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The "New" First Class

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The gap between first class and coach has never been so wide. Carriers on international flights are offering private suites for first-class passengers, three-star meals and personal service once found only on corporate jets. They provide massages before takeoff, whisk passengers through special customs lanes and drive them in a private limousine right to the plane. Some have bars. One airline has installed showers onboard (www.nytimes.com) More...

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dbaker
Daniel Baker 0
The info graphic is great, although I'd expect even more of the revenue to come from premium cabins. Of course, they don't list cargo.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/11/20/business/inside-the-plane-by-seats-and-revenue.html?ref=business
HWL1223
H W Lam 0
I can speak to Continental/United.
Wife and I went to Britain last week, she in First (corporate's $5000+) and I in regular ($850). Except for the seat/bed, she said it was as mediocre as usual, with rude service people, crappy food, etc.
I think its all a scam at this point.
I used to fly the IAH to SJO first regularly, but again, except for the seat size and the sparse free liquor, its just not worth 3x the fare.
On the other hand, for a flight over 3 hours, the up to extended legroom in coach is worth it!
my .02
chiphermes
Chip Hermes 0
This story is a bit confusing. United First to the UK is >$10K and they don't offer that product from IAH. It sounds like she was flying Continental's BusinessFirst?
akayemm
All the analysis seems fine . But the very important comparison between revenue and the input resource has been either not considered or has not been reported. And it is the comparison of cost of space used and the cost of amenities provided in the respective classes vis-a-vis the corresponding revenue ! Such a comparison is very vital for a better parity of assessment by the common man OR the investor alike . The kind given does help , but just !
blend69
Jon Harwood 0
I don't think there is anything new about this type of first class. Its been around some time now. Lots of carriers of course have not quite realised what it is all about yet. I have had many a shower at 41,000 feet on the Emirates 380, and very nice it is too. Thats not what it is all about though. Its about a seamless service right from when the limo comes to collect you, to leaving the immigration hall at your destination and a limo is waiting to whisk you right to your destination, and the service at every stage in between. Emirates understand this well, and it is true passengers do pay for it, maybe as much as 7 or 8 times the economy fares. But in ALL the recent times I have travelled Emirates, their first class has been full when others have been near empty. Passengers who want this service know full well who to travel with. So having read the article attached to this item, I can't fathom why some CEO's don't think the market is there - perhaps the CEO's need to be changed, not first class.
motorista
muito bom otima materia em viem mais obrigado
budai2
George Haksch 0
Now playing:"The jet sets era"--Second Act
BenKFIT
Ben Lillie 0
If this is true, the service is finally meeting the price.
drdisque
Ben Deneweth 0
On United an American, most people who sit in international F are elites who have been upgraded from Business. It creates an incentive to purchase Business class when you are elite (since they know they are likely to get the upgrade from Coach to Business if requested). There are very few paid seats in F on these carriers (perhaps about 20% of F class seats). Most are the super-rich and celebrities/VIPs who require it in their contracts.

Also, the price difference between F/C and Y is not as different when comparing last minute tickets. For example, the owner of my company frequently flies F on LGA-DFW because the last minute RT F fare is $1600 while the last minute Y fare is often over $1000. The difference, from a percentage standpoint, isn't that much. Also, it's important to note that when you purchase F you get a lot more than a seat and better food. You also get things like priority rebooking in the case of IRROPS and double miles/EQMs.

Also, in case you're wondering for most US airlines cargo makes up a very small percentage of revenue (less than 5%). With passenger loads as high as they are, there isn't much leftover capacity (takeoff weight more often than physical space in the belly) to carry much cargo.
MANBOI
MANBOI 0
Occupy 1st class!!!
billcrews
Bill Crews 0
Wed-Sat DCA-ORD-JFK(C)-BCN(C)-LHR-ORD-DCA on AA, nice low fare and low expectations (esp IFE) should be fun:-) infiltrating the 1% We are the 99%!!
Moviela
Ric Wernicke 0
With the exception of SQ suites and SQ37/38 (all business) and a nod to Emirates for trying, First on all other carriers is more or less a trip on a city bus. For long haul, I'll take a 74 over a private jet any day. Shower onboard? It's like a bird bath. You get a scant small volume of water in a space ordinarily occupied by a spice rack. I would like to return to the days of Pan Am in the '50's 60's and 70's. In the mid-eighties they started to leak oil, and at the end First was just a better seat with cocktails.

As others have mentioned, first is seldom sold, rather bartered for passenger loyality. With little money coming in, how can you expect superlative service? In the 1980's Pan Am spent more than $100/pax for food and drink LAX/NRT. Now first class catering on United is $20 each, including the booze.

The 1st seats have lots of gizmos and gadgets, outlets, lamps, massagers, coat hooks, storage nooks, and privacy screens. The only thing they forgot was to make the seat comfortable! Lie flat seats that are at a 30 degree angle force you dream about climbing the Matterhorn while sleeping. They are so narrow and poorly shaped you feel like you are in a taco.
dbaker
Daniel Baker 0
I think you're confusing domestic and international. The >$100 figure you quote for Pan Am is LAX-NRT but the $20 figure for United you're citing must be a domestic figure. United First on the same route would exceed $20 before the flight departs, and exceed $100 during the flight if you consider the ~10 courses and alcohol along the way.
StymieHo
Chris Donawho 0
Flew coach to the other side of the planet. Got there in 12 hrs. Could've walked it in six years. Paid jack squat while Joe Plenty-Money footed the fuel bill up front. I'll take that bargain any day. You can get a decent hotel when you arrive at your destination and sleep off any uncomfortable soreness. The fact is, they (airlines) toted my ass around the world for pennies on the dollar. In fact, I can only hope this "gap" between first and coach grows even wider.
chiphermes
Chip Hermes 0
I'm with you, Chris. It's a great deal for everyone.
mpetro
Mike Petro 0
Now I know why those Wall Street bankers need multi-million dollar bonuses!

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