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No one likes flying in economy, but most of us can’t afford to splurge on a seat up front. Airlines have recognized our dilemma — and the desire for more legroom — and their answer to this is premium economy.
What is Air France premium economy? Not quite economy, not quite business class, this product offers a hybrid approach to your travel. Take a look at what's included in this fare class, how to book these tickets and whether Air France premium economy is worth it.
Flyers who purchase this ticket fare are in for a flight that’s a step up from the economy experience. Here’s what’s included in Air France premium economy:
Baggage allowance: Those flying in premium economy can check two bags weighing up to 50 pounds (23 kg) each for free.
Boarding: Premium economy customers receive SkyPriority access, which includes priority boarding.
Check-in: Premium economy customers can check in using the SkyPriority lane.
Seats: Up to 19.2 inches wide, premium economy seats are arranged in either a 2x4x2 or 2x3x2 configuration and feature 38 inches of pitch. They also include leg rests, headrests and foot rests.
Baggage delivery: Premium economy customers have priority baggage delivery via their SkyPriority access.
Food: As a premium economy passenger, you’ll receive an appetizer inspired by the business class cabin and a choice between two hot meals.
» Learn more: A points collector’s guide to Air France-KLM
Premium economy seats are available on most Air France long-haul routes, and you’ll find these seats installed on a variety of planes, including the Boeing 777, Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Booking premium economy tickets is simple whether you’re choosing to use cash or miles. If paying cash, you’ll first want to navigate to Air France’s website.
On the homepage, you’ll see a search bar where you can enter your flight information, including your departure airport and dates of travel.
Once you’ve entered all your information, you’ll also want to select “Premium Economy” from the dropdown:
You can then hit “Search flights” to complete your search. Once you’ve found the flight you’re looking for, you’ll need to go through the process of selecting your seats and paying. That’s it.
Things are just a little more difficult when looking to use your miles. First, you’ll need to log in to your account with Flying Blue, the loyalty program for both Air France and KLM.
Once logged in, you’ll be able to complete your search, including the option to limit results to premium economy seats.
Follow the booking process and you’ll be set for your premium economy flight on Air France.
Ways to get good value
Be flexible with your dates
Air France doesn’t have a fixed award chart for its reward seats; instead, you’ll pay a variable amount based on demand. This can lead to huge variances in pricing, so you’ll find the best rates if you can be flexible on your travel dates.
Here’s a look at a one-way flight from New York-JFK to Paris in premium economy:
Your flight will be more than 60% less by opting to move your travel date forward or backward by just one day.
Transfer in your points
Flying Blue has strong partnerships with flexible point currencies, which means earning enough points for a premium economy seat is easy.
Having so many transfer partners gives you the ability to quickly boost your balance with travel card sign-up bonuses. For example, you could combine the welcome offers from these three cards:
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Be aware, of course, that you’ll need to meet the minimum spend in order to earn welcome offers on credit cards, so you may want to spread out your applications over an extended period of time, especially for those larger spend minimums.
» Learn more: How to spend $4,000 in 3 months
Fly to Tahiti
Air France is one of the few airlines to fly directly to Tahiti via its nonstop route from Los Angeles. This is a fifth-freedom route, meaning it goes between two countries that are not the home country of the air carrier. For this particular flight, the plane flies from Paris to the U.S. first, but U.S.-based passengers can book the leg that lands in Los Angeles and then continues on to French Polynesia.
Finding award availability with other carriers, including Air Tahiti Nui and United Airlines, can be difficult. Air France has decent availability on its reward flights, and costs when flying in premium economy aren’t expensive.
Combined with the ability to transfer points over from multiple currencies, it becomes very simple to book these flights (which are otherwise very costly in cash).
Book Flying Blue promo awards
One of the best features of the Flying Blue program exists in its monthly rotating promo awards. These awards can drop the cost of award travel by up to 50% in economy, premium economy and business class cabins.
As noted, these promo awards come out monthly — they’re revealed the first of each month. The different types of promotions will vary from long-haul flights across the Atlantic to short-haul flights throughout Europe.
And although you’ll have only a month to book each award, you’ll have the ability to book flights much further in advance. Keep an eye on these promos to snag a deal on your next Air France premium economy ticket.
» Learn more: Intro to Flying Blue promo rewards
Air France has installed its premium economy product on much of its fleet, meaning that you’ll be able to book these seats on most routes. SkyPriority access grants you quicker check-in, boarding and baggage delivery, while the sizable pitch means you can get some rest on the flight.
Although Air France doesn’t have a fixed award chart, instead tying its pricing to demand, you can still find good value with the program by booking Flying Blue promo awards or finding reward seats to Tahiti. Just remember to be flexible with your dates.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card