Looking for a cheap and fast way to get across the pond? Low-cost carrier French bee launched a direct flight from Miami to Paris-Orly on December 15, 2022, making it the most affordable nonstop flight option of its kind in the region. You could find yourself in Paris for as little as $440 roundtrip or, if you want to dole out the cash for an upgrade, travel in style with their Premium Economy class. But for an airline who’s main draw is affordability, the question remains: Is Premium Economy worth it?
We flew French bee’s Premium Economy class during their inaugural flight from Miami to Paris-Orly to find out.
Editor’s Note: The author of this story was hosted by French bee. Fares are accurate as of time of publication.
One-way Premium Economy fares from Miami to Paris-Orly start at $522.
French bee’s Premium Economy is markedly more affordable than premium economy classes on larger carriers. For comparison, a roundtrip premium economy seat on an American Airlines flight with an overnight connection from Miami to Paris-Orly runs about $2,050 while a roundtrip, nonstop flight in premium economy on Delta into Charles DeGaul goes for $2,000. A roundtrip, nonstop ticket on French bee from Miami to Paris-Orly for the same dates totals just $1,370.
French bee flights between the US and France operate on Airbus A350-900s, state-of-the-art aircraft featuring quieter cabins and 35 Premium Economy seats. Sitting in the private cabin at the front of the plane, I could hardly tell that the engines were running.
Each seat is 18 inches wide with adjustable headrests, knee and lumbar supports, footrests, and—best of all—36 inches of legroom. The seatbacks are outfitted with USB plugs and LED touch screens where guests can access free entertainment, games, the in-flight menu, and a camera fee showing the exterior of the plane.
The seats don’t lie flat, but they do have a deeper incline than standard economy seats and I had no trouble sleeping comfortably on my red-eye. As someone whose back pain flares without fail on long-haul flights, the extra width and increased pitch made a world of difference.
Food and Drink
We were never short of food or drink throughout the flight. Flight attendants came through the cabin periodically with drink and snack services, including during boarding where passengers were offered their choice of water, orange juice, or champagne.
The airline offers a choice of proteins or a vegan option for the in-flight meal, which comes with a starter, a main dish, and dessert. I was pleasantly surprised by the vegetarian offering. On the flight in, I enjoyed a pita and hummus plate with fresh fruit and a vegetable and rice medley. On the way home, I was served a stewed eggplant starter followed by a tomato-lentil dish that had me completely forgetting the age-old reputation of airline food.
In the “morning” (emulated by the aircraft’s sunrise mood lighting), we were offered a light breakfast snack with options like yogurt, croissants with jam and butter, pastries, and rice pudding.
Each passenger was provided with an airplane pillow, blanket, and a complimentary reusable zippered pouch containing a sleep mask, pair of socks, wired earbuds, and earplugs. Hot scented towels were passed out before the main meal which, combined with the cabin’s cool-tone atmospheric lighting, created an oddly peaceful atmosphere at cruising altitude.
While WiFi isn’t included in the fare, passengers can purchase one of four different plans, which run anywhere from $4 to $29.
Premium Economy includes two 50lb checked bags, a carry-on, and a personal item free of charge. This class also includes perks like priority boarding, line-jump (allowing you to skip to the front of the line in security and customs checks), and priority luggage delivery, meaning you get on and off the plan significantly faster.
Is it Worth the Money?
If you have the budget and want to get to Europe with minimal jetlag and virtually no aches and pains, Premium Economy is more than worth the money. The cabin is spacious, the seats are notably comfortable, and you’re getting the same Premium Economy experience as major carriers for a fraction of the price.
Even if Premium Economy isn’t for you, with French bee’s endless customization options at each class level, you can truly pay as much or as little as you want.
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