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The Future of Economy Class

Old 23rd Feb 2020, 23:55
  #1 (permalink)  
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The Future of Economy Class

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/ne...ectid=12311083

Nothing new in this 'news' report but it does sum up a number of things that often discussed in this forum in relation to airline economics or more specifically, how the airlines keep squeezing Economy until it bursts.

I just want to know, and I am sure the airlines do to, at what stage will passengers say enough is enough. We will not tolerate this any longer. We may not be rich and therefore have to travel in economy but we do still have our dignity. We are still human beings with rights to reasonable personal space, a right to sleep (in a reclined position) and not be subjected to sleep deprivation, reasonable ergonomic comfort in seats and lavatories and a recognition we are not all built small. In fact many of us aren't. How long will it be before we stop accepting the cheapest airfare and then complaining like hell about how crammed it was and then see the next flight advertised and say 'Wow, that airfares cheap..lets grab it while we can"!! You see, I think the airlines will win this one. SLF will never complain in a body large enough (example boycotting airlines) to make any difference. The only solution really is government intervention, as they did with the railways in the UK in it's early stages so that legislation was passed that gave 3rd class passengers a proper seat and in a closed carriage!

Mods: May be a Jet Blast thing but I notice the subject of these cabin technologies is often discussed in Rumours. And, rumour has it, this is coming to an economy class cabin near you!
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 00:12
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After decades of SLFing to Texas it finally became impossible for me to travel coach. From having my coat taken and being handed Scientific American, to being shoehorned into something resembling a jump seat from a DC3 and spoken to like we were an inconvenience. Two meals became a lukewarm snack and tid-bits.

It really is scant reward for past patronage.

I'm not sure what the answer is. I doubt it's fixable. It's my guess civil aviation is in for an horrendous downturn, and at a time when people are planning new runways. Much like global warming, the issues are part of an unstable system. Trigger it, and it flops hard over.

The Boeing debacle is just one facet of the problem. Most don't need me labouring the points, but now viral infections may be a major issue. Aviation expansion has had such huge inertia, I'm not sure WHO issues have played a significant part in planning. But they will.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 00:43
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Premium economy is a good compromise between cattle class and unaffordable business class, a bit more space and better food for a fare that whilst is well above regular economy is still considerably cheaper than the premium cabins.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 01:06
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Problem is, most airlines have cottoned on to the leg room / comfort aspect of premier economy, and have raised their prices to almost club levels, to close the revenue loss window.

I am scaling back my long haul flights since a recent round trip to Miami cost me an arm and a leg, and almost a kidney. Sardines get more space in their "can".

In retirement, going by ship is just looking more and more attractive, yes, it's not cheap but the bottom end of the cruise market is already on a par with a first or even club seat.

IG


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Old 24th Feb 2020, 01:41
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Premium Economy is the growth product going forward, Emirates are in the final stages of launching this very soon. They claim some game changing seat for the model not seen before so it will be interesting to see the end result. I would like to see what Qatar could dish up in this space also. There are some very ordinary PE cabins around, notably BA or Air France, and some very good options like Virgin Australia or Atlantic.

Recently flew Virgin PE from Melbourne to Los Angeles. Fare was 1.5x that of a Flexible Economy Fare. Food was all fine dining on Fine China plates and tablecloths. These fare classes usually earn good mileage also, I was able to move from Virgin Silver to Gold in one trip.

Some still try to cram too many seats into the PE cabin forgetting the whole point of the model. This was something Emirates pointed out recently. You have some like Air New Zealand or Virgin Australia with a 42í pitch and 9í recline, and others trying to get in more seats with a 37í pitch and 7í recline.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 03:34
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The problem is that most people shop by price, not value. Hence the race to the bottom. But you also need to look at where we've come from. Yes, I remember when coach was a good experience with decent food, adequate leg room, etc. But I also remember what it cost...
When I first moved to the Seattle area over 40 years ago, a good round trip airfare back to Denver to visit my family was about $200. Today, a good round trip airfare Seattle to Denver is about $200. But the money is worth maybe 25% as much, and jet fuel costs several times as much.
Back in the mid 1970s while I was in college, my dad bought me a round trip ticket to fly Denver to Washington DC (Dulles) so I could join him and mom on a business trip they were taking. In coach, it set him back nearly $800 - roughly what my college tuition cost for the full year!
A few weeks ago, I bought a first class round trip ticket, Seattle to Dulles. Significantly longer trip, yet this first class ticket, when accounting for inflation, cost about 1/3 what my old man paid for a coach ticket 45 years ago.
The bottom line is that a large share of the people who fly today can do it only because of the relentless pressures on costs - including less room and less service per passenger. Those that can afford something better have a choice: They can spring for premium economy, business, or first, or they can put up with it for a few hours and have more money to spend on other things.
Personally, I've decided on the former - I've reached that point in my life that being comfortable is more important than saving a few bucks. But that wasn't always the case...
tdracer is online now  
Old 24th Feb 2020, 03:46
  #7 (permalink)  
 
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Flew Vancouver-Toronto PE. Bigger seats, more leg room, better food etc. Same Airline to Honolulu. Economy seats with middle row blocked off, lousy legroom and the food was abysmal. Cost more too. Mostly won't take the gamble and my second favourite airline took a hit in the PR department.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 08:59
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Originally Posted by Lord Farringdon View Post
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/ne...ectid=12311083

Nothing new in this 'news' report but it does sum up a number of things that often discussed in this forum in relation to airline economics or more specifically, how the airlines keep squeezing Economy until it bursts.

I just want to know, and I am sure the airlines do to, at what stage will passengers say enough is enough. We will not tolerate this any longer. We may not be rich and therefore have to travel in economy but we do still have our dignity. We are still human beings with rights to reasonable personal space, a right to sleep (in a reclined position) and not be subjected to sleep deprivation, reasonable ergonomic comfort in seats and lavatories and a recognition we are not all built small. In fact many of us aren't. How long will it be before we stop accepting the cheapest airfare and then complaining like hell about how crammed it was and then see the next flight advertised and say 'Wow, that airfares cheap..lets grab it while we can"!! You see, I think the airlines will win this one. SLF will never complain in a body large enough (example boycotting airlines) to make any difference. The only solution really is government intervention, as they did with the railways in the UK in it's early stages so that legislation was passed that gave 3rd class passengers a proper seat and in a closed carriage!

Mods: May be a Jet Blast thing but I notice the subject of these cabin technologies is often discussed in Rumours. And, rumour has it, this is coming to an economy class cabin near you!
It's not going to change anytime soon. In my experience, people are willing to take an unbelievable amount of sh!t as long as it is cheap, and they just adapt and put up with it. Unfortunately, this seems to hold true for all aspects of life, not only (air) travel.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 09:08
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Originally Posted by Lord Farringdon View Post
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/ne...ectid=12311083

I just want to know, and I am sure the airlines do to, at what stage will passengers say enough is enough. We will not tolerate this any longer. We may not be rich and therefore have to travel in economy but we do still have our dignity.
When the buying public quits paying the airlines price for economy travel. Thatís when it will end.

You can claim all the dignity issues you want, all the personal personal space issues you want, etc but itís well known what you get flying economy and people still by tickets. As long as the demand is there youíre not going to forward your concerns one iota. Donít like it, pay up and buy PE or Biz class. The current eco setup is not going anywhere until the market says so. Thereís no indication thatís going to happen anytime soon either.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 09:16
  #10 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lord Farringdon View Post

I just want to know, and I am sure the airlines do to
Iíll even add this, I can almost guarantee the airlines donít need to know anything. Their product and bookings already give them the answer. Itís really as simple as that. No righteous campaign for passenger comfort will change anything.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 09:27
  #11 (permalink)  
 
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The government should ABSOLUTELY not regulate something so silly as seat size.

As long as the seats meet basic EASA/FAA standards, theyíre legal. I think you massively overestimate how much people care about comfort. If offered the difference between a £10 horrific flight to Ibiza with the lads and a £100 flight, 90% of people will take the cheap one. This is Ryanair exist, people never have and never will care enough about comfort in shortish flights to spend money on it.

People do for longer flights, hence we have flat beds. But only a minority, the rest will happily pay economy fares for cheap flights. And quite right, it means that travel is far more accessible than it would be if we inflated prices just to the point where a lot of people couldnít afford to go abroad, just for the sake of a couple of inches of extra regulated seat pitch for the middle class to enjoy. If youíre that bothered about comfort, just pay for it.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 10:27
  #12 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by VariablePitchP View Post
The government should ABSOLUTELY not regulate something so silly as seat size.

As long as the seats meet basic EASA/FAA standards, theyíre legal. I think you massively overestimate how much people care about comfort. If offered the difference between a £10 horrific flight to Ibiza with the lads and a £100 flight, 90% of people will take the cheap one. This is Ryanair exist, people never have and never will care enough about comfort in shortish flights to spend money on it.

People do for longer flights, hence we have flat beds. But only a minority, the rest will happily pay economy fares for cheap flights. And quite right, it means that travel is far more accessible than it would be if we inflated prices just to the point where a lot of people couldnít afford to go abroad, just for the sake of a couple of inches of extra regulated seat pitch for the middle class to enjoy. If youíre that bothered about comfort, just pay for it.

Going long haul, given the choice of £500 economy or £3500 biz for a couple, the £6000 premium buys you a LOT nicer hotel to enjoy for the week when you get there. I think that well offsets the inconvenience of the 12hr flight. Also biz class flights can often be bad on the day (for many reasons) so you can waste that value quite easily.
And if it's possible to get lower cost, bigger seats, we will never give up air travel to save the planet.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 10:33
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I'd support the idea of guaranteed usable seat dimensions and volume. If there is a fat person sitting next to you they might seriously eat in your space. So you are forced to pay for their seat sort of. Some regulation would clarify what they can expect and what not before the flight. And airlines would need to compensate you if your payed for space on board is used by somebody else.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 10:46
  #14 (permalink)  
 
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I think once governments are forced to put a 100+% GREEN tax on all airfares, demand will drop significantly.
Then airlines will have to compete more on service/legroom issues or face going broke.
Time the pendulum swung the other way!!?
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 11:25
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Civil aircraft seat design and installation design limit regulations are based upon the anthropometric 95th percentile male. This has been the case for many decades and means that anyone over 185cm or 6ft 1in does not fit.

Are the bean counters concerned about this 5 percent of customer base - you guess.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 11:36
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Originally Posted by VariablePitchP View Post
The government should ABSOLUTELY not regulate something so silly as seat size.

As long as the seats meet basic EASA/FAA standards, theyíre legal.
Let me get this. You are saying that it is already regulated, but it should ABSOLUTELY not be regulated?
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 13:11
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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?
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 13:28
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I agree with the previous posters - people want cheap fares - end of. When Mike O'Leary goes bust then I will start to believe that people are willing to pay for comfort.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 15:08
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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.
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Old 24th Feb 2020, 15:17
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Just pay for Premium Economy. BA and Virgin were offering £600 return for London - New York when I checked recently. Strip away the government taxes and fees, and the underlying fare is a fraction of an Economy fare of 20 years ago. All for a far nicer seat (38in pitch, I remember BA Club in early 1990s trumpeted its 40in pitch) and miles better IFE.
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