Are your clients switching to premium economy, where available? Why or why not?

“Premium economy class seats are not quite popular with Singaporean holidaymakers who tend to be price-sensitive. When they travel as a family, it will cost more to have every member in premium economy class. Furthermore, there are limited premium economy class seats and a big family would have to be split up. This product is preferred by business travellers who want better service and greater comfort but do not want to pay the price of business class.”

  10/02/2010 11:06
James Wong
Sales and marketing manager
Farmosa Holiday Tour, Singapore

“Our corporate clients are not downgrading from business class to premium economy class. We are also not seeing strong demand from the leisure market for premium economy class, perhaps because of a lack of awareness for this product.”

Margaret Loh
Managing director
Airelated Travel, Singapore

“It is not easy for customers to fly premium economy because some airlines only offer these on selected routes, which may not be available for flights ex-Singapore. For instance, Japan Airlines’ premium economy class seats are only available for flights ex-Tokyo.”

Kazu Matsumura
Prime Travel, Singapore

“In general, there is still limited access to flights with premium economy, but there is a (growing) tendency for more airlines to include premium economy cabins or increase such cabins. Clients are showing interest but due to limited availability on routes in Asia, we can’t say there is a big move yet. Most customers use this as a downgrading instrument. The price difference between business class and premium economy is estimated at 30 to 50 per cent. For an upgrade from economy to premium economy, the difference is substantial and will vary from airline to airline.”

Jonas Borglin
Head of advisory services, Japan, Asia-Pacific and Australia
American Express Business Travel

“During the economic crisis, we saw our clients downgrade from business class to premium economy class, which is popular with holidaymakers who can spend a bit more and business travellers who seek more comfort. It offers more comfortable seating, leg room and savings. But this is quite limited as it’s usually offered only on longhaul flights. Qantas and EVA Air offer this option for flights out of Singapore, and they’re usually in demand. When companies downgrade from business class, they first step down to premium economy class, and not directly to economy class. We can sense that companies are bouncing back and, with the green shoots the industry is experiencing, companies do like to spend a little more on travel.”

Greg James
General manager
HRG Singapore


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