Coming into line with sister International Airline Group (IAG) airline British Airways (BA) and fellow oneworld members Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, Iberia (IB) is introducing a Premium Economy (PY) class.
It’s a bit overdue for Iberia as a Premium Economy class makes so much sense for the airline given the long haul routes to South America they serve, it is also very encouraging to see that it will be a ‘true’ Premium Economy product. More like BA, CX and others such as Air France, Singapore Airlines and Qantas rather than the glorified Economy seat that passes as PY on the likes of KLM, Delta and United.
The cabin on the Airbus A330-300 and Airbus A340-600 will feature seats with 94 centimeters of leg space in comparison to 79 in regular economy class. The seat will also be wider in a 2-3-2 configuration in comparison to the 2-4-2 layout further back down the plane.
Here’s what the current vs. new layout look like:
On the A340-600 it will go from Business 46 and Economy 300 to Business Class 36, Premium Economy 23 and Economy 300
On the A330-300 it will go from Business Class 36 and Economy 242 to Business 29, Premium Economy 21 and Economy 242
Also a bigger seat back screen will be available alongside more outlets and ports incorporated into the seat. Noise canceling headphones will also be dished out for PY passengers to enjoy IB’s new on demand entertainment system.
Upgraded meals will be on offer as well, following the lead of British Airways’ own product in World Traveler Plus – the first ‘main’ meal will feature an option from the Business Class cabin as well as the two from normal economy class. There will also be an upgraded starter course and an added cheese course that will be on the menu for Premium Economy passengers. So while it will still be a one tray affair, it will be served on real china and linen napkins – quite impressive.
Ground services will also be upgraded with access to separate check in counters and priority boarding after elites and Business Class.
Per Iberia’s website regarding their shiny new product:
You get a wider seat, with 94 centimetres of separation between seats and 18 centimetres of seatback recline. You also enjoy a separate headrest and internet access for your personal devices, an individual USB port and noise-cancelling headphones. You have a 12-inch individual touchscreen where you can enjoy intuitive navigation to access the best entertainment, with up to 600 different selections of current movies, the best international new releases, TV shows, documentaries and more. More and better flavours. With the new Premium Economy you can savour the best Spanish cuisine with a more personalised service and dishes elaborated with the best seasonal products, carefully selected for you.
For more information and a snazzy video, go here: http://www.iberia.com/web/obsmenu.do?menuId=EIVTPR
Prices will be about 25% higher than normal economy which is the industry norm and all things considered a good deal seeing what you will be given in comparison, especially on those brutal short red eyes from North America to Spain. Exact pricing is yet to be released given that the class is not bookable yet, but Iberia intends to release seats for sale once they have a better idea of their timeline in the installation of the new seats.
The product will be progressively introduced into IB’s international fleet as aircraft go into maintenance and the airline receives their new A330’s that they have on order. Services will start Summer 2017 and the first destinations will be Chicago, Buenos Aires, Lima, and Bogota.
Overall, this is fantastic news for Iberia and oneworld frequent fliers – it gives them more options in terms of class of service, is a good balance between the premium and the mass and an opportunity to add more elite mileage accrual options to their account. It also brings Iberia into a more consistent line with their fellow oneworld members and makes connections between oneworld carriers more seamless. It’s also notable how IB has gone for more of a ‘Business Minus’ vs ‘Economy Plus’ approach, which is always a welcome sight to see and makes the slight premium much, much more worth it.
Will you be on Turista Premium on your next Iberia flight? We say Viva La Vida and give it a try!