Business vs. Economy: The Growing Gap Between the Haves and the Have-NotsBack to Forum
The US article displayed on the original post is aimed at a domestic audience.
It does not reflect the big developments made by global (ie non-US) airlines in recent times with their premium economy cabins.
The most recent being today’s announcement by Lufthansa:25 Mar 2013
Canucklad, I think Ryanair disproves your point. The average passenger will sit in the most unbelievably cramped conditions in order to save a few £’s, $’s etc. It amazes me as well, but perhaps that’s also part of the reason all Business airlines failed and even Swiss have dropped the Privat Air flights.25 Mar 2013
Genuine Premium Economy is really the answer to these concerns; while economy continues to get ever more economical (which, after all, is its purpose).
Many carriers are looking to follow the early example set by Virgin Atlantic, which followed BCal in introducing an intermediary cabin (Mid Class).
BA followed fleet-wide soon after, and then Air NZ developed the cabin followed by a slew of others.
US-based airlines never really “got” Premium Economy, preferring just to add extrAA space (American’s pre- 9/11 More Space Throughout Coach nearly cost them an even earlier bankruptcy) and the pitiful United premium cabin.25 Mar 2013
I have written a premium economy piece for the April issue.
Eva Air was the first to introduce premium economy followed soon after by Virgin Atlantic. I remember flying with Eva Air out of LGW to BKK in the early 90s at the time when its B747 service used to touch down in VIE.
In those days, Eva Air located premium economy in the “nose” of the B747 so passengers got a good deal in terms of where to sit.
As you say, the US carriers offer a sort of hybrid product. Air Canada, which normally likes to differentiate itself from its US rivals, will be offering a better product when its first premium economy cabin appears this summer.25 Mar 2013
Air Canada accounts for about 75% of my air travel. I just returned from Barbados. Flight time from YYZ is just over five hours. Travelled Executive Class on the way down on a 763, so had one of the pods, which of course was a pleasure. So nice to be able to have a proper nap after breakfast. On the return I flew Economy Class, but was able to secure a window seat in row 19 (19A) – the emergency exit row. Was quite comfortable, with plenty of room to stretch my legs, and no interference from the passenger in 18A. At 5 ½ hours flying time, it was fine. AC has been advertising the introduction of Premium Economy, being introduced on new 773s arriving this summer. That’s lovely, but what people should know is that these new aircraft will be outfitted 3-4-3 in Economy. Shame on them! The latest carrier to adopt this cruel configuration. I cannot even imagine flying their flight 033, YVR-SYD in one of those seats. Punishment of the worst kind. Overall I find their Economy service to be just fine, but I for one will go out of my way to avoid ever having to fly Economy on one of these new aircraft. Hello again, BA, CX, QF, (even UA), etc.25 Mar 2013
Quite right, I forgot Eva – I don’t do Asia, so it’s rarely on my radar.
If you dig around, you may find some reference to BA’s (or it may have been BCal’s) “Caribbean Service”; a lower priced section of the Club cabin using the bucket seats but with a paper doily (!) and only service economy F&B.
Don’t think it lasted long.25 Mar 2013
LP…As someone who uses FRightscare it would be hypocritical of me to argue against cheap seats……..
Me and 3 mates off to Punchestown …..couldn’t resist £40 return EDI> DUB……if the price was much higher than EI would win the day….or more likely no Horses
As I mentioned on my Vancouver thread…..In my opinion an airline that introduces or has Premium Economy is basically admitting to itself that its basic “Y” offering is so poor that it tries to blackmail its customers in paying extra…..
Oh VK….As I also mentioned ,if memory serves me right was it not KLM that started this off with something called Triple FFF……Full Fare Flexibility……that ultimately became their business offering!!25 Mar 2013
A canadian traveller…….I absolutely agree with you about AC’s decision to introduce Premium Economy…….They should concentrate on differentiating themselves from the yanks and others…..
To me they are risking their 5 star status, especially with that configuration……a big booo to AC’s management!25 Mar 2013
Quite right, canucklad. With this development they really are letting down the vast majority of their passengers. Of course, it will be some time before the new narrower seats become the norm, but for now I understand that YUL-CDG is the route to avoid this summer! Waiting to hear about whether existing 777s will be refitted, or not. What’s next … 3-4 seating on a narrow-body? 😉25 Mar 2013
Don’t remember the Caribbean service, but BA definitely had a premium economy product (Economy Select) on Dallas, Houston and perhaps other routes on ex-BCal DC-10s around 1990. It definitely pre-dated Eva Air’s premium economy and Virgin’s Mid Class, although only lasted a couple of seasons IIRC25 Mar 2013
The point is that there is a huge and widening gap between business and normal economy that something has to give.
Even with carriers like SIA which offers one of the better Y products, compare the space and comfort gap on a B777-300ER between J and Y and you will see what I mean.
The comfort gap will be even greater with those B787 operators who do not offer premium economy.
A good example is the QR configuration on the B787 in J compared to Y.25 Mar 2013
No, Economy Select was 3-4 rows of normal economy seats in a separate cabin behind business class, with better seat pitch (34 vs 31, I think) and a curtain
Not sure what the service benefits were, but I do remember getting a glossy brochure in the post about it (probably as a supplement to Business Traveller… or maybe Executive Travel, if you remember that magazine)25 Mar 2013
Totally take your point about the gap becoming wider……I would add that my recent experiance of Ba’s WTP product was not that much better than AC’s current “y”
So value for money AC wins……until they launch their own I suspect and delibaretly worsen their current “Y” offering !25 Mar 2013