Turkish Airlines to Cut Comfort Class: What Is the Future of Premium Economy?

The days are numbered for Comfort Class seats on Turkish Airlines. Photograph by FlyerTalk member G_G. Click on the photograph for a discussion amongst FlyerTalk members pertaining to seats in the Comfort Class cabin on Turkish Airlines flight 773 from Istanbul to New York.

According to various reports, Turkish Airlines has announced that it will remove the Comfort Class cabin from its its fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

The reasons for the failure of the implementation of the Turkish Airlines version of premium economy class include:

  • Apparent low demand
  • Too many seats available — 63 seats, to be exact
  • Lack of consistency, as reported by FlyerTalk members
  • A lack of awareness
  • Limited deployment
  • Inability to launch a similar version of Comfort Class on narrow-body aircraft

 

As first noted by FlyerTalk member starflyergold back on October 23, 2012, a decision to remove Comfort Class from aircraft operated by Turkish Airlines is contrary to industry trends where other airlines are looking to add premium economy cabins to their fleets of airplanes.

I have not experienced being a passenger of Turkish Airlines in the Comfort Class cabin, but Seth Miller of The Wandering Aramean weblog has — and he believes that “from a personal perspective it is a shame; I think they priced their Comfort Class at the right point to be a great value for the customer. Then again, that’s probably why it failed as a product.”

Disappointed FlyerTalk members generally agree and also provide suggestions on what Turkish Airlines could do in terms of Comfort Class for the future.

Airlines such as Delta Air Lines — which first introduced its version of premium economy class on international flights greater than two years ago — seem to be performing well. Other airlines — such as Cathay Pacific later that year — jumped on the bandwagon of offering an international premium class cabin on their aircraft…

…but — in light of the decision from Turkish Airlines to no longer offer Comfort Class on its aircraft — is the future of the premium economy class concept in jeopardy?

Despite the latest news of American Airlines a few days ago with the apparent trend by some airlines to attempt to cram and jam as many seats as they possibly can onto their aircraft, I do not believe so — at least, for now. Premium economy class is an opportunity for those who cannot afford a premium class experience to at least enjoy a taste of the amenities at an airfare that will not bankrupt anyone — such as extra leg room, for example. It fills in some of the gap between economy class and business class by offering what some might call a more tolerable economy class experience.

More importantly, however, is that as long as offering a premium economy option is financially feasible for an airline, it will continue to offer it.

Although Turkish Airlines purportedly intends to improve their business class and economy class offerings, it may not be a bad idea to revisit how to experience first class on an economy class budget. Many of the suggestions posted almost seven years ago can still apply today — and I am sure you can think of additional ways to mitigate what some perceive as the misery of the economy class cabin and attempt to be more comfortable

…or you can just splurge for a seat in either the business class or first class cabin with your frequent flier loyalty program miles or cash and eschew the economy class experience altogether if there is no premium economy class product being offered.

What do you think? Does the demise of Comfort Class by Turkish Airlines portend a cloudy future for the premium economy class concept — or is it simply an anomaly? Do you enjoy the concept of premium economy class? Do you believe that premium economy is today what the introduction of business class was years ago?

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Comments (Showing 10 of 10)

  • Calchas at 11:48pm June 17, 2013

    “Inability to launch a similar version of Comfort Class on marrow-body aircraft”
    No doubt.

    • Brian Cohen at 12:32pm June 18, 2013

      Thank you for having a bone to pick about that error, Calchas.
      Although I could have waited until tomarrow to correct that error, I decided in vein to do it today.

  • Phenomenon at 11:55pm June 17, 2013

    I think it’s just nonsense.

    As a frequent flyer of CC on TK I believe it’s a perfect product.

    The hard product is adequate for long flights, the food served is great and the 1.5x mileage winnings is great as well IMO.

    The only reason for TK to cancel CC could be;
    ” I think they priced their Comfort Class at the right point to be a great value for the customer. Then again, that’s probably why it failed as a product.”

  • aero0729 at 4:40am June 18, 2013

    This article references Premium Economy and compares to Delta Economy Comfort. These two products are completely unrelated. Premium Economy is a completely different seat usually with a different service. Delta’s program is just 3 inches of extra legroom and a few free drinks,

  • planestupid at 6:48am June 18, 2013

    I second aero0729’s view. TK’s Comfort Class is seven-across in their 777, the same as many other airlines’ business class (e.g. Air France or KLM) and hence offers excellent seat width. To confuse this with Delta’s or United’s offering is nonsense as the latter should be called extra legroom seats but not premium economy.

    • Brian Cohen at 12:41pm June 18, 2013

      I certainly would not argue with you and aero0729 about your comparisons of the premium economy class seats of Delta Air Lines and Turkish Airlines, planestupid. However — although they are indeed different — it would be a different story if Comfort Class succeeded and Economy Comfort failed, which was the point I was attempting to make…

  • 1KCLAY at 9:31am June 18, 2013

    Just an FYI…the photo you have posted above the article is not of Comfort Class but of Business Class on some of TK’s narrow bodied aircraft.

    • Brian Cohen at 12:38pm June 18, 2013

      Thank you for the clarification, 1KCLAY. It is an unannounced feature of The Gate, but what I try to do is feature a photograph taken by a FlyerTalk member for each article — not always an easy task. The seats in the photograph by FlyerTalk member G_G are supposedly similar to those found in Comfort Class, which is why I did not specify that those indeed were Comfort Class seats.
      I will be more than happy to replace the photograph with one by a FlyerTalk member which features the actual Comfort Class seats…

  • FlightNurse at 9:51am June 18, 2013

    My partner and I flew CC from JFK-IST and loved it too bad it is going away.

  • Wilko Pali Sedef at 11:38pm September 04, 2013

    I just got off HKG-IST on board CC, it was my second CC experience and I loved it, I’m sad they are doing away with the class, on both flights the cabin was 90-95% full! They need to rethink it, start by reducing the size of the cabin to 4-5 rows max and potentially the price isn’t set right? I paid less for this flight then a Y class ticket from Europe to the West coast!

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