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Who Can Afford To Fly F?  
User currently offlineCharlieNoble From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 7019 times:

Looking for a quick reality check here.

For grins I looked at the cost of a flight on American Airlines (teamed up with British Airways) for a flight from Washington DC to Johannesburg, South Africa. Figured that was about as far as I could ever imagine flying.

First Class fare (round trip) was over $18,000...booked a month and a half out. By contrast, "saver" type economy fares could get you round trip for around $1500. Either way it was about a 38-hour Odyssey via Heathrow.

I'm just wondering if they actually fill the First Class cabin with folks who can afford to pay $18K for a round-trip flight?

If so I can much better understand the importance of the premium cabins...that's where all the money is to be made.

And there are a lot more rich people than I thought LOL.

42 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAtlwest1 From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1046 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6996 times:

Well there are several people and companies who regularly pay these fares for there staff of a certain level. remember probably 10-15% percent of the worlds total population could afford to pay these fares. So if your good and can capture a fraction of that, then the spoils go to the victor.  


ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co. or Airt
User currently offlineFWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3749 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6996 times:

A lot of those F pax are customers that normally fly J or Y redeeming frequent-flyer miles for upgrades. (At least that is the case in the US.)


"Did he really need the triple bypass? Or was it the miles?"
User currently offlinesxb From France, joined Sep 2008, 136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6936 times:

Hedge Funds, oil companies...
And even if I agree with the fact that those prices are shocking, we kind of have to "thank" them for paying the full price as it allows the rest of us to fly in the back of the plane for a few hundred $.



SXB
User currently offlineCargoLex From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1271 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6899 times:

Quote:
remember probably 10-15% percent of the worlds total population could afford to pay these fares.

I think that number is WAAAAY high. $18,000 is considerably more than about half of the world's population make in a year. Even in industrialized countries, the vast majority of people do not make enough to afford an $18,000 plane ticket.


User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3996 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6871 times:
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In addition to the very rich, you find a lot of corporate travelers from large companies upfront because their employer's travel budget is big enough to negotiate massive discounts on premium cabins, and/or get space-available upgrades to F from C as an added incentive for booking with them.

Governments around the world with less security concerns than, say the US, will use F as an alternative to a government plane as well.

Like everything else in life where the list price is high, there are people "in the know" who pay a lot less.



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineLAXtoATL From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1594 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6733 times:

Quoting CharlieNoble (Thread starter):

I'm just wondering if they actually fill the First Class cabin with folks who can afford to pay $18K for a round-trip flight?

The simply answer is no. As others have mentioned F class is commonly filled with upgrades. When it is filled with paying passengers it is rarely done so at the published fare, but rather at a steep discount. Airlines have negotiated discounts with large corporations and premium travel agencies that are the ones that usually sell F class tickets. You rarely find someone go to an airline's website to purchase an international F class ticket.

[Edited 2011-01-10 08:31:31]

User currently onlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6323 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6655 times:

Quoting Atlwest1 (Reply 1):
remember probably 10-15% percent of the worlds total population

Census.gov has the current world population at 6,892,233...lets call it 6.9 billion to make it easier on me.

You're saying that between 690 million and 1.035 billion people can spend $18,000 on a plane ticket?

The average global GDP (PPP) as of 2010 is $10,500 per person...that is for an entire year. The idea of a billion people being able to spend $18,000 on one single plane ticket is a bit extreme.

You live in the USA, it's rich, but I doubt even 15% of the US population can afford that, let alone the world. There are some very, very, very, very poor people in Africa and Asia especially. For example, I am from Namibia, which is one of the more "well off" countries in Africa...in 2009, or GDP (PPP) per person was $6,614. Niger is $719...Sierra Leone is $759...


User currently offlineCharlieNoble From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6635 times:

Thanks for the replies...makes sense to me.

User currently offlineLondonCity From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2008, 1494 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6584 times:

Quoting CharlieNoble (Thread starter):
I'm just wondering if they actually fill the First Class cabin with folks who can afford to pay $18K for a round-trip flight?

Every market and country is different. F class fares may not be affordable on US domestic flights or some international services. But they can be more affordable for travellers who purchase wisely, eg by using an RTW ticket.

Then look at other regions of the world. For example, no airline in the Gulf area could afford not to offer F class because a good number of their citizens are very wealthy, eg there are several thousand members alone of the Saudi Royal Family.

Then look at status. There's a company hieracy in some Asian countries, eg for "face" reasons you wouldn't find the president of a large Japanese company flying anything else but F class.

The fact that major global carriers like AF, BA, LH, LX, CX, SQ, JL and NH are all retaining and improving F class means there is demand, albeit a limited one.


User currently offlineGolfBravoRomeo From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 137 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6458 times:

Also look at it this way, $18,000 is bargain compared to taking the Gulfstream G550 out of the hangar for just one person.

User currently offlineyegbey01 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1726 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6459 times:

Most companies allow its employees to fly in BUsiness class, AND ONLY IF Business is not available, then you will be allowed to go to First.

Having traveled extensively to Asia and Europe while working for my previous employer (based in Toronto at the time), I never flew in First as Business was always available.


User currently offlineCharlieNoble From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6237 times:

Quoting GolfBravoRomeo (Reply 10):
Also look at it this way, $18,000 is bargain compared to taking the Gulfstream G550 out of the hangar for just one person.

Good point. I would love to have that kind of a problem though. As a gov't traveler it would be "Y" all the way for me...LOL


User currently offlinePacNWjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 980 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6203 times:

On a related note, I frequently read the Trip Reports forum at airliners.net and it appears to me that there is a sizable group of a.netters who routinely fly First or Business on trips they seemingly are taking just for the fun of it. What I am missing that I find it nearly impossible to cash in frequent flier miles for upgrades? My family members also have grown increasingly frustrated not being able to use miles for upgrades. And yet it would appear to me that many a.netters do so with ease on trips that they are taking seemingly for kicks. What are the rest of us who can't seem to use miles for upgrades missing here?

User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19695 posts, RR: 58
Reply 14, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6169 times:

Quoting FWAERJ (Reply 2):
A lot of those F pax are customers that normally fly J or Y redeeming frequent-flyer miles for upgrades.

If it was mostly that, they wouldn't have F. That's probably why many airlines have gotten rid of F.

RULE #1: Airlines do not develop entire programs and products to just give stuff away. Everything they do is to make revenue.

Ergo, they do not develop and maintain an entire F product just so that they can give it away to FF pax.


User currently offlineLHRFlyer From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2010, 815 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6169 times:

Many corporate clients allow their most senior executives to fly First Class. Also, many working in the entertainment industry (on both sides of the camera/microphone) are entitled to travel in First Class. Then there are (some, not all) high net worth individuals that are prepared to pay for it.

The market for paid First Class is a small one, but it is a very influential one.


User currently offlinecitationjet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2438 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6151 times:

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 13):
What I am missing that I find it nearly impossible to cash in frequent flier miles for upgrades?

Some of these a.neters are airline employees or dependants, who are flying non-revenue space available (NRSA) on their own airline, rather than using FF miles. When my wife worked for AA, we would routinely fly FC to Europe or domestic.



Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7174 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 6001 times:

Quoting Atlwest1 (Reply 1):
remember probably 10-15% percent of the worlds total population could afford to pay these fares

That percentage is astronamicaly high! No where near that type of number.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 5):
corporate travelers from large companies upfront because their employer's travel budget is big enough to negotiate massive discounts on premium cabins,

This is one thing that fills a lot of the F cabin.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 14):
If it was mostly that, they wouldn't have F. That's probably why many airlines have gotten rid of F.

RULE #1: Airlines do not develop entire programs and products to just give stuff away. Everything they do is to make revenue.

Ergo, they do not develop and maintain an entire F product just so that they can give it away to FF pax.

A large amount of people flying first class do not pay full F price. They either buy upgrades or use miles to upgrade or have free upgrades. The majority of people in First Class are frequent fliers. These frequent fliers are the ones who make the airlines their money. If they did not give them F upgrades etc.. Then they would not be frequent and would just fly what airline was cheapest etc.. That is why a buisness man in New York is going to pay $200 more to fly AA on JFK-LAX then go on B6. Of course they do make money with large companies etc... But one of the biggest reasons for First Class is to keep FF fliers on their airline.



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3996 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 5974 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting yegbey01 (Reply 11):

Most companies allow its employees to fly in BUsiness class, AND ONLY IF Business is not available, then you will be allowed to go to First.

There are just as many companies that have a distance/time-based system. C is the company standard for road warriors expected to hit the ground running upon landing, except for flights over a certain amount of miles/hours. With my employer, the threshold between F and C is approximately 5,500 great circle miles, the exact number (in km) carefully calculated to mandate C for all trips between our US and European offices while still allowing F to Japan and Hong Kong from either the European or US offices (the greater irony is that our preferred North American carrier per company policy does not have a F cabin anyway).

Quoting flymia (Reply 17):
No where near that type of number.

According to Forbes, just in the US, a little less than 15% of the population is millionaire (and that includes the penny-shy-of-billionaire and first-million people). The percentage drops precipitously everywhere else in the world...

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 13):
What are the rest of us who can't seem to use miles for upgrades missing here?

I'm a regular joe (as in, don't work for an airline, don't get buddy passes, etc...) and I never have any problem using my miles even at the very last minute (read two hours before take-off). There are a few things to keep in mind, however:
-Some frequent flyer programs have better reward availability for their elite members;
-One has to keep one's expectations in check. I wouldn't even dream of trying to use miles to go warm up in Florida in the winter four weeks out;
-Being flexible with dates (easier to use miles Tu - Th) and routing (CDG might be out but BRU is only a two-hour car ride away and I need to rent a car anyway) makes a big difference;

It's going to sound bombastic, but with that in mind, I have a 100% redemption record since however far back I can think, be it upgrades (usually) or free seats (rarely).



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11655 posts, RR: 60
Reply 19, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5953 times:

Looking at some of the offerings for discounted tickets I could afford to fly F, but then I would be flying one return trip a year, maybe two or three if I sank to business class. Now I really don't see the point in that; I'm young and really don't care if I have to go out of my way to take a cheap economy routing. Maybe when I'm old and have a decent job I'll think more about the premium classes, but for now I'm happy to stretch my budget as far as possible.


Dan  



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25300 posts, RR: 22
Reply 20, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 5947 times:

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 13):
On a related note, I frequently read the Trip Reports forum at airliners.net and it appears to me that there is a sizable group of a.netters who routinely fly First or Business on trips they seemingly are taking just for the fun of it. What I am missing that I find it nearly impossible to cash in frequent flier miles for upgrades?

Many are probably airline employees travelling nonrev (standby).


User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11655 posts, RR: 60
Reply 21, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 5942 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 20):
Many are probably airline employees travelling nonrev (standby).

  

At least half are I would estimate.



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineMD11Bob From Germany, joined Mar 2010, 110 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 5926 times:

Despite the general tenor in this thread seems being thatmost people do not pay the full F fare, I want to share you my experiences. I worked for a rather big German airline   in Miami, and almost every day we had people that came to the airport ticket counter, said something like "Dude, I need a seat on that flight" and threw bundles of dollars at us to pay the fare (usually between 5 to 10k) without even twitching with their eyelids. So there definiately are those people who pay it just for the comfort, and they come in masses. I was really impressed when I saw that for the first few times. But then again, maybe Miami is a special case with all those celebs living there.

User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7174 posts, RR: 9
Reply 23, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 5922 times:

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 18):
According to Forbes, just in the US, a little less than 15% of the population is millionaire (and that includes the penny-shy-of-billionaire and first-million people). The percentage drops precipitously everywhere else in the world...


Exactly and people who are in the lower millionaire numbers like net worth of 1-5 million cannot afford paying $10,000 or even $5,000 every time they fly unless they do not travel much.

Quoting MD11Bob (Reply 22):
I was really impressed when I saw that for the first few times. But then again, maybe Miami is a special case with all those celebs living there.

How long ago was this. 1980s? Late 90s.



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11655 posts, RR: 60
Reply 24, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5908 times:

Quoting flymia (Reply 23):
Exactly and people who are in the lower millionaire numbers like net worth of 1-5 million cannot afford paying $10,000 or even $5,000 every time they fly unless they do not travel much.

I have to say they probably could. If you are a millionaire then it's pretty likely that you have enough yearly income to maintain a fairly lavish lifestyle and not be eroding your net worth. Unless you are one of those people who doesn't spend or enjoy what they've got and just keeps looking at the growing figure in their bank account. They need to be reminded that you can't take it with you.


Dan  



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
25 jetblue777 : I heard somewhere that if you have $15.00 on your pockets right now, you are among the Top 8% richest person in the world! A bit off topic, but somet
26 FlyDeltaJets87 : I doubt 10-15% of the US population can "afford" that First Class ticket, never mind the world population. That's the way to do it. Buy a qualifying
27 Post contains images fbgdavidson : The simple answer is yes, otherwise BA wouldn't operate an F cabin on that route and wouldn't offer that fare, even though not all passengers will pa
28 blueflyer : And if past experience is still true (and I suspect it is), the IAD route has to be one of the routes with the highest percentage of F pax being C pa
29 Aesma : Does that includes assets, like value of a business and house ? Because if it does, I have several millionaires in my family (and in €) and none of
30 Superfly : To answer your question, yes. $18,000? No way! I doubt anyone is paying that either. True. The only time I bought a first-class ticket via website was
31 blueflyer : Yes, it does include assets. That is why, as others have pointed out already, being a millionaire isn't all that it's cracked up to be anymore, espec
32 travelR : I would totally agree with this statement. There are a lot of corporate travellers out there who spend the company money like there's no tomorrow and
33 CharlieNoble : Cocaine. Seriously though I have a new appreciation for "F"...I recall bristling at the thought of F pax being mad about steerage rats (like me) usin
34 Post contains images fxramper : I'm a lifetime Platinum at AA, so how it's done for myself and other business travelers is our company pays for a full fare coach ticket and we get up
35 Quokka : I wish. They don't even do that on middle east airlines although you might get a private limo to take you to the aircraft at a remote stand. They als
36 DesertAir : I fly WN every month between SAN and SMF. I fly from Tijuana to Hermosillo, MX and to Guadalajara, MX usually on Volaris-all coach seating. Once a yea
37 DocLightning : If F-class did not pay for itself, they would not have it. It would not pay for itself if all or even the vast majority of the passengers were upgrad
38 blueflyer : You don't need the Middle East, there are other airlines that will drive passengers to the gate even, not just a remote stand. Of course, there are a
39 Post contains images MD11Bob : Two years ago
40 Viscount724 : There are quite a few government-owned carriers for which profitability is a low priority (or not at all) and F class is no doubt maintained because
41 Viscount724 : Just curious how you justify the several thousand additional $$ for F class on a flight that often isn't even 7 hours long? With today's J class stan
42 Post contains images fbgdavidson : Perhaps, but I doubt whether that is different for many routes and most likely only applies to a handful of passengers, otherwise F would be rammed f
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