Sleeping in Premium Economy: Comfort, Extras, Airlines?

Sleeping in an airplane might sometimes be very hard, especially during a long haul flight. Luckily many airliners provide some help for this problem. You can choose to fly in a premium economy class if you want to sleep better than you probably could sleep in normal economy class. However, when you are flying on a long haul flight there might be several reasons why it is difficult to get a good sleep even in the premium economy class.

So how to sleep in a premium economy? You can get a good sleep in the premium economy class during the long haul flight if you choose the good seat which fits for your purposes and if you use properly provided supplies for better sleep during the flight.

But after all, is it even possible to sleep in an airplane?

For some of the people sleeping in the airplane may be almost impossible. That is because many people feel that sleeping in any strange place is always very hard.

Furthermore, there are many interrupting things in the airplane. Air pressure, loud noise, the seat and lots of other people around you, just to mention some.

Especially during the long haul flight it is best to get good sleep, if possible. One reason is that after the long flight you might need to stay awake for long time. Unless, of course, you can just go straight to a hotel or your home after the flight.

Difference between economy class and the premium economy class

Why choose premium economy instead of economy class?

It is all about comfort. Of course, in the business class or even in the luxurious first class you would have the best opportunity to feel comfortable and get a good sleep during the flight. Still, it is certain that most of us don’t have that much money to spend to take the best seat of the whole airplane.

The economy class seating is usually very narrow, and sleeping in the cramped space may feel almost impossible. However, in the premium economy class you have considerably more space and usually a way more comfortable seat. Besides that, you can use some extra supplies which will help you sleep better.

The price for the premium economy class is higher, of course. But is it worth the extra money?

It depends. But, especially during a long haul flight, it is highly recommendable to choose the premium economy class if you are planning to sleep during the flight.

What Actions You Can Take Before the Flight to Prepare for Sleeping in the Premium Economy Class?

To make it more likely to get a good sleep during the long haul flight it is recommendable to prepare some things before you step in the plane or even before you arrive at the airport.

The seat

When you book a flight, or when you upgrade your flight from economy class to premium economy class, you should be able to choose your seat. This means that you may select any seat in the premium economy class if it’s free in the seat map chart.

Which seat should you select in the premium economy class?

Even in the premium economy class, the best place to sleep may be a window seat. That is because you don’t get disturbed by those who are going to toilet or for any other reasons want to get up from their seat. Another benefit is that you can control the window shade. Then, if you want to sleep, you can just close the shade whenever you want.

Depending on the side on which you usually sleep – left or right – you may choose your seat based on this fact. So, for example, if you usually sleep your right side on the bed, you may choose a window seat on the right side of the plane in the premium economy class.

Actually, if you can easily sleep on your back on the premium economy class seat, you may also choose the middle seat. Then the seat itself is comfortable enough.

One aspect when selecting a seat in the premium economy class is whether your seat is close to the toilets. Further from the lavatory would be better, because then you won’t be disturbed by those who go in and out or are queuing to the lavatory.

In some cases a few of the premium economy class seats are placed so that there is even more legroom than for other seats in the premium economy class. Usually these seats are located on the front row of the premium economy class.

Check from the seat map which seat would be the best one for you.

Own accessories

Selecting loose clothes can help you to feel more comfortable. Even better if you can change to your pajamas.

You may bring your own neck pillow and sleeping mask if you feel so. This is how you can feel more comfortable because you can sleep with some familiar accessories.

Also, a pair of good quality flight socks are good to take with you. Those keep your feet warm and also keep up the blood circulation, keeping you safe from blood clots.

And even more, you may want to take your noise-canceling headphones with you. These can help you to eliminate the sounds around you in the cabin, and at same time you may listen to some peaceful music or other calming audio recordings which can help you to fall asleep.

Food and drink in a plane - best moment of the flight?

Food and drink

As always, what you eat and drink may affect your sleep. So before you step in to the airplane don’t eat too heavy meals and keep your drinking moderate. If you know that you are especially sensitive to caffeine, you should not drink any caffeinated drinks right before the flight or during the flight.

What You Can Do in the Plane in Order to Get a Good Sleep on Your Premium Economy Seat?

First check if there are some helpful sleeping aids such as earplugs, sleep mask or blanket. Most airlines provide you with these, and possibly some other accessories, if you travel in the premium economy class. Some airlines even give similar accessories to the economy class travelers.

The seat

It is good to check how you can adjust your seat, and how much the seat back can be lowered. Then you can select just the right position to help you to sleep better. Adjust your seat to the best position in order to get a good sleep.

Prepare a blanket, and you may keep it on you for some time before you are planning to sleep. That is how you can feel whether the blanket is comfortable enough to sleep with, or if you would feel too warm or too cold.

Lie on your back and relax.


When you are planning to sleep, you can put the ear plugs in your ears or set the noise-canceling headphones on your ears, whichever option feels the best for you.


Sleeping in Premium Economy | Photo credit: J Mark Dodds [a shadow of my future self] on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND
Photo credit: J Mark Dodds [a shadow of my future self] on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

In the cabin there is always at least a little bit of light, even when the main lights are shut off. People around you may watch their screens or someone might be reading a book with their reading light on.

The best way to avoid all this light is to keep a sleeping mask on your eyes. Even a bit of light may interrupt your sleep, and that is why you should make sure that your eyes are properly covered.


The temperature in the cabin may vary during the flight. But usually it’s quite stable when flying on the cruise level. Even then, it is good to prepare with wearing the right kind of clothes. It may be better to wear light clothes, because when you want to sleep, you can use your blanket to keep you warm if needed.

The people around you

You’re probably not able to decide who will sit near you. (Except, or course, if you travel with a companion!) Some people may be so sensitive that it bothers their sleep if there are too many people nearby. Keeping a sleeping mask on and earplugs in your ears might help you to forget all the people around you.

Which Airliners Offer Premium Economy Class?

Here is a list of top 20 airliners who offer premium economy at least some of their flights:

World’s Best Premium Economy Class Airlines 2021

1. Virgin Atlantic
2. Singapore Airlines
3. Lufthansa
4. Air France
5. British Airways
6. Air New Zealand
7. Qantas Airways
8. Aeroflot
9. Emirates
10. Delta Air Lines
11. Austrian Airlines
12. Air Canada
13. ANA All Nippon Airways
14. EVA Air
15. Japan Airlines
16. China Airlines
17. Cathay Pacific Airways
18. United Airlines
19. Virgin Australia
20. Alitalia


So whenever you want to choose premium economy you more likely find this comfortable opportunity with these airliners.

Keep This Mind Before You Fall Asleep in the Airplane

To sleep in the airplane is the ideal goal on a long haul flight. However, there are some things you should consider first, if you are planning to fall asleep during the flight.

Take good care of your belongings!

Unfortunately, thieves fly too. Therefore it is highly recommended to keep your valuables safe so that no one can’t steal them.

How can you make sure that no one can steal your money or other stuff?

Don’t keep any money or expensive electronic devices on the luggage shelf. Instead, keep your money close to you. You may want to wear a hidden wallet or place your valuables in your pockets.

This kind of a hidden wallet keeps your money in a safe place.

Have a Nice Flight – Sleep Well

Sleeping in the premium economy class is possible, if you make some preparations before the flight. Remember to eat and drink suitable food and drinks so that your sleeping won’t be interrupted by those.

You may ask the flight attendant not to wake up until right before airplane is landing. You can also set your alarm to wake you some time before landing. Then you have sufficient time to go the toilet and set all your things ready for arrival, well rested and ready for new adventures!

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