Demoose
Topic Author
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First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 5:23 pm

Just been looking on the First Choice website and they've announced what their new upgraded long haul product will be for their expanded fleet of 767-300's.

Standard Cabin

- Fantastic 33" seat pitch giving more legroom
- Extra wide seats
- Complimentary four course meal and pre-landing snack
- Personal state of the art seat back 7" widescreen TV
- Choice of movies, music, documentaries and games
- Funky Amenity Pack
- Laptop connection

Premium Cabin

- Amazing 36" seat pitch giving more legroom
- Personal seatback 9" personal widescreen TV screen
- Choice of 30 channels with video on demand
- Four course meal with a choice of three entrées
- Complimentary drinks during your flight
- Dedicated Star Class crew
- Laptop connection
- Pampering Kit


They will also be including pre-flight drinks, ice cream parlour and snack service, and pre landing snack / hot towels.

Sounds like atleast one charter airline has seen the light and finally upgraded its onboard product to reflect the expectations of its customers. I hope the other charter airlines follow suit before First Choice put them to shame.

See the full announcement from First Choice here

http://www.firstchoice.co.uk/promotions/promo34/

Mark
Take a ride...fly across the sky
 
dazultra
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 5:35 pm

Wow thats nicely done with the 33" pitch on standard economy, quite a surprise to see a charter airline offering above average legroom  Wow! puts BA and the like to shame with their measly 31"

Daz.
 
oerk
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 6:12 pm

Well, the overall product would put some other transatlantic carriers to shame....

Give me a First Choice 767 over a Delta 767 any day if these improvements are true.
 
TriStar500
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 6:16 pm

How long until they have to scale back their new product line because the average inclusive tour customer is chiefly purchasing his holiday package by price and not fancy frills?

Don't get me wrong, I find it courageous that an airline is attempting to stem the "no frills" tide, but I have my doubts that people are willing to shell out more dough for more leg room, better food etc. .

Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
 
oerk
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 6:30 pm

First Choice does its own holidays and flights - I guess they are counting on becoming known for their supreme long haul flight service, and it will encourage people to check out their holidays.

As far as pricing goes, with UK operators its six and half a dozen to be honest.
 
Demoose
Topic Author
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 6:30 pm

Well their website guarantees the lowest prices in the UK for holidays. If they can offer all that for a good price people will pay. First Choice PLC are one of only a few tour companies in Europe actually making a profit at the moment, and its good to see them investing in new product to keep them ahead in the market.

They will have done alot of research into this. They already offer premium cabin service on their existing long haul flights and I've heard they are nearly always full with demand exceeding capacity. Increasingly people are willing to pay a bit extra for better service. So the demand appears to be there.


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Mark
Take a ride...fly across the sky
 
oerk
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 6:40 pm

Direct pricing seems to be as follows:

Manchester-Sanford Florida (May 2005):

£440 standard class
£660 premium class

based on 14 nights return (!!)

A bit earlier in the season... i.e. end of March 2005, they are charging a similar price. For the record, Delta are charging £329, with a connection in ATL. Thats more than £100 cheaper - the product is far inferior though. We will have to wait and see how the consumer reacts  Smile
 
BestWestern
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 6:50 pm

Amazing how the scheduled service of the worlds second largest carrier is inferior to that of a british charter carrier....

And I agree.

- Fantastic 33" seat pitch giving more legroom - Better than Delta
- Extra wide seats - Same as Delta
- Complimentary four course meal and pre-landing snack Same as Delta
- Personal state of the art seat back 7" widescreen TV - Better than Delta
- Choice of movies, music, documentaries and games- Better than Delta
- Funky Amenity Pack - Better than Delta
- Laptop connection - Better than Delta.
You are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a flight than an average person!
 
pualani
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 7:27 pm

Anyone know what the capacity on their 763s in Prem/Stan ?


pualani
 
lapper
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 7:28 pm

The trouble is the perception of a charter carrier. The public avoid travelling on charters because of their bad reputation for time keeping, in flight product, knees round your ears and so on. Also, for some peole there is the "snob factor" of travelling on say, Virgin compared to First Choice.
 
oerk
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 7:31 pm

Hey, if people wanna be snobs and suffer 31" seat pitch on Virgin for 9 hours.... they can go ahead!

I suspect it might take some time for First Choice to get a reputation for this service... but hey... they are in this for the long haul right?

Pun most definitely intended.
 
JGPH1A
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 9:24 pm

The "super wide seats" - does this mean they will be offering standard 767 2 x 3 x 2 seating instead of hideous charter config 2 x 4 x 2 in the Standard Cabin ? What will the seating arrangement be in the Premium Cabin ?
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
oerk
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 9:36 pm

Pictures suggest 2-3-2 in the standard cabin.
 
lapper
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 9:43 pm

It's all in the name and image though Oerk. You have to spend a long time building that up, and people respect the VS name, most of the travelling public who will fly to MCO will not be aware of VS so called apalling leg room. I'm over 6 foot, and personally find them not too bad.

I admit myself, I would be the first to turn my nose up at First Choice to fly to the States for example purly because of their image as a charter carrier. If I don't know anything about them I'm not likely to try, however their product does sound quite good but I'm not in the market to fly MAN-MCO at the moment. Let's hope they market this correctly to try and make a go of it.
 
BestWestern
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 9:43 pm

"super-wide" and "widescreen 7 inch TV" are a triumph of marketing over reality, but its far better than DL's 767 - which I have the pleasure of gracing every six weeks.

You are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a flight than an average person!
 
worldoftui
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 9:59 pm

How long until they have to scale back their new product line because the average inclusive tour customer is chiefly purchasing his holiday package by price and not fancy frills?

Don't get me wrong, I find it courageous that an airline is attempting to stem the "no frills" tide, but I have my doubts that people are willing to shell out more dough for more leg room, better food etc. .


I agree with Tristar500. Brilliant and courageous action. But having seen how tight - ar*ed most package holiday customers are, how little brand loyalty many have, First Choice are going to have to do a hell of a lot of work to get the message out to the public that they are worth paying more for.

Even with all of the good-will that Freddie Laker had in the UK, his early 90's venture to cross the Atlantic with premium service failed. There were many reasons, including the major high-street travel agents refusing to allow brochure racking, unless very high commissions were paid. However, much of the reason for the failure was that people were not prepared to pay a premium for that comfort.

Look at VS - they market their Econ product as a cut above the rest, yet they still have to have prices in line with UA, AA, FI and even AI.

If it works, and I hope it does, you can count on BY, MON and MYT following suit. Is about time the charter airlines lost their reputation as real "cattle-class" carriers. If not, well, we might see some egg on FCA's corporate face.

Mark
 
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Crosswind
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 11:20 pm

But having seen how tight - ar*ed most package holiday customers are, how little brand loyalty many have, First Choice are going to have to do a hell of a lot of work to get the message out to the public that they are worth paying more for.

Except First Choice haven't increased their prices for their summer 2005 long-haul program. They are not expecting passengers to pay a premium for this product against their major competitors, the company isn't naive enough to think that people are going to fork out hundreds of extra pounds to fly on these aircraft! What will work in First Choice's favor though is smaller seating capacity means it's easier to sell the holidays/seats on offer, which means less last minute discounts and selling holidays at a loss just before departure.

The capacity of the upgraded B767-300ER aircraft will be 258 - 63 premium and 195 standard seats.

The new aircraft will be used to the following destinations in Summer 2005...

London-Gatwick
• Antigua
• Aruba
• Cancun
• Holguin
• Prolamar
• Orlando Sanford
• Puerto Plata
• Punta Cana
• Varadero

Manchester
• Cancun
• Cozumel
• Holguin
• Montego Bay
• Nassau
• Prolamar
• Orlando Sanford
• Puerto Plata
• Punta Cana
• Varadero

Glasgow
• Cancun
• Puerto Plata
• Orlando Sanford

East Midlands
• Cancun
• Punta Cana
• Orlando Sanford

Newcastle
• Orlando Sanford

Regards
CROSSWIND
 
gkirk
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 11:31 pm

Nice to see them back on the NCL-SFB run
When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
 
bmiEMA19
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 11:34 pm

'The capacity of the upgraded B767-300ER aircraft will be 258 - 63 premium and 195 standard seats'
- This seems like rather a lot of Premium seats, when most "premium" cabins are sold on an 'exclusivity' basis. (As well as the fact that on the First Choice website it says 'First to board, you'll be greeted by the premium cabin's Star Class crew of 3'). They're going to be a busy 3...
 
worldoftui
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 11:34 pm

What will work in First Choice's favor though is smaller seating capacity means it's easier to sell the holidays/seats on offer, which means less last minute discounts and selling holidays at a loss just before departure.

I didn't realise that First Choice have not raised prices at all. All good news.

Am I being thick here though? Same aircraft, increased costs, smaller capacity, same income. Does that work out?

Also, the trends clearly show that more and more customers are waiting until relatively late to book their holidays. If First Choice do not reduce their last minute prices in line with their less comfortable competitors, those seats will remain empty.

Don't get me wrong, I want this to work, and I want to see a change in the whole charter setup in the UK. I just think that First Choice may have under-estimated how difficult this can be. After all, remember what happened to AA's More Room Throughout Coach? They said no premium for the extra space, then had to go back on it, in certain markets.

Anyway, good luck to First Choice.

Mark
 
mlsrar
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 11:39 pm

The pictures from the site show the upgraded T7-style interiors and overheads. Is this standard across their entire fleet?
I mean, for the right price I’ll fight a lion. - Mike Tyson
 
klik
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Wed May 19, 2004 11:56 pm

For the record, I believe Thomas Cook UK (TCX) has a similar thing going: 36" seat pitch throughout the cabin (757), PTV, etc... and that's just all out economy - no premium...

klik
 
worldoftui
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Thu May 20, 2004 12:00 am

Klik

I dont think that the Thomas Cook product you are talking about is standard, but specially reconfigured aircraft for their Canadian Affair charters. The rest of their 757's are in the standard 29in ish seat pitch configuration.

Mark
 
artsyman
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Thu May 20, 2004 12:10 am

The capacity of the upgraded B767-300ER aircraft will be 258 - 63 premium and 195 standard seats.
****

That seems like a hell of a large amount of seats compared to the other carriers mentioned above. How is it that they are cramming way more passengers into the same plane as Delta, yet offering a much larger seat pitch and more premium seats.

First choice - 195 standard seats vs Delta - 159 standard seats
First choice - 63 premium seats vs Delta - 36 premium seats
First choice total - 258 seats vs Delta total - 195 seats

Same aircraft, yet First choice are cramming in an extra 63 passengers into the same space. Logic will tell you that something doesn't add up here. Maybe First choice actually have a select few seats at 33" as opposed to the entire economy cabin.

J
 
worldoftui
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Thu May 20, 2004 12:15 am

Artysman

I wondered if it was because they were still going to have 2-4-2 in economy, but the picture on their website looks like 2-3-2.

mmm

Mark
 
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PA110
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Thu May 20, 2004 12:23 am

Crosswind,
Where did you get your capacity figures for the upgraded aircraft? Are you sure those aren't the current capacity figures. As Artsyman points out, the numbers just don't add up.

Actually, after looking at UA's domestic 767-300 configuration, it might be possible if FCA has eliminated every coat closet and extraneous bulkhead.

UA has a configuration of 34 First at 38" pitch and 56 Economy Plus at 35" pitch and 154 Economy at 31" pitch. Total capacity is 244, which is only 14 seats shy of Crosswind's stated capacity.

[Edited 2004-05-19 17:35:24]
It's been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
 
jamotcx
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Thu May 20, 2004 12:26 am

The capacity of the upgraded B767-300ER aircraft will be 258 - 63 premium and 195 standard seats.

Isnt that the current config?

Especially when BAL currently have 315 in 2 class config, 328 in all economy.

http://www.britanniaairways.com/


Jamo
 
artsyman
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Thu May 20, 2004 12:27 am

I wondered if it was because they were still going to have 2-4-2 in economy, but the picture on their website looks like 2-3-2.
****

This would just add to inconsistency, as First Choice are stating that they have "Extra wide seats", and thus should not be able to fit in 2-4-2.

J
 
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Crosswind
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Thu May 20, 2004 12:30 am

Artsyman,
The seating capacity adds up perfectly!

-----

63 premium seats
9 rows @ 36" pitch
7 abreast 2-3-2

Located between Door 1 and Door 2

-----

195 standard seats
26 rows @ 33" pitch
1 row @ 45" pitch (exit row)
7 abreast 2-3-2

2 rows @ 33" pitch (centre block of seats only)
3 abreast --3--

Located between Door 2 and Door 4

-----

No mid-cabin galley.
5 toilets - I forward, 2 mid, 2 rear.

Current config is 312, 38 premium (34/35" pitch 2-3-2) 274 standard (30" pitch 2-4-2)

Regards
CROSSWIND

[Edited 2004-05-19 17:45:45]
 
artsyman
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Thu May 20, 2004 12:49 am

Artsyman, The seating capacity adds up perfectly.
****

The capacity adding up isn't the issue for me, it is the math of the inches.

If you just add up the inches, then you see:

First choice offers 8703 inches of pitch throughout the plane
Delta offers 7089 inches of pitch throughout the plane

I am not saying what First choice is posting is wrong, I am just suggesting that it is unusual to offer way more seats, with way more pitch in the same size space.

J
 
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Crosswind
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Thu May 20, 2004 1:21 am

The figures are from the scale technical engineering drawings of the aircraft, and are correct. I would provide a scan, but don't have a scanner!

Adding total inches offered is meaningless, it fails to take account of Delta offering a 6 abreast First Class cabin against First Choice Airways' 7 abreast throughout the aircraft.

How about the number of inches offered nose to tail?
Delta
4 First Class rows @ 40" = 140"
34 Econonmy rows (not all full rows) @ average 31.5" = 1071"
Total = 1211" inches nose-to-tail

First Choice Airways
9 Premium rows @ 36" = 324"
29 Standard rows (not all full rows) @ 33" = 957"
Total = 1281" inches nose-to-tail

So in those terms FCA are offering the approx equivelant of 2 extra rows of seats.

Now, when you factor in that Delta have a mid-cabin galleys which First Choice don't have, Delta have an additional mid-cabin toilet and numerous closets and stowages that First Choice don't have, seems reasonable that removing the above items would provide that space doesn't it?  Smile

Charter airlines will aways make far more efficient use of space onboard their aircraft than scheduled carriers can...

Regards
CROSSWIND
 
oerk
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Thu May 20, 2004 2:02 am

Sounds like a good basis for any budding LCC who wants to go long-haul to be honest. Quite amazing if they manage to fit this many seats in with all that additional comfort.
 
jamotcx
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RE: First Choice Announces Its New Long Haul Product

Thu May 20, 2004 2:35 am

OOOOOPSSSSSSSSSSS

I read it as 358  Confused and its 258

my bad


Jamo

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