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Will Fliers Pay For Extra Space On The 787?  
User currently offlineBoomBoom From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3613 times:

Today's WSJ Middle Seat column asks fliers if they will pay extra for more space and discusses the 787 seating in particluar:

Quote:
This week's Middle Seat focused on the new Boeing 787, a plane with wide coach seats arranged in rows of eight. Boeing thought that gave airlines the chance to extract higher fares for more comfort. But 75% of airlines that have ordered the jet are now opting to add a ninth seat to each coach row, reducing fanny space to just 17 inches for long trips across oceans.

While those airlines don't believe coach customers would pay more for increased comfort, Middle Seat readers say that's not true. Particularly on long flights, airline passengers say they will put their money where their wallet is.

Some readers do say that while they are willing to pay more for extra space, they probably wouldn't pay much more. If an airline pondering 787 seating goes with rows of eight instead of nine, it gives up 12% of its coach seating and therefore needs to get at least 12% more revenue, right? On a $1,000 ticket to Europe, that's another $120. That looks like a reasonable price many of us would pay, but when the computer display says one airline's fare is $1,000 and another's is $1,120, we instinctively go for the savings.

A couple of observations: The people who read this column are probably seasoned road warriors, and not backpacking, granola-crunching, budget travelers.

Watch what people do; not what they say. Most people don't like to view themselves as being cheapskates, but they often say one thing in response to a theoritical question and do another when it comes time to put out real money.

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 8412 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3597 times:

Quoting BoomBoom (Thread starter):
If an airline pondering 787 seating goes with rows of eight instead of nine, it gives up 12% of its coach seating and therefore needs to get at least 12% more revenue, right?

Wrong. Less seats also means less weight to carry around which translates into less fuel. Also less catering expenses. In other words, 12% less coach seating translates into far less than a 12% increase in fares across the board.


User currently offlineJayinKitsap From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 769 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3543 times:

Well, United was pitching a $50 increase per segment to get into their premium economy, 2 added inches of pitch. I don't know how successful that was. However, I think if the coach cabin was divided up between Y at 9 across and Y+ at 8 across, possibly with an extra 2" of pitch that would make a good difference. So for width that is 9/8 and length that is 32/30 or 20% more space. Selling for 20% more would more than offset as the weight catering, check in, bags, don't change. This can be done at seat selection "For $100 wouldn't you want to upgrade this segment" etc to do as add ons

It also allows for using FF miles, rewarding frequent or full fare customers, etc. I would expect to see both 8 and 9 on many airlines flights.


User currently offlineBaron95 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 1335 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3516 times:

You have to look at how people fly. The top split is business or leisure.

If you fly for business, your ticket is typically purchase by your travel department or a contracted travel service (e.g. American Express), that enforce travel rules, including class of service and need to purchase least expensive ticket with some paramenters (e.g. number of stops, departure time, etc). In this case it is very unlikely that if the policy say "coach" you'd be booked on "coach +". However, business flyers typically use FF miles to upgrade. Ocasionally, if it can be purchased separately from the ticket (e.g. at check-in time) these travellers will spend up to $100 out of pocket for a one-class upgrade.

If you fly leisure, you typically fly with at least another person, often 2 or 3 others, and you tend to want to seat together. So even at $50/seat each way, and upgrade to coach + starts to become expensive (e.g. $200 each way for a family of 4). That can cover your rental car or all the dinners for a typical vacation. I expect few takers.

Also, add back in the complexity in explaining/marketing/selling one additional class of service, that would be offered ONLY on the tiny percentage of the fleets that will be 787 and this is a non-starter IMHO.



Killer Fleet: E190, 737-900ER, 777-300ER
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31060 posts, RR: 87
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3503 times:
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Quoting JayinKitsap (Reply 2):
Well, United was pitching a $50 increase per segment to get into their premium economy, 2 added inches of pitch. I don't know how successful that was.

UA reported about $50 million in additional revenue from the program during the first quarter it was made available.


As to will people buy it, well they buy it on airlines like SQ, VS, SK, BA, and NH. Of them all, SQ's on the A345 is the closest to what the WSJ was asking, with 20" wide seats vs. the standard Economy width seats on all the others.

Businesses are finding that it's worth the extra cash to allow their employees to be productive during the 7-14 hours they are in the air rather then having them sleep, watch movies, or play Solitaire on their PDAs. If they can do that in a 19-20" wide 787 seat for $500 more then the guy in back, that's better then spending $5000 more to put them in Business Class to get them that extra width.  Wink


User currently offlineRadelow From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 426 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 3446 times:

How successful has BA WT+ proven?

User currently offlineScbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12573 posts, RR: 46
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3364 times:
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Quoting Radelow (Reply 5):
How successful has BA WT+ proven?

It's always full whenever I've flown it (10 times in last 18 months, to various destinations).



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlineHanginOut From Austria, joined May 2005, 550 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3255 times:

Quoting Radelow (Reply 5):
How successful has BA WT+ proven?

WT+ is said to have the highest yield for BA out of all of its cabin classes.



Dreaming of the day I can work for an airline
User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3247 times:

No, the majority of people won't pay more.

Most people decide by price first - even though they claim to be willing to pay more for more comfort, when it comes down to the decision between price and comfort, price usually wins.

That won't be any different on the B787.

Regards,
Frank



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8124 posts, RR: 54
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3200 times:

Of course people won't pay the extra. I certainly wouldn't. Maybe if it was an extra £10, but more than that isn't worth it. You don't get there any faster. All people want from an airline is to get them there as cheaply as possible. $120 extra for two measly inches? Pah! Think how much fun I could have in the Virgin Megastore in Times Square with $120! And Boeing think I'm going to burn that kind of money on a seat that is still basically not designed for sleep? They're crazy. Once again: all we're looking for is the cheapest possible means of transportation to a place where we can then start spending lots of cash. Not the other way round.


fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
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