Travel | February 24, 2017 9:00 am

Qantas Airlines Is Going All-in on Premium Economy, and It Kicks Ass

Forget ‘Basic’ Economy. We need more of this.

There are a ton of great reasons to fly Qantas. Not least the fact that, if you’re flying on that carrier from an American airport, you’re probably headed to Australia, which is great. Beyond that, though, is the airline itself: if you’ve got to be cooped up in a metal tube for 16 hours, this is where you want to be. 

Exhibit A: its new premium economy cabin, coming up on the Dreamliner 787-9 flights between Perth and L.A. We’ve flown Dreamliner, and the hype is real. You really do sleep more deeply in this cabin, which is pressurized at a lower altitude than its competition. (Of course, that didn’t solve the problem of the incredibly narrow seats, which meant we flew to London with a dude’s elbow jabbing our pancreas. But the windows were neat.) 

Qantas’s new premium economy seats, in a 2-3-2 configuration, offer tons of storage (five separate compartments, if you’re counting), plus a shared (ugh, but OK) power outlet and two (unshared) USB charging ports. The new seatback entertainment screens are also 25 percent bigger. (Guess they figure nobody’s personal electronics can last the whole flight, no matter how many plugs there are.) And — for those who prefer to stay clear of other people’s elbows — the seats are 10 percent bigger than previously. Wins all around. 

Qantas PE (4 images)

A bonus for those of us flying not-premium coach: the airline also recently announced that passengers can stream Netflix and Spotify on their flights. If ever there was a time to binge on Kimmy Schmidt or River (trust us on that second one — it’s great!), that flight to Western Australia is it.