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Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l First?

Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:01 am

We've all seen the upgrading of international business class offerings, including the blending of J and F, e.g., VS. A lot of posters on a.net have discussed the demise of international first class. However many carriers still offer international first class -- albeit some with smaller cabins, e.g., LH and some on limited routes, e.g., AF.

Which routes are the most lucrative for international first class? Do forward looking trends suggest these routes will remain viable for F?

As a large international network carrier, does DLs strategy of not offering international first class on select routes help or hinder it -- and to what degree?
 
JOYA380B747
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:05 am

I may be out of depth here but I believe the major ones to be,
LHR-JFK
LHR-SIN
LHR-DXB
HKG-NRT
HKG-SIN
LHR-HKG
LHR-NRT
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DTWLAX
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:12 am

LHR-LAX will all the Hollywood traffic
 
Gemuser
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:20 am

Quoting questions (Thread starter):

Which routes are the most lucrative for international first class? Do forward looking trends suggest these routes will remain viable for F?

SYD/MEL-SIN-LHR
SYD/MEL-LAX
These routes keeping F with the A380 on QF.

Gemuser
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bomber996
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:04 am

I'm gonna take a shot in the dark and go ahead and say all of NYC - London. After all it was home to the Concorde, the single class A318 JFK-LCY service and numerous airlines that currently, or used to offer single class service on these routes. I don't have much evidence to support this claim, but that's my guess.

Also, It's not international first class, but I would venture to say that NYC-LAX is a pretty big market too with both AA and UA running premium service aircraft on this route.

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slcdeltarumd11
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:31 am

This question has different answers based on how you look at most lucrative.

-There is probably the most lucrative overall route like say JFK-LHR for example as a route with tons of carriers and flights tons of F seats sold
-most lucrative for an airline example say BA on NYC-LHR but other carriers might not be as lucrative
-and single most profitable flight say ZHR-HKG on swiss (pure example). The single most profitable flight is probably one that just packs them in and has less competition to reduce fares not one of the big competition routes
 
santos
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:14 am

I would have thought that routes with limited flights would be the ones that make the most profit, something like LHR-LAD and other oil destinations! I could be wrong tho.
 
IndianicWorld
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:30 am

NYC-London it must be.

Asia-Europe routes must be growing too, but the importance and size of NYC and London, especially to the financial services industry, really would put it in its own league I would suspect.
 
qf002
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:30 am

Quoting gemuser (Reply 3):

LAX is said to be far more profitable for QF than SIN/LHR is, especially in F (and J). The fares are pretty similar to LAX and LHR, but operating to LAX costs significantly less.
 
UAL777UK
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:43 am

Quoting IndianicWorld (Reply 7):
NYC-London it must be.

But is it? Loads of F seats daily by AA and BA for example but are they lucrative as the OP stated or filled by a lot of upgrades who paid the J fare and are FF's? I would love to know.

I think LHR - LAX/HKG for BA has got to be up there.
 
AirGAbon
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:59 am

I would say:
CDG-LAX/IAD/NRT/LAD/LBV/ABJ/SIN on AF
FRA-JFK/HKG/SIN/LAD/NRT on LH
 
ORDJOE
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:32 am

NYC to any alpha city, ZRH to many also. ORD toICN possibly,I could see certain GRU routes.
 
skipness1E
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:35 am

I spoke to an analyst once who said it was HKG-JFK or HKG-LAX, I forget which. So much frequency even on a winner like NYC-LON, depresses yields slightly.
 
qf002
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:06 am

LHR-NYC has so much F capacity that I find it hard to believe that it's a particularly lucrative route. I highly doubt that there are 300-odd people everyday paying to fill all those seats. VS made the decision a long time ago to drop F, and now DL is flying NYC-LHR without F. No doubt there is plenty of traffic, but I would have thought some flights would go out full of paid passengers, and others would go out empty.

The most lucrative routes will be those where one airline has a monopoly on F (or a duopoly I suppose), quite a long route and lots of traffic to fill the seats every flight. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a route out of HKG to North America, since CX seems to own virtually every single route there.
 
skipness1E
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:15 am

VS had an F product?? Are you sure?
 
qf002
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:53 am

Quoting skipness1E (Reply 14):
VS had an F product?? Are you sure?

I thought they did in the very early years, but it's highly likely that I'm wrong.

I doesn't really matter either way though -- VS has chosen not to fly with First Class despite NYC being their core route.
 
ORDJOE
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:55 pm

Quoting qf002 (Reply 13):
LHR-NYC has so much F capacity that I find it hard to believe that it's a particularly lucrative route. I

You got to understand though the amount of finance workers that are going back and forth, I have a few friends in wall street and a few working for London banks, and even middle mgmt at a lot of these firms are able to fly F in a 3 or 4 cabin aircraft. The other thing is you probably only need to sell a few F seats to make it profitable.

Quoting qf002 (Reply 15):
VS has chosen not to fly with First Class despite NYC being their core

VS does not attract enough premium traffic to need an F cabin, I can not see many businesses, especially ones in the US using VS as their carrier. It has always been more of a leisure airline.

Quoting qf002 (Reply 15):
I thought they did in the very early years, but it's highly likely that I'm wrong

It must have been their very early years if they did. What the poster might be thinking of they might have been the first to offer a hybridized first and business, I think they were one of the first to have lay flat business seats and on board amenities for J pax comparable to F carriers
 
talisaman
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:10 pm

LHR-HKG. As I keep reading how airlines are gearing up for this route.
JFK-LHR Just a guess.
CDG-LHR this is probably the shortest daily flight by AF A380
JFK-CDG AF is using the A380 for this route and it's going to add second in July.
ATL-ICN both DL and KA do well on this route.
JFK-SIG this routes thru FRA with 1.5 layover and pick more flyers, A380 Singapore airline.
JFK-LAX be nice to see a 747 for this route again.

read all about it:

http://business.globaltimes.cn/world/2009-07/451152.html
 
B747forever
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:15 pm

Quoting talisaman (Reply 17):
CDG-LHR this is probably the shortest daily flight by AF A380

AF does not operate CDG-LHR with the A380. They used it only during a short period in the summer of 2010.
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
mogandoCI
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:16 pm

Quoting talisaman (Reply 17):
LHR-HKG. As I keep reading how airlines are gearing up for this route.
JFK-LHR Just a guess.
CDG-LHR this is probably the shortest daily flight by AF A380
JFK-CDG AF is using the A380 for this route and it's going to add second in July.
ATL-ICN both DL and KA do well on this route.
JFK-SIG this routes thru FRA with 1.5 layover and pick more flyers, A380 Singapore airline.
JFK-LAX be nice to see a 747 for this route again.

LHR-CDG is way too short a flight to justify flying F. I'd venture that many would already prefer the Eurostar.

How come no one has guessed LAX-NRT?
 
RyanairGuru
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:17 pm

Despite the fact that none of us really know, it is pretty unsurprising that a consensus seems to have emerged that it would either start or end (or both) in one of: LHR, HKG, JFK and ZRH.

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cedars747
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:20 pm

Quoting questions (Thread starter):
Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l First?

I know that CDG-BEY is a very lucrative first class route for Air france onboard B777 300R
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yellowtail
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:22 pm

If we are talking only F and not the entire route / profitability of the flight....then oil routes generally are the most high yielding up front. places like IAH-GIG, DME, AMS or connecting to oil destinations like DFW-LHR-LAD

I have been on an SQ flight out of IAH where F and J were completely full and Y empty.
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talisaman
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:30 pm

Correction: KA is Dragonair. I meant Korean Air. Pardon me folks.
 
qf002
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:35 pm

Quoting ordjoe (Reply 16):
You got to understand though the amount of finance workers that are going back and forth, I have a few friends in wall street and a few working for London banks, and even middle mgmt at a lot of these firms are able to fly F in a 3 or 4 cabin aircraft. The other thing is you probably only need to sell a few F seats to make it profitable.

I absolutely understand the amount of traffic there is on this route... But I also understand that there has been a mass move away from F (and even J) travel in recent years, and that this must have had a major impact on the amount of F traffic between LHR and NYC. Capacity has not contracted in the past 5 years alongside demand, which means that yields have to be dropping.

The lucrative routes are the ones that fill every seat at a high fare. This might have been the case with LHR-NYC 15 years ago, but it's certainly not the case today. Something like HKG-JFK is probably more profitable per F seat.
 
Cipango
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:36 pm

Quoting talisaman (Reply 17):
JFK-LAX be nice to see a 747 for this route again.

Although this route is very good for F class, its not International.

Quoting JOYA380B747 (Reply 1):
LHR-JFK
LHR-SIN
LHR-DXB
HKG-NRT
HKG-SIN
LHR-HKG
LHR-NRT

These are exactly my guess also, but I'd add in LHR-JFK.
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MAV88
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:39 pm

I am sure MIA has to be up there. Many people on here feel that Miami is a massive premium market.
 
UAEflyer
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:43 pm

JFK-DXB
LAX-DXB
KUW-DXB
BKK-DXB
JED-DXB
BOM-DXB
LHR-DXB

These routes are Money generators for the airline(s) working on them
 
mogandoCI
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:45 pm

Quoting qf002 (Reply 24):
Something like HKG-JFK is probably more profitable per F seat.

The only issue is that CX is actually very generous regarding redemption in F cabin (both AsiaMiles and oneworld partners), so whether CX is truly filling them with paid seats is questionable.

But one thing is certain - CX only puts in 6 F seats in their 777-300ER, so their break even requirement is probably really low.
 
Condor24
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:13 pm

I would have thought many of the African, Indian and Gulf routes to Europe, USA and Asia would be lucrative F class bearing in mind the wealthy folk that live in those first 3 areas.
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readytotaxi
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:33 pm

For BA I would have thought that Nigeria would be profitable in First.
Not to far,good flight timing allowing good untilization of aircraft B777, and lots of oil revenue.
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flymia
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:43 pm

Quoting MAV88 (Reply 26):
I am sure MIA has to be up there. Many people on here feel that Miami is a massive premium market.

I would imagine MIA-EZE and MIA-GRU is pretty good. Lots of business travel between the two. MIA-LHR is pretty good too but I would not compare it to LAX or JFK.
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irishpower
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:00 pm

I'm sure west coast-Asia flights are up there

SFO-HKG
SFO-NRT
LAX-HKG
LAX-NRT
SEA-NRT
SFO-TPE
LAX-TPE
 
A340600
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:15 pm

Quoting questions (Thread starter):
including the blending of J and F, e.g., VS

I've always thought that this is misrepresented. It is very difficult for a J cabin to come close to F for the simple reason of capacity. When flying F it is nice to know there are only 11 others sharing the facilities, it is a part of the exclusiveness you pay for. In J cabins with up to 70 seats (especially on A380) it will never have the same feeling, no matter how good the seat/service is.
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ORDJOE
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:43 pm

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 28):
The only issue is that CX is actually very generous regarding redemption in F cabin (both AsiaMiles and oneworld partners), so whether CX is truly filling them with paid seats is questionable.

JFK-HKG is a really hard ticket to get with AA miles, almost always I have read people go through YYZ and YVR to get CX F awards. I bet JFK-HKG actually sells most seats, also they only have 6 seats in that cabin.
 
jetblast
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:01 pm

Quoting readytotaxi (Reply 30):

To add to this ABV is served by a 777, LOS is a 747 service (both are daily).
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AirStairs
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:12 pm

NYC-LHR is an obvious one, but I'd guess that while the frequency of bankers going back and forth is a blessing for the route, it also probably means that many have tons of miles and sit in F as an upgrade rather than pay full fare the entire time. Then again, maybe not, I have no idea.

My instinct would be SYD-LAX for QF, I'll also go out on a limb and agree with some previous posts that restricted routes to oil-rich developing countries probably rank disproportionately high: LHR-LAD, LHR-LOS, IAH-LAD being those that come to mind.

Edit: It wouldn't surprise me if in 5-10 years several of the top 5 most profitable int'l first routes originated in Moscow or Sao Paulo.

[Edited 2012-04-23 10:14:24]
 
BigGSFO
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:27 pm

i would say routes with very little competition to oil rich destinations, like to Angola and Nigeria. JFK-LON probably gets a lot of upgrades but is probably also discounted due to the high level competition.

Also USA-Deep South America. Clearly the premium traffic is there since airlines will devote two widebodies for overnight flights in each direction.
 
qf002
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:48 pm

Quoting qf002 (Reply 24):

The other issue I've come up with as an argument against LHR-NYC is the overwhelming use of corporate discounting for the vast majority of the traffic here. Most would be covered by large corporate contracts, which will mean the fares being paid for most seats are lower than those advertised to the general public anyway...

This could be a consideration for any major financial centre-financial centre routes. I agree that monopolised routes to oil cities are probably the most lucrative...
 
JOYA380B747
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:53 pm

Quoting cipango (Reply 25):
These are exactly my guess also, but I'd add in LHR-JFK.

That's kinda understood isnt it   I mean the flights run both ways  
Quoting UAEflyer (Reply 27):
BOM-DXB

Yes, With the maximum frequencies to any city outside middle east from DXB, I'd say DXB-BOM sector pretty lucrative too.
If it wasn't for AI and those money mongers sitting in the parliament, 9W would have been as big as SQ...:(
 
Cipango
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:08 pm

Quoting JOYA380B747 (Reply 39):
That's kinda understood isnt it   I mean the flights run both ways  

My bad! Completely missed the VERY FIRST route. Apologies.   
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AeroWesty
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:38 pm

Quoting qf002 (Reply 15):
Quoting skipness1E (Reply 14):
VS had an F product?? Are you sure?

I thought they did in the very early years, but it's highly likely that I'm wrong.

VS never offered First Class. It was Upper Class from day one. £499 one-way LGW-EWR in the early days.

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sevenheavy
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:51 pm

Quoting ordjoe (Reply 16):

VS has never had a true first class product, but the assumption that they are mainly a leisure carrier is incorrect. They have a huge number of corporate contracts across the world, many with blue chip and high profile financial institutions.

Yes, they carry a large number of leisure passengers but their core customer base is the business traveller. They have 21 flights per day from LHR, all attract large amounts of business traffic. There are a further 7 or 8 daily flights from MAN/LGW which are mainly leisure, although even LAS, MCO and BGI carry more business customers than you would think.

Back to most lucrative routes, it's difficult to quantify. In demand terms it would be JFK-LAX/LHR, LAX-NRT, LHR-ORD but that doesn't guarantee they are lucrative due to the number of seats available. on a seat-mile basis I would say LHR-LOS, LHR-JNB, HKG/NRT-JFK, NRT-LAX.........I'm sure I'm missing plenty of others
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PHX787
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:53 pm

Anything So-cal to NRT is usually full. Someone told me that the DL leg from NRT which is currently run on an A-330 is going to be upgraded to 744 when some of the fleet mods are complete.
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roseflyer
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:05 pm

I know at one airline the highest revenue First Class cabin was SFO-HKG. It had the highest published fares in the network for a nonstop route and has a very low proportion of upgraded passengers. Usually the only upgraded passengers were at the unpublished highest elite tier.
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2travel2know2
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:59 pm

Any route into very frequency restricted LAD.
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mozart
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:45 pm

Quoting cedars747 (Reply 21):
I know that CDG-BEY is a very lucrative first class route for Air france onboard B777 300R

It is not. Even if many people in BEY pretend that it is and derive some sense of pride from it.

What is true that CDG-BEY is one of the most lucrative routes in the AF network but not because of its loads in P (not great, often completely empty) but because of cargo. Which also explains why the B777-300ER is deployed on that route. There are only a few weeks every year when these flights are really packed with passengers (around vacation times basically) and lots of that traffic is not high yield.
 
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yellowtail
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:13 pm

Well by the looks of it for UA (at least)....one of their best yielding routes up front seems to be IAH-GIG....
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roseflyer
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:43 pm

Quoting yellowtail (Reply 47):
Well by the looks of it for UA (at least)....one of their best yielding routes up front seems to be IAH-GIG....

It is pretty easy to tell which CO routes were doing well up front (Belgium, Switzerland, etc) because they have been switched to the more premium dense UA equipment.
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jonnyclark
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RE: Which Routes Are Most Lucrative For Int'l Firs

Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:39 pm

Funny this post comes up within a few hours of Lufthansa reporting they are going to cut first class out of select international routes, obviously part of a cost saving exercise. Personally I doubt first class will be on any routes apart from asia routes in the next 5-10 years (and perhaps the weirdly unique NY-LON relationship)

quote: “[Over the next three years] we are looking to adjust growth in line with market demands,” a spokesman in Germany told Business Traveller. “It means first class will be dropped from a number of routes, a process we started a while back. A premium economy product, a concept which management rejected in the past, will be re-considered.”

http://www.businesstraveller.com/new...nsa-to-selectively-cut-first-class
http://wp.me/p2mH8F-3U
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