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Joined: Thu Jul 22, 1999 5:00 am

European-Style Business Class In The USA

Mon Jan 22, 2001 6:45 pm

Forgive me if this topic has been discussed before, but I cannot think of search terms that would uncover such a thread.

After having flown several inter-European flights over the past few months, I am struck by the business class product offered on these flights. Most use a flexible divider and have convertible seats (but not all) so that the plane can be reconfigured to match demand. On many flights, it seems that business class seats take up almost the entire plane. Of course, the legroom on these seats seems to be the same as in economy.

Obviously inter-European business class is more expensive than economy, but I imagine that it is not as expensive as a domestic U.S. first class ticket would be.

My question is whether people think this style of business class should be intorduced by U.S. airlines and if it would be successful (a question obviosuly closely related to the first).

I see the European-style scheme offering several advantages to U.S. Carriers:

1. More flexibility
2. Allows airlines to upgrade all their elite fliers for what would be a little extra cost.
3. Easier and loess costly to upgrade disgruntled economy passengers.
4. Easier to offer award travel for frequent fliers.
5. More profitable in that it could be better at attracting premium passengers who would pay for a better (and more fleixble) service, but who would not pay for first class (maybe price it at full fare economy rates).

The big disadvantage is that I am not sure if passengers would find the service of enough quality to be worth the cost. However, if it is offered at a full fare economy price and comes with a package of ground services such as priority check-in and baggage handling, lounge access and full flexibility.

Let me know what you think.
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RE: European-Style Business Class In The USA

Mon Jan 22, 2001 7:49 pm

To really simplify it: American carriers do not want the cost of having to give this product to their customers. It would require additional catering, in some cases galley space, flight attendants (if their unions will let them serve meals...) and lounge space, to mention a few.
I remember one representative from a major carrier saying that the customer doesn't want it, but that striles me as odd, because I have spoken to a lot of customers who have seen what the European carriers offer and wondered why the US carriers don't foolow suit.
- I am LN-MOW, and I approve this message.