Another excellent post, I always enjoy reading your contributions.
If indeed it is a case of different perks for different markets, I think it goes a long way to explain how fickle the American system of travel rewards is marketed and the products themselves are presented.
First Class conjours up the image of top level service, space, high quality ammenities, luxury, food and drink of the highest order + where airtravel is concerned, access to a lounge with free wifi.
The fact is that in the USA, 90% of First Class tickets (I exclude some coast to coast red eye’s where this is not the case) entitle the passenger to nothing more than a solitary sandwich, no lounge access and seats that perhaps match European premium economy levels leaves the question how on earth the Americans get away with their product descriptions.
It seems that the typical Amercian attitude is more about the branding (First Class) than the product offering. Meaning that as long as you are first line, and you have a “First” boarding pass, smiles all around.
I have just been looking at some internal flights in the USA and the prices quoted vary between $1000 down to $150 for a one hour flight. What extra’s do you get for that $850, may be a flexi ticket, thats it, but its cheaper to buy 2 or even 3 refundable or partially refundable economy tickets.
The only other benefits are first to board, 2 x 2 seating. Lucky if you get a drink and certainly there will be no meal service.
American internals are all about status and certainly not service. I believe that the airlines take advantage of passengers – otherwise how could any rational person choose to pay so much more for so little less.