WunalaYann From Australia, joined Mar 2005, 2839 posts, RR: 32 Posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3248 times:
This subject has been discussed countless times. But I am trying to test the "market" at the moment.
I am wondering about the sustainability of current travel conditions in economy class on long haul flights. I define long haul as 8 hours and beyond, non-stop.
Even on the finest airlines, I find travel conditions terrible. I know, everything has a price. And this is my point. A return ticket MEL-CDG costs an average of AUS$2,000, €1,250 or US$1,500. Roughly, with little seasonal variation.
I do not care about fancy food, supermodel F/As, soft drinks or toothbrush kits. But I do care about ROOM, width and length.
I am willing to pay AUS$3,000 for the same ticket, that is 50% more. 50%. Would I get, say, 35% more elbow and leg room? 35% more reclining angle?
A B777 can accomodate 10 abreast in 3-4-3 config. Could we do a premium economy in 2-4-2 (20% more room) or even 2-3-2 (30% more room), with the matching wider seats?
In a 772, you often find 250 seats in economy, at 10 abreasts. That is 25 rows. Cut it down to 20 (-20%), in a 8-abreast config. So that is 36% less seats (160 seats).
The airline gets 36% less potential revenue (not including the payload gains with fewer pax and their luggage), but gets paid 50% more for each seat.
That seems like a very good deal for all parties involved, to me.
Now of course if it does not exist, or if it is not so common, there must be a very good reason.
Ken777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7440 posts, RR: 5 Reply 1, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3232 times:
Too many people traveling in the cattle car section don't have the spare money to pay the extra. When I was starting my business I couldn't justify paying more than the cheapest fare - and we're talking about between LAX & SYD. that extra 50% pays for a lot of hotel rooms - especially when you're talking about families with kids. In your example, a husband & wife worth two kids would be facing an extra AUS$4,000 - which almost covers the cost of a week at Disney World.
Some airlines, like BA, do recognize that there is a market for something a little better, but not all the way to Business. BA has World Traveler Plus, which is basically what you're talking about, and some other airlines have followed.
WunalaYann From Australia, joined Mar 2005, 2839 posts, RR: 32 Reply 3, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 3103 times:
I was thinking that with the increase in frequent long distance travelling for personal and business purposes, combined with an ageing customer base in the western world, there would be a request for more room.
You point to more room with economy service. I think that is right. On the fine airlines serving the Kangaroo route (QF, SQ, BA, CX, EK, QR, MH, the Japanese, etc.), economy service is almost always brilliant. Genuine smiles, excellent IFE, good food, immaculate aircraft, fancy airports, etc.
So yes, I am checking World Traveler Plus on BA, will let you know!
In any case, the idea of a three-class config. like economy, premium economy and super business could probably score a few points...
Who are the others that have followed BA's example?
Antskip From Australia, joined Jan 2006, 883 posts, RR: 6 Reply 13, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2375 times:
Quoting NZ8800 (Reply 12): You could try with NZ's premium economy, MEL - AKL - LAX - LHR
A 3 1/2 hour NZ domestic-standard flight to AKL, and another 4 1/2 hrs sitting around at the airport there there before you really begin the journey itself is one heck of a price for a cattle premium to the wrong destination (London, not Paris) for the same number of dollars as Business class on TG to Paris.
HKGKaiTak From Australia, joined Jun 2005, 1050 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2273 times:
Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 3): So yes, I am checking World Traveler Plus on BA, will let you know!
I too was quite impressed with BA's World Traveller Plus when I flew SYD-LHR couple months ago (see my posts in the Trip Reports forum). It was a lifesaver for such a long flight but 24 hours in a plane is still 24 hours in a plane.
Yet I'm not convinced it's worth the money they're charging over discounted economy (disclaimer: I travelled on a discounted travel agent ticket)
VS also flies SYD-LHR with premium economy, so that's worth looking into for you if you're willing to transit in SYD.
Antskip From Australia, joined Jan 2006, 883 posts, RR: 6 Reply 18, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2215 times:
I tried the BA site for premium cattle, but it seemed to say they didn't have it on this run. Do they? But VS does - @ A$3,700. But both go to LHR, not CDG. The intial post puts up some interesting points - and suggests maybe there is a place in the market for premium cattle from MEL to Europe/UK. The positive experience of premium for NZ and BA seem to be show it is an interesting growth area. Maybe NZ could expand it further...?
Star_world From Ireland, joined Jun 2001, 1234 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2205 times:
Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 16): So how do I book a ticket on BA? Will they charge MEL-SYD $500?
The best advice is to just book BA SYD-LHR and find another airline to take you from MEL-SYD. You should be able to get a fairly competitive fare on that segment. Likewise for the return. You'll probably find that you can book "BA" MEL-LHR but this will be a QF codeshare on MEL-SIN (or BKK) and then either BA or QF to LHR. You want to make sure you're on BA metal to get the option of booking WT+.
Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 16): And is BA's frequent flyer system good and affordable (unlike QF's)?
BA and QF are both in oneworld. Some time ago BA changed the entry rules for their FF program so that anyone based in Australia would have to register with QF instead, so I don't believe you can even register for BA's Exec Club program. In any case, that's probably a good thing - the BA program is notoriously bad unless you're flying on full-fare tickets; if you book discount economy you get 25% miles and 0% elite qualifying miles. This wouldn't be the case in WT+ but, like I already said, that's probably irrelevant.
WunalaYann From Australia, joined Mar 2005, 2839 posts, RR: 32 Reply 20, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2199 times:
Maybe the costs of reconfiguring some aircraft is simply prohibitive for airlines to offer this premium economy on too many routes...
I also forgot to mention that with increasing obesity in western countries, the issue of room might become more accute in the next few years. Being a politically-sensitive subject, maybe this argument belongs on the non-av forum but I am just trying to gauge trends...
Cairo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 22, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 2105 times:
Long haul in economy is torture. If the plane is full you don't even get assured use of an armrest - you just have to sit there with your arms in your lap praying to God that you will get there faster without going completely inane. Anyway, thats the way it affects me. If you are hungover or over 5 foot 10 tall or unable to sleep in uncomofrtable positions or just naturally irritable, forget it.
Wunala, I've been toying with your idea and the issue for a while and a couple of things have I determined:
1. the human body takes up the exact same amount of space regardless of the position it is in. Lie down or sit in a seat - it takes the same amount of space. You just have to figure out a way to configure a coach cabin in a way where everyone can lie down.
2. Food, drinks, and even IFE I think most coach flyers could live without if they could just lie in a sleeping position.
This is a Japanese capsule hotel where Tokyo businessmen pass out after a night of binge drinking. Cozy, isn't it? A bit like a morgue, I know, but I'd rather get in one of those than seat 61E in the God forsaken back of United Economy. It could be done with the same pax load as conventional seating.
Or, if you stack them 3 high, like in the navy...and you took out the overhead bins, my calculations are that you could use these and INCREASE the number of pax carried versus traditional coach seating.
Give me that over 'economy' seating anyday!
International airlines are horribly uninnovative and it will take aggressive free thinking to start a 747 or A380 centered airline that finally eliminates economy-torture-seats once and for all. Join me in my crusade!