Air Canada’s Premium Economy means smaller economy seats

On July 12, Air Canada introduced “Premium Economy” seating.  I thought I’d take a look at the configurations on the Montreal to Paris flight where it’s being introduced.  It turns out that Premium Economy means less legroom and narrower seats for everyone else in Economy.

Here’s the old configuration.  In economy, there’s a 32″ seat pitch and a width of 18.5″ in a 3-3-3 configuration.

Air Canada Existing Seat Configuration_540

Here’s the new configuration.  Economy class has an inch less legroom (31″ pitch) and an inch and a half narrower seats (17″) in a 3-4-3 configuration.  In essence, they’ve squeezed in an extra column of seating and shortened the length of each seat.

Air Canada Premium Economy Seat Configuration_540

If you thought that maybe premium economy would be well-priced, or that adding 98 additional seats to the same airplane would lead to cheaper economy seats, you’d be mistaken.  When I looked, a Premium Economy flight was $854 plus taxes for one segment on a round-trip itinerary compared to the discounted economy fare of $465.  Economy is no cheaper on the new configuration.

Air Canada Premium Economy Pricing_650

As a relatively tall person, I barely fit on the old 32″ configuration.  The person in front of me definitely can not recline without destroying my knees.  A narrower seat with less legroom is just going to be crappy.

I also just noticed that they specifically state that they do not accept pets in the cabin on this plane.  I can only assume that’s because the under-seat space isn’t big enough.

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