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Getting squeezed.

Old 28th Oct 2013, 14:52
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Getting squeezed.

At least one airline, Emirates, seems to this they can distract passengers from the narrower seats with big meals, frequent snacks and lots of electronic entertainment.

The Incredible Shrinking Plane Seat - WSJ.com
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Old 28th Oct 2013, 19:05
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That is why I fly long haul in Business Class (at my own expense). Not for the champagne but simply to avoid the sardine effect. The day I can no longer afford C class will be the day I no longer fly long haul.
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Old 29th Oct 2013, 14:16
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Originally Posted by Mark in CA View Post
At least one airline, Emirates, seems to this they can distract passengers from the narrower seats with big meals, frequent snacks and lots of electronic entertainment.
Having flown long haul economy with Emirates recently, I can tell you that a) economy class meals are of a decent size, but they often only feed you once (QR & EY both feed you twice between London and the Middle East), b) the snacks were non-existent (unless you count the bag of twiglets) and c) if you're unlucky enough to fly on one of the older 777's, the electronic entertainment is nothing special.

I was a bit amused to read, elsewhere, Airbus taking a swipe at 'other aircraft manufacturers' over their seating configuration. Who can they have meant They seemed to overlook that it's the airlines who decide how many seats they want abreast.

Last edited by Andy_S; 29th Oct 2013 at 14:43.
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Old 29th Oct 2013, 14:27
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I am only surprised that more people have not noticed. I think we had some discussion in here about the 9 and 10 abreast 777 a few years ago.

Given the spreading of people, they are going to notice sooner or later! For myself, I decided 25 years ago to not go LH on less than PE - unless there was absolutely no choice/option/money. Fortunately, there have not been too many times and I'm not tall or wide, which makes it tolerable. But never by choice.
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Old 29th Oct 2013, 16:11
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The airlines will tell us that we only have ourselves to blame, that the best solution for both parties is cheap seats crammed in as closely as possible. They will tell us that if we want space we should stump up the cash for business or premium economy - on the few routes it is available.

However I think that's bollocks.

It shows the complete lack of creativity in the airlines at the moment. The only way they can increase their bottom line is by causing their customers discomfort due to the density with which they pack them into their aircraft.

Premium economy is between 2.5 and 4 times the cost of regular economy. In a lot of cases it is closer to business class in terms of price than economy, so it's not really a solution for the majority of passengers.

Airlines seem to believe that all economy passengers want is lower price, when I suspect that comfort and legroom are as important or even more so. The small survey I conducted on the subject recently suggested that comfort and legroom are just as important to travellers (on a weighted average).

I have to wonder how many people would knowingly pay for a seat with a 29 inch pitch when for 5% more they could have 33 inches. Are the majority of people really so concerned with cost? I find that hard to believe that when it comes to air travel, most people care only about the price, yet in all other areas of life there is a balance between cost and satisfaction.

If the airlines' spiel were correct, we would all be driving about in Kias. Yet a look on the street now shows BMWs, Volkswagens, Audis, Hondas etc...

Somehow we've been conditioned to accept the fact that comfort in air travel is the preserve of the rich. One may argue that fuel costs are the cause, but Business and First passengers have to burn the same fuel - yet the quality of business class seating has come on leaps and bounds recently, with almost all business services offering flat beds now. Couple this with the fact that business and first are almost never full, and frequently nearly empty, we see airlines relying more and more on their usually full economy cabins for revenue, while at the same time telling those passengers that they don't deserve decent seats and service.

Airlines frequently say that they've tried introducing larger seats in the form of premium economy etc and people invariably go for standard economy. But when the choice is paying 500 for an uncomfortable seat or 1700 for premium it is hardly surprising.

What about something in-between? After all, there is nowhere else to go from here. You can't physically fit any more seats in most Y class cabins, so once all carriers have maxed-out their capacity how do they compete from there? That's why now is the time for airlines and passengers alike, to start thinking differently.

Last edited by mommus; 29th Oct 2013 at 16:15.
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Old 29th Oct 2013, 16:54
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I can certainly see the attraction of something in a mid class with around 36-37"and no frills - bring your own food even. Cannot see it being viable though. Airlines seem to have no trouble filling premium and Club so why bother.
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Old 29th Oct 2013, 17:51
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I have to wonder how many people would knowingly pay for a seat with a 29 inch pitch when for 5% more they could have 33 inches.
I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for an airline to voluntarily forego 8% of the potential yield from a given cabin, which is what your suggestion would imply.
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Old 29th Oct 2013, 20:25
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mommus
I have to wonder how many people would knowingly pay for a seat with a 29 inch pitch when for 5% more they could have 33 inches
  1. Knowingly? Pax understand Pitch but few have thought about Width. Whether they know where to enquire and understand what is going to be available from the various carriers?
  2. Will the 33 inch be available to them? The carrier with the better pitch may require a change on their route - so they will always go for the direct. As would I.
  3. If the 33 inch pitch is available - will it be only 5% more?
To get a carrier to try a new seat that will require certification included in it's development costs? When their current process does work for them?

I agree that a carrier SHOULD try something new but I can only refer again to the AA experiment that proved: Price, Price, Price.

Another example, friends of mine who also make the LHR~JNB journey regularly had one trip on BA in WE+. She is of average size, he is tall and with broad shoulders. They said to me afterwards, "What's all the fuss about? We won't do that again but spend the money on the holiday."

Other friends of mine have two children, for their holiday this year to Fueteventura, it saved them something like 130 to go on FR instead of EZ. (PS of this couple, he is 6' tall but likes money more than comfort.)

Last edited by PAXboy; 29th Oct 2013 at 20:59. Reason: add the 'ps'
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Old 29th Oct 2013, 20:30
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I'm glad I've got short legs
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Old 29th Oct 2013, 21:26
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I have to wonder how many people would knowingly pay for a seat with a 29 inch pitch when for 5% more they could have 33 inches.
Last flight I made, United Airlines, SFO->JFK: RT cost about $300 ($150 each way). Premium seat (Economy Plus) +$95 each way.
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Old 30th Oct 2013, 03:08
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I think that MarcK gives a typical illustration. The 'PE' or 'WT+' cabin has two kinds of clients:
  1. Those who's company will not pay for them to go in Biz.
  2. Those who can afford to pay personally for it but not for Biz.
So they have created a new level of revenue that was not being gathered - as all of them would have been in regular 'Y'. Brilliant move.
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Old 30th Oct 2013, 09:51
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I booked an Emirates A380 service recently.
I actually chose the flights on the basis that it was A380.
That gives me 18.5 inches of seat width.
Very unhappy when the B777 was waiting at the gate.
My backside was not happy squeezing into 17 inches.
My shoulders were not happy either being bumped by everybody walking past either.
I find that seat width more important to me than pitch provided my 6'2" frame fits.
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Old 30th Oct 2013, 23:53
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Paxboy - I agree that tapping up a new income stream was wise of the airlines, but how would you explain the massive variation in premium economy services?

United only charge 120 each way LHR to SFO to upgrade to Economy Plus, but Virgin's flight on the same route is closer to 2000 extra.

I guess it's a fairly new market but I can't think of any economy (or business) tickets that vary so much from carrier to carrier

Last edited by mommus; 30th Oct 2013 at 23:54.
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Old 31st Oct 2013, 01:29
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Good point mommus and I can only think that it's because it is a relatively new market. The PE cabins started in (I think) the mid-1990s in long haul. Their deployment in medium haul (trans USA distances) is much newer?

Over time, carriers tend to land up with prices that are all +/- what the market will bear. Sounds like Virgin America is doing the traditional capitalist thing - trying to make sure that the price is as high as possible at the start. As they know the price will have to come down over time.
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Old 31st Oct 2013, 10:01
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There's a difference between the Virgin and United "+" products. On United you get extra legroom and that's all - same seat, same recline, same width, same number across as in the rest of Economy.

On Virgin (and BA for that matter) you get an even longer legroom, wider seat, not so many seats across, bigger recline and the list goes on (varies by airline).
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Old 31st Oct 2013, 12:00
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Harrington - that's exactly my point.

Premium economy services have a large degree of differentiation. The fact that people are continuing to use these services shows that customers are aware of the ways that the various airlines differ in their services and are willing to pay accordingly.

Why can the same not apply to economy - some airlines offering nicer seats - without forcing customers into premium economy services that are closer to business class in price?
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Old 31st Oct 2013, 19:01
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When I came back from Delhi on Virgin earlier this year, they were selling "extra leg room" seats in Economy. They were not econ +, they were just econ with extra leg room.

20 each. Bargain for me at 6' 2"
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Old 31st Oct 2013, 21:38
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I am in the fortunate position of now being able to say "I fly Business Class in Europe or First on inter-continental. When told that they won't pay for it, my response "You need my expertise more than I need your money. Goodbye".

About 50% of the time, they knuckle under and pay. Admittedly, they then get a very cheap rate per day to keep me out of high rate tax. The alternative is a very high rate per day but I absorb expenses.... which still keeps me on the edge of high rate tax.

Being that I don't need the money, in those famous words "I don't give a damn.."
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 18:52
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Cathay also sell extra legroom seats, US$100 on LH & US$25 on SH I believe.
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Old 9th Nov 2013, 18:54
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I am in the fortunate position of now being able to say "I fly Business Class in Europe or First on inter-continental. When told that they won't pay for it, my response "You need my expertise more than I need your money. Goodbye".
Paying for Europe business class is a waste of money
Paying first long haul is also a waste of money given the quality of business these days.

Those who refuse your demands are the wise ones.
Those who don't have more money than sense.
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