Sn330 From Belgium, joined Nov 2004, 16 posts, RR: 1 Posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3556 times:
This is my first post on Anet, and I know there is a lot to learn about aviation on this website.
While a lot of airline companies are investing in their business class product (lay flat seats), most of the US carriers don't. Of course, this investment is implicating a lot of money but companies as CX are using this as an asset for customer loyalty as it is an improvement of comfort for the customer.
Aren't most us carriers therefore losing customers on international flights to and from major us cities?
NWA has had them installed one some destinations, AA not yet. Who's next.
Jaxs170 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3413 times:
CO's BF seat on their tripples is almost but not quite a lie-flat seat, goes to about 160-170 degrees. The BF seats on the 767 and 757 only go to about 150 degrees. First class on AA's tripples are lie-flat, and I think the seats that were originally first class on US's 330s are lie-flat.
Baw716 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2035 posts, RR: 26
Reply 5, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3306 times:
First, welcome to a.net. I think you will find this particular forum very informative, stimulating and sometimes a little entertaining.
With regard to lie flat seats, in Business Class, NW comes the closest to a lie-flat seat in World Business Class on the A330. COs Business First has quasi lie-flat in the 777, but it does not go completely flat. It must also be noted that both carriers products are not horizontal, but slope down to the floor. This seems to be the trend in Business Class lie-flat seats.
United has introduced the SkyBed product that is currently used on Singapore AIrlines Raffles Class (Business Class) in their JFK-LAX/SFO transcon 'Premium Service' product on their reconfigured 757s. I suspect this is a test to see how popular these seats are with business travelers in F class domestic before making an investment in this product on their worldwide fleet. Herein lies the issue: United does not have the money to make that kind of spend on their aircraft unless they make some serious decisions regarding aircraft type for their long haul product. The SkyBed can be used on 777s and 767s, so if United were to reconfigure themselves for two cabins on the 767 and the 777, then they might be able to handle a phased in introduction of that product.
I believe these seats cost in the realm of $50K per seatpair, so if you do the math, it is in the hundreds of millions of dollars to reconfigure their fleet, which they do not have the money to do right now.
US carriers are losing some traffic to the lie flat international carriers, especially those that are within their alliances. The problem is this: These airilnes need to recapture that market in order to become profitable again. In order to do that, they need to put in the seats. They do not have the money to put in the seats, so they can't capture the market. It is a chicken and egg argument. My view is that both all the US carriers who operate overseas will have to modify their products in order to be competitive. When this will happen is an open question, since more carriers seem to be headed the way of Chapter 11 these days.
My belief is that it will take some investment on the part of the alliance partners if the alliance is intent on building a consistent product across all the airline brands. Since Star is the alliance in the best cohesive management shape, they may just be able to scrape up the cash to loan to United for the fleet overhaul. However, in return, there will definitely be more pressure on United to revenue share on all the alliance markets. While United perceives this to be a bad thing, if they do revenue share, then all United has to do is increase its market share by improving the onboard product beyond the seat issue. In this way, even if the share the revenue, they will get a bigger piece of the pie, since revenue share payouts tend to be based on the market share percentage of passengers carried on the route operated by two or more alliance partners.
As you can see, the issue is much more complex than just losing passengers to the competition. I hope you find this post helpful in your understanding of the issue, and once again, welcome to a.net.
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
Avek00 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4477 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3225 times:
"My belief is that it will take some investment on the part of the alliance partners if the alliance is intent on building a consistent product across all the airline brands."
Problem is, the major alliances (or more precisely, the stronger members of major alliances) have zero desire to actually do this. Why would BA want AA to have a lie-flat product on JFK-LHR? Why would AF want CO to have a lie-flat on EWR-CDG? And why wouls SQ want UA to have a lie-flet on LAX-NRT-SIN?
Sn330 From Belgium, joined Nov 2004, 16 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3099 times:
Thkx for the info baw716.
But even if the alliances have common interests I don't think that they are the providers of the money for such investments. Has it happened before?
Maybe that money must come from "cost cuts". For example; when I stayed at nrt two months ago and I looked at the runway at one moment there where 6 UA planes queuing for take of. I don't know about the load factors (can I check this somewhere), but maybe there is an over capacity.
Of course there are different ways to look at this problem.