Sydney Fare Deal: Premium Economy $1797 Roundtrip (And How You Know a Deal is Good)

Premium economy is like domestic first class with foot rests (or in some cases a foot bar). It doesn’t let you lie flat, but it gives you extra room and some upgraded amenities. I don’t think it’s a replacement for business class on ultra long haul flights, but it’s ‘good enough’ flying transatlantic Westbound (day flight) and certainly a whole lot better than coach.

I watch Sydney fares because I have family in the suburbs there, and I’ve been going since I was a kid. In fact my very first international trip was to Australia. I even flew American Airlines the last time they served Sydney — DC10s via Honolulu.

So I was super interested to see a premium economy roundtrip fare to Sydney for less than $1800.

The first step in getting a deal on airfare is to know what a deal looks like — how much a route usually costs so you know whether what you’re seeing is better or worse than normal. If you’re booking far out, a price is higher than usual, and there’s no seasonal or special event explaining that it’s often a good idea to wait to buy. If a price is lower than normal, it’s usually a good idea to jump.

So what do premium economy fares to Sydney often look like? Let’s just have a look at what other airlines selling premium economy non-stop between Los Angeles and Sydney are asking at the same time:

This isn’t a mistake fare, something that’s 90% off, but it’s definitely an unusually low fare and a good price for much greater comfort. It’s about a $300 premium in each direction compared to what American wants for the same flights in coach, and much less than the ‘double’ American’s President Robert Isom said the airline is getting for premium economy most of the time (when he spoke to the Cowen and Company Transportation Conference this month). And there’s no question you’re going to want premium economy to Australia more than merely to Europe.

Key details of fare basis QLWZ4EN1:

  • Travel permitted Friday through Sunday in each direction
  • Outbound travel must occur January 12 – June 28 or July 24 through end of schedule
  • Refundable for a $200 fee or $100 change fee

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Might be ok if the fare is upgradable to J but AA plays games. Triple check before you buy a PE ticket from AA.

  2. OH God, just the thought of anything other than first class on that route sends me to the Xanax bottle followed by 20 sessions of transcranial magnetic stimulation for depression.
    I can make a good argument it’s Gary’s and Lucky’s fault(s?) for turning me into such a travel snob.

    Thanks Gary. Assh***.

    I’m sending you my psychiatric bill for triggering me by having to read about premium economy.

  3. I used to fly CONTINENTAL DC-10’s from HNL to/from SYD and BNE. American’s 747 used to fly from HNL to SYD. I think that plane was sold to NASA way back when AA stopped flying their 747. I think it was in 1991 when I was in Sydney at the airport and I saw that AA was lamenting their last flight out of SYD at the time!

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