Premium Economy Demand picks up in APAC

Travel News 01 Sep 2015

Corporate travelers in the Asia/Pacific region increasingly are gravitating toward airlines with premium economy offerings, according to a Sabre Asia Pacific survey of 108 corporate travel agents in the region.

The survey, conducted back in May, have revealed that premium economy class is a “powerful stimulant” for companies. About half the agents have seen corporate cost-cutting lead to downgrades from business class to economy, but almost as many, 41 percent, instead have shifted travelers from business to premium economy seats.

Meanwhile, 24 percent said travelers required to fly economy are requesting premium economy seats. The agents noted this as a “tendency to demand more than what is permitted by policy.”

Premium economy class also is affecting travelers’ choice in carriers. Just under a quarter of agents in the survey have fielded requests from corporate travelers to switch to carriers with premium economy seats when offered standard economy bookings. About a dozen carriers in the APAC region offer premium economy service.

The report has demonstrated that premium economy has provided travel management companies with another lever to adjust their client’s travel budget, without significant loss of comfort for travelers.

In addition, the survey highlighted that companies are asking travel agents to exercise tighter controls around ancillary air spending. About a third now control ancillary costs for corporate clients, compared with a fifth in a survey conducted last year.