Travel

Best Premium Economy options to Europe?

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  • Jun 10th, 2019 4:48 am
[OP]
Deal Guru
Mar 20, 2003
10213 posts
545 upvotes

Best Premium Economy options to Europe?

Being that I live in Moncton our options for airlines here are Westjet , Air Canada and Porter where they fly us to far exotic away lands such as Halifax and Toronto... For that there is no need to book anything but economy (the planes don't have separate sections but they'll gladly take your money!) but we've sold our cottage and decided to see the world beyond PEI including overseas. The one requirement I had for this is not flying economy because the whole experience has just gotten so diluted you're lucky to see a glass of water and get to experience people trying to shove their over-sized carry on into a compartment that already contains a guitar and 3 backpacks but anyways...

Back to the subject at hand I'm looking for advice on who offers premium economy, how to get better deals and if there is any airline we should avoid? On our first trip across the Atlantic last summer we flew Condor from Halifax where premium economy was only ~35% over the standard price and it was a very good experience. This flight is seasonal though and next Spring we're going to Holland where it won't be an option so I'm looking at other options. Are there some particular airlines and airports we should be looking at? I checked briefly and Air Canada was about 250% more for premium economy than economy to Amsterdam so that would be out but going to Paris would be much cheaper and may be an option... see where I'm going here? There seems to be some specific destinations that have a sweet spot and I'm looking for those- In particular either a Montreal or Toronto departure that goes to Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels or maybe London but there are no doubt more.

So to those of you who live in a city with a real airport and can provide input, thanks in advance!
10 replies
Deal Addict
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Nov 12, 2011
4080 posts
405 upvotes
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Feneant wrote: Being that I live in Moncton our options for airlines here are Westjet , Air Canada and Porter where they fly us to far exotic away lands such as Halifax and Toronto... For that there is no need to book anything but economy (the planes don't have separate sections but they'll gladly take your money!) but we've sold our cottage and decided to see the world beyond PEI including overseas. The one requirement I had for this is not flying economy because the whole experience has just gotten so diluted you're lucky to see a glass of water and get to experience people trying to shove their over-sized carry on into a compartment that already contains a guitar and 3 backpacks but anyways...

Back to the subject at hand I'm looking for advice on who offers premium economy, how to get better deals and if there is any airline we should avoid? On our first trip across the Atlantic last summer we flew Condor from Halifax where premium economy was only ~35% over the standard price and it was a very good experience. This flight is seasonal though and next Spring we're going to Holland where it won't be an option so I'm looking at other options. Are there some particular airlines and airports we should be looking at? I checked briefly and Air Canada was about 250% more for premium economy than economy to Amsterdam so that would be out but going to Paris would be much cheaper and may be an option... see where I'm going here? There seems to be some specific destinations that have a sweet spot and I'm looking for those- In particular either a Montreal or Toronto departure that goes to Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels or maybe London but there are no doubt more.

So to those of you who live in a city with a real airport and can provide input, thanks in advance!
If you're looking at premium economy for next spring prices will be a lot higher right now as I think it's too early to book - I'd keep an eye on this. If you're wanting to go to Europe easily you're most likely going to have to go AC, Westjet, or Transat which will require paying the premium. If you book a trip to Europe with individual legs using separate tickets you run the risk of missing a leg without any type of compensation from the airline.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Mar 20, 2003
10213 posts
545 upvotes
Will book ~4 months in advance but I set price alerts as early as I can in case of some fluke sale.

Air France looks decent, I'll definitely keep an eye on it.
Deal Guru
Feb 7, 2017
13003 posts
10253 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Re - European Carriers vs North American Carriers

Rules are different for compensation should anything go wrong

With European Carriers you are covered for flights in BOTH Directions
With North American Carriers you are only covered for flights starting in Europe

For general info: EU261/204 applies to ALL flights of European (EU+) airlines and
on flights FROM Europe on ANY airline. Delay is counted on arrival to destination,
not on departure. All details are here:
Official document:
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html ... format=PDF
Best and complete explanation:
https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/t ... dex_en.htm
Info c/o @tequilla from one of the Air Transat flight delay threads
Deal Addict
Jun 15, 2015
2538 posts
1692 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
Re: Air France has a certain “shell” model of premium economy seats that receive less then favourable reviews. Believe it’s the 777 (totally uncomfortable flew them a few years ago and thankfully the flight was only a few hours).
Deal Addict
Oct 6, 2015
2463 posts
1356 upvotes
Singapore Airlines has some pretty good deals on Premium Economy on the A380, New York City-Frankfurt-Singapore, and I'm pretty sure you can do a stopover in Frankfurt. Pricing I've seen is like $1600-$1800 Canadian.

If you're in Moncton, that's not too bad of a drive to NYC..
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1412 posts
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GTA West
The usual way to find the best flight is to use Google Fights to assess prices/stopovers, and then Seat Guru and other reviews to assess the seats and other comforts. When booking far in advance, use the Google Flights price monitor since prices bounce around day to day.

You said "maybe" London. YYZ-LHR is coming up at $1753 with British Airways (BA) in the Oct-Nov time frame. We are taking one of those flights on the way to Asia in November. That was originally booked on a 787, but they just gave us new seat assignments for their new A350 that is going into service for the YYZ-LHR leg. That is a state of the art aircraft. As far as I can see, the BA premium product is as good as any, with 38 inch pitch seats that are an inch wider than economy, and a premium meal. When we booked, BA consistently came up with the lowest cost premium options.

If you select London, you can now get a high speed train to Amsterdam.

Actually, I would be using economy for London only as we are normal height people and get by OK. I don't think it is long enough for premium unless you find a spectacular deal. Where I need premium is on those 12 - 16 hour bum and soul destroying trans-Pacific flights.
Deal Fanatic
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Sep 6, 2002
8128 posts
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Vancouver
I flew Lufthansa premium economy Toronto to Frankfurt in premium economy on the trusty old 747 was a comfy ride
Did I post something that interests you? Feel free to PM further questions.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Mar 20, 2003
10213 posts
545 upvotes
"London" is because of brexit. Going out of London I don't think you need to cross the border but coming back I believe you need to go through customs. That was supposed to change in 2018 but because of brexit it may not have. But I admit I haven't look at that in nearly a year so I can't remember. Oh, and the issue flying economy to London is while I believe Westjet has a direct from Halifax the plane configuration is 3/3 and I refuse to fly overseas with a stranger next to me. Ironically I would gladly just fly economy and buy that 3rd seat to keep it empty but that is more of a challenge than anything and the odds of being rejected or screwed are high- I can absolutely see them selling you the seat to keep empty and then overselling and putting someone there anyways.

If we fly into Frankfurt we have a direct Halifax-Frankfurt flight on Condor From May through Fall where the premium economy is very well priced.
Deal Addict
Jul 23, 2007
4027 posts
1962 upvotes
I think you just lucked out getting premium economy for only 35% more versus economy on Condor. Most are around double the fare price or more to Europe.

Haven't tried it but Air Transat Club class keeps popping up in the search results for around $1500+ departing from either Montreal or Toronto. Plenty of reviews on the internet regarding this class of service.

Both Google Flights (put in Europe or country as your destination, not city) and ITA Matrix are usually my go to flight search engines. Both allow you to search for premium economy flights up until early May. Have to wait a few weeks for later dates than that.

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