I like the image of Boeing handing over a set of keys to AA executives for a jumbo jet. I'm glad to see more of these planes come in to service and hope within the next year or so to have the opportunity to fly one.
I think that seating arrangement would work well in zero gravity. Think of the PanAm space cruises in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Unless planes will be designed in a flying saucer shape, I can't envision what the Europeans are planning.
Overall, for U.S. airlines, the trend is up; last month all the majors went along with a $2 average increase on almost all fares. Those fares, of course, are subject to competitive discounting on specific flights or routes; Alaska and Delta have been battling over the Seattle market all year, for example, affecting prices on those routes.
The cost of an Airline Ticket has little to do with the cost of a barrel of oil. That's why I can fly to Sydney Australia for the same price as I can to New York. That's 3500 miles to New York or 10,500 miles to Sydney. Same price. It's solely based on the principle of how much juice you can squeeze from an orange.
While it's true that competition and cupidity rather than cost are the basis of pricing, fuel does factor in: when fuel is high, the airlines add surcharges, and when fuel costs drop, they seldom remove them!
Airlines and many other companies are determined to squeeze the public to the last drop of juice. Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_fixing_cases and see that there's no honour amongst thieves. Steal from one man and its theft. Steal from a thousand and its Corporate Policy.
Heavy sigh. Good taste seems always to be a minority attribute. I may be forced to rethink my frequent flyer situation, unless they opt to promote the minority to lifetime business class. It seems only fair.
I have a Delta American Express Platinum card that has served us well. The fee is higher than the gold card, but we can check two bags free, priority boarding, and a free companion pass yearly. We fly two or three times a year and the value of the waived baggage fee and the companion pass far exceed the $150 annual fee. The card also accrues one mile for each dollar spent and lately has offered cash back incentives. For example: spend $15 at Panera's using the card and receive $5 credit on...
I LOVE my airline credit card, but it's great to have all this information in one place to see if I could do better. Probably not without some whopping fees, but whopping bonuses, too. Thank you sir, for showing us all these choices!
If this standard were adopted, it might be the single greatest improvement in quality of travel in economy class. 17 inches is alright if no one is beside you, a rarity today. On an Transocean flight, it make sleeping very difficult indeed. I'm glad to see Airbus take this proconsumer stand.
Sadly, I'll be one of the throng. My least favorite time of the year to travel, but the most fun weekend of the year to be with family. Makes it all worthwhile All it will take is a bad snowstorm somewhere and things will really come undone. Expect all flights to be completely full, so good luck rescheduling. There's probably more people flying over the Christmas and New Year period, but this travel is spread out over 2 weeks, rather than just 4-5 days.
I've seen a lot of "award creep" in my days, and I think there's more to come. A "mile" is worth less and less all the time. It's clear that airline miles aren't worth banking for any period of time. Use them when it's logical to do so. They likely will be worth less in the near future. Thanks for the link, PHeymont.
Not sure I agree with the "burn 'em" philosophy. At the premium class end, there's certainly been a lot of creep, but not so much in coach, which is more price-sensitive, even for awards. True, summer awards to Europe have generally gone from 50K to 60K, but on the other hand, off-season at American went DOWN to 40K--and with the flexibility of taking one-way awards and combining them in interesting ways...it's actually a better situation. Also, there are some card-linked sales on flight...
I think for premium travel,it makes sense. It has always surprised me that premium travel is so much cheaper from a frequent flier perspective (2:1) vs economy than when you actually buy the ticket. Just as a side note, aeroplan has recently reduced miles required on some of their reward charts as well.
John's point about the ratio between the two tiers is interesting (we looked at that a little in a forum post this week on value of miles). My guess--and it's just that--is that the same kind of yield-management used to set prices has taken a look at this and is carefully balancing loyalty vs. burn... I can't really compare East vs West availability personally; my school schedules have defined when I can travel well enough that I'm able to start hunting tickets 330 days out, when the...
Looking at the picture, it appears to me that the business class option is a far cry from the direction upper class has been going of late, more and more comfort. Does this mean it will be more comfortable than currently is the case for economy passengers or less comfortable for business class? Maybe the arc has peaked for upper class comfort and this indicates the start of a slide down the other side.
I would presume the wider seat arrangement would more likely be "Economy Plus" rather than business class. Say two large people buying a 3 row seat and the third seat would get squeeze down by the wider adjustment of the above. International business class nowadays is almost universally lie flat bed seats. To not have these would mean a loss of this lucrative market for the airlines.
Maybe the trend will be to 3, rather than 4 classes, with econ+ going by the wayside and the flat bed option called first. Who knows. Business started out looking something like econ+ does now. Four options seems like about 1 too many to me.
Keep in mind that the picture is the patent model...tricked out with real upholstery it may look very different. Other than fitting big people better, I think this may mainly be used on smaller airliners that fly as one- or two-class, as British Air does on a lot of European flights....business class there is pretty much just empty middle. This would allow flexibility. Be my guess...
I'm not sure it's the case that mandating a decent space would raise fares...in the past, we've certainly seen that fares have a resistance point, and airlines have backed down from increases at times. Also worth noting that fares seem largely based on competition rather than actual expense involved; that's why it's often cheaper to fly NY to LA than NY to Kansas City! And, as Chris Elliott points out, having people fighting over seat space has led to expensive consequences, too...
The trouble with a mandate is that it has deadlines and airlines who fly to the US would have to go through an expensive seat replacement program. That cost is one we share, or that puts the airlines in the red and in jeopardy. Makes sense to pressure them to improve, but that's just my opinion. But I do like the idea of "grading" seats. Helps me know what I'm buying. For example, Canadian airlines definitely have larger seats that American carriers. I'll preferentially fly Air Canada to...
This debate seems to accept that the profit margins of Trans-Atlantic Flights are squeezed by costs outside the carriers control. The only solution they have is squeeze more seats in to control income. Last month I paid £759 ($1245) for 1 seat UK to Philadelphia - Return - with an American Airline. 7 hours in the sky. Each way. My £759 will also get me a flight to the Caribbean from the UK. 10 hours in the sky. 14 nights in a hotel. Food and drink included. And flight back. The Caribbean...
I'm not sure if "mandating" certain seat sizes would do anything but raise prices, but it might be nice if they introduced a simple grading system. "A" for business/first class, "F" for the sardine can seating in the most cramped airlines. If I was less than 5 ft tall and weighed less than 100 lbs the current seating system would work fine for me. For most folks it's much too crowded, especially on long flights. All the worse if you have to have your bag under the seat in front of you. Let's...
The Daily Telegraph conducted a poll after the first 2 incidents on "Should Reclining Seats be Banned" and 70% of the respondents said yes. The lack of leg space is a big issue and I hope airlines enact more reasonable legroom space for coach. If the reported stories are true though, some passengers weren't acting mature or reasonable at all and really should face stiff penalties for their actions http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tra...seats-be-banned.html
I think on short domestic flights (let's say 3 hours or less), we could do away with the reclining seats. For longer duration flights, more legroom would be a great addition and keep the reclining seats. But I can't see the airlines going this route. Space is so tight I can't even see the screen of my netbook if the traveler in front of me reclines their seat.
Airbus has taken a major step in passenger comfort with the introduction of the new Airbus 380, their new double-deck airliner. Just as a large cruise ship will sail choppy seas in much greater comfort due to its size and sophistication, the new 380 is so much more smooth, quiet and comfortable up in the skies. Sure seat sizes and configuration will vary between operators but certainly the overall 'environment experience' is so much nicer
Interesting point, Mac. Large planes with bright decor somehow seem to me roomier, even if the seat is the same size. I think there's a balance between physical comfort and "feel" that airlines may not always recognize. On the other hand, I've been on 777s that had so little division of space that my mental image was sitting in a huge concert hall...and felt a bit uncomfortable from that!
I've never flown an A380, Mac. They still haven't caught on in North America, where Boeing clearly dominates the market. One thing that I've wonder about is with all those people to board (somewhere over 500), is the process of getting on and off the plane very slow or have they figured out how to make this move along with reasonable efficiency?
It seems as if the terminals that they use have many more access ramps (fingers) to spread the loading and unloading, plus, of course, the terminal also needs to have sufficient immigration desks and baggage facilities. So far our experiences have been good but I can imagine just how it could foul up!
Existing planes can travel half way around the world now, without refueling. For example, from Texas to Singapore. I'm not sure I see the point to this. Having a plane full of fuel flying around waiting to refuel another craft has to be expensive, and while the low risk of fire and such for the military might be acceptable, I'm not sure it is for commercial aviation. I'd rather have my plane refueled in the usual manner.
I agree on the preference for not being refueled that way...I'm not going to be sitting in an ejection seat with a parachute attached. But the reason they're interested in doing this is not without merit. The idea is that the plane that flies that long route could take off on a shorter runway (reduce load on existing airports, more operations per hour, use other airports that are not now long enough), or replace fuel weight with payload (cargo or passengers). The tankers, obviously, wouldn't...
Alaska has been offering free microbrewery beer and local wine on its Horizon flights for years. So Kudos to United for expanding their economy services. We need to acknowledge their service improvements when they occur
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