|Quoting Flybyguy (Thread starter):|
My question is that if Y is so unprofitable across the pond, why do airlines even bother having them if they offer multiple classes of service?
One of the main reasons is that the concept of free and open skies is very, very new. And thus in the past, all flights would need to be approved by both governments in some capacity.
The more overall pax an airline would take on a route, the more likely the governments would be to accept that route, because it would maximize tourism and business.
That's still the case with most bilaterals. If some airline were to propose an all J route between SFO
and China on a theoretical longer range 737, no matter how logical it might or might not be, senators from other states would object and play the "populace/class" card and say the country would benefit more from having UA
fly a 744 instead.
Further, for those routes with limited access, it artificially limits supply, and with the past regulated fares, it allowed for all airlines to profit. Once regulation went away, the limited supply is still a tool to keep the prices of all fares up.
Once skies completely open, various adjustments to routes, frequencies, and capacity happen. But there is quite a bit of legacy thinking and metal to deal with even in those cases. The launch of a massive 757 assault on the TATL market is finally bringing a new way of thinking to that market, which has been relatively open for a long time (certain airports excepted). One would expect that in the future, a 737 and A320 replacement would be designed specifically for this market.
You see some carriers like LH
and Suiss offering some all J products now, now that they are private and free to do what is best for them rather than what is best for some minister's district. You see others like BA
creating high premium configurations, and carriers like NH
doing the same, when the routes demand it, even if it means decreasing Y capacity. You see all premium startups (without legacy structure) try to offer premium only, since they don't want to "subsidize" Y, but the question is can you do without Y entirely and still run a viable airline...
It's too soon to really know how it should all be. Too much legacy metal still in the air, too much legacy thinking is still employed in management, open skies agreements are all relatively new or still being negotiatied. But in 20 years, we'll see how much has changed.
Who knows. The next 737 and A320 versions might reintro the convertible concept, which would allow the same plane to offer Y seats in the summer, and be all J in the winter, and fly transatlantic. Or even be all J on days where there is demand for that, and offer Y on other days.
But one thing we can be sure of. How the industry looks 30 years from now will be very different than how it looked 30 years ago...
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.