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Empty Business Class Cabins - How To Fill?  
User currently offlineSankaps From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2252 posts, RR: 2
Posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 13920 times:

I have been on numerous transatlantic and intra-European flights over the last few weeks, and an amazed to see just how few business class seats are occupied these days. Especially for European airlines; the US airlines tend to have fuller cabins.

Which set me thinking: I believe the US airlines tend to have fuller business class cabins even in these tough times because they are more aggressive / generous with FFP upgrades, promos, Ops upgrades etc while European airlines tend to be much more protective about their front cabins.

However tough times call for tough measures... it must be hard flying aorund with 30-40% loads in business class. So are the airlines introducing any schemes to fill more seats in business class? Any info / anecdotes / creative ideas on what airlines are doing (or should be doing)?

Cheers,

Sankaps.

[Edited 2009-07-20 03:57:39]

91 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRichcandy From UK - England, joined Aug 2001, 717 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 13881 times:

Hi

BA had some two for one club world specials from the UK to the US a few months ago, but I think it was only a short lived special. UK-US is always empty in business class over the summer months (July-Aug). I guess the economy has not helped much.

Alex


User currently offlineGFFgold From Indonesia, joined Feb 2007, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 13827 times:

I'm surprised nobody sells last minute discount upgrades at check-in. Better to get half the cash for a premium seat than have it empty when the door closes. I am unable to pay $2-3000 extra for business class - I simply can't afford it these days. But I might be persuaded to part with $1000 at the airport.

User currently offlineBasefly From Denmark, joined Apr 2007, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 13827 times:

Well SQ have just had an offer where they took 3,000 $ of J-class, out of CPH.

And yes i went for it....   

And like the previous post said, i also don't understand why most EU carriers don't give J class discounts at check in?

[Edited 2009-07-20 04:18:19]


757/777-A340/A380, Love them.
User currently offlineSomeone83 From Norway, joined Sep 2006, 3178 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 13819 times:



Quoting GFFgold (Reply 2):
I'm surprised nobody sells last minute discount upgrades at check-in. Better to get half the cash for a premium seat than have it empty when the door closes. I am unable to pay $2-3000 extra for business class - I simply can't afford it these days. But I might be persuaded to part with $1000 at the airport

You can do this with SAS


User currently offlinePellegrine From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2224 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 13819 times:



Quoting Richcandy (Reply 1):
BA had some two for one club world specials from the UK to the US a few months ago, but I think it was only a short lived special.

BA have had some damn cheap Club fares too.

Quoting Sankaps (Thread starter):

However tough times call for tough measures... it must be hard flying aorund with 30-40% loads in business class. So are the airlines introducing any schemes to fill more seats in business class? Any info / anecdotes / creative ideas on what airlines are doing (or should be doing)?

I notice that pretty much all the European carriers have much reduced fares for business class. I mean you can fly in J round trip transatlantic for 2500 USD all in! This is spectacular for the consumer.

What they should be doing? Cross their fingers and wait for the market.......



oh boy!!!
User currently offlineBasefly From Denmark, joined Apr 2007, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 13790 times:



Quoting Someone83 (Reply 4):

I fly SK often and have never been offered an upgrade for cash, either at check in or on-line??



757/777-A340/A380, Love them.
User currently offlineSomeone83 From Norway, joined Sep 2006, 3178 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 13684 times:



Quoting Basefly (Reply 6):
I fly SK often and have never been offered an upgrade for cash, either at check in or on-line??

Check out this link

http://www.flysas.com/en/Promotions-...ue&WT.ac=Startpage_buy_upgrade_int


User currently offlineBabybus From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 13640 times:

I know BA have great difficulty selling club fares across the pond. This is due to there being more tourists than businessmen. I believe the seats you see filled are actually occupied by staff.

In the US it is a whole lot easier to upgrade on mileage points than it is in Europe. I have more miles than I know what to do with but getting an upgrade within Europe on a European airline would be a waste of them.


User currently offlineSandyb123 From UK - Scotland, joined Oct 2007, 1043 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13558 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

The old GNER (Now the re-nationalised National Express East Coast) railway offers first class tickets, sometimes cheaper than standard / economy class by selling two single tickets at a far discounted price.

You kind of need to know that you can find those tickets on their website and it's not heavily promoted but you can do Edinburgh London return for £59, first. Now I know that this doesn't touch a an intercontinental business/first air fare but perhaps the model could work for the airlines?

Sandyb123



DC3, 727, 737, 744, 753, 777, A32X, A345, A388, ERJ145, E190, BaE146, D328, ATR72, Q400
User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4361 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13467 times:

Dumping F + J seats now isn't clever. A price erosion that happens now can never be consolidated later.

Times in which middle management is allowed to fly C or J are over. F and J must be seized for people who pay their tickets from their own pockets.

In which case the next question is if it is meaningful that the luxury to fly J or even F should be really subsidized by the tax payer by 50%, who has to accept that flying F or J is a business expense and therefore can be subtracted from income.


User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3475 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13428 times:



Quoting Babybus (Reply 8):
I know BA have great difficulty selling club fares across the pond. This is due to there being more tourists than businessmen. I believe the seats you see filled are actually occupied by staff.

 rotfl 

At least with BA they present their monthly traffic statistics so that we can all see the % alterations in both premium and economy travel


User currently offlineManuCH From Switzerland, joined Jun 2005, 3007 posts, RR: 48
Reply 12, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13400 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

LX has strange policies regarding Business upgrades. I have originally booked an "Economy Saver" (non modifiable, non refundable) fare on ZRH-YUL, then later wanted to upgrade to Business (by paying the price difference). Guess what? "Not possible". Only through a friend of a friend who was willing to play with their system I was able to do the upgrade.

I guess I'm not the only one who might have some last minute cash spare and who would be willing to upgrade. But if they don't allow it in the first place, well, that's lost revenues IMHO.



Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
User currently offlineDavehammer From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2007, 472 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13359 times:



Quoting Babybus (Reply 8):
I know BA have great difficulty selling club fares across the pond. This is due to there being more tourists than businessmen. I believe the seats you see filled are actually occupied by staff.

I really don't think the seats are filled by staff. Some are granted but I'd wager that out of all the people in J on a flight, no more than 10% would be staff.


User currently offlineDLPMMM From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 3581 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 13306 times:

The obvious answer would be to cut capacity. That would boost both the number of J seats and the number of Y seats, raising overall yields in both cabins.

The problem is that any airline doing this would also be ceding market share to competitors, problematic if there is a critical mass necessary for business model success.


User currently offlineAirmale From Botswana, joined Sep 2004, 375 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 13242 times:

Also Qatar Airways is offering one-way upgrades from Switzerland to Doha for approx CHF600.00. This upgrade can only be requested on the day of departure, when checking in. If seats are available and extra C-Class meals are loaded. It is available from any Y-Class Fare.


.....up there with the best!
User currently offlineARGinLON From Vatican City, joined Jun 2005, 614 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 13212 times:

I work in a major travel agency (business travel related) and although airlines have introduced many lower fares in the last six months or so our accounts would have done the same amount of travel regardless of the fare incentives.

Yes, our clients are travelling a lot less (probably 20% down vs last year) but they either have a economy or business class travel policy.

Our clients don't fly economy or business class depending on the fare, they do it based on the company policy. Therefore, if the Club fare LHR-JFK went from GBP3000 to GBP2400 is sometimes irrelevant and revenue negative for the airlines since the decision of going Club or economy was done without looking at at the fare.


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8430 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 13169 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Whilst there are lot's of empty J seats, it does tend to be this way in July/August, the school kids are off and people are on vacation.

Certain routes will be hit harder than others, the PHX route out of LHR for example seems to be holding up well, at least from my recent flights.



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineMockney From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2007, 57 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 12966 times:

BA's Executive Club allows you to upgrade from WT+ to CW on transatlantic flights for 12,500 mileage points each way.

I upgraded a WT+ flight that had only been booked 10 days before to CW on the LHR - YYZ route and, as many people on forums (including on this site) have said, this is a great offer. What makes it better, is that during the recession, the premium cabins are emptier than usual.

Hence departing from LHR on a Saturday to YYZ my BA 747 upper cabin only had six people in it! More room than being in a full F cabin with BA!

Drop the number of MFU needed and remind your FF about the change and airlines will soon fill up their F and J cabins.


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 6744 posts, RR: 8
Reply 19, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 12899 times:



Quoting Mockney (Reply 18):
Drop the number of MFU needed and remind your FF about the change and airlines will soon fill up their F and J cabins.

Negative side of that is you encourage normal Y pax who traditionally use their miles for family members to start looking at moving up in life, might get more LCC clients, some not only care about the butt in the seat but whose butt it is  Smile


User currently offlineRacko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4856 posts, RR: 20
Reply 20, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 12590 times:

It's not the first time and won't be the last time J travel's demise is proclaimed. Yet in 2 years they'll all be back sitting in the front.

User currently offlineFxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7135 posts, RR: 87
Reply 21, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 12287 times:

Have an onboard auction for the highest bidder.

User currently offlineLipeGIG From Brazil, joined May 2005, 11368 posts, RR: 59
Reply 22, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 12167 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

1- Improve the ability to charge for last minute upgrades.
2- Reduce the number of FF required for business class travel
3- Increase the fare classes able to use FF miles to upgrade
4- Increase the number of FF seats for upgrade, charging a little more for the second tier of Economy fares able to upgrade
5- And of course, increase the number of seats available for discount business class.



New York + Rio de Janeiro = One of the best combinations !
User currently offlineReadytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 3054 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 12171 times:

Well I think this might fill a few seats.  Big grin

Big version: Width: 119 Height: 118 File size: 4kb
hooters



you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
User currently offlineTomFoolery From Austria, joined Jan 2004, 524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (4 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 12147 times:

I was on KL a few weeks ago, and they offered an upgrade for €300, or 32,500 miles (IAD-AMS). I thought that was a bit steep since NW charges 15,000 for an upgrade.

Generally, unless you are top tier elite, there is little chance of getting a seat in the pointy end on an intercon flight, especially with anything less than a Y class booking.


Tom



Paper makes an airplane fly
25 Khobar : Airlines have been doing this for a long time now and it's only made matters worse. Anyone who demonstrates the loyalty to obtain the upgrade should
26 SW733 : I do this on AA quite a bit. Heck, one time I bumped up from Coach to First on an ONT-DFW flight just because I was hungry...and crazy or not, the om
27 Slinky09 : I'm flying VS LHR-JFK on Saturday - Upper Class has 52 seats and 52 of them are full! VS always has, they vary the fee too according to LF on the day
28 Readytotaxi : You know I think the airline did, . . . . . but the girls never do.
29 Acey559 : Easy. Nonrevs. Of course this doesn't get you any yields, but it'll put butts in the seats.
30 Stylo777 : Especially on the North American market Lufthansa introduced some really cheap business fares, upgrades for less miles (35.000 iso 50.000/65.000) or a
31 Pylon101 : HOW TO FILL? EASY. We, the majority of pathtic Y class flyers, should start spending more...everywhere ...on everything. Whatever it takes! Then those
32 Slinky09 : Which, if you'll forgive, has killed US domestic first class!
33 Acey559 : I was joking, of course, but to be honest I haven't been around long enough to know what First used to be like. Even so, I always enjoy the rare occa
34 AirBuffalo : I think this is starting to happen from the european airlines ... I was on Lufthansa FRA-BOS a couple weeks ago and got the free upgrade at the gate.
35 MAH4546 : AA sells last minute upgrades to Europe and South America for a flat $500 charge; Asia is $750; India is $1,000.
36 Alasdair1982 : If the UK government introduced the same APD across all classes (economy levels of course), it would fill more seats perhaps? Then again, this is the
37 Srbmod : Delta does if you have a ticket in one of the higher coach fare classes. Some fare classes allow you do use SkyMiles, while others are $$$ only. My t
38 Azingrew : Brussels airlines is offering business class to 5 destinations ( Madrid, Rome, Copenhagen,Stockholm and Geneva) for just 12500 miles. A free ticket on
39 BlueFlyer : $500.00 per TATL leg on US. Available 24 hours before departure.
40 Rbgso : DL already employs this tactic with amazing regularity and impressive numbers.
41 Ua777322 : I wonder if US carriers have a higher percentage of non-rev's in their business class cabins then their European counterparts. I don't know about othe
42 AmricanShamrok : Airlines should try and overbook flights and bump some of the higher-paying economy passengers into first/business. This way ordinary "economy" people
43 DavidYYC : AC offers Last Minute Upgrades depending on availability and the kind of ticket purchased. Only offered to Tango plus, and Latitude fares. If its avai
44 APYu : It wouldnt cover the cost of the facilities and devalues the product. £300-£400 may be appropriate. At £150 youd get chavs and annoy your regular
45 Post contains links Viscount724 : Since you refer to "the last few weeks", keep in mind that the summer is always a slow time for business travel especially to/from/within Europe as a
46 OP3000 : BA does a lot of check-in upgrade discounts, but from coach to their premium economy. So I'm guessing its tougher selling business class upgrades whe
47 AvroArrow : How about having a lottery at the gate, if business class is empty, raffle of a half dozen seats at 10 or 20 bucks a ticket, hopefully the cost would
48 AA777223 : plus a not-insignificant 60,000 mile charge.
49 CAP2008 : The biggest problem with this, and upgrading FF's on International, is the fact that people just assume they'll be able to buy a Y ticket, then upgra
50 EbbUK : My thoughts for the changing times are, is for airlines to drop business class and re-brand it as Premium Economy. Keep First as is. Sure it will erod
51 Abrelosojos : = Interesting - because my company (and as a consultant, my clients) have the exact opposite mantra. While this might hold for larger companies, many
52 Tullamarine : I sort of agree with EbbUK. If you look at the modern J Class, it far exceeds the features of the P class of 15 years ago. The airlines have had to in
53 Pellegrine : Totally understandable. And I feel many companies' policies are like this. Maybe though it is time for a revisit of company policy in light of the ch
54 Tockeyhockey : to me, it doesn't make sense that a business class seat gives you maybe 30% more room over coach but costs 150% more. i understand that there are addi
55 Warren747sp : Make Z class much easier to book instead of the silly rules which requires booking one in advance. It will get filled up very quickly.
56 Jasond : I flew MEL-PER six weeks ago, every business class seat empty. They should have the smarts to identify regular economy travellers, I have done 16 flig
57 Baroque : At last a pollie free flight? There are probably a few memos wandering around airlines with a similar message to yours looking for a home. I think on
58 Slinky09 : I agree, as in my comment earlier - when you have degraded your product / pricing so much that 80% of premium seats are filled by Y passengers who kn
59 OP3000 : Now would be a good time for carriers to also run reduced mileage promotions to fly J. Its a way to reduce non-rev seats in the future, and is a good
60 MillwallSean : I am not so sure about all these promos that people here suggest. the most important customers are often businesses. They often have a policy and pric
61 Aviationwiz : I wouldn't be so sure... I've seen flights where 50% of J is filled with non-rev's. It's rare, but it happens. How so?
62 Amirs : LY now upgrades from almost all classes to Business and First. On flights were they can close off one of the C class sections or if the First class do
63 OP3000 : Agree 100%. However, businesses being price inelastic as they are, they are also not going to fly when there is no business to be done (as is the cas
64 AirbusA6 : Our organisation's travel policy is Y+ going west over the Atlantic (i.e. the day flight) and C going east (i.e. the night flight), so that staff can
65 MMEPHX : I recently flew DTW-AMS in J on NW, taking advantage of a business class fare I could now afford and was amazed to find that the cabin was full in bo
66 Rdwootty : The summer is always bad transatlantic and good airlines know this and offer great deals in the summer. This year it is apparant that the bsiness men
67 MAH4546 : You are referring to mileage upgrades, which are 25,000 miles+$350 co-pay to Europe each way. I am referring to LFBUs, which are $500 regardless of f
68 Huxrules : I think they are just going to have to lower the price for those seats. Why buy a ticket for 4k when you can get one for 800$. I think the biz class s
69 Jasond : Indeed, I do Canberra regularly as well, different scenario there
70 GayStudPilot : Been there, done that, not going back! LOL I'd fly another airline.
71 Pellegrine : Look at a seat map for a competitive international carrier. One J seat takes up way more than 150% the space of one Y seat. More like 3:1. So the tic
72 Post contains links Andie007 : There are very good business class fares from Germany within Europe on KLM metal. For promotion see here: http://www.klm.com/travel/de_de/camp...ers/b
73 Fn1001 : I often fly LH, BA and OS within Europe, and I pay the ticket by myself. The business class seats usualy are as narrow as the economy class seats. The
74 ManuCH : Talking about that - are there any carriers offering better pitch or wider seats for Business flights inside Europe? Otherwise it just doesn't make s
75 APYu : What about: Access to lounges Dedicated Check In desks Fast Track Security Facilities Priority Baggage Handling Increased Hand Luggage Allowance
76 OP3000 : That's only a relevant difference vs. Y if you are not an elite FF. That I know of only a daily MAD-FRA on an LA A340.
77 ManuCH : OK, makes sense... but I'm thinking about the average intra-european 2-day trip with only a hand luggage. Is the price difference really worth it if
78 Fn1001 : Accesss to lunges: only if you have a FF status, and if you have the time to go there. Dedicated Check In: I use the Check In Machine as often as pos
79 ChiefT : Should we consider, that it is an advantage for a C-Class passenger, that he/she can easily change bookings, even during the trip? I think that is an
80 APYu : You are more likely to see business class removed altogether on intra european flights than a real 2 class config. Its just not flexible enough. BA h
81 LipeGIG : That's interesting. Not a bad deal at all... do you know Mark if it's for any fare ?
82 Bongodog1964 : Long haul or short haul ? Each time I've flown long haul from LGW J has been either full, or at least 90%, with WTP the same.
83 APYu : Short Haul - Where Club is primarily full of the cheap £59, £69 and £79 upgrades
84 Yellowtail : CO does so. Jsut last week I was offered an upgrade for $300 at check in. I declined or else I would have to pay for 6 family members....but on the f
85 MAH4546 : Yes, even deep-discounted Q fares.
86 Hardiwv : This is something AF/KL could consider. In many routes KLM is now selling Y tickets for the C cabin with Y service (restricted to B747 operated fligh
87 PHKLM : I think an airline can use operational upgrades (elites, but also by overbooking Y cabin), cash upgrades, cash&miles upgrades, miles upgrades, voucher
88 Hardiwv : They are all valid alternativies although I have never seen AF/KL promote 2 x 1 sales. KL is now also offering a "seat auction" for elite members on
89 Bongodog1964 : I've thought in the past that £59 is an absoloute bargain for an increased baggage allowance, lounge access with free papers, food and drink, priori
90 Viscount724 : In my experience most of those so-called benefits are of little use to most shorthaul business travellers within Europe. I and most people I know che
91 CityofAthens : It depends on aircraft type but TK has been using longhaul aircraft with 3 cabins on the LHR-IST run (777) and A330 (2-class) whilst Olympic offers a
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