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The Future of Economy Class

Old 24th Feb 2020, 15:17
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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My wife and I are pensioners. Even so, we always fly Business on long haul and even medium haul flights. Not being tied down rigidly to specific dates we find that we can generally find good deals at attractive fares. There might come a time when we may have to consider Economy Plus but that will be our downgrade limit. Unless we see a vast improvement in the economy long haul product (we won't) then economy travel will no longer be an option. One of our local LCCs also offer a comfort class fare on their short haul ops which includes most Business Class type perks, again at very attractive fares when using their off peak flights. This might be the way other LCCs may go in the future. The vast majority of leisure flyers only look at the lead price and no further. The airlines feed off them!
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 16:24
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Drc40 View Post
Don’t like it, pay up and buy PE or Biz class.
I'd love to, but >90% of the flights from my home airport don't offer either. It's economy or nothing.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 17:41
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Noxegon View Post
I'd love to, but >90% of the flights from my home airport don't offer either. It's economy or nothing.
Wouldn’t that be a short hop though? I’m not aware of any long haul that doesn’t include PE or better. Much of my flying is done with a beginning or ending leg of 50 min. Im willing to STAND for a 50 min flight as long as my long haul portion offers PE or better.

I just don’t get this entire topic. Regulate seat requirements for economy? Seriously? The free market already determines it. Any government or regulatory agency should stay out of it. I’d be willing to bet some passengers would fly standing and strapped to a pole if it saved them $.

Last edited by Drc40; 24th Feb 2020 at 17:42. Reason: Spelling
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 18:17
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Drc40 View Post
I just don’t get this entire topic. Regulate seat requirements for economy? Seriously? The free market already determines it. Any government or regulatory agency should stay out of it. I’d be willing to bet some passengers would fly standing and strapped to a pole if it saved them $.
While I agree in theory, I think in practice we are going to see some minimum seat size requirements before too long - at least for long haul. The reason being some of the adverse health effects that have been associated with cramped seating for extended periods (e.g. blood clots/deep vein thrombosis).
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 03:22
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Tango and Cash View Post
My biggest concern with the "stuff them all in" approach to economy cabins is evacuation in an emergency. Yes, I know the certification test shows that under at least those circumstances the cabin can be evacuated quickly. But let's be realistic--between the increasing number of people stuffed into the seats, the increasing number of "people of size", and the idiots who insist on taking hand luggage with them, what are my chances of making it out?
But in 1985 the FAA first amended its policies to allow “the use of analysis in lieu of a full-scale demonstration,” in an effort to reduce injuries during such drills. While the regs do require new evaluations for significant design changes to existing aircraft, such as additional seats and installation of certain equipment, drills have been largely replaced by computer modeling.

Last July, a federal court responded to a complaint from the consumer organization
FlyersRights.org by ordering the FAA to prove that it shouldn’t regulate airline seat sizes. Judge Patricia Millett stated, “This is the Case of the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat,” and the ruling chastised the FAA for a “vaporous record” of evacuation tests and “(at-best) off-point studies and undisclosed tests using unknown parameters.”

Earlier this month, the ranking members of the House Transportation Committee and Aviation Subcommittee — Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) — wrote to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General (DOT-IG) and
requested an investigation into the effectiveness of the FAA’s oversight of aircraft manufacturers’ certification process. The primary concerns: 1. Standards have not been updated since 1990, and 2. Airplane makers have increasingly relied on computer simulations and modeling rather than actual evacuation drills.

Many industry professionals support examining how tighter seats can affect safety;
the Association of Professional Flight Attendants recently stated: “We recognize that seating issues extend beyond evacuation safety, including the potential for increased incidents of air rage.”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/trave...sts/462067002/
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 09:05
  #26 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Drc40 View Post
I’ll even add this, I can almost guarantee the airlines don’t need to know anything. Their product and bookings already give them the answer. It’s really as simple as that. No righteous campaign for passenger comfort will change anything.
You must be an airline executive?

Originally Posted by VariablePitchP View Post
The government should ABSOLUTELY not regulate something so silly as seat size.
Another airline manager perhaps?

But seriously, I think Webby737 succinctly sums up the general drift of this thread:

Originally Posted by Webby737 View Post
I agree with most others here.
Nothing is going to change anytime soon, I think most SLF would happily fly standing up in a tin can piloted by trained monkeys if it was cheap enough.


Now, the public profiles of most posters here provide no hint of age but judging by the comments I would say that it is the younger set who seem to accept the inevitable race to be the first airline to offer stand up fares and that they would be the first in line to buy what they would hope would be an outrageously low airfare for such deprivation.

In contrast, those who suggest seat sizes should be limited or who simply avoid economy by paying for PE or business, are those that are older, perhaps suffering more health issues which can make air travel extremely painful and/or those who can afford to pay more by virtue of their accumulated wealth over a lifetime. I mean, you can't take it with you, right? Perhaps it is also because this group remember the halcyon days of jet travel, something younger citizens have never experienced. That is to say, if the only thing you know is chicken coup travel, then understandably you wont expect anything else since this has always been your reality.

Now before you all start slinging vitriol, that was just a generalization and I accept I may be wrong in that assumption but, speaking from my own personal experience of over 40 years of air travel, I can say that Air New Zealand in the 80's with their DC-10's offered large well padded seats, plenty of legroom and recline, real crockery, metal knives and forks, glasses (made of actual glass), decent meals oh, and don't forget the embroidered antimacassars. I understand from one of my cabin attendant friends that the first class cabin (there were only two classes aboard these aircraft) offered humongous seats, gold sheep skin covers and silver service. For those of you too young to know what silver service was, please Wiki it, Add a bit of the 80's decor to further imagine the ambiance.

The airfares were comparatively more expensive to pay for all that but as a young man newly married, driving trucks for a living, I still saved for both of us to travel from Auckland several times to our favorite destination, Singapore, for $1200 return. So it wasn't unattainable to the masses but you had to sacrifice something whereas today you don't. (Contrast a low cost return airfare to Singapore today of around $1700.)

As a function of Economics 101, you would think a higher price reduced (or stifled) demand . Yet, despite this, demand for air travel grew and the DC-10's were replaced with B747's in part to cope with this . The standard of economy started it's decline from there to where it is now with my latest experience being a 5 hour flight Auckland to Adelaide, seat only ( padding minimal) with no recline fitted to seat (it's now official, reclining your seat will get you slapped with an ASBO) and no leg room to speak of (well no knee room really) in a seat who according to poster david 120 has been designed for me ie based upon the anthropocentric 95th percentile male. Roll eyes.

According to many posters here, I should be grateful that this 'immensely low air fare' has been made available to me at the expense of a few basic human needs on a flight of this length. Based on my past experience, I say to those posters, you may be setting your sights too low.

Finally, coronavirus, just inches away from being labelled a pandemic by WHO, has single handedly reduced demand for air travel. Airlines in our neck of the woods are cutting routes and services to cope. It has been described by industry insiders as "aviation falling off a cliff', (and this is before Greta gives aviation the long hard stare). New Zealand tourism stands to suffer immensely as do the airport authorities who rely on all manner of fees to be funded by airlines and incoming and outgoing passengers after investing so much in new terminals, gates and avsec technologies.

"How do we get these tourists back in planes" an airline manager might reasonably ask. "We can't' lower the airfares anymore...perhaps we should give them more legroom and maybe even let them recline their seats a little bit ....."

What the airline taketh away......

Last edited by Lord Farringdon; 25th Feb 2020 at 09:25.
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 09:11
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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1,200 NZD in 1980 is equivalent to 6,493 NZD today: https://www.inflationtool.com/new-ze...ue?amount=1200

I can buy a AKL-SIN-AKL on NZ for next month for 1,052 NZD... less than one sixth the price in real terms.

You can fly Business on the same flights for 4,354 NZD, and get a significantly superior experience to Y on a DC10, silver service notwithstanding.
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 10:13
  #28 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Lord Bracken View Post
1,200 NZD in 1980 is equivalent to 6,493 NZD today: https://www.inflationtool.com/new-ze...ue?amount=1200

I can buy a AKL-SIN-AKL on NZ for next month for 1,052 NZD... less than one sixth the price in real terms.

You can fly Business on the same flights for 4,354 NZD, and get a significantly superior experience to Y on a DC10, silver service notwithstanding.
I'm not saying flying was cheaper then. I'm just saying it was still achievable by the masses but you had to work a bit harder for it just like you have today to get a near equivalent seat in PE. Yes, there are cheaper flights today than I have cited but I could also cite much more expensive ones. If you are flexible enough to travel on any date and any time then you can make the most of the cheap airfare you have cited. But how many of us have that much freedom in our lives? More likely, we will be saddled with the far more expensive flight because that's when everyone wants to fly to that destination or event and the prices are hiked accordingly. That's price reality.

I'm also not suggesting airlines should ramp up their offers to match those retro ones. I mean a lot of people are quite happy to go without a full on meal or baggage if their airfare is reduced accordingly and I think we accept that metal knives and forks pose a security risk as does broken crockery or glass (quite apart from the extra weight). But the villain in this is ever reduced space, bad enough on today's 1.5 hour domestic flight where I sat arm and leg pressed against my bosses arm and leg, let alone on a long haul international!

It's about the space and personal space and seat padding that a human needs to sit still for any period of time and it is simply not enough in the economy section, the most widely traveled part of the aircraft. By all accounts it will be even less in the future as passengers choose price over space. We are doing the airline bean counters job for them.
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 11:38
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lord Bracken View Post
1,200 NZD in 1980 is equivalent to 6,493 NZD today: https://www.inflationtool.com/new-ze...ue?amount=1200

I can buy a AKL-SIN-AKL on NZ for next month for 1,052 NZD... less than one sixth the price in real terms.

You can fly Business on the same flights for 4,354 NZD, and get a significantly superior experience to Y on a DC10, silver service notwithstanding.
I did a check on the sale of a indian child for $10 in 1952 If I recall correctly _ either way it worked out to about $100 in today's money.

Best we all get paid the"average" wage due inflation.

$10 in 1952 is certainly not $98.99 today .
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 11:39
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lord Farringdon View Post
You must be an airline executive?


Now, the public profiles of most posters here provide no hint of age but judging by the comments I would say that it is the younger set who seem to accept the inevitable race to be the first airline to offer stand up fares and that they would be the first in line to buy what they would hope would be an outrageously low airfare for such deprivation.
Nice comment overall but for the record, I’m 60. Yes I fly Biz class 100% of the time where it’s available but it has nothing to do with physical ailments.

I agree that safety is paramount and seat stuffing needs to be studied in real time, forget simulation. The one thing missing from many observations is the fact flying is not a right. We’re not talking road width, sidewalks, elevators or accommodations for handicap. These are public areas that need to be regulated but flying is not a public roadway or an inherent right.

I think economy is abominable but many people fly it happily. Who am I to judge their choice? Just like nobody should judge mine. Bottom line as long as safety standards are met airlines will stuff as many seats in the back as they can. Sad but the market drives the product and there’s the product. Stuffed to the gills.

BTW...I’m not an airline executive. Private citizen with a PP license and small aircraft.
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 12:49
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Any boffins care to work on a formula which trades modern widebody aircraft speed for a slower but slightly larger aircraft, one that can accommodate 250 flat beds. Slow obviously means less utilisation hence less revenue so the whole thing needs to be good on fuel economy gained principally from a speed reduction. What can be achieved I wonder?

Just flew 10 hours on an A330 with the worst seat pitch on this earth. What barsteward decided to put a massive IFE computer box under those seats?
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 12:57
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
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Originally Posted by Lord Farringdon View Post

Now before you all start slinging vitriol, that was just a generalization and I accept I may be wrong in that assumption but, speaking from my own personal experience of over 40 years of air travel, I can say that Air New Zealand in the 80's with their DC-10's offered large well padded seats, plenty of legroom and recline, real crockery, metal knives and forks, glasses (made of actual glass), decent meals oh, and don't forget the embroidered antimacassars. I understand from one of my cabin attendant friends that the first class cabin (there were only two classes aboard these aircraft) offered humongous seats, gold sheep skin covers and silver service. For those of you too young to know what silver service was, please Wiki it, Add a bit of the 80's decor to further imagine the ambiance.

The airfares were comparatively more expensive to pay for all that but as a young man newly married, driving trucks for a living, I still saved for both of us to travel from Auckland several times to our favorite destination, Singapore, for $1200 return. So it wasn't unattainable to the masses but you had to sacrifice something whereas today you don't. (Contrast a low cost return airfare to Singapore today of around $1700.)

As a function of Economics 101, you would think a higher price reduced (or stifled) demand . Yet, despite this, demand for air travel grew and the DC-10's were replaced with B747's in part to cope with this .
but the reason for the expensive tickets and great cabin amenities was that back in the day the airlines were strictly regulated - on most international routes you simply had a choice of 2 carriers, the flag carrier of each country which had agreed fares. Then we had deregulation to allow more competition and new airlines to enter the market and prices tumbled but also so did service. So unless you go back to a tightly regulated, competition restricted industry you are going to have to accept that today airlines have to compete on price and to give you more choice of airline and onboard standard of service at the bottom end you will be treated like you are on a bus and not in a stretched limo.
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 13:10
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Superpilot View Post
Any boffins care to work on a formula which trades modern widebody aircraft speed for a slower but slightly larger aircraft, one that can accommodate 250 flat beds. Slow obviously means less utilisation hence less revenue so the whole thing needs to be good on fuel economy gained principally from a speed reduction. What can be achieved I wonder?

Just flew 10 hours on an A330 with the worst seat pitch on this earth. What barsteward decided to put a massive IFE computer box under those seats?
It's been tried before, but doesn't always work. Silverjet for example.
La Compagnie seem to be doing OK with a couple of B757s and a new A321 NEO but they're not cheap at about 2000 - 3000 EUR for a return trip ORY-EWR.
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 13:18
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Webby737 View Post
It's been tried before, but doesn't always work. Silverjet for example.
La Compagnie seem to be doing OK with a couple of B757s and a new A321 NEO but they're not cheap at about 2000 - 3000 EUR for a return trip ORY-EWR.
BA had an all Business class service from London City to New York on an A320 but I dont think there are many routes that could support that sort of operation.

Looks like its still operating

link
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 13:43
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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I usually fly KLM or Emirates. On both I find economy class miserable and business class unnecessarily luxurious. KLM economy comfort is very little extra cost, but with virtually no benefit in terms of comfort or treatment, to be honest the primary advantage is that you are mostly surrounded by 'nicer' (can I say that?) and quieter people. Emirates does not currently have an economy comfort but I believe are planning one, it will be interesting to see where they pitch it in terms of cost/comfort. I think I also read somewhere that they were planning a minimal business class ticket that gives you only the seat but none of the other benefits such as lounge access or limo pickup. It will be interesting to see how they cost that. I definitely think that us frequent business travellers with employers who are sometimes unwilling (or unable) to pay for business class would welcome a meaningful intermediate standard.
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 14:08
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lord Farringdon View Post
I'm not saying flying was cheaper then.
No, you seem to be saying that the service was so much better but the flights were still "affordable." My point is that an economy ticket in 1980 is based on your example around six times what you would pay today, which might account for the better service.

If you want the absolute cheapest flight, buy economy. If you want something with more room, better service all for less of the price of 20 years ago buy premium economy. You can even get a flat bed on most flights now if you want to, unheard of 20 years ago.
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 16:04
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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It's been a race for the bottom for decades now going back at least to the origins of Southwest Airlines. But at least Southwest has a niche whereas many of the wanna be LCC around the world seem to only get the reduced service bit and that with a vengeance. Caveat emptor
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 16:33
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Drc40 View Post
I just don’t get this entire topic. Regulate seat requirements for economy? Seriously? The free market already determines it. Any government or regulatory agency should stay out of it. I’d be willing to bet some passengers would fly standing and strapped to a pole if it saved them $.
Enhhh - "the free market" often results in a race to the bottom. Someone cuts corners to save a buck, and it has no effect on sales, so everyone else cuts the same corners (rinse and repeat).
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 16:50
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Looking at global air travel a lot of developing countries only start now with flying as we know it. So economy class is and will be the core of the future market. The cheaper it can be offered the more people will use it. So to be realistic we all need to face the reality of some low cost cabin business strategy. Having said that I still prefer to get some minimum standard guaranteed.
Just a matter of time until the first US passenger goes to court over maybe deep vein thrombosis or feeling harassed by seat neighbors sitting too close or similar.
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Old 25th Feb 2020, 18:15
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Well... you just have to see the video of the seat basher in the US after the lady reclined her seat. Will that problem be solved?... no... so long as the punters book restricted seats. The airlines are going downhill, reputation wise, BA included. Money is the bottom line, no pun intended. This is going to be really interesting.
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