Asiana Airlines to debut premium economy class on A350

Asiana Airlines said Wednesday that it was introducing an upgraded economy class for the first time on its newest planes.

The seat class, called Economy Smartium, is the first premium economy class to be launched by a Korean airline and will be featured on the airline셲 upcoming fleet of Airbus 350-900 planes.

The Airbus 350-900 to be brought in by Asiana Airlines (Asiana Airlines)

The upgraded seats will be available to passengers for an additional fee of $30 to $150 depending on distance. They offer 7-10 cm more leg room than regular economy, as well as early boarding and airport lounge passes for long-haul passengers.

The addition of the Economy Smartium class brings another pricing band at Asiana, which introduced the Business Smartium class in 2010 between its business and first classes.

The A350 fleet will get rid of the first class seats altogether, leaving 28 Business Smartium, 36 Economy Smartium, and 247 Economy seats.

According to an Asiana Airlines spokesman, the decision is a response to the global trend of decreasing demand for first class seats as business class cabins improve, and more demand for higher-quality seating among passengers who had previously flown in economy class.

Asiana will debut the A350 on May 15 on its Osaka and Manila routes, before starting service on long-haul flights to San Francisco and London in the second half of the year. The airline will bring in four A350s this year, with a total of 30 A350 planes to be brought in by 2025.

Reservations for the newly launched Economy Smartium seats will begin Thursday.