One premium or two economy?

Old Sep 3rd, 2007, 07:33 AM
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One premium or two economy?

I am a large guy looking to fly to London. Not wanting to be stuck for 7 hours in a tight seat, I have been looking at the premium economy offerings of Virgin and British Airways. What I found was that the Virgin premium economy, on the days that I need to fly, are over twice what I can get a regular economy seat for. The BA seat is not quite so bad, but is also, according to Seat Guru, only an inch wider than a normal coach seat.

So, I have been toying with the idea of simply buying two economy seats together. Has anyone else done this, and would you recommend that over the BA premium economy seat? Meals and alcohol and in flight video don't really matter a whole lot to me. It's all about the comfort of the seat.
cloudboy is offline  
Old Sep 3rd, 2007, 09:38 AM
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Considering your situation, I would go for 2 economy seats. Also, you could look at the seating charts, and see how full the plane is. If, a few days before your departure date, it looks like it will not be full, you could probably get 2 seats with only one ticket anyway.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2007, 11:02 AM
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I'm not sure two seats would be comfortable, even if you remember to elevate the armrest. And how do you work the seatbelt?

I have heard horror stories about people who bought two seats, only to have them separated, or lose one when the gate agent decides to accomodate an overbooking, rather than your girth, but I think some people have made it work. I always wondered who gets the miles for your invisible friend?

If you end up in a single seat, you should check carefully to assure that is a full width seat. Bulkhead seats, for example, often have the tray table mounted in the armrest, which slightly reduces the width of the seat.

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Old Sep 3rd, 2007, 11:54 AM
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Just want to add to what Jed and clevelandbrown says. Yes, most airlines allow you to buy more than one seat. But if the flight is full or if they overbook, the airline have the rights to give away that seat and give you a refund instead. You basically can't say no in that situation.

Bulkhead rows (or certain exit rows) have immovable armrests, so that defeats the purpose.

Frankly, I don't think having two seats in coach is that comfortable. Now, having three is a different story, as then you can really stretch out. [Yes, you can buy three seats too, but that's getting expensive.]

Also, on VS' Airbus, it's 2-4-2 seating, so buying 3 seats may not work very well.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2007, 02:18 PM
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Hi Cloudboy,
I did exactly as you are suggesting (booked two coach seats) on a recent Delta flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg. I do realize you are not flying Delta, but this might be helpful nonetheless.

1. If the configuration is 2/4/2 or 2/3/2, then if you get both the window and aisle, you definitely have more space. Not really that true in a different configuration. I am not a large woman, I just wanted extra room. While I could not completely stretch out, I was able to lean up against the window, sit sideways, and sleep pretty comfortably.

2. Ditto what others said about making sure you have seats with armrests that go up.

3. When booking the extra seat I called Delta, and they booked it as "my last name" with "EXST"(for extra seat) as my first name. This, they told me, prevents the seat assignment being moved so that the two always stay together. I did continually check on line just to make sure.

4. I also confirmed when booking that I would receive FF miles for the extra seat. With many airlines this is not the case, and in fact with Delta giving credit is I think a fairly new practice.

5. The price differential for me was huge. Two coach seats were less han 1/2 of one business class because Delta does not have premium economy. The two coach seats were not nearly as comfortable as a business class seat, but I thought the savings was worth it.

You should call the airline and get all of the details straight before you book the extra seat so you know what the options are. In fact, on Delta the only way to book two seats is to call them. If you book a second seat with the same name it can cancel out your first reservation.
Dana_M is offline  
Old Sep 3rd, 2007, 04:07 PM
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Where are you flying to London from? There seems to be deals all the time on the all-business lines like Maxjet.
If I wasn't such a mileage junkie with AA, I'd probably use them & may anyway on my next trip.

I was at a function in London with a woman who had flown Maxjet there & she raved about it.
Carrybean is offline  
Old Sep 3rd, 2007, 06:23 PM
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I am going to be flying out of Boston. I looked into the various NYC options, but when you factor in the additional price of getting to New York, it cancels out any savings. I just wish the difference in Premium Economy and economy on Virgin wasn't so extreme.

I guess my real question is: is the difference between the BA economy and premium economy seat that much better, or am I better off risking booking a second economy ticket, getting the lower legroom, but having a decent chance to have no one next to me?

On that note, how full up are trans Atlantic flights, anyway? It used to be if you were willing to sit in one of the last rows, you would rarely have someone next to you. But with fewer flights, that seems to be changing. Has that caught up Trans Atlantic?
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Old Sep 4th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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my husband and I alway buy 3 seats for the two of us now. We are both pretty big, and he has long legs and just can't stand even a short flight in economy. We have done this with American, Delta and Aerlingus and have never had a problem (so far) with the seat being moved or split up. we do use "extra seat" as the first name on the ticket. I did have one gate agent look at me kind of funny, and say they wondered for a minute if we'd named our child Extraseat.

Anyways, this has worked well for us, as you have noted the premium economy is so expensive in comparison, and first/business even more out of reach.

Make sure you get the seat assignments before you actually pay for the seats. You should be able to do this by putting a hold ont he tickets, getting the seats, then buying the tickets (this works on AA's online site, for example). That way you be sure the flight has seats together. anbd, as mentioned above, don't get the bulkhead seats because if the armrests don't lift, its not worth it. You already know about seatguru, and thats where you can figure out about the armrests too.

I don't think we have flown on any not-full flights in ages. so we keep doing this. i may get burned by it at some point, but so far so good.
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Old Sep 4th, 2007, 05:06 PM
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Is BA premium economy enough better than BA coach to justify a big bump in cost? Answer, yes, it's significantly better, but only because BA coach is really uncomfortable - probably the tightest seats (width + legroom) in the long haul biz. As non-status BA customers can't pre-book seat assignments, the "buy two" option is a terrible idea; you could easily find your seats split, or - really - get two middle seats assigned, the worst case.

Virgin's new premium economy product is pretty decent from all reports, but price might be a barrier.

Frankly, if you're flying from the US NE to London, I'd look at (a) buying one or two coach seats on one of the American Airlines morning flights - leave around 8, get in at dinnertime - from either BOS or JFK, thereby avoiding trying to sleep across the pond, or (b) look at MaxJet from JFK - business class only. Their price will probably be in the range of 2x coach seats on AA or BA.
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Old Sep 5th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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Think about miles. If you fly BA Economy Plus, you get 125% of the miles where economy only gets you 25% miles. After a few flights, you will be able to upgrade to Business Class.
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Old Sep 13th, 2007, 04:12 PM
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We flew BA Premium Econony on a flight from LHR-ORD. For that particular flight the price difference was not too bad. The extra leg room was great. If you are wide, you may want to consider the 2 seat option. The BA PE seats were not that much wider than normal seats. The remote control is mounted inside the armrest and is difficult to access if you are wide. The arm rests do not move. So, in short, if you are tall, it may be more comfortable. If you are wide, not so much.
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