Earlier this summer, American announced the fall launch of its newest aircraft, the Boeing 787-900, and along with it, a new Premium Economy product. Though not exactly ground breaking, American Premium Economy promises several notable enhancements for international travelers. These include legroom similar to domestic First Class, enhanced food and beverage service, and amenity kits, among others.
I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be one of the first to sample the new seats in the air! The 787-9 with Premium Economy seating officially enters service today at 7:00 P.M. on the DFW-Sao Paulo route. I couldn’t make that work, but I was able to grab a seat on tomorrow evening’s DFW-Madrid flight, marking the 787-9’s first foray to Europe.
In fairness, this pair of launch flights marks only a “soft launch” of American Premium Economy. Until spring 2017, PE seats will be sold as Main Cabin Extra. This means standard Main Cabin fares
and service, with the seats bookable for an extra fee. Basically, the MCE upcharge buys the fancy seat, but nothing else for now. While not ideal, the soft launch provides a great opportunity to judge how comfortable the new seats will be on a long-haul route. (Update: per the Dallas Mornings News, sales of Premium Economy begin in April, 2017.) Update 2: back from my test flight, I’m excited to report that the soft product is the real deal. Enhanced meals, amenity kits, and all. Stay tuned for a full trip report soon.
But Wait, There’s More!
When I decided to book this flight, I pondered long and hard how to get home. Turning right around didn’t seem like much fun, after all. So I decided to make a long weekend of it by taking the long way home, sampling three new airlines in the process. From Madrid, my journey first takes me to London on European low-cost carrier easyJet.
Admittedly, 29-inch pitch after a redeye sounds frightening. But hey, it’s only 2 1/2 hours, and I’ve always been mildly fascinated by European LCCs. I’m also curious to see how easyJet compares to every frequent flyer’s favorite punching bag, Spirit Airlines.
After roughly 24 hours in London, the whirlwind tour continues with a flight to Boston on Sunday aboard Norwegian Premium Class.
This flight perhaps intrigues me the most. First, Norwegian utilizes a Dreamliner on this route, and it’s always awesome to fly two Dreamliners on one trip. Second, Norwegian’s Premium Class provides an interesting product to budget-minded travelers. Though closer to Premium Economy than Business Class, with fares often available for less than $600, the value proposition is certainly compelling.
My trip wraps up on Monday with a flight in jetBlue Economy Class from Boston to DFW.
Yes, I would have preferred to try Mint. Unfortunately, Mint isn’t offered on the BOS-DFW route. Nevertheless, what travel geek passes up the chance to try a new airline?
Upon my return, I plan on writing a comprehensive trip report series chronicling both my flights, and my time in London and Boston. In the short-term, I’ll be posting some real-time updates on social media, so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram if you don’t already.