Welcome to my Top 10 Economy Class Review (2023)!
This is a mock-up model of a 747, showing how 1970's Economy Class is like. (Photo: Soren Dragsbaek Holm)
Transport has evolved throughout the years and as technology improves, the in-flight products of all classes become better and today, the existence of Low Cost Carriers gives travellers another option, these LCCs offer lower airfares for no-frills service. This means that these airlines offer the basic level of service and add-ons if you want more comfort or convenience. Some of these airlines offer eye-catching airfares that force the premium airline to strategise and counter against them. This is great for us because the more competition they are among these airlines, more good deals for us and if you are fortunate, you can fly or upgrade yourself to premium class at a lower cost.
Today's Economy Class ranges from 28 inches to 34 inches and the Premium Economy Class was introduced to bridge the gap between the Business and Economy Class, making it more affordable. Thanks to the invention of In-Flight Entertainment System, now every passenger gets to enjoy whatever the airline offers compared to the past when only a projector was used to project the movie on the screen and passengers had no choice but to watch whatever the airline selected. I have been experienced that and all I can tell you is during that era, airfare was expensive as flying was considered to be a luxury way of travelling. It was quite boring but the seat legroom was better than today, that's for sure. Today a lot of airlines especially the low cost carriers squeezed as many seats as they can but the good thing about it is airfare is less expensive and if you are lucky, you might find a good deal on the Premium Economy and Business Class even.
This is for those who are not familar with air travel. Airlines these days offer different types of classes on their flights, usually long haul flights offering more price tiers on each class. Here are the list of tiers for Economy Class that you should take note and consider when doing your booking. Sometimes you come across very low airfares on the airline's Economy Basic Class, there is usually a catch and it is important to read the terms and condition before purchasing the ticket.
Types of Economy Class airfare: Basic Economy, Economy Saver, Economy Standard, Economy Flex (For example)
The price will range from the lowest to the most expensive. The higher the airfare type, the more perks you get such as 100 or even 120% mileage points plus complimentary seat selection. Different airlines have different perks so you should compare and see which one suits you the best.
Do note: This is based on my experience. I am 6 foot 4 (192 cm tall) and sitting in Economy Class can be challenging for me especially flying on carriers that configured economy class with a miserable seat pitch of 28-30 inches.
How did I choose my top 10 airlines?
I choose based on the airlines I flown so far and below contains a list of airlines and aircraft types that I have flown from 2013 onwards. What makes it challenging for me is choosing the top 10 as I had many wonderful experience with airlines so after much thoughts, I have come out with this list. Do you agree with some of my choices?
Another thing to note is that my top 10 Economy Class list is likely to be different from other bloggers as the list of airlines we flown are different. I wonder which vblogger has flown the most number of airlines. Sam Chui, Josh Cahill or Noel Philips?
It's great to read or watch videos from different bloggers to get a better prospective, right? Anyway I hope you enjoy this blog post.
Here are the list of airlines (Full Service and Economy Class only) and aircraft types I flown from 2013 onwards.
Egypt Air Boeing 777-300ER
Kenya Airways Boeing 777-200ER and 787-8 Dreamliner
Vietnam Airlines Airbus A321
Uni Air MD-90
Royal Jordanian A330-200 787-8 Dreamliner
Turkish Airlines A330-300 and B777-300ER
All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-8 and 787-10 Dreamliner
Transasia A330-300 and ATR-72-600
Malaysia Boeing 737-800
Royal Brunei Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300, A350-900, Boeing 737-800, Boeing 737 MAX 8, Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner
Kuwait Airways A340-300
Garuda A330-200 and B737-800
Cathay Pacific A330-300, B777-300 and A350-1000
Air India Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
EVA Air A321 and B777-300ER
Far Eastern Air Transport MD-82/MD-83
Ethiopian Airlines B767-300ER, B787-8 Dreamliner and Airbus A350-900
Asiana Airlines A380 and Boeing 747-400M
Korean Airlines Boeing 737-900ER, Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 777-200ER
KLM Boeing 777-200ER
Air France Boeing 777-300ER
Xiamen Airlines Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
China Airlines Airbus A330-300, Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 747-400
Jet Airways Boeing 737-900ER
Lot Polish Boeing 737-800, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and ERJ-190
United Airlines A320, Boeing 757-300 and Boeing 777-300ER
Delta Airlines A220-100, A321CEO, A321NEO, A330-300, Boeing 757-200, Boeing 757-300, Boeing 767-400ER
Swiss Airlines A220-300, A320NEO, A340-300 and Boeing 777-300ER
Virgin Atlantic A330-300, A330-900 and A350-1000
Jetblue ERJ-190 and A321NEO
Batik Air Malaysia/Indonesia Boeing 737-900ER
Alaska Airlines A320CEO, A321NEO and Boeing 737-900ER
Azul Brazilian ERJ-195E2
Aerolineas Argentinas Boeing 737-800
BOA Boeing 737-800
My top 10 Economy Class Experience (4th to the 10th place)!
Initially I wanted to list down the airlines based on ranking but because I find it challenging to do, so I decided not to rank these airlines, so what you see here below are airlines that in my top 10 places excluding my top 3 airlines.
My 4th to 10th airlines (Not in order)
4th: Delta Airlines Airbus A321NEO
N501DA (Photo: Bill Shemley)
Cathay Pacific was one of the top airlines in the world before the Covid pandemic took over. Currently, the airline is taking quite a while to finding its feet back but it is currently heading in a right direction. I was fortunate to fly this airline before the pandemic and the service was what you expect from this airline. For the in-flight seats, I find them to be quite comfortable, with a reasonable legroom space of 32 inches and is definitely suitable for long haul flights. My rating: 7.5/10
6th: Asiana Airlines A380
HL7625 (Photo: My photo)
8th: Azul Brazilian Airlines ERJ-195-E2
PS-AEC (Photo: Angelo Melo)
A4O-DG (Photo: Cheme Gomez)
10th: EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER (3-3-3 configuration)
(B-16703 to B-16728) are configured in 3-3-3 in Economy Class.
(Do note: the airline skip the number 4 in the ones place so these numbers , 16714, 16724 and 16734 are not used.)
B-16729 to B-16740 are configured in 3-4-3 in Economy Class.
B-16722 (Hello Kitty special livery) Photo: Dong An
My TOP 3 Best Economy Class Experience
3rd place: Jetblue Airbus A321NEO configured with Mint Studio (Business Class)
N2142J (Photo: Will Callaert)
1st Place: All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner
JA900A (Photo: Bastian Ding)
Economy Class Photos
With the seat manufacturers constantly designing new Economy Class products enhancing the comfort of the passengers, it isn't that bad flying at the back of the aircraft these days. All these factors depend on whether the airline are willing to put in the effort and investment to make Economy Class more pleasant and affordable for travellers especially for the budget conscious ones. Personally I find Recaro CL3710 seats with the seat back screens offer the best in-flight experience. Thanks to today's technology and the airlines opened to passengers' feedback, we are getting better in-flight products.
Unlike flying in the 1990s and 2000s, when airfares were expensive especially without the existence of the low cost carriers, it is more competitive today and thanks to the lower airfares, passengers like us havc choices and for me, if I am not in a hunt to fly on new airlines or collecting miles, I would stick to one or two airlines with the best product and earn mileage points. The advantage of doing that is you are able to earn status with the airline and from time to time, you get rewarded with bonuses such as operation upgrade and complimentary lounge access if you earn enough points to reach at least gold tier. As an Economy Class regular, for long haul flights I would be picky, I am more likely to choose the airline that offers the aircraft type that I want to fly on then selecting the best deal (airfare) before choosing the desired seat depends on the price, if its expensive, I would wait to select my seat during check-in. For long haul flights, I won't mind the aisle seat so that I can stretch my legs during the flight.
Thanks for reading and I hope you find this post useful.
Coming up next: Aircraft Recognition Guide 6 (Chinese Aircraft: Comac, Xi'an and Harbin)
Have a good one!