We feel it is important to share our stories with our visitors, stories that are regular affairs at Arete Travel Hub, but create excitement for our customers who never knew what was possible. Today, we will share a story about why China Airlines is an excellent premium economy class option for travel between North America and Asia Pacific.
If you recall, we shared the four different types of Premium Economy Class products that customers are introduced to over here (https://www.aretetravelhub.com/travel-tip-thursday-premium-economy-class-learn-the-difference/). This creates an incredibly complex relationship which continues to confuse even more customers, because airlines do not easily distinguish their pricing between the four different types of products.
China Airlines operates their Premium Economy Class as a Business Class Lite model, providing many of the amenities of Business Class while maintaining a Premium Economy Class price point. This eventually provides an excellent value for customers, and in some cases, some of the best value in the industry when connecting to an Intra-Asia flight on China Airlines.
Flying in Business Class
Airlines invariably face a conundrum when selling Premium Economy class tickets on long international flights connecting on short journeys. Many airlines recognize that on shorter flights, it is not feasible to operate an aircraft with a Premium Economy Class cabin as most customers would not be willing to pay a premium for short journeys like this. The outcome is, when a customer, flying on a Premium Economy Class ticket needs to fly a shorter flight, they typically get assigned a seat in Economy Class. This process typically reflects well on the mindset of the airline, that is, Premium Economy Class is just that, Premium Economy.
China Airlines has always had a distinctly different approach. Until 2017, China Airlines used to operate an older Boeing 747-400 aircraft to at least one North American destination. Their 747-400 were configured in the early 2000s as an innovative product, offering a First Class cabin of 8-12 seats, Business Class cabin with lie-flat recliner seats typically seen in short-medium haul flights today, and a regular Economy Class cabin. When China Airlines phased out their First Class product, and provided a significantly better Business Class experience, they were too embarrassed to let their customers fly in the Business Class of the 747-400. Instead, they offered their old First Class product for Business Class customers, and their old Business Class product for their Premium Economy Class customers. Their Business Class product on the 747-400 continues to be incredibly similar on their current Airbus 330.
Today, China Airlines flies their Airbus 330 on short/medium haul flights, and in many cases, they genuinely believe that their Premium Economy Class customers deserve to be seated in Business Class for those flights that do not offer Economy Class. Until recently, this meant, even the cheapest Premium Economy Class booking meant Business Class on the short flight, but now, customers have to pay a small premium to fly Business Class on the shorter flight when connecting from Premium Economy on their longer international flight.
Below, we have demonstrated a simple example:
It is not obviously clear in this screenshot, and no where on the booking screen is it made obvious either, but the cheapest Premium Economy class ticket, at C$780 means you will fly Economy Class on the shorter, Taipei – Singapore flight. By paying C$150 extra, the customer not only enjoys a lower refund fee in the event you want to change plans, but also a Business Class upgrade on their domestic flight.
Rather than flying this:
Our customer flew this:
All for a few hundred dollars extra!