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Premium Economy On US Airlines?!  
User currently offlineLAX888 From Singapore, joined Oct 2010, 278 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 8134 times:

Hi there, not sure if this was discussed before but I tried to look it up but didn't find anything which satisfied me. Also I just joined recently so might not quite know all the tricks around the forum. So apologize in advance if I annoy anyone!   

What are the chances that US Airlines start to offer a proper Premium Y class? I don't mean what UA has with just a few extra inches of seat pitch but something a bit more substantial like BA, VS or the new gorgeous NZ Y+ seat being rolled out on the 773.

I can imagine the current economy probably does not allow big investments in a new cabin but it seems that the airlines who have introduced Y+ plan on keeping it around and more and more airlines are contemplating about introducing a Y+ product.

What are your thoughts on this? In Europe AF/KL/AZ have introduced it besides BA/VS and maybe the LH group might jump on that train too in due course.

Appreciate your comments!

cheers!

31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offline777ER From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 12082 posts, RR: 18
Reply 1, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 8099 times:
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As much as I would love to see Y+ on US aircraft, I really can't see it happening till the airlines start making money and at the current rate, most likly not for another couple of years. Only problem with offering Y+ is that the seat recline would need to be less then domestic F seats to help keep the F customers, but Y+ could happen

User currently offlinejpiddink From Netherlands, joined Feb 2009, 105 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 8052 times:

Quoting LAX888 (Thread starter):
In Europe AF/KL/AZ have introduced it besides BA/VS and maybe the LH group might jump on that train too in due course.

Well, the problem is that there is no real definition on what Y+ is. KL has indeed introduced Economy Comfort, but that is just a few inches of leg space and/or a row with just 2 seats. Service levels are identical to Y, so that puts it in the league of the Y+ offered by UA afaik.

In general, there are 2 sides to this coin:
1. if you fly a sector with a payload never approaching 100%, then removing a row or 2 might allow for increased revenue without leaving people on the ground
2. if you add a 'proper' Y+ class, then you may not only receive pax upgrading from Y, but also price sensitive J class pax who downgrade. That is (from an airlines perspective) not desirable.

So the question for any airline will always be: how do I create a little extra comfort/revenue for/from my economy-pax, without cannibalizing on income from business class pax.


User currently offlineAABB777 From United States of America, joined Oct 2007, 524 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 7957 times:
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It seems the US and Middle Eastern airlines both don't do Y+ (except for UA of course, which is not really a Y+ product, just a couple more inches of leg room). The Asian and European airlines do (not all of course). However, it can also be argued that QR, EY and EK's Y product is as close to a Y+ product you can have without truly making it Y+. QR and EY specifically, are leaps and bounds better that UA, BA, LH, AA, US, etc in Y.

User currently offlinessides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 21
Reply 4, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7701 times:

For US airlines, a Y+ product would only be viable on a limited number of transcons and international flights of 7+ hours. And, with most US airlines now only offering a business/first hybrid on even longhaul flights, the chances of more stratification in cabin classes is probably pretty slim.

Quoting AABB777 (Reply 3):
However, it can also be argued that QR, EY and EK's Y product is as close to a Y+ product you can have without truly making it Y+.

I've got to disagree here, at least with respect to EK. While not uncomfortable, EK's seat width is quite tight in its 10-abreast 777 configuration, and pitch is nothing close to what a true Y+ product is.



"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
User currently offlinePHX Flyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 541 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7592 times:

Quoting 777ER (Reply 1):
if you add a 'proper' Y+ class

Well, the question is, what is 'proper' for Y+. What some European airlines offer, qualifies more as a business class 'light'.

Personally, I am quite happy with the product of United, because all I really care about is the additional leg room. The most attractive feature of UA's E+ is the price: you get it free of charge or for a more or less 'nominal fee'.

In comparison, a roundtrip from Phoenix to FRA on BA in Economy Plus costs abaout as much as the same routing on US Airways in Envoy Class (=business). Given the choice between a coach seat with a few degrees extra recline versus a 6'4" flat bed (soon), I'll take the latter anytime.


User currently offlineLondonCity From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2008, 1452 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7586 times:

Quoting ssides (Reply 4):
I've got to disagree here, at least with respect to EK. While not uncomfortable, EK's seat width is quite tight in its 10-abreast 777 configuration, and pitch is nothing close to what a true Y+ product is.

I agree with you. Also note that EY is now reconfiguring its B777 fleet as 10-acrss in Y class. So out of the three main Gulf carriers, it is only QR will (at the time of writing) plans to remain at 9-across on its B777s.

As for the US carriers adopting Y+ ... I do believe the decision will be determined by the level of competition in future years. There will be the pressure to instal Y+ if more European and Asian carriers were to introduce the product.


User currently offlineairbuske From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 466 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7480 times:

I have heard from a reliable source that DL will be introducing PE on most of the widebody fleet by Summer 2011. Watch this space.

User currently offlineATLflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 735 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7449 times:

Quoting airbuske (Reply 7):
I have heard from a reliable source that DL will be introducing PE on most of the widebody fleet by Summer 2011. Watch this space.

PE with a new seat or using the same economy seats with more legroom?


User currently offlineairbuske From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 466 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7347 times:

Quoting ATLflyer (Reply 8):
PE with a new seat or using the same economy seats with more legroom?

Not sure, but I think it's the latter with more pitch and more recline. But if they want to maintain consistency across all the fleets, my guess is they would have to put in a new seat.

[Edited 2010-10-08 10:55:18]

[Edited 2010-10-08 10:55:35]

User currently offlinedl767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7306 times:

Internationally I could see it as a problem for US airlines. It's a lot like airlines that have Coach, Business, and First, where airlines started to see a lot of customers moving to business class instead of paying for first class. Adding a premium economy section runs the risk of losing premium paying customers. Domestically I think they could take some cues from Virgin America and their "Main Cabin Select" Basically mesh the idea with United's E+. Have some rows with extra legroom and provide free food and movies (if there is AVOD) for an extra price. It would be a different way to bring in some extra revenue without necessarily creating a whole new premium economy cabin.

User currently offlineFlyCaledonian From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2066 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 7275 times:

I think the ATI deals will help a call be made on this.

For oneworld there are two things at play: the merger of BA/IB as IAG; and the core part of ATI involving AA/BA/IB. If IB decides to introduce premium economy, then that might increase pressure on AA to do likewise, as 2 of the 3 airlines in the core ATI deal would offer the product. Also, AA might be watching the reaction of its passengers to World Traveller Plus on BA once ATI fully kicks in. One of the things about the deal is that AA/BA want to encourage metal neutrality. Yet BA regulars to the USA, who regularly use WT+, won't have that cabin option on AA. So they either have to stick with BA flights, or down/up grade on AA. AA will also become aware if some of its frequent flyers start using WT+ on BA in preference to previous flights on AA (in coach or business). Now this won't affect revenues as such, as AA/BA/IB will split them, but it might lead to pressure from various quarters for a consistent product offering, i.e. four or three class service on all carriers. Don't forget, AA introducing premium economy doesn't mean it has to introduce it domestically.

The rumours mentioned above that DL is looking at a premium eceonomy offering might be a sign skyteam wasnts to have that product on all DL/AF/KL flights, which also operate under ATI.

As for "new" UA, I think it's all up in the air. CO is a two class carrier, UA a three class (four if you count E+ as an extra class). A lot could depend on what the combined carrier wants to do going forward. Going for a CO type BusinessFirst product (and eliminating First Class on UA longhaul) could actually encourage the introduction of an economy plus product. But if First remains, and in time is rolled out to some current CO routes, then I think it might be less likely to see a true Y+ product. Also, LH has shown no signs of wanting to do Y+ yet.



Let's Go British Caledonian!
User currently offlineTravellerPlus From New Zealand, joined Nov 2008, 347 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 7186 times:

Quoting dl767captain (Reply 10):
Adding a premium economy section runs the risk of losing premium paying customers.

Qantas thought the same, but they have found that far more people upgrade from Y than downgrade from J. It can effectively fill a significant gap in the yield and value profile. It helps act as a customer service recover mechanism eg a down grade is not as severe between business and premium economy as opposed to standard economy.



What goes around comes around....unless your luggage is not on the carousel...
User currently offlineLondonCity From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2008, 1452 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7134 times:

Quoting TravellerPlus (Reply 12):
Qantas thought the same, but they have found that far more people upgrade from Y than downgrade from J. It can effectively fill a significant gap in the yield and value profile. It helps act as a customer service recover mechanism eg a down grade is not as severe between business and premium economy as opposed to standard economy.

That's the problem faced by two-class carriers like DL and CO. Now that both have or are moving to flat-beds in J class on int routes, there is an enormous comfort gap between J and Y on their flights. I don't envy airport staff having to tell a J pax booked on an overnight transatlantic flight to Europe that he or she will have to spend the next seven hours or in Y class.

It's not such a problem with UA and AA because if they are overbooked in J they can upgrade the pax to F class.


User currently offlineLAX888 From Singapore, joined Oct 2010, 278 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7083 times:

Thanks for those interesting comments.

I personally think there is a market for pax who would like a bigger seat, smaller cabin etc but can't afford to pay a C class ticket.

I also especially think it's an interesting option for airlines such as DL who only offer biz class and Y class. It really is a huge gap between those two classes.


User currently offline123 From Bolivia, joined Nov 2003, 745 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7063 times:

Isn´t US premium economy what others call tourist class? Because in Premium Economy you get free food!

User currently onlinekiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8525 posts, RR: 14
Reply 16, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7024 times:
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Since most US carriers already have premium economy on their domestic routes ( although confusingly they label it as "first class" ) it should be a relatively easy step if some of them were to decide to expand that product onto their longhaul routes , it could be similar to the existing domestic product , no lounge access , bigger seat than in economy , more leg room ... but hopefully with much improved catering and decent IFE over the domestic product ( and , obviously , without the confusing "First class" label ) .

I believe that a number of years ago BA mentioned that per square metre of floor space their most profitable cabin on some routes was actually premium economy rather than First or Business , it seems that more and more airlines around the world are finding that this is a way of improving yields by appealling to pax who are prepared to pay more for a better experience but are unwilling/unable to stretch their budget to J class . IT seems strange that so far no US carrier has decided to implement a separate Y+ product - I am sure that it would appeal to corporate customers whose travel budgets have been cut back to no longer permit F or J as it would be significantly cheaper but still allow employees to arrive at their destination in somewhat better shape to work than if they had travelled in traditional economy .



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15692 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 6985 times:

Quoting LAX888 (Thread starter):
What are the chances that US Airlines start to offer a proper Premium Y class?

The biggest thing is that Y+ is so new, a "proper" premium economy isn't really defined yet and will probably vary greatly between markets. Even business class is not nearly an apples to apples comparison around the. Airlines will experiment to find what works best, whether that is a business lite product, a few extra inches of pitch, or something in between.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineTravellerPlus From New Zealand, joined Nov 2008, 347 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6898 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 17):
The biggest thing is that Y+ is so new, a "proper" premium economy isn't really defined yet

I'd beg to differ. The branding might be new, but offerings which bridge the gap between the highest and lowest service levels are not.

Virgin Atlantic has been offering a product branded as Premium Economy for about 15 years now. EVA produced a similar product at around the same time. Like Qantas's use of the term "Business Class" the branding has stuck even if the service concept is not original. I read that Continental Airlines used to offer three classes of service on is 707's.

Business class was developed in response to the massive improvements in First on two class airlines. It featured seats which are found in long haul premium economy on airlines like BA, Virgin, Qantas or EVA. Now first class is judged on whether it has a suite and business classes offer beds. The service and price gap between economy is higher than ever before, irrespective of whether the airline offers 3 or 4 classes on long haul.

As they say, the more things change, the more things stay the same.



What goes around comes around....unless your luggage is not on the carousel...
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24643 posts, RR: 22
Reply 19, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 6789 times:

Quoting TravellerPlus (Reply 18):
I read that Continental Airlines used to offer three classes of service on is 707's.

As did other US carriers, mainly UA. It was a failure and didn't last long. Time and time again, US passengers have proven that their major priority is the fare. They weren't williing to pay more when AA and TW increased seat pitch in Y class and that also didn't last long.


User currently offlineeinsteinboricua From Puerto Rico, joined Apr 2010, 2943 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 6719 times:

How about making premium economy with just more leg room and a bit more recline, and making J an improved Y+ with free food? Obviously, the benefits keep stacking up as you move higher on the hierarchy.

Your base product is Y with standard seat pitch.
Y+ would be increased seat pitch and recline. To make it a bit more appealing, throw in 2nd free checked bag and/or priority check in along with J and C or priority boarding after C and J.
J would include a longer recline, more seat pitch, checked bags free, and food, in addition to the current airport services (lounge access, priority check in/boarding).
C, the ultimate travel class, would be the best accommodations possible, food (duh), checked bags fly free, lounge access, etc.

I would be willing to pay for the Y+ seat. I like having leg room and a larger recline.



"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
User currently offline777ER From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 12082 posts, RR: 18
Reply 21, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 6638 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Quoting PHX Flyer (Reply 5):
Quoting 777ER (Reply 1):
if you add a 'proper' Y+ class

Well, the question is, what is 'proper' for Y+.

For the record, that wasn't may quote. A proper Y+ product is half way between J and Y. I would consider a proper Y+ offering to be what VS and NZ (NZs current Y+, not their new business style seat being rolled out next year) use. In todays world all the US airlines actually do have a Y+ offering on domestic as its branded as 'First Class' with higher fares


User currently offlinejeffrey1970 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1336 posts, RR: 12
Reply 22, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 6233 times:

Quoting LAX888 (Reply 14):
I personally think there is a market for pax who would like a bigger seat, smaller cabin etc but can't afford to pay a C class ticket.

It also comes down to will businesses pay for it for there employees. I am not sure they will at this time.



God bless through Jesus, Jeff
User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 39
Reply 23, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 5907 times:

Quoting ssides (Reply 4):
and pitch is nothing close to what a true Y+ product is.

I think EK's Y is not that close to a real premium economy. I'm thinking of like what Qantas has for premium economy, with big legroom, fairly large recline for the seats, etc.

QF premium economy is closer to what business class in the old days might have been, while first these days is on another league, and then above that, certain airlines are offering private or almost private suites that are outrageously luxurious. And just stopping on premium economy, what Qantas offers as domestic business class on B767-338/ER or B737-800 would be more than acceptable as premium economy, for me at least. Large enough seats, decent recline.

In fact, flying QF domestic business class on the 737-800 has to be one of the most pleasant flying experiences, with such a small, private feeling cabin.

Quoting jeffrey1970 (Reply 22):
t also comes down to will businesses pay for it for there employees. I am not sure they will at this time.

While penny-pinching might save a dollar or two here and there, the extra money is sometimes worth it to ensure that your employees arrive at the destination well rested and not completely exhausted. For me, economy class on long journeys is a no-go, I can never sleep at all in economy class, so I generally arrive at my destination in a completely exhausted state.


User currently offlineSchweigend From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 590 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (3 years 9 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 5287 times:

Quoting LondonCity (Reply 6):
So out of the three main Gulf carriers, it is only QR will (at the time of writing) plans to remain at 9-across on its B777s.

Hopefully it will remain so. Also, it's hard to picture US 777 operators going for 10-abreast -- their passengers' wide bottoms require wider seats!  

UA's recent move to reconfigure its 777s from 2-5-2 to 3-3-3 shows they have no intention to go 10-abreast, thank heavens.

Quoting FlyCaledonian (Reply 11):
As for "new" UA, I think it's all up in the air. CO is a two class carrier, UA a three class (four if you count E as an extra class). A lot could depend on what the combined carrier wants to do going forward. Going for a CO type BusinessFirst product (and eliminating First Class on UA longhaul) could actually encourage the introduction of an economy plus product. But if First remains, and in time is rolled out to some current CO routes, then I think it might be less likely to see a true Y product. Also, LH has shown no signs of wanting to do Y yet.

As others on a.net have stated, I think the new UA will have two-class aircraft on some international routes (secondary Europe, GUM, MNL, Latin America except Brasil and Argentina...), and to Hawaii, while keeping 3-classes to most European Capitals, Africa, Australia, Asia, and India.

Standardizing to just 2 or 3 classes across the entire route system would not be wise. They need to judiciously deploy the right aircraft with the right service levels for the destination served. Getting there will take time and work.

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 16):
Since most US carriers already have premium economy on their domestic routes ( although confusingly they label it as "first class" )

Domestic F on US carriers is no "premium economy" -- you have a larger seat in a dedicated cabin, with one or two dedicated flight attendants (more on a domestic widebody), as well as nicer meals, still usually served in separate courses.

Quoting TravellerPlus (Reply 18):
I read that Continental Airlines used to offer three classes of service on is 707's.

IIRC, CO quit three-class service -- P-J-Y -- on its international DC-10-30s and 747s around 1990 or -91, to go with the BusinessFirst hybrid product.

However, until the BF switch, they had maintained a dedicated two-class subfleet of DC-10-10s with only J and Y for HNL and GUM routes. Some of those still had the famed "Pub" located between J and Y into the late 'Eighties


25 kiwiandrew : You have just perfectly described the premium economy product featured on a number of intercontinental airlines .
26 BMI727 : Then what does that make European business class? That in some cases has less legroom than even United's Y+. They'd be stupid not to. I don't think t
27 Schweigend : Touché, mate! LOL I should add, however, that US domestic F class is superior to the domestic F/J product on the same "intercontinental" airlines yo
28 BD338 : I hope DL (or any US airline) do introduce a Y+ product on TATL etc. Y is typically a cramped and uncomfortable experience but the price difference b
29 frmrCapCadet : Classic Y was 6 abreast, and about 35 inches of pitch - and IIRC includes foot rests. One perceived it all as being quite comfortable. And it is what
30 Post contains images SkyPriorityDTW : Delta is looking into adding premium economy to international aircraft. I think it would be a great idea. It's an easy way to earn an extra dime
31 LAX888 : I actually meant Y + for international routes, not necessary domestic flights within the US. Although I can imagine it having minor potential on trans
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