SWISS International Air Lines unveiled a much-anticipated new Premium Economy seat on Monday – more than a year and a half after the airline first announced it intended to introduce a Premium Economy seat to its fleet for the first time.
The seat will be installed across all 12 of SWISS’ Boeing 777-300 fleet although the first plane to be fitted out with the new cabin won’t be ready until April 2022. It will then be gradually rolled out and made available on routes including Bangkok, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, São Paulo or Singapore.
“Depending on the further development of the present pandemic, the new Premium Economy Class may also be established sooner as a standard product on some of these routes,” the airline noted. There’s still no confirmation, however, as to whether SWISS intends to install Premium Economy on its Airbus A330 and A340 long-haul aircraft fleets.
SWISS has opted for a fixed backshell Premium Economy Seat manufactured ZIM which is designed to prevent zero intrusion into the personal space of the passenger behind. The airline claims the seat is comfortable and offers full recline, although previous iterations of fixed backshell seats have proved incredibly backache inducing.
Each seat comes in at between 46 and 48 cm wide and SWISS is installing the seats with a pitch of 99 cm. The seats are finished with covers produced by Lantal of Bern, Switzerland and come with a 15.6-inch screen, personal reading lights, and noise-cancelling headphones.
In renderings, the new Premium Economy cabin will consist of 24 seats but it won’t be separated from the rest of Economy Class.
Tamur Goudarzi Pour, SWISS’ chief commercial officer says the airline will charge between CHF 250 to 350 (USD $271 to $380) more for a Premium Economy seat compared to a regular seat in Economy Class.
“Our new Premium Economy Class is tailor-made for our previous Economy Class customers who are looking to enhance their air travel experience and enjoy the benefits associated with higher travel classes,” Pour explained.
“In international comparison terms, our SWISS Premium Economy Class is very clearly positioned as a top travel product.”
To differentiate the product further, SWISS will offer Premium Economy passengers an elderberry welcome drink and the choice of three entrees served on chinaware. Passengers upgrading to the new cabin will also get double the luggage limit as Economy Class passengers and have access to reduced-rate access to Business Class lounges at Zurich and Geneva airports and the SWISS Arrival Lounge at Zurich Airport.
Interestingly, SWISS is the last major airline in the Lufthansa Group to introduce Premium Economy. Like other airlines, SWISS is looking to lure customers who would normally travel in Economy Class to pay more for the upgraded but affordable Premium Economy experience rather than gutting its Business Class cabin.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.