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The Economist: First-class air travel is in decline

The Economist: First-class air travel is in decline

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Old Mar 13, 19, 2:13 pm
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The Economist: First-class air travel is in decline

From the latest issue of The Economist:


First-class air travel is in decline
Executives are flying business class; plutocrats are taking private jets

https://www.economist.com/international/2019/03/09/first-class-air-travel-is-in-decline

Dubai is often called a “Disneyland for the rich”. At the city’s airport the three first-class lounges of Emirates, the United Arab Emirates’ flag-carrier, do not disappoint. Each one is as big as the terminal’s concourse, built to accommodate thousands of passengers. But every day only a hundred or so enter each first-class lounge.

...

Yet the rows of hundreds ... [for full story, follow the link above]

Last edited by cblaisd; Mar 13, 19 at 5:54 pm Reason: Redacted to comply with FT Rules re posting of copyrighted materials
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Old Mar 13, 19, 2:34 pm
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Very simplistic view. Very disappointing article from Economist, which should be nuanced.

Business class is better than prior first-class. So, when you say "first-class", you mean "first-class" just in name.

I understand many airlines had first-class that were just in name. Like UA. But some of them actually have a first-class much better than business class (as the ones listed in the article say). Not like BA, which is often billed as the best (I guess Lucky recently changed it to say "second best") business class.

But the other thing is that the first-class lounges at Dubai should be mostly empty. Otherwise they'd be crowded. How is being crammed in like a sardine "first-class"?
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Old Mar 13, 19, 2:38 pm
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Originally Posted by s0ssos View Post
Very simplistic view. Very disappointing article from Economist, which should be nuanced.
Yeah, it was a pretty poorly written report on several counts.

It also included the graphic below, which shows Delta still having first-class. I suspect the data that was used came from domestic first-class since Delta doesn't have international first-class.


Then again, Delta's own CEO has been caught calling the airline's business-class (second-class) "first-class" and premium-economy (third-class) "business."

I think there's no question that Delta One, as Delta calls its business-class, is intended to be a hybrid between the first-class product offered by other international airlines and the business-class products offered by other American-flagged airlines, particularly two years ago when United didn't have its Polaris business-class product.

The problem is Delta's business-class is still inferior to even the best business-class products. Delta doesn't have dedicated business-class lounges. The food-and-beverage offerings are, at best, inconsistent and, at worst, inferior -- particularly the wine -- to what is catered by other airlines when business-class is the highest class of service. On-board amenities are inconsistent -- no mattress pads, no consistent offering of pajamas or slippers, and no toiletries stocked in the business-class lavatories.

Of the American airlines, United may have the best hybrid between business-class and first-class once it can get a few more Polaris lounges open and more aircraft converted to feature the actual Polaris product.

The real game-changer will be when Jet Blue starts flying across the Atlantic. I've read an announcement could come very soon as the airline is teasing an upcoming announcement. It will be interesting to see how Delta, United and American respond if Jet Blue starts flying its Mint product across the pond to Ireland, the UK and France. We've seen what Delta has done in the case of Iceland and at least one Ireland airport: Replace business-class with premium-economy. Would (or could) they expand that offering to other leisure-heavy destinations? I'm thinking Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin.

Last edited by hockeyinsider; Mar 13, 19 at 2:52 pm
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Old Mar 13, 19, 4:53 pm
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Moving thread to Travel News
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