World’s best premium economy airlines 2023

On a long-haul flight, extra legroom, comfortable seats, better meals and amenities can make a world of difference.

Whether travelling domestically or internationally, flying is a privilege. Sadly, that privilege feels a little less glamorous after enduring the check-in queue, security lines and overcrowded gates. Add to that the cramped confines of a plane, fighting for your allocated cabin space and trying to get comfortable in a less-than-averaged-sized chair, and flying becomes downright dreary, tarnishing the shine of even the most exciting holiday. This is where the world’s best premium economy airlines of 2023 come in. 

What is premium economy? 

Premium economy airlines offer a cabin class that’s positioned somewhere between ​standard economy class and business class in terms of price, comfort, and available amenities. The benefits of booking premium economy seats can vary from carrier to carrier, but premium economy often includes seat selection during booking, wider seats with more legroom, prioritised check-in and boarding, plus better meals, services and amenities. Premium economy seats are known by many different names, so it’s best to check with your preferred carrier if they have a premium economy equivalent, should you be unable to find a class named as such. 

View down a plane aisle
© Unsplash/ Gerrie van der Walt

Is premium economy worth it? 

Determining whether you should purchase a premium economy seat, comes down to personal needs and preferences. People who are particularly tall may value a little extra legroom and more spacious seats, particularly when the alternative is being hunched up for 14 hours. Some people simply want an elevated cabin class that provides a comfortable flying experience on long-haul routes, without the business class price tag. Our advice is to compare the offerings and pricing between airlines to find the best fit for your needs and budget. 

qantas plane in the sky
Qantas won the title of Best Premium Economy Airline in Australia.

Which airline does it best?

EVA Air has been identified as the best premium economy airline for 2023. It’s one of the largest airlines in Taiwan and operates flights to more than 40 international destinations across Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. EVA Air boasts 38” long and 19.5” wide ergonomic seats with ample leg room, a mood light system, and an overnight kit with moisturiser, lip balm, socks, comb, ear plugs and a sleep mask is included in the cabin class. Premium economy with EVA Air also includes an exclusive menu served with beer, wine or non-alcoholic beverages.

However, Qantas Airways was identified as the best premium economy airline in Australia, Virgin Atlantic as the best in Europe and Delta Air Lines as the best in Northern America. 

World’s best premium economy airlines 2023

The 2023 Skytrax World Airlines Awards have a specific category for the World’s Best Premium Economy Airlines, and this year the top spot went to EVA Air. However, there were 20 carriers in total who were recognised for their exceptional premium economy offering. 

  1. EVA Air
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. Emirates
  4. Virgin Atlantic 
  5. Delta Air LInes
  6. Qantas Airways
  7. ANA All Nippon Airways 
  8. Air France
  9. Cathay Pacific Airways 
  10. Japan Airlines
  11. Lufthansa
  12. United Airlines
  13. British Airways 
  14. Air New Zealand
  15. Vietname Airlines
  16. Iberia
  17. Swiss International Air Lines
  18. ITA Airways 
  19. Austrian Airlines
  20. China Southern Airlines

Which airline has the best premium economy seats?

The first thing passengers consider when booking a premium economy seat is the physical benefits of doing so. Criteria such as size, scale, comfortability, and ergonomics are all integral to an enjoyable flight. This year, the Skytrax World Airline Awards identified the world’s top 10 best premium economy airline seats. Emirates were identified as the carrier with the best premium economy seats, offering passengers wider, cream leather seats with raised cushioned leg rests. Emirates’ seats also have adjustable headrests and a deeper recline to help guests get comfortable. Plus, Emirates premium economy seats are at the front of the aircraft. 

World’s best premium economy seats 2023

  1. Emirates
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. EVA Air
  4. Virgin Atlantic
  5. Air New Zealand
  6. Qantas Airways 
  7. Delta Air Lines
  8. Air France
  9. ANA All Nippon Airways 
  10. Cathay Pacific Airways 

Read more:

Inside Emirates’ premium economy
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The best airlines in the world

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