Air India launches Premium Economy class on select flights
New Delhi: Air India introduces an all-new Premium Economy experience for travellers, offering a superior cabin product, world-class inflight services, and added on-ground convenience.
With this development, the airline has opened sale for the new cabin, for travel starting May 15, 2023, becoming the first and only Indian carrier to offer the choice of four cabin classes – First, Business, Premium Economy, and Economy.
Air India’s Premium Economy class will be initially available to customers travelling on select routes operated by its fleet of Boeing 777-200LR aircraft: Bengaluru-San Francisco, Mumbai-San Francisco, and Mumbai-New York.
Air India CEO & MD Campbell Wilson said: “The popularity of Premium Economy has grown among travellers around the world, as people are increasingly opting for upgraded, yet affordable flying experiences.
“We are delighted to introduce a distinctive Premium Economy experience for our customers on select flights for now, with a plan to extend it to many more routes soon, as we rapidly expand and modernise our fleet. This is another step forward in our sincere, ongoing effort to transform Air India into a modern, global carrier of world-class products and service standards.”
Air India’s Premium Economy offers an exclusive travel experience designed for customers who do not mind paying a reasonable premium over Economy Class fares to fly in style and enjoy a lot more space, comfort, and convenience, the company stated in a press release.
Fast-track airport experience
Premium Economy customers will be able to check-in at dedicated counters and have priority tags affixed to their check-in baggage, and also be amongst the first to be invited to board the aircraft.
Separate, spacious cabin with wider seats
Premium Economy class on Air India’s Boeing 777-200LR aircraft features 48 leather-upholstered, memory foam seats that have 19 inches of width, 38 inches of pitch, and 5 inches of recline with adjustable leg rest and footrest, and winged headrests. The seats provide extra legroom for customers to stretch out during flight, enabling customers to rest or work in comfort.
Premium Economy customers receive a complimentary, elegant TUMI amenity kit (specially designed for Air India) consisting of a pair of flight socks, an eye mask, MALIN+GOETZ lip moisturizer, and a pen, in addition to carpet slippers. Customers also receive noise-cancelling headphones for use during flight to complement the experience of Air India’s In-flight Entertainment (IFE) system.
Customers will be welcomed on board Air India’s Premium Economy class with a welcome drink served on an elegant silver tray and a menu card reflecting a glimpse of a delectable culinary experience during the flight. On board, customers will be able to choose from a delicious selection of three meal choices for the main course, served on fine chinaware casserole, accompanied by an appetizer and dessert. The drinks menu includes a fine selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Seats on the newly added Premium Economy class are now on sale on the Air India website, mobile apps, as well as through travel agents and other booking channels.
After takeover by the Tata group, Air India’s new management has been overhauling virtually every aspect of its operations, including systems and supply chains.
The push to modernise underscores the decay left by years of under-investment as Air India looks to shed decades-old bureaucratic processes and recapture customers from Dubai's Emirates and powerful domestic rival IndiGo, said Reuters in a recent report.
Air India has collaborated with Tata Technologies to manufacture some plastic components for economy-class seats in-house, rather than relying on outdated parts from suppliers. In addition, the airline is leasing available aircraft while revising its network strategy to entice overseas Indian travellers.
Air India's international traffic was up 28% in the Oct-Dec quarter versus April-June and its domestic share rose to 9% at the end of February from 7.5% in mid-2022, reported Reuters, citing government data.
The merger with Vistara is expected to cause a significant increase in these numbers, but the deal also presents new challenges for Air India to tackle, said reports.