sn330
Posts: 606
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 7:01 pm

US Carriers With Lay Flat Seats

Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:38 am

Hi all,

This is my first post on Anet, and I know there is a lot to learn about aviation on this website.

While a lot of airline companies are investing in their business class product (lay flat seats), most of the US carriers don't. Of course, this investment is implicating a lot of money but companies as CX are using this as an asset for customer loyalty as it is an improvement of comfort for the customer.

Aren't most us carriers therefore losing customers on international flights to and from major us cities?

NWA has had them installed one some destinations, AA not yet. Who's next.

sn330
 
avek00
Posts: 3159
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2004 5:56 am

RE: US Carriers With Lay Flat Seats

Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:41 am

CO's 777 BF seat is also a "lie-flat".
Live life to the fullest.
 
ord
Posts: 1356
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 1999 10:34 pm

RE: US Carriers With Lay Flat Seats

Fri Nov 05, 2004 4:11 am

United has them in first class on its JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO p.s. flights.
 
Jaxs170
Posts: 75
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2004 10:53 am

RE: US Carriers With Lay Flat Seats

Fri Nov 05, 2004 5:35 am

CO's BF seat on their tripples is almost but not quite a lie-flat seat, goes to about 160-170 degrees. The BF seats on the 767 and 757 only go to about 150 degrees. First class on AA's tripples are lie-flat, and I think the seats that were originally first class on US's 330s are lie-flat.
707, 717, 727, 732/3/4/5/6/7/8/9, 752, 762/3/4, 744, 772, MD-80/2/3/8, DC-9, F-100, A319/20/21, A333, DC-10, MD-11, ARJ,
 
ord
Posts: 1356
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 1999 10:34 pm

RE: US Carriers With Lay Flat Seats

Fri Nov 05, 2004 6:17 am

Oh, I forget to mention United also has them on them as the "First Suites" on 747s and 777s.
 
baw716
Posts: 1460
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:02 pm

RE: US Carriers With Lay Flat Seats

Fri Nov 05, 2004 7:53 am

First, welcome to a.net. I think you will find this particular forum very informative, stimulating and sometimes a little entertaining.

With regard to lie flat seats, in Business Class, NW comes the closest to a lie-flat seat in World Business Class on the A330. COs Business First has quasi lie-flat in the 777, but it does not go completely flat. It must also be noted that both carriers products are not horizontal, but slope down to the floor. This seems to be the trend in Business Class lie-flat seats.

United has introduced the SkyBed product that is currently used on Singapore AIrlines Raffles Class (Business Class) in their JFK-LAX/SFO transcon 'Premium Service' product on their reconfigured 757s. I suspect this is a test to see how popular these seats are with business travelers in F class domestic before making an investment in this product on their worldwide fleet. Herein lies the issue: United does not have the money to make that kind of spend on their aircraft unless they make some serious decisions regarding aircraft type for their long haul product. The SkyBed can be used on 777s and 767s, so if United were to reconfigure themselves for two cabins on the 767 and the 777, then they might be able to handle a phased in introduction of that product.
I believe these seats cost in the realm of $50K per seatpair, so if you do the math, it is in the hundreds of millions of dollars to reconfigure their fleet, which they do not have the money to do right now.

US carriers are losing some traffic to the lie flat international carriers, especially those that are within their alliances. The problem is this: These airilnes need to recapture that market in order to become profitable again. In order to do that, they need to put in the seats. They do not have the money to put in the seats, so they can't capture the market. It is a chicken and egg argument. My view is that both all the US carriers who operate overseas will have to modify their products in order to be competitive. When this will happen is an open question, since more carriers seem to be headed the way of Chapter 11 these days.

My belief is that it will take some investment on the part of the alliance partners if the alliance is intent on building a consistent product across all the airline brands. Since Star is the alliance in the best cohesive management shape, they may just be able to scrape up the cash to loan to United for the fleet overhaul. However, in return, there will definitely be more pressure on United to revenue share on all the alliance markets. While United perceives this to be a bad thing, if they do revenue share, then all United has to do is increase its market share by improving the onboard product beyond the seat issue. In this way, even if the share the revenue, they will get a bigger piece of the pie, since revenue share payouts tend to be based on the market share percentage of passengers carried on the route operated by two or more alliance partners.

As you can see, the issue is much more complex than just losing passengers to the competition. I hope you find this post helpful in your understanding of the issue, and once again, welcome to a.net.

baw716
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
 
AA7573E
Posts: 468
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:34 am

RE: US Carriers With Lay Flat Seats

Fri Nov 05, 2004 7:56 am

AA has them in the First Class sections of their large 777 fleet, and will soon be adding a lie flat Business Class product as well.
See you up front!
 
avek00
Posts: 3159
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2004 5:56 am

RE: US Carriers With Lay Flat Seats

Fri Nov 05, 2004 11:35 am

"My belief is that it will take some investment on the part of the alliance partners if the alliance is intent on building a consistent product across all the airline brands."

Problem is, the major alliances (or more precisely, the stronger members of major alliances) have zero desire to actually do this. Why would BA want AA to have a lie-flat product on JFK-LHR? Why would AF want CO to have a lie-flat on EWR-CDG? And why wouls SQ want UA to have a lie-flet on LAX-NRT-SIN?
Live life to the fullest.
 
AAplatnumflier
Posts: 958
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2004 1:40 pm

RE: US Carriers With Lay Flat Seats

Fri Nov 05, 2004 11:40 am

AA is soon also to get lie-flat seats in Business of the 763. Would anybody happen to know when though??

Thanks in AAdvance!!
 
upsmd11
Posts: 643
Joined: Sat May 17, 2003 10:56 am

RE: US Carriers With Lay Flat Seats

Fri Nov 05, 2004 12:35 pm

US has them on their A330-300 fleet in the first row of Envoy. I flew Envoy back in September and enjoyed getting the 1st row.

I also flew in regular Envoy and it was pretty nice as well.

John
 
sn330
Posts: 606
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RE: US Carriers With Lay Flat Seats

Fri Nov 05, 2004 7:59 pm

Thkx for the info baw716.

But even if the alliances have common interests I don't think that they are the providers of the money for such investments. Has it happened before?

Maybe that money must come from "cost cuts". For example; when I stayed at nrt two months ago and I looked at the runway at one moment there where 6 UA planes queuing for take of. I don't know about the load factors (can I check this somewhere), but maybe there is an over capacity.

Of course there are different ways to look at this problem.

sn330