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"All Suite Airline"

Tue Dec 19, 2000 4:28 pm

Back on my all First Class-airline subject again!

Picture this:

Each day, there are 8 flights (give or take one) by US or UK carriers on the LAX-LHR route. On average, those aircraft have 14 seats in their First Class cabin, for a daily total of approximately 112 First Class seats, each going for a bit over $10,000/rt (AA quoted me at $13,5).

What if some small airline started operating the LAX-LGW route with a 767-200, configured in an "all suite" layout of 16 suites, each capable of holding two passengers, for a total of 32 passengers possible. Do you think that the airline could attract 16 of those possible 112 First Class passengers? READ ON.

Each suite would be the equivalent length of six windows (four for the actual suite, and two for the lav/shower unit), much like this Airbus A319CJ pictured here: . Each suite would be equipped with two extra wide couches (facing eachother) with lowerable center armrests (for "sleep mode"), and an extra large fold-out table located next to the window, so passengers can take advantage of the aerial views as they dine. Separate lavatory and shower facilities for each suite would be included (space/weight-saving showers pioneered by SQ), as would be state-of-the-art video and audio entertainment.

Pricing would be not per seat, but per suite. Each suite would be in the range of $10,000-$11,000, single occupancy, with an additional person added to the suite for only $5,000 more. Priced competitively to the Seat-Suites of UA, BA, VS, and AA for a single passenger, and priced extremely well from the standpoint of two passengers travelling together.

Limo transfers to the passenger's hotel or residence from LGW would be available, as well as helicopter service to LHR and the city center. Limo transfers to the passenger's hotel, residence, or city center from LAX would also be available.

A little run-through of the actual flight:

Upon boarding, passengers would be shown to their suite, their belongings stowed, and a pre-departure drink offered. Passengers would then be offered a small booklett, highlighting the features of the suite, the video entertainment guide, the menu, as well as other flight details, such as the planned route and airport information.

Shortly after takeoff, flight attendants would let each suite passenger know that they may either choose to dine immediately after takeoff, or at their leisure. All passengers must do to request anything during the flight, from dining to help with a customs form is lift the handset provided in the suite, which will connect them to a flight attendant. Following this, cocktails and apperatifs would be offered, and whenever the passenger chooses, a six-course meal would be served en-suite.

If a passenger requests the turndown service, a flight attendant would quickly convert the couches into a 6'6" long, double bed, complete with 'mattress', sheets, duvet, and down-filled pillows.

:45 prior to landing, flight attendants would suggest passengers prepare themselves (ie: shower, shave, etc.) for arrival. This would also serve as the final opportunity to enjoy a meal before landing.

:15 prior to landing, flight attendants would begin preparing the cabin for landing, returning the beds to their takeoff/landing positions as couches, as well as take any service items.

After landing, passengers would proceed down the "FasTrack" line through Customs and Immigration, arriving at the concierge desk where they would be able to hop in their awaiting limo/helicopter.

16 suites @ $10,000/rt = $160,000/rt.
16 suites @ $10,000/rt + 16 addt'l pax @ $5,000/rt = $240,000
One 767-200 @ $70,000 operating costs/rt (11 hr. flight) = at least $90,000 operating profit/rt.

F L Y 7 7 7 U A L

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RE: "All Suite Airline"

Tue Dec 19, 2000 4:38 pm

Forgot to add something:

By offering two seats in the suite for only $15,000, that's $7,500 each seat, bringing the cost (based upon two people) down to Business Class levels (480-seat opportunity there, based upon approx. 60 seats/plane and 8 flights).

Total premium seats now available: 592 seats.

F L Y 7 7 7 U A L
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RE: "All Suite Airline"

Tue Dec 19, 2000 7:10 pm

Don't forget you have to pay the crew (which I assume there will be a fair few...), landing charges, and maintanence. Its a nice idea though. Are you sure about those prices? They are in US$, right, cos it seems a heck of a lot more expensive than what I recal...
"It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens." - Bahá'u'lláh
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Tue Dec 19, 2000 8:12 pm

If your airline would have 10 flight's a day between LHR-JFK, it could work.

But where are the slots.....?  

the WorldTraveller

RE: "All Suite Airline"

Tue Dec 19, 2000 9:24 pm

A UK carrier called Newlines was considering doing something like this ex STN with a 757. Latest I heard is that it has folded before it even started.

The main problem is that only a major carrier like BA, AA or UA could really do this effectively as business travellers require the flexibility of large carriers and their route networks, interline feed, FFPs etc, and as World Traveller says, frequency. In short, a startup has no chance unless ih has a close alliance with a major.

Indeed Qatar Airways has bought several A310CJs for services from the Middle East to Europe (especially UK).

Finally, look at the revenue load factors in First. Not all that high - mainly filled with FFP members on upgrades and airline staff. Realistically, for your operation, FLY777UAL, you'd need to work on a 33% breakeven loadfactor. That means you have to spread your round trip costs (US$154,000) over 5 suites - that gives a round trip cost of US$30,000. There are certainly people around with that sort of money - the question is, will they pay it?

Don't confuse Concorde with subsonic First - what the Concorde pax pay a substantial premium for is that most irreplaceable asset of all ... time. If they wanted to be pampered, they would have flown First in the first place ... Concorde is a rather cramped uncomfortable aircraft.

Finally, your concept has already been pretty much designed ... check here:
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RE: "All Suite Airline"

Wed Dec 20, 2000 5:37 am

Cant do it with one flight a day, as peoples schedules vary.

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RE: "All Suite Airline"

Wed Dec 20, 2000 6:19 am

Virgin Flyer-
All of the costs have been included. See the post "767 Operating Costs" lists not only the 767, but also the L1011 variants, DC-10 Variants, 777, and MD-11. Kinda fun statistics!

Not quite sure about a few things in your post:

1) Where did the Concorde statement come from? Was that in regards to the in excess of $11,000/rt quote for First Class, because I checked for AA, UA, BA, and VS on the LAX-LHR route, and they were all up there, ranging between $10,000 and $13,500(AA). JFK-LHR had approx. the same prices. AA quoted me at $8,500 or so, the others higher.

2) I don't understand your $140,000 figure for operating costs. A 767-200 with everything from depreciation to landing fees costs only $3,500 per hour to operate. Multiply that by a ten hour flight, and you get $35,000 per ten-hour leg. Double it to find the complete, round trip cost of $70,000. Therefore, the cost to break even per suite (assuming only one passenger per suite), is $14,000. In reality, however, a good number of passengers in First Class travel together, and as the double occupancy price for the suite is $15,000, all that would be needed is five couples travelling together (easy to find from LAX-London) to cover the cost of the round trip.

Also, Ceilidh, where did you come across that Skylounge website?! That is one hell of a concept! Thanks very much for the link!  

F L Y 7 7 7 U A L

RE: "All Suite Airline"

Wed Dec 20, 2000 7:41 am

The real operating cost of a 767 is around US$7,000 per hour - ACMI rental on one is over US$5,000 per hour with a minimum utilisation of 350 hours per month.I have the DOT figures you were talking about, but they are really not representative at all! Fuel prices alone are more than double those quoted.

Glad you enjoyed the Skylounge website.
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RE: "All Suite Airline"

Wed Dec 20, 2000 3:13 pm

Well...that smashed THAT idea!  

Skylounge is fantastic...still can't get over their multi-function entrance...gotta love it!

Ceilidh- do you happen to have any stats for 737-700 or A319?


F L Y 7 7 7 U A L

Topic Author
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 3:49 am


Wed Dec 20, 2000 3:17 pm

Well...assuming I could capture 16 of those 112+ First Class seats, I'd still make $20,000 on each 767 flight! HAHA!  

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