What we expect from a first class air travelBack to Forum
Hello ghlotus – Yes you are correct in saying F class is “an endangered species.”
However some airlines will retain F class for a variety of commercial reasons. Normally I would say “always retain” but in these uncertain times nothing can be guaranteed in aviation.
I mean can you imagine any long-haul international Japanese airline axing its top product ?
The same goes for A380 operators like EK and SQ for whom the super jumbo provides the space to show off their top product.
Yes I know EK operates a number of two-class (later to be three-class with PE) A380s but they form a fraction of its A380 fleet.12 May 2021
[quote quote=1099632]I think Swiss will also keep First Class.[/quote]
I agree LuganoPirate.
One could also add BA, for some of its fleet, owing to the need to cater for the Royal Family, senior government officials and so on.
Back in 1988, when SAS axed F class, that was a question I asked. I was told that Scandinavian politicians would be content to fly Business class.
It used to be the case, it well be that way nowadays (i.e. pre-Covid), that airlines would offer F class so that they could offer it as a perk to win a major corporate account.12 May 2021
Good question. I am a person who pays for all of my flight whether personally or through my own business, unless I am able to use points. I am not so fortunate that a client or a big company pays for my flights.
First class should be special, a treat, if that is not what the airline is prepared to deliver then it should be good value. Business class has improved enormously over the years. Modern business class offers lounge access, lie flat flat seats, direct aisle access, decent food, drinkable wine and professional service.
If First class is to continue to exist at an even higher price then to me it needs to deliver a significant improvement in as many of the following categories as possible:
1. pre travel phone support
2. Concierge service
3. Limousine to airport
4. Premium check in through to lounge
5. Exclusive lounge with high quality food, wine, liquor
6. seamless escorting from arriving to airport, to lounge, to plane, to transfers, to arrival and exit
7. Superb and luxury food, wine and liquor on board.
8. A seat and space significantly above business class on the best airlines
9. Professional and warm crew.
10. A team to help if problems arise on route.
I have not yet been on an airline that does it all.
The closest is Air France, then Emirates, possibly Singapore Airlines and then Lufthansa. I have not yet flown Cathay or the Japanese airlines.
if I could create my own hybrid I would choose Emirates limo, AF check in and seamless escorting, AF lounge, AF in board service, Emirates wine and liquor, Singapore food, Emirates IFE, Singapore suite (I also like the Emirates 777 private suite).
To me if it is not special then why pay the huge price, unless someone else is paying, and instead not go business class.12 May 2021
Most of my longhaul are overnight (Asia) flights and on more recently on BA. On the odd occasion I travel F, its either due to an upgrade or one of those tickets where F is cheaper than C. I have never been overwhelmed by BA F, as many have said, its a good C product with IMHO zero WOW factor or feeling of exclusivity.
Along the lines of penultimate, my hybrid F from the airlines I have been fortunate to experience:
** Thai or similar kerb side greeting
** check in Thai and the buggies to the lounge
** a dedicated F immigration desk
** The LH F lounge in the First Class terminal
** car from lounge to gate (LH style)
** SQ seats and suite
** SQ meal service / pre order choice
** Thai arrival service and baggage delivery
** SQ cabin crew
** SQ/LH exclusivity, where F is not filled with the likes of me, on free upgrades….
Interestingly, the seat I am able to sleep best on, over a 10-12 hour flight is….. the current BA ying yang C ….
From comments on this Forum, the F class I would most like to try is AF…12 May 2021
ARRIVAL SERVICE…. indeed! Thanks for adding this, Martyn. I’ve never flown First on Thai, but every other long-haul First Class flight I’ve taken (CX, Qatar, Korean mostly) just dumps its F-class passengers off on arrival, with no priority escort to immigration, baggage or customs. CX will, however, meet transfer passengers at HKG and guide them to the security area – and onward to lounge or gate. Same service for C-class. No special F or C line for security scanning at HKG, which can take a long time in the early morning. CX blames the airport for this, as they refuse to give CX a special security lane in the transfer areas.12 May 2021
I don’t altogether understand or agree with your reasoning re your predictions as regards the demise of first class with SQ being the last man standing and to me your logic in coming to this conclusion is very flawed indeed.
Given that Singapore has a good number of very rich, though I suspect not overly snobbish customers however this number becomes insignificant when compared the regular 1st class travelers based in London, New York and Hong Kong (some the worlds largest banking and commercial centers) As regards 1st class seat demand SQ is a small player on the world stage and among the what are regarded as the top half dozen airlines offering first class. Your reasoning as to why SQ should it be the sole survivor totally escapes me.
The proportion of ‘money is no object’ 1st travelers to the total of first class travelers is a very small one by far with much the greater numbers being the hard working international business and banking types well represented on this forum.13 May 2021
[quote quote=1099649]Interestingly, the seat I am able to sleep best on, over a 10-12 hour flight is….. the current BA ying yang C ….[/quote]
I absolutely agree, in fact I prefer BA club to BA First for that very reason.13 May 2021
[quote quote=1099657]The proportion of ‘money is no object’ 1st travelers to the total of first class travelers is a very small one by far with much the greater numbers being the hard working international business and banking types well represented on this forum.[/quote]
I’ve avoided commenting on this topic due to a combination of envy and apart from a few lucky times with CP , have never flown first so have no personal experience. But Covid working from home boredom has set in so here’s my thoughts.
First = Exclusivity
A privilege reserved for those that can happily splash the cash without worrying about keeping an eye on their bank balance
A while ago many on the forum there were outraged at the “class” of people who were now filling BA’s F cabin. . Snobbery definitely prevailed !
So if I was designing the perfect F experience for an airline that justifies the massive percentage uplift in price over both economy but also its closest cabin then it would be with another 2 word in mind ….. Isolation Bubble . The only trouble with that proposition, is in my experience, many F passengers I’ve stumbled across love the ability to flaunt the exclusivity that they’ve paid for .
Will F disappear ? Nope, old silver spoon money will stick around for a while longer , but will they tolerate the new social media influenced rich that are so DYKWIA that they thrive on showing off their exclusivity even to those poor beggars that have to endure business
And to those forum members that fly F , please don’t take offense at my thoughts . My blue eyes turn green whenever I read comments about F travel .
Now , where’s that a letter from the Clydesdale ?13 May 2021
[quote quote=1099635]One could also add BA, for some of its fleet, owing to the need to cater for the Royal Family, senior government officials and so on.[/quote]
Good point Alex. I’m sure Scandinavian politicians and Royal family are happy to travel in Business, I’m not so sure about the upper echelons of British society. Imagine HM arriving in Riyadh in Business for example!!!
I may be in the minority, but I believe the Queen and those in line for the throne (not all the hangers on) and PM (of whichever party) should fly in a private plane. Germany, Switzerland, France amongst many others all have a private plane for their leader’s official travel.13 May 2021
The RAF does have an Airbus 330 (VOyager) for the Queen and the PM, when needed. BUt its use has to be justified – i.e. only if no suitable commercial alternative is available. I presume that would include cabin facilities but, more cricually, flight times and other security considerations.13 May 2021
I remember President Nixon flying commercial (on holiday?) in 1973. I also remember his action being criticised at the time, with commentators saying it would have been a lot safer and better and easier if he had just taken Air Force One, as was / has been the norm for presidents before and after that. Perhaps the US president is a greater security risk than anyone else, though? — I’m not sure.13 May 2021
[quote quote=1099539]For me it’s about comfort, from a dedicated check in, to a good lounge, with good food, and the drive to the plane avoiding the queues to board. Expedited arrival is also a bonus where you are met at the plane’s exit and whisked through.[/quote]
It’ interesting you say that. I find that F doesn’t provide that much more comfort than business. The difference is the quality of that offered – from check in to lounge to food. That said, being whisked through security is nice but I don’t find many airlines even do that in F.
That said, if you’re talking about LH’s super ordinary business seat – I can see what you mean.15 May 2021
Since I do pay for all my flights myself (considering I´m a “so important” SEN of LH for more than 20 years, this were quite a few…), I had a couple of F flights over the last decades. Mostly this was beacause F was simply cheaper than C or when I was upgraded (couple of times).
I´d say, that there is a significant difference on LH (F vs. C), because the C seat of LH is one of the worst I know, but less dramatic on SWISS (based in MUC, I prefer SWISS for all long-haul C/F flights, whenever this is possible).
Further, it makes a lot of sense to fly F (e.g. either LH or SWISS), if you are returning from JFK to MUC or ZRH or any other European destination (what I do, well “did” on a regular base before Covid), because as a C passenger you have to line up with sometimes hundreds of stupid (sorry) tourists at JFK and as a F passenger you are escorted directly to security. So, you don´t have to line up and wait for +1 hour to get through security.
Honestly, the food etc. in F is “nice”, but I prefer the escort service (as well as the food in F lounges in MUC, ZRH, meanwhile JFK as well) much more than the (obviously) nice service on board.
I recall one SWISS flight back to MUC via ZRH, where I was the only passenger in F and I was “forced” by the SWISS Stewardess to try a bit of every wine and meal they were offering (which was really excellent) not to mention, that I had a hard day after that …
I am wondering, why airline companies dont offer a “business package”, which would include a personal service (like F) on the ground. I believe, many business passengers would pay for such a service.3 Jun 2021