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Premium economy 'gains popularity'

Passengers are increasingly opting for the extra comfort offered by premium economy seats when booking flights, an industry expert has claimed.

Anna Knowles, the head of public relations at Virgin Atlantic, said that the larger seats in premium economy sections appealed to holidaymakers looking to make the start of their trip more comfortable and business travellers from smaller companies which might not be able to afford business-class seats.

She added: "Premium economy is a hugely growing market - it grew by over 50 per cent between 2000 and 2005.

"The attraction of our new Premium Economy Class is not only more space with the wider leather seat but the service that accompanies it like priority check-in and priority luggage handling along with aspects like separate meal choices."

However, Ms Knowles explained that regular seats would remain the most common option for the foreseeable future, saying: "Economy class will always be the most popular class for travel and we will continue to enhance our products and services in economy to ensure this market is catered for."

Virgin recently announced that it had improved the clubhouse facilities that its upper class passengers have access to at Tokyo's airport.

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