colombo, Male, and Tokyo. In the United States, Austrian flies to four destinations, including Los Angeles, Chicago O’Hare, Miami, and Newark Liberty.
Featured image from Widebody Aircraft Parade