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  • Writer's pictureMark Vogel

Flying American Airlines’ Premium Economy to Tel Aviv, Israel: Discovering Comfort in the Clouds

Tel Aviv, Israel

American Airlines' Premium Economy Seats
American Airlines' Premium Economy Seats

Recently, I had multiple occasions to travel from JFK Airport in New York City to Tel Aviv, Israel, and back with American Airlines, choosing their Premium Economy class each time. My experiences varied between sitting in the front and back rows, providing me a comprehensive view of the service. The Boeing 777-200, used for these flights, proved to be a suitable aircraft for such long journeys. This plane is known for its large capacity, range, and advanced technology. A welcoming gesture was the provision of a water bottle at each seat upon boarding, indicating a notch above the standard economy.

“Flying Premium Economy with American Airlines strikes a perfect balance between the affordability of Economy and the luxury of Business Class.”

The Premium Economy seating noticeably surpasses regular Economy in terms of space and comfort. The cabin's 2-4-2 layout offers a less crowded feel compared to Economy. This difference is particularly evident in the seat pitch and width. The pitch – the space between one point on a seat to the same point on the seat in front – is substantially more in Premium Economy, ensuring ample legroom and a relaxed sitting experience. The seats also feature a footrest and a multi-mode adjustable headrest, enhancing passenger comfort.

American Airlines' Premium Economy Seats
American Airlines' Premium Economy Seats

In terms of specifics, the Premium Economy seats have a 38-inch pitch and a 19-inch width, in contrast to Economy's 31-inch pitch and 17-inch width. The seats in Premium Economy, while not lie-flat like those in Business Class, do offer a significant recline of 6 inches, aiding in sleep during the flight. The wider seats mean additional personal space, a crucial factor on flights as long as the New York City to Tel Aviv route, which typically can be a 10 to 12 hour flight non-stop.


The front row in Premium Economy is distinct, offering additional space. The entertainment monitors in these seats emerge from between the seats, ensuring an uninterrupted view. However, this row is also designated for attaching baby bassinets to the wall, which might be a factor for some passengers when choosing seats.


Each passenger in Premium Economy is provided with a pillow and blanket and an amenity kit, which includes items such as socks, a sleeping mask, toothbrush and toothpaste, earplugs, and lotion, significantly adding to the comfort of the long-haul flight.

American Airlines' Premium Economy Seats
American Airlines' Premium Economy Seats

Meal service is a notable aspect of the flight experience. I opted for the kosher meals, which were wrapped like standard kosher airplane meals but served on real dishware as in Business Class, elevating the dining experience.


The in-flight entertainment system, a modern touchscreen interface, boasts a 13-inch screen and offers a broad range of movies, TV shows, games, and music. Its user-friendly nature contributed positively to the overall experience.


History of American Airlines


American Airlines' history reveals its significant role in shaping commercial aviation. Established in 1930, the airline has been instrumental in introducing innovations like the frequent flyer program and computerized reservation systems. American Airlines has seen substantial growth, including a notable merger with US Airways in 2013, and has been a leader in sustainable practices in aviation.


Here are some interesting points in American Airline’s history:


  • American Airlines was one of the first airlines to offer coast-to-coast service in the United States.

  • It was a pioneer in introducing the jet age with the Boeing 707 and later the 747.

  • The airline has undergone several mergers, most notably with US Airways in 2013, which expanded its network significantly.

  • It has continuously focused on sustainability, introducing more fuel-efficient aircraft, and aiming for carbon-neutral growth.



Flying Premium Economy offers a variety of benefits that make it a popular choice for travelers seeking a more comfortable experience than standard Economy without the higher cost of Business or First Class.

American Airlines' Premium Economy Seats
American Airlines' Premium Economy Seats

Features of Flying Premium Economy:


1. Enhanced Comfort and Space: Premium Economy seats typically offer more legroom, wider seats, and increased recline compared to Economy. This extra space can make a significant difference in comfort, especially on long-haul flights.


2. Priority Boarding: Many airlines offer priority boarding to Premium Economy passengers. This allows you to board the plane earlier, settle in your seat, and avoid the rush of general boarding.


3. Improved Meal Service: The dining experience in Premium Economy often includes upgraded meal options compared to Economy. This can mean a greater variety of choices, higher quality food, and sometimes, service on actual china instead of plastic.


4. Additional Baggage Allowance: Some airlines provide a more generous baggage allowance for Premium Economy passengers. This might include an extra checked bag or increased weight limits, which is particularly useful for longer trips or if you need to carry more items.


5. Enhanced In-Flight Entertainment: Premium Economy often has larger personal screens and a wider selection of movies, TV shows, and music compared to Economy. Some airlines also provide noise-cancelling headphones in this class.


6. Amenity Kits: Similar to Business Class, passengers in Premium Economy may receive an amenity kit containing items like eye masks, earplugs, socks, and toiletries, which can help make the flight more comfortable.


7. Dedicated Cabin Area: Premium Economy is often a separate cabin section, which can mean a quieter and more exclusive environment, with fewer passengers and more attentive service.


8. Extra Services: Depending on the airline, there might be additional services like dedicated check-in counters, increased frequent flyer points, or access to airport lounges.


9. Cost-Effectiveness: For travelers who want more comfort than Economy but can't justify the expense of Business Class, Premium Economy offers a middle ground. It provides a significant upgrade in comfort and services at a price point that is usually much lower than Business Class.


It's important to note that the specifics can vary by airline, so it's always a good idea to check the exact features and benefits offered by the airline you are flying with. Premium Economy is continually evolving, with airlines regularly updating their offerings to enhance passenger experience.


Flying Premium Economy with American Airlines strikes a perfect balance between the affordability of Economy and the luxury of Business Class. The additional amenities and space provided made my long journey from New York City to Tel Aviv not just endurable but enjoyable. American Airlines' Premium Economy is an excellent choice for travelers seeking comfort without the expense of the higher classes.


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