Air India (AI) has started booking for premium economy seats on long-haul flights beginning next month and has become the second Indian carrier, after Vistara, to offer this cabin choice on international flights. The airline is trying to compete with the best carriers out there to recapture lost market share, and the latest offering is a step in that direction.
Air India introduces premium economy on Boeing 777-200LR
Air India’s Boeing 777 fleet already featured first, business, and economy seats, giving passengers flying the carrier to the US (which is where AI flies its 777) a choice of three cabins. Now, for select flights to New York and San Francisco, travelers can now also book premium economy seats.
The airline has opened sales for the new cabin for travel starting May 15th, becoming the first and only Indian carrier to offer the choice of four cabin classes. Air India’s premium economy class will be initially available to customers traveling on select routes operated by its fleet of Boeing 777-200LR aircraft – Bengaluru-San Francisco, Mumbai-San Francisco, and Mumbai-New York.
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While the airline is refurbishing its widebody fleet, the choice of premium economy is offered on the aircraft that previously flew for Delta Air Lines and already came fitted with premium economy seats. Campbell Wilson, CEO & MD Air India, commented,
“The popularity of Premium Economy has grown among travellers around the world, as people are increasingly opting for upgraded, yet affordable flying experiences. We are delighted to introduce a distinctive Premium Economy experience for our customers on select flights for now, with a plan to extend it to many more routes soon, as we rapidly expand and modernise our fleet. This is another step forward in our sincere, ongoing effort to transform Air India into a modern, global carrier of world-class products and service standards.”
What’s on offer?
Air India promises an elevated experience for those booking premium economy seats on these long-haul flights. The perks will start at the airport itself, with customers given dedicated counters for check-in, priority tags on their check-in baggage, and will also be among the first to be invited to board the aircraft.
These 48 seats offer 19 inches of width, 38 inches of pitch, and five inches of recline with adjustable leg rest and footrest, and winged headrests. They come with extra legroom, which is particularly important during long flights allowing customers to stretch out.
A complimentary TUMI amenity kit (specially designed for Air India) comprising a pair of flight socks, an eye mask, lip moisturizer, a pen, and carpet slippers will be given to premium economy passengers. They will also receive noise-canceling headphones.
The menu for this cabin is expected to be slightly more extensive than economy, with Air India promising “a welcome drink served on an elegant silver tray and a menu card reflecting a glimpse of a delectable culinary experience during the flight.”
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Air India’s new team knows its current shortcomings. The latest offering is expected to be one of many such modifications to its product in the coming years, as it looks to attract passengers by competing with some of the best carriers in the world.
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