On October 20th, Iberia unveiled a new cabin of service. The new Iberia Premium Economy product will be offered, per their press release, on their A350s, some A330s and their A340-600s. They plan on rolling out the new PE product through 2017.
The first destinations that will have the PE product will be Bogota, Buenos Aires (EZE), Chicago and Lima. The cabin will be 2-3-2. The cabins are being placed in place of some business class seats. The A330s will lose 7 business class seats, and the A340s will lose 10 business class seats. Per OMAAT, they will have a total of 21 and 23 PE seats respectively.
Iberia has a solid business class product, with staggered seats. They are similar to the seats offered by other airlines, such as Etihad’s A330s and Air Berlin. The PE seats seem to be pretty standard and have about 37 inches of pitch. They are 19 inches wide, and about 7 inches of recline. (per OMAAT) There will be small amenity kits, as well as welcome drinks and an enhanced meal service.
The PE seats seem to be similar to those offered by BA on their newer aircraft, and align better with the products of their partner. They posted a video with a run down of how their seats will look like. The cabin looks pretty cool and comfortable.
What does this mean?
The addition of PE seats on Iberia means that upgrades will probably be similar to the upgrade options on British Airways. Using AA miles, you will only be able to upgrade from coach to Premium Economy, and from PE to Business. This makes it harder to upgrade, and will probably make it less lucrative to use miles to upgrade on Iberia.
American’s joint venture with Iberia and British Airways is now much more aligned, with all of them offering Premium Economy on their new fleet additions. The only remaining carrier in the joint venture that has not offered PE or announced it is Finnair. I wonder how much longer it will take for AY to offer Premium Economy. In my opinion, it’s just a matter of time until they also add PE in order to have a uniform offering throughout the entire group.
I am a fan of Premium Economy when you are paying out of pocket, and want to travel better than coach. If you can travel with miles, you should still aim for business or first class when possible. The sad thing is, as far as I can see, is the reduction of business class seats in favor of PE. PE will make business more expensive, and less accessible to use with miles. Let’s hope that Iberia’s open availability remains, or at least that they improve their soft product to match the “premium” to travel on them.