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Premium Econ strategy

I'm thinking of getting Premium Economy on British Airways due to wanting an overnight flight. I'm 6-2 and my girlfriend is quite tall as well, so I'm thinking it would be worth it. Especially if I want to sleep and hit the ground running in the morning once I land.

Trip is in late May. I've read there are people on this forum who have booked Economy class and get great offers on the upgrade later on. It seems like they got a better deal waiting for that offer vs. having booked Premium to begin with.

My question...would it be wiser to book Economy and wait for the PE upgrade offer, or to get PE right away?

Posted by
1825 posts

You can sometimes get a good deal on an upgrade by waiting, it just depends on availability. If you want to be assured of having the larger seat, bite the bullet and pay up. All travel planning is a balance of committing early to either save money and lock in a price and assure availability or waiting till the last second to maintain flexibility and possibly take advantage of last minute deal. Either way you go about it there is no right answer. This applies to all transportation, hotels and anything else that can be booked in advance.

Posted by
1068 posts

I agree with Richard's post.... no right answer. I flew BA premium economy to Heathrow and then to India and booked the premium economy for the 4 foreign flights at the same time I reserved my seat. Going to India the premium economy was almost empty. When I flew back, it was packed. I had checked my seats about 10 days before leaving and there were still a fair number of premium economy seats for the return trip.... what happened? Was there a last minute rush or did people get great deals? Given the cost of an upgrade (if you already have a seat) how much would you save vs being comfortable knowing you have the upgrade. Also, what would it mean to you if you couldn't upgrade? That's what I would ask myself.

Posted by
2087 posts

I agree with the previous two posters. Being tall (and we are, too), I'd suggest going ahead and getting the premium seats you want. That way you can also select seats that are not within two rows of the restroom and in front of the wing (if the configuration is such).

........and, who knows, you might actually get a last-minute offer to upgrade to Business Class. That happened to us on a trip to an email (I think the day prior) offering a $250 upgrade to Business Class (just on the 'going' leg). You better believe I snarfed that right up!!!! It was a delightful surprise.

Posted by
4050 posts

On a long flight, don't take chances. You need the legroom.

Also look into econ fares that you can upgrade with miles.

Posted by
79 posts

I was thinking of possibly getting the PE for the trip to London so I can sleep and being more frugal on the way back. That way I can see for myself if the extra cash is worth it. And if I get upgrade offers, then great :)

Posted by
4086 posts

I'm only 5'5" but regular economy on a trip to Europe is miserable. You really should bite the bullet and book it both ways-cut expenses somewhere else-cheaper lodgings or picnics instead of restaurants.

Posted by
5317 posts

Years ago, I used to regularly get upgrade offers on day of travel but I haven't gotten one in the last several years. Flights are regularly full. If you want to guarantee premium economy seating, then buy it now.

You did not mention to where you are flying, but if it is London, have you considered BA's morning flight out of Boston that arrives in London the same day? I take the daytime flight to London anytime I go there and it is so much better than trying to sleep (but not actually sleeping) in cramped airline seat.

Posted by
6471 posts

Hi Mike, you're tall enough that it will make a difference for both of you and also the people around you. I think of it as a small percentage in the overall price of the trip that enables us to start off with a positive experience. As soon as we've landed, I don't have time for a backache or leg cramps, ...and I'm 5'8". And, you'll be through Customs sooner in the queue.

Posted by
1 posts

Hey Mike

I've yet to fly premium, but have booked premium seats for next May. One thing to look at either way is to go to and put in your particular flight number and scan the premium seats in detail. An alarming number of these seats on some configurations have restricted under-seat space or other issues to avoid. I found fully 20% or so of the BA premium seats had issues to avoid. Also, look for flyer comments on right side of screen for particular seat complaints/kudos.

Great site reference. Best space sizes I seemed to find were on Virgin Atlantic's 747-400. Happy flying.

Posted by
9363 posts

I like to book Premium Economy on the way to Europe, at least, so that I can be comfortable enough to sleep. On the way back I never sleep, so I don't care to pay extra. I saw the difference once on a trip to China, where I had Premium Economy on the way there, but it was unavailable on the way back. Traveling the opposite direction, I had really hoped to have PE on the way back so that I could sleep. After having the extra room on the way over, it was really cramped coming back. Because you are tall, I would book right off the bat. While there might be seats, and possible deals, later on, it might not be worth risking losing it. In every instance I have seen, the price hasn't changed. For example, on a flight to Spain in 2012, the PE extra charge was $80. I didn't book it right away, and I watched the seats for several weeks before deciding to pay it. The price, even with many seats booked, remained $80. Did anyone get offered an upgrade for $40? Maybe, maybe not.

Posted by
2081 posts


just something thats not being mentioned.

you are ASSUMING you will get a decants nights rest on your trip overthere and will be able to hit the ground running.

i hope i works out.

happy trails.

Posted by
4050 posts

Seatguru yes, every flight every time. That's how I learned that on some United flights, a certain number of business class seats face coach! Or another business passenger. I know they do it for space reasons, but really guys.