Virgin Australia’s new Boeing 777-300ER premium economy is clearly more 'premium' than 'economy' – sufficiently so to drop the e-word entirely, reckons Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti.
"We wanted to re-invent premium economy, to take it up a notch and make it more 'business lite' than 'economy plus'" Borghetti says of the new in-between class, which the airline now markets simply as Premium.
"We've labelled it Premium because that's what it is now, a true premium product."
As part of the overhaul – which also includes an upgraded business class cabin and bar – the premium economy cabin has been downsized from 40 seats to just 24, resulting in a more intimate vibe.
But legroom has gone up from 38 inches of seat pitch to a very generous 41 inches.
To put that in perspective: on the same Australia-US routes as flown by Virgin's Boeing 777s, Qantas offers a standard 38 inch pitch in premium economy, with 35-36 inches in the 'economy plus' cabins of American Airlines and United Airlines.
Those extra inches make a lot of difference around the knees, which is where it counts the most on long flights – there's enough room to cross your legs and relax.
(Another benchmark for comparison: it's three inches more legroom than you'd get in domestic business class.)
The Premium seats, which are a comfy 19.5 inches wide, also recline a further nine inches (one inch more than before) – and once you allow for the extra spacing between each row of seats, there's no risk that the passenger in front of you will suddenly lurch into your personal space.
Apart from the 2-4-2 configuration, Virgin's Premium class is in many ways akin to what business class used to be like a few decades ago, as well as the shorter-range 'regional business class' of some airlines today.
That's mirrored in the inflight meals, which are closer to business class than economy with plated courses served from the galley on business class crockery, plus Nespresso coffee on call, while a self-service Premium Pantry provides snacks and drinks throughout the flight.
The seatback video screen is slightly larger, at 27cm versus 25.4cm, while passengers can charge up their BYO tech with AC and USB power sockets.
There's also one toilet dedicated to Premium passengers with a second shared by the first economy cabin.
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT