U.S. carriers have come to realize that in many cases First Class is the only weapon they have to not only fight the LCCs (who don't have it) to keep their passengers loyal, but also as one of the few ways to generate positive revenue when the LCCs undercut them so badly on Economy fares - especially the walk-up "extortion fares" where the majors made most of their money. As such, they are starting to restore amenities and quality that was removed post-9/11.
|Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 5):|
Personally the following things that are lacking from a domestic F class product within the US that need to be reinstated are:
Lounge access for all those on PAID F tickets.
does extend complimentary Board Room (and possibly even parter lounge, in some cases) access to their paid First Class passengers when travelling on a domestic itinerary. I am surprised none of the other majors have done do, but perhaps they're paid F passenger travel patterns are more loyalty-based and as such already have a club membership. I fly paid F on UA
but I am a member of the RCC, too. However, when it's more convenient and where AS
has a Board Room, I will take AS
since the lounge access is included.
Where domestic competition forces them to, domestic US carriers will offer meal service in F. UA
stopped serving meals DEN
entered the route, when they brought them back. Same with LAX
, where AS
serving meals forced UA
's hand to restore them.
Leisure travellers may penny pinch but those looking to fly in comfort are fairly price inelastic customers. Invest $5 into a decent meal and you can add $50 to the price of the ticket fairly easily I'm sure. After all in Europe where the seat in Y is pretty much the same as the one in J, Club Europe and other similar convertible seat products sells pretty well.
But how liberal are airlines like BA
in allowing upgrades from discounted - even deeply discounted - Economy fares to Club Europe? If they allow loss-leader fares to upgrade, that's going to affect the overall revenue potential of the cabin, which could impact service.
|Quoting Naritaflyer (Reply 6):|
People would not be willing to pay F fares for a sub-par product because they think you are overcharging them. But if you offer genuine First Class then my hunch is they would pay. It's all about people thinking they get value for money.
Some carriers, like AS
, are admitting that First is not significantly better then Economy, but they are no longer charging a significant premium for it, either. AS
often matches WN
fare-for-fare on many routes, including the ~$300 walk-up fare, but they then offer F for only $100 more. Now AS
F might not be as nice as UA
F (since it has a bit less legroom and no IFE), but when AS
wants $400 for an unrestricted F fare and UA
wants $400 for a restricted F or $800 for an unrestricted F, well my money goes to AS
And even when a fancier F is an option, like UA
's three-class domestic positioning flights between their hubs and gateways, not many people are going to pay $1200 for a First Suite ORD
on the 777 when they could get an F seat for $600 on the 757 30 mins later, even though the F suite is far more comfortable, but not like your going to sleep for only 2-3 hours.
For four hours, it's just not worth twice as much since the meal (which is blech, anyway) is the same. Sure, you get nicer and bigger wine glasses on the 777 and the ability to watch 10 channels of video instead of just one, but still... Especially if you can get C on the 777 for $700-800 which will cream F on the 757 and is almost good enough as F outside the seat.
I only fly paid F domestically now, since it's cheaper then doing pointless "mileage runs" to earn enough status and certificates/miles to upgrade. And you can believe value has meaning to me. But I'm not interested in paying $1000 for a lie-flat seat with 55" of pitch and 36 channels of AVOD when I'm flying between SEA
at 7am. I am, however, interested in paying $300 for a 21" wide seat with 38" of pitch and all the water and OJ I can drink.