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Greedy Airlines & SlimLine Seats!

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Greedy Airlines & SlimLine Seats!

Old 10th May 2016, 13:56
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it is clear that the 2nd Depression is going to last for some time.
So why are Business Class fares going through the roof right now?! Presumably, I guess, because there's a healthier demand for them. To me that signifies that things must be looking up (well, at least for the time being)
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Old 10th May 2016, 15:13
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As long as passengers prime motivation is the cheapest fares, the airlines will cut corners to ensure those fares are available.
Once again the old cliches are trotted out: It's the passengers' fault; You get what you pay for; Only yourself to blame!

Actually that is not how it works.

1st: Some 'entrepreneur' decides to enter the airline market with a low cost business model - seeing multiple different ways to squeeze the cost: suppliers; staff; turnaround times; passenger comfort & consideration.

2nd: Many who could not previously afford to fly can now do so.

...so far so good, however...

3rd: Many who did afford to fly but for whom it was a financial struggle now move to the low cost supplier.

4th: The established airlines see their economy class load factors drop.

5th: The established airlines join in with the low cost competitors on the economy-class race-to-the-bottom on quality.

6th: Business fares escalate in a bid to maintain the profit margins - hopefully the new levels of discomfort pulling in a few of the more comfortably-off from the economy cabin.

Which basically leaves the remaining majority of us sitting in discomfort, treated like cattle, and resenting those smug so and so's telling us we're only getting what we deserve.
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Old 10th May 2016, 15:47
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Originally Posted by Hotel Tango
As far as Long Haul is concerned, I fly Business while I can still (though barely) afford it. There will come a point one day (soon) when I will be forced to downgrade to Economy Plus (though only on sectors of maximum 8 hrs mind). With present Y cabins I will give up L/H travel rather than fly Economy. Most Economy cabins have now become intolerable. There does indeed need to be worldwide legislation for a comfortable Economy seat pitch and seat width.
With respect, I disagree. Aviation is a competitive market and you have abundant choice of airlines and cabins. Quite apart from the wholly unrealistic expectation of “worldwide” legislation, what you propose is blatant interference in the running of someone else’s business. What you’re actually suggesting, effectively, is that airlines should subsidise your desire for more comfortable economy class travel (and BTW, how do you define a “comfortable” pitch and width?)

Have Economy Class cabins really become intolerable? It might seem that way if you’re used to flying First or Business, but speaking personally I don’t think they’re any worse than they were, say, 20 years ago. If anything, I find the Long Haul economy experience more bearable than it used to be. Maybe some of that comes with experience, but more modern and quiet aircraft, better cabin air and individual and more sophisticated IFE also play a part.

Originally Posted by Dont Hang Up
2nd: Many who could not previously afford to fly can now do so.

...so far so good, however...

3rd: Many who did afford to fly but for whom it was a financial struggle now move to the low cost supplier.
Which pretty much proves my point.

Originally Posted by Dont Hang Up
.......resenting those smug so and so's telling us we're only getting what we deserve.
I'm not sure if that was aimed at me, but for the record I never suggested that passengers get what they deserve, more that they get what they (mostly) want; low fares.
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Old 10th May 2016, 16:37
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Someone ironic to see some seeking industry agreements to regulate seat pitch and density. The regulators did away with IATA agreements on this a couple of decades ago as they were anti-competitive and had a price fixing effect.

Yes airlines are greedy and have made 'shocking' profits over the last couple of years. But this is a result of high demand and low fuel costs a combination that rarely happens to this industry. But this too will change ...
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Old 10th May 2016, 16:40
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HT watch what is happening with air freight. A downturn in demand for capacity is quickly followed by a downturn in demand for Business Class.

Hasn't happened yet but ...
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Old 10th May 2016, 17:59
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To be honest I don't know too much about the air freight business, but doesn't it always see a downturn as the Summer approaches? Anyway, I for one will be pleased if Business Class fares become more competitive again.
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Old 10th May 2016, 18:24
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Have Economy Class cabins really become intolerable? It might seem that way if you’re used to flying First or Business, but speaking personally I don’t think they’re any worse than they were, say, 20 years ago.
That's interesting. I did almost all my L/H flying in Economy at a time when, in contrast to today's product, it was still a pleasant enough experience, even on the charter airlines of the time (mainly non UK airlines). After a particularly uncomfortable ride in a crowded Airbus A340 of a well known scheduled operator some 16 years ago, I turned to my wife and announced that from then on we would fly L/H in Business or not at all. Since we flew for leisure, and thus booked earlier than the average business man, we discovered plenty of affordable Business Class fares out there. That's how it came about. I'm afraid I cannot agree with you at all that Economy travel today compares favourably or better than 20 years ago and beyond.

With regard to worldwide legislation, my argument is that if a minimum comfort factor is legislated then all carriers are competing on a level playing field which is not detrimental to the basic comfort of the travelling public. As for what constitutes "comfortable" that would be a matter of debate of course, but I would venture to suggest anything but what is considered "normal" today
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Old 10th May 2016, 20:38
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Seat size appears to be having another side effect.

The Airplane Seating Arrangement that Triggers 'Air Rage'
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Old 11th May 2016, 02:42
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I recently flew 4 sectors on Qatar. BKK-DOH, DOH-JFK and back JFK-DOH, DOH-RGN...
You're lucky you didn't fly on the B787, then you would have something to complain about. I avoid it like the plague unless its on a short haul sector where the alternative is a narrow body.

Back in the 1970s engines weren't powerful enough to carry the loads in todays cabins so seat numbers were limited and density wasn't so high. More powerful and fuel efficient engines meant greater loads could be lifted and carried further. London - Sydney became one stop instead of three, increasingly on a twin engined aircraft rather than three or four.

Passengers want low fares, they then complain about the cost cutting required to achieve those fares. They then say they will pay a bit more for increased comfort, a couple of inches more leg room and a better quality meal. However next time they book they will choose the cheapest option and continue complaining.

The bare bones low cost flies with a full cabin of whinging punters whilst the operator with the better product flies half empty losing money.

Soon there will be either low cost or premium carriers and nothing in-between. RyanAir compete on price and have non reclining high density seats with no meals or baggage on a basic ticket. Singapore Airlines offer a top class service with everything included and charge accordingly.

Aer Lingus had a particularly hard time as they were high cost and poor service. They tried cost cutting by reducing meals and baggage but were still more expensive and their customers thought why spend extra for a reduced service when we can get this standard even cheaper elsewhere.

Cathay have reduced the standard in economy as they have to compete with the middle east airlines but have kept up the profitable premium cabins.

These days an airline has to be either good or cheap. Premium economy is normally double the regular economy ticket price, rather than the 3 - 5 times multiple for business class but is still expensive for a few inches more legroom and a slightly better meal.

Basic economy ticket conditions are increasingly being eroded with fewer frequent flyer miles given and sometimes reduced baggage allowances but the reduced fares are able to come out on top of the important travel search engine results. Of course when you go to book you find the fares are unavailable for the timings you want and you end up with a dearer ticket.

BTW I find Qatar Airways to be generally very good and often one of the cheapest options.
The new B777s are being configured 3-4-3, the old ones are staying 3-3-3 as the expense involved in a major cabin reconfiguration isn't worth it on an aircraft with limited life remaining.
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Old 11th May 2016, 06:48
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IME, it is quite hard to discover seat pitch when booking. I have chosen to fly Air NZ, rather than cheaper alternatives, because their economy cabins tend to be better suited for long haul, but that could change without my knowing.

Competition is supposed to be good for customers, not businesses. But this only has a chance to work if the customer has reasonably good information. It would be nice if we knew about flight crew recruitment policies, too: or should that just be left to the profit motive, too?
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Old 11th May 2016, 06:57
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HeartyMeatballs said

Is it safe? I believe it is and most likely the aircraft config actually seats way less than it is certified to carry.

Aircraft are vastly expensive assets and airlines have every right to configure and operate how they seek fir in order to get a return on their investment.
Which airline do you lobby for? smh
Have you never heard of DVT (deep vein thrombosis)? There have been no studies to determine if the new slim line seats make the risk greater. And as this article discusses possible rage!

https://travelersunited.org/policy-columns/are-shrinking-airline-seats-unsafe-and-unhealthy-too/


Have you ever flown 14hrs in cramped seats with 32" pitch? No one is forcing these airlines to cram extra rows in, they are doing because they are greedy. Like I said, lower fuel cost have neither lowered the cost of flying or improved the service...

The problem is everyone is copying the Middle East airlines because of thier success, so, we can look forward to 10 accross on the 777 ....
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Old 11th May 2016, 08:57
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IME, it is quite hard to discover seat pitch when booking.
Try Airline Seat Maps, Flights shopping and Flight information- Best Airplane Seats - SeatGuru
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Old 11th May 2016, 09:24
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Originally Posted by Metro man
Passengers want low fares, they then complain about the cost cutting required to achieve those fares. They then say they will pay a bit more for increased comfort, a couple of inches more leg room and a better quality meal. However next time they book they will choose the cheapest option and continue complaining.
This summarises my own feelings very concisely.

You know, pitch and width isn’t everything. I’ve already referred to IFE and air quality, but another factor is how crowded the cabin is. I find having an empty seat next to me a transformational experience when travelling economy. Give me a cramped seat with an empty space next to me over a couple of inches extra leg and elbow room any day of the week.

Originally Posted by FlightlessParrot
Competition is supposed to be good for customers, not businesses. But this only has a chance to work if the customer has reasonably good information.
Again, we’re so much better off than we were 20 years ago. Seat maps, timetables with equipment types, passenger reviews and more – all are available within seconds.

Originally Posted by chefrp
No one is forcing these airlines to cram extra rows in, they are doing because they are greedy.
Once again, I have to take issue with this. Airlines are businesses, not charities – maximising profit is what they do. There’s absolutely nothing immoral about that. Remember that we, as consumers, also have the right to take our custom elsewhere.
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Old 11th May 2016, 09:37
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Again, we’re so much better off than we were 20 years ago.
You are mixing two things up. Technological advances: yes. Cabin comfort and service: A most definite no.

Is IFE the be all end all of travel? I did many 10 and 11 hour sectors on LTU L-1011s with two young kids (one who never slept) and no IFE. We never got bored!!!

You can have your IFE, I'll take more comfort, thank you.
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Old 11th May 2016, 10:11
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Originally Posted by Hotel Tango
Is IFE the be all end all of travel?
Of course not. I'm just making the point that it's one element that contributes towards how endurable a long haul economy class journey is. I find that with plenty of on demand entertainment the hours just seem to slip away. But we’re all different I guess.
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Old 11th May 2016, 10:55
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Passengers want low fares, they then complain about the cost cutting required to achieve those fares. They then say they will pay a bit more for increased comfort, a couple of inches more leg room and a better quality meal. However next time they book they will choose the cheapest option and continue complaining.
Again missing the point entirely.

Lo-cost suppliers gouge maybe the bottom 20% out of the regular airlines economy class load factors and that is enough to start the downward spiral whether the remaining 80% want it or not.

This idea that we have lots of choice and continue to choose the cheapest is just not the case.
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Old 11th May 2016, 11:38
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Qantas gave some of their leisure routes in Australia to their low cost off shoot Jetstar, some of the passengers were upset at having to fly low cost when they were prepared to pay for full service, however there weren't enough of them to justify retaining QF on the route who had to get their prices down or lose out to the competition.

QF codeshares with J* on some routes and their passengers get a meal, blanket and baggage allowance together with the FF miles even though the operation is low cost, if they've booked it as a QF flight number.

Air travel these days is a cheap as its ever been when calculated in number of weeks pay to ticket price. If you took the same number of weeks pay as it cost in the 1960s to fly London - Sydney return economy, at todays prices you could do the journey in business class and have change.

Choice today is greater than ever, with premium economy and business class slotting in the middle between economy and first. On most routes I have a reasonable number of options depending on how much I'm prepared to pay, on a short sector I can't justify paying twice as much just for a cup of tea and a sandwich.

On longer flights, daytime travel on a decent airline, perhaps with a short connection in the middle to stretch the legs, and paying for a preferred seat is an acceptable alternative to a premium cabin.

For my summer holidays I bought two return economy tickets for $2000, P/E would have been $5000 and business $10 000. The difference in price will nearly cover accommodation and car hire for ten days.
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Old 11th May 2016, 12:08
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I recently went to SYD and back on holiday. We choose PE and paid a fair amoutn for it but, for us, it was worth it. I know others who have used it and said it was not worth it and continue to do l/h in Y. That's the choice.

When out there, I was talking with a man who was complaining about JetStar charging him extra for being 1 Kg overwight. Since he has a choice of three carriers on his usual internal flight, I asked him how he chose his carrier? "The cheapest" He is a bona fide Millionaire.

Are they greedy? I think it's just human nature to want to make as much money as possible. Airlines are subject to enormous swings of demand, often at short notice (9/11 and the crash of 2008 etc.) and they make what money they can. If people pay for a Suite or Y, they wil get as much as they can. Companies selling chocholate bars will get as much money from you as they can.

DVT is difficult. I have known cases where the person hasn't been on an aircraft in a year and so nothing to do with it.

Is it safe? For an emergency evacuation? I doubt it. I have been sceptical of these evacuation timings for over 20 years - long before they started squeezing in the extra rows. Unfortunately we shall never know. Because, if the crowded rows cause a problem, the pax thus delayed will not be able to tell us about it ... In other words, business as usual.

Originally published in 1999, this is still the way things are: The Tombstone Imperative: The Truth about Air Safety by Andrew Weir
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Old 11th May 2016, 14:47
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I was row 31 on my EZY A320 on Monday (new style seats) - Seats A, B C in Row 31, the other side had the toilet
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Old 11th May 2016, 17:25
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Metro man- I absolutely agree with your views on the B787. Last month I flew Bangkok - Muscat on Oman Air in Y, on a B787 for the first time. The aircraft was configured 3-3-3. I don't ever recall in over 50 years or more of flying L/H in Y being so cramped. The plane is really an updated (in size) B767. And just over a week later I flew ORD-LHR on an AA B767 configured as you would expect 2-3-2.
Wherever possible on L/H I will avoid the the B787.
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