Premium Economy vs The Middle EastBack to Forum
Anonymous12 May 2014
Hello all, long time reader, first time poster. I’ve noticed recently that a lot of airlines are pursuing premium economy with Singapore Airlines being the most recent announcement. Does anyone feel that non Middle Eastern carriers such as CX, SQ, LH and so forth are now introducing a premium economy product as it is a market that remains untapped by the major Middle Eastern carriers?12 May 2014
Hello and welcome NQ
Methinks premium economy is more due to economy going down market (less space, unbundled) and business going up market (nearly as good as F was 5-10 years ago) that a gap has opened up.
So it is not because it was untapped, more that the offerings and cost differential on either side moved. IMO long haul carriers whom do not offer premium economy will soon become the exception. Further imo F will become less widespread.12 May 2014
one of the reasons that Emirates and the like are so successful, is that they have less products to sell, and their aircraft are extremely transferable and flexibly as a result. Premium economy is really only suited to certain markets so would limit their ability to be creative with aircraft types. For example, they will send an A380 to Jeddah on a one hour hop if they can fill it and the aircraft is spare. ‘Intelligent misuse’ Tim Clark calls it.
Plus I think the fact that non of the ‘Gulfies’ have gone down the Y+ route says a lot about the fact that in Middle East society, you are typically either a have, or a have not. There is very little in between.12 May 2014
superchris – 12/05/2014 11:37 GMT
….”Plus I think the fact that non of the ‘Gulfies’ have gone down the Y+ route says a lot about the fact that in Middle East society, you are typically either a have, or a have not. There is very little in between”…
Yes if they were mainly intended to serve said society/market. However, as Emirates and Etihad at least are on a mission to be global carriers that are not dependent upon their local markets, then premium economy will become part of the offering imo.12 May 2014
whilst a great monemymaker for airlines, i think premium economy should replace standard economy on all longhaul travel. back of the bus people have standards too !12 May 2014
what are everyone’s thoughts on all premium economy flights a bit like Skymark Airlines of Japan ?12 May 2014
Give the Gulfies time and in due course they will bring in Y+
I wrote a detailed piece for the magazine last year al about this product.
A main reasons behind Y+ is to bridge the comfort and standards gap between the onboard products. It also makes it easier when carriers have to upgrade or downgrade passengers.
Who for example would want to be a business class passenger on one of EY’s new A380s and then be told, because the flight is overbooked, he or she he will have to travel downstairs with 400+ other passengers ?
See this EY A380 seat map to see what I mean:12 May 2014
Do you really think they will introduce PE?
PE is really designed for premium leisure travellers who can justify more than Y but less than J fares; and corporate travellers on a budget; and it is a long haul phenomenon. So it has most obvious appeal in developed economies (W Europe, Aus/NZ, Japan). I wouldn’t even count the US, as serious road warriors either fly deeply, deeply discounted J on corporate contracts, or make do with Y+/comfort/select as top tier FFPs
So, really, the only point in a Gulf-based offering PE is for the Kangaroo route, as that’s the only route where there is sufficient demand from (mostly premium leisure) travellers. On most other routes, any demand can be soaked up by discounting/diluting J – the demand is small, and there’s plenty of space in the J cabin (have you seen upstairs on one of EK’s A380s?!)
Now, the Kangaroo route (and transpacific) are sufficiently important for SQ, and SQ is sufficiently unwilling to discount J, that it makes sense for them to offer PE on their long haul fleet. By contrast, Kangaroo is important to EK, but not the others; and in any case, EK discounts so heavily on fixed, advanced purchase J fares, that a little bit of advanced planning can get you to SYD in J for about the same as BA/QF in PE
Finally, PE is also really hard to sell, because the GDSs don’t really make allowance for it (or more importantly, for mixed class ticketing on connecting flights), so it also requires a large proportion of ticketing to be direct, rather than through agents. This simply isn’t the case, particularly in Asia (we know lack of distribution was one of Kingfisher’s downfalls) – which is why CX is having such a tough time selling PE, and why TK pulled it having fitted all its new 77Ws with it, and why MH never got round to installing it, despite announcing it
So, my best guess is that it won’t happen12 May 2014
Premium Economy is just a way of airlines admitting that their “Y” offering is now sub-standard
I would never pay money to fly BA “Y” , it’s simply a sub-standard product, and a classic example of blackmailing people into paying more to avoid steerage class.
AC has now adopted this “treat them like cattle down the back” practice that as Terry Buchanan has said is just treating those of us who can’t afford premium fares with contempt! And sadly BigDog is right, by accepting “Y+” we are basically encouraging this to become the norm.
And I’ll predict that when it does become the norm, watch out for a dilution of service in “Y+” as the airlines play their wean them off it without them realizing it game to cut costs !12 May 2014
In aviation “never say never”. Prior to last Friday’s announcement, SIA has denied for years that it would ever introduce a Y+ product. It always maintained its Y was as good as other airlines Y+. Execept that when the latter upped their game, SIA’s claims rang hollow.
As for Emirates, it is often forgotten here in the UK that it is not sotely concerned with Asia or the kangaroo route.
Just look at how many long-haul flights (most of which bypass Europe) it now operates between the Gulf and the USA, Africa, Latin America and so on.
And in future, Emirates high-density A380s may be 11-across in Y. So again, another need for better Y seating at a higher price.12 May 2014
That’s my point precisely. PE doesn’t work in the vast majority of markets that EK operates in. Even their US flights are really only full of people connecting to India – which is a pure Y- or J+ market. So the *only* market that makes sense for EK to offer PE is for UK/Australia traffic
By comparison, PE makes sense for SQ to Europe, Australia, Japan and the US – i.e. their entire long haul network. They just dragged their heels, because they are still living somewhere in the 20th century when a sexist advertising campaign still was an acceptable proxy for a marketing strategy
And “just in case we have to downgrade people” seems like an odd reason to introduce another class of service…12 May 2014
canucklad, not sure why you single out BA ‘Y’ in particular – IMHO, having travelled in Y with BA, CX, SQ, MH, TG, US, QF, KL and EK over the past couple of years, I would say it is as good as any of them and better than some. Exception is KL because I always get their Economy Comfort seats on the basis of status.12 May 2014
Just talking from experience, due to financial constraints most of my long haul leisure has been in “ Y” . Travelling alone I’ll upgrade using points, but this is mainly confined to flights back to YVR
And I’m sure that BA is better than many, but they are near the bottom of the league with me. And are never on my radar on flights over 4.5 hours. Unfortunately for BA they failed my 3 strikes and you’re out rule!
Beware of another football analogy …but…
CX – JL – EK – QF – KQ & AC are Champions league contenders (although AC are sliding down the table because of the introduction of steerage class)
KL – AF – TK –LH are mid table wannabees
BA & the American carriers fight out the relegation battle I’m afraid!
Although to be fair to UA it’s been a wee while since I last flew them, but mates reports aren’t good !13 May 2014
Some designs to squeeze even more into steerage….13 May 2014