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VC10er
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Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:33 pm

I believe we all know that true First Class cabins are being phased out in lieu of a greatly improved business class experience on many carriers who used to have 3 cabin 747's in abundance, even on some airlines that perhaps just 5-10 years ago, I would have thought "never them!"

Yet we have seen many airlines moving toward being an essentially 2 class airlines, even on their longest hauls. (Sometimes now with a new nice "enhanced" economy seat+service, not just 4.5 inches of additional legroom).

Once upon a time, (long ago), I could have never imagined that even UNITED would have done away with First Class! This (not so) new 2 class strategy makes perfect sense to me, I totally understand the numbers as there have been threads here explaining the math over-and-over for years.

That said, there are still some airlines where moving to a fleet-wide 2 class configuration seems unthinkable. Emirates, Singapore are just two examples that I could never, ever envision getting rid of their outlandishly luxurious First Class cabins. (In fact, they even created something above First Class with mini apartments - I could see them go away one day)

I assume the airlines I consider "NEVER" actually sell those seats with huge fares without any problem, case in point: clearly Jennifer Aniston is happy to pay for it!

So, I ask, which of these famous global luxury airlines would never, ever get rid of First Class no matter the market dynamics (probably because they are drivers of their luxe image), and which ones could be borderline? Could the day come for a blended Business and First for Lufthansa, Swiss or British Airways? Any Asian carriers such as Air China, Cathay or Qantas and others?

Last thought, If more and more traditionally 3 class international airlines go to a 2 class with a better business class, I presume the next war would be "who has the BEST of the BETTER BUSINESS CLASS" seats? Therefore would we see (for example only) a SWISS or Lufthansa style First Class becoming the single premium offer?

(p.s. I am on a UA 77W in Polaris seat, RT from EWR/SFO and I am stupidly excited about it, even though it wouldn't be the full international experience)
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davescj
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:38 pm

I would expect that Cathy, Qatar, JAL, ANA, and Saudi will be unwilling to give up a First Class. At least for the foreseeable future I doubt that BA will give up FCL. AF I suspect will slowly phase it out.
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anshabhi
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:47 pm

Middle Eastern QR, EK and ET who provide top class first class services, will always have them.
Also, Singapore Airlines.
 
VC10er
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:49 pm

I agree that I have difficulty imagining Cathay, Qatar, JAL, ANA and Saudi giving them up as well. But I also think a couple of those (and others) may see a drop in sales because the truly great 2 class seats and service will suffice and cost a lot less. Of course the super rich wont stop because for them the cost, no matter how outlandish to me, the cost is simply pocket change for them. On top of social status it demonstrates.
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readytotaxi
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:10 pm

As BA is trimming the level of service on their First Class why not just cut the number of routes it offers it on and UP the service level on what is left.
Routes such as JFK,BOS,LAX,SFO,SIN,HKG and cut MEX,JNB,CPT,ACC,CAI,NBO,TLV. Would call BA First a True product at the moment.
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BobPatterson
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:17 pm

If First Class and Business are combined, why give up the name First Class? Upper Class would sound a bit snobbish.
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HimalayanFlyer
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:17 pm

VC10er wrote:
I agree that I have difficulty imagining Cathay, Qatar, JAL, ANA and Saudi giving them up as well. But I also think a couple of those (and others) may see a drop in sales because the truly great 2 class seats and service will suffice and cost a lot less. Of course the super rich wont stop because for them the cost, no matter how outlandish to me, the cost is simply pocket change for them. On top of social status it demonstrates.


Qatar only have First on their A380 if I'm not mistaken, given their new business class offering I wouldn't say they are wedded to First class. Etihad and Emirates maybe.
 
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:23 pm

I guess one of the first to blend Business and First overtly would be Continental with "businessFirst"...perhaps names like "Polaris" or "Forbidden Pavilion" "Club World" / "World Traveler" / "Queens Throne" or "Raffles" with become the trend (again)? However, I have very mixed feelings about these branding moves. Some are ok while others aren't IMHO and too often they confuse me on 3 cabin aircraft. I think United Club is better than Red Carpet Club, even though there are some romantic sentimental attachments to some of them
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alfa164
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:34 pm

AI will keep First Class - because some Indian nabobs demand to travel only that way
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GianiDC
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:46 pm

I guess todays C class is pretty much like F was a couple of year ago. Is there even a legacy which doesn´t have flat bed seats in C?
The next big thing in my opinion will be more and more luxurious Y+ seats and service to an extend to which Y+ will become the new C class.

I remember reading that the downturn of F and in return upgrade of C started during/after the financial crisis as Business travelers who previously were allowed to fly F had then to fly C. Of course airlines adapted and so we have the situation we have today. So you could say the whole class seperation is just marketing.
 
afcjets
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:27 pm

I wish airlines would give up Business Class instead. And airlines that have Premium Economy would instead offer Business Class.
 
VC10er
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:59 pm

afcjets wrote:
I wish airlines would give up Business Class instead. And airlines that have Premium Economy would instead offer Business Class.


With no lie flat seats long hauls?
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VC10er
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:04 pm

afcjets wrote:
I wish airlines would give up Business Class instead. And airlines that have Premium Economy would instead offer Business Class.


I don't understand...are you saying premium economy becomes just economy, and then there is a business class? Or, there is just regular economy and premium economy? I'm confused between your first and second sentences.
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ltbewr
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:45 pm

Many past First Class passengers have alternatives including long-range corporate or personally owned jets. Many businesses will no longer pay for 1st Class, even on long haul flights, only allowing Business or even only coach plus or basic coach. As demand declines for premium seats, then they will decline in number, that is just reality.
 
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:31 pm

ltbewr wrote:
Many past First Class passengers have alternatives including long-range corporate or personally owned jets. Many businesses will no longer pay for 1st Class, even on long haul flights, only allowing Business or even only coach plus or basic coach. As demand declines for premium seats, then they will decline in number, that is just reality.


I agree that very few people now fly first class paid for by their company.

That being said, there is a quantum leap in cost between long haul first class and private jets. There are far more people that can afford $10,000 airfares than can afford (or be willing to pay for) long haul private jet flights, which are $65K-$130K+

In my opinion, there will always be a first class, even if only a small number of airlines keep it. Business class will always be constrained by cost, as prices for businesses and consumers have to be somewhat reasonable. But there will always be very rich people who are happy to pay double for decreasing marginal benefits.
 
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:44 pm

anshabhi wrote:
Middle Eastern QR, EK and ET who provide top class first class services, will always have them.
Also, Singapore Airlines.


Since when does Ethiopian offer F? Maybe I missed something. Sorry for being pedantic, I'm sure you meant EY.

I think international F will continue to be a "niche" product with a certain cache and prestige factor. C is run of the mill now, even the new lie-flat C products like Polaris that are closer to what F is.

F fits right in that weird middle between flying on a private jet and being comfortable on a 12 hour flight. Flying F is not **that** much more comfortable (in terms of physical comfort) than a lot of modern C products, but adds a lot of the bells-and-whistles like flowers, caviar, turndown service, better food, more personal service, chauffeurs, etc. I think the exclusivity of F is what people pay for. If you can afford F regularly you probably are paying that extra cash to avoid the hassles related to modern air travel to the maximum extent while not going the full way and chartering your own jet, and I think whichever product allows that will continue to be viable and even profitable.

I say this only recently having flown my first international F sectors (LH ADD-JED-FRA-ORD) and experiencing this first-hand. Flying F on LH had perks I didn't even know about going in, chief among them was the chauffeur service to and from the first class terminal at FRA. Now this is admittedly unique (it's the only such terminal in the world) but it gave me a nice insight as to why people would pay for a fancier product that wasn't that different (in my mind) from a flat-bed C seat. The added benefits and relaxation allowed by this service allowed me to have a completely worry-free experience in transit at FRA. To some this is worth it's weight in gold. Every airline that has a differentiator like this (whether EK with it's shower, or EY with it's Apartment) will retain F, every airline where F is just a somewhat bigger C will get rid of it (I'm looking at you UA).

I also found it odd (at first) that the plane made a tech-stop at JED. However when I saw the type of people that got on, I realized it made perfect sense.

So fly to markets that can support F fares, and offer a differentiator of some sort.

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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:58 pm

VC10er wrote:
I guess one of the first to blend Business and First overtly would be Continental with "businessFirst"...perhaps names like "Polaris" or "Forbidden Pavilion" "Club World" / "World Traveler" / "Queens Throne" or "Raffles" with become the trend (again)? However, I have very mixed feelings about these branding moves. Some are ok while others aren't IMHO and too often they confuse me on 3 cabin aircraft. I think United Club is better than Red Carpet Club, even though there are some romantic sentimental attachments to some of them

Did NZ dump first and start Business Premier before that? NZ has 3 class 777s and 787s. BP is the new first class, Premier economy is the new business class, and economy just keeps on the same, but with tighter seat pitch than it was on the 747s. I hope they don't try to tweak Business Premier. I like it just the way it is. The best thing about their lie-flat seats is the tilt forward design with memory foam mattress that gives you a true bed feeling.
 
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:15 pm

When I started flying a lot for business I was 31 years old, the year was 1992. I needed to go to Tokyo a number of times for a big project and I had a friend in sales at United who would upgrade me to First Class on a 747 from JFK. It had a BIG FAT SQUARE seat, 2x2 that reclined "almost" all the way back, but the leg rest stuck straight out. The countertop in the nose had an ice sculpture on it of a dolphin. It was surrounded by caviar etc. A Chateaubriand was on a cart and carved by my seat. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Then came the new ergonomic seat that was a much nicer "rounded" design, but still no bed, it was the same seat on a 747 or 767. The bed in F came a few years after BA put beds in but after AA had flat beds in F. The UA seat was kind of ugly from the start, especially the foot rest TV tower. But, a bed nonetheless. The C class beds came many years later along with the big new F seat.

I guess you don't know what you miss when something doesn't exist yet. The original UA BIG FAT SQUARE was enough for me! But after the flat beds, I guess there will be no no going back. When you have a job that requires 200+k miles a year on international flights, I can tell you that you spend most of the year with jet-lag. I soon caught on why the older execs were very happy to pass the honor onto me...

Throughout those amazing times, I had "lucked-out" a few times and flown LH and Singapore in F and got the lounge and the car to the plane and while a very special experience, I would really need to be a billionaire to burn that kind of money myself. But really, how much does the regular global business flier need? Ice sculptures? Caviar? Chateaubriand? I think the Delta/UA Polaris is plenty to get me to Geneva, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Sydney or Singapore (etc) for business purposes. I need the sleep very badly to perform the next day and then go to a client dinner and not be a zombie (and I want to pee without hassle- and at 55, well...TMI, sorry). The one thing that is a true luxury is SPACE, and NO chatty stranger sleeping next to you.

But back to my original questions: what airline that has always been 3 cabins are going to do away with their giant F seat? So far Air France seems to be the top suspect. "IF" AF goes to 2 cabins, do you see folks jumping over to BA and/or LH/LX? The new Alitalia looks beautiful IMHO.
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:35 am

Yeah...I don't see BA giving up First anytime soon...it may be a smaller cabin like 8 on their 789s...as opposed to 14 on their 777s and 744s. Im sure their 787-10s and A350s will have First too. But there is First....and there is First Class as offered by EK, with their onboard lounge and showers.....Suites on SQ and Apartments on EY. Of course these only on board the A380
 
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:48 am

GianiDC wrote:
I guess todays C class is pretty much like F was a couple of year ago. Is there even a legacy which doesn´t have flat bed seats in C?


A lot of airlines do not have flat beds on their short/medium haul. You are right, it was not that long ago where long haul first class was similar to today's premium economy. The flat beds have become more important as the ultra long haul sectors have evolved.
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:00 am

I'm sure the ME3 carriers (EK, EY and QR) won't be giving up their F sections anytime soon. Not when Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are major business centers in the Middle East and there are plentiful business demand for F service to those Middle Eastern destinations.
 
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:00 am

alfa164 wrote:
AI will keep First Class - because some Indian nabobs demand to travel only that way


Air India's F cabins have been pared down to minimums anyway. The 77L's have just 2 rows totalling 8 seats. The 77W's have just one row=4 seats.

Service is top notch though.
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sagechan
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:37 pm

While I can see AA easily dropping F at some point, I think their plan to only have 2 fleets running certain high premium routes may be an example of where F goes. The only F on AA after the refits get finished will be on the 77W and the A321T. First is only a value to airlines when it's being paid for, and the number of routes where that happens has dwindled.

The premium middle East and Asian airlines are where, for a variety of business and cultural reasons, F will remain longest/always, whereas the Americas and Europe will continue to see a reduction.
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:23 pm

RayChuang wrote:
I'm sure the ME3 carriers (EK, EY and QR) won't be giving up their F sections anytime soon. Not when Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are major business centers in the Middle East and there are plentiful business demand for F service to those Middle Eastern destinations.



QR very close to gave it up - F only on the few A380s in the property. Abu Dhabi is not a major business center in the Middle East. Dubai on the other hand is. Dubai's market for premium travel is multiples that of Abu Dhabi. EK will stick with it. for EY, doing away with F should be part of the on-going shore up of its finances.
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:12 am

BawliBooch wrote:
alfa164 wrote:
AI will keep First Class - because some Indian nabobs demand to travel only that way


Air India's F cabins have been pared down to minimums anyway. The 77L's have just 2 rows totalling 8 seats. The 77W's have just one row=4 seats.

Service is top notch though.



I think there was a bit of sarcasm on behalf of the poster referring to a ridiculous 'slipper' incident on a recent Air India domestic flight which was covered on here.
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Softaero
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:25 am

Never say never.

In many ways, today's top business class products are far superior to what first class used to be like ~20 years ago, and is essentially the top class of service for the vast majority of carriers. Does this mean these products are "first class"? To some extent, yes. However, what changed the most is the expectations of customers. Customers now expect first-class service at business class, so airlines adapted by branding the product "business". The product didn't change: only the name.

Are AA, DL and UA global airlines? Certainly. They still sell "First Class" on domestic flights, but these "First Class" products are far inferior to their international business class products. Do you consider what they call "First Class" to be "a true First Class"?
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keitherson
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:57 am

If the airliners of the world's biggest economy can't make the economics of international first class work: how is it different from other airlines? Government subsidies, perhaps? :stirthepot:
 
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:47 am

Softaero wrote:
Never say never.

In many ways, today's top business class products are far superior to what first class used to be like ~20 years ago, and is essentially the top class of service for the vast majority of carriers. Does this mean these products are "first class"? To some extent, yes. However, what changed the most is the expectations of customers. Customers now expect first-class service at business class, so airlines adapted by branding the product "business". The product didn't change: only the name.

Are AA, DL and UA global airlines? Certainly. They still sell "First Class" on domestic flights, but these "First Class" products are far inferior to their international business class products. Do you consider what they call "First Class" to be "a true First Class"?


When I started this thread, it was only about 3 class international travel (Global/intercontinental) and who will keep it no matter what, and which traditionally 3 cabin (with a true First Class) may move to the 2 cabin model with a great "First-like" Business Class (under any name). From a personal POV, a very comfortable flat bed seat with all-aisle access, (ex: no acrobatics to go to the lavatory) and some additional elbow room and storage space is all I need to be very, very happy. My VERY occasional rides in true First Class is only a special treat. But I am aware there are people (I know some) who will forgo buying a new car in order to pay for their FIRST CLASS seat on a great airline when flying long haul. How big is that business is something I'd like to learn more about as a marketing person - consumer behavior fascinates me. In my last long post, my point was that my first FIRST CLASS ride with ice sculptures but old seats, is that today the flat seats that are available in Business is FAR better than true First Class 25 years ago.

As for domestic First Class, I have been in the new United domestic First Class seat a number of times and IMHO it is better than flying BA or LH or Swiss within Europe in a regular economy seat with a half seat in between me and my neighbor and more legroom. Is the food better on European carriers? MOST OFTEN, YES. Much higher QUALITY! However once in a while I actually have an acceptable domestic First Class meal on UA (most are barely eatable), but if the FA is lovely, the plane is equally as clean as LH, and ON TIME, the new seat is far superior and I can SLEEP sitting up much better. Now a Singapore 777 to Bali, or ANA 767 on a 2 hour flight in First, is exceptional and unrivaled. However, when I travel within the USA and I book directly with UA.com, I look for the one flight that has bed seats (or an Airbus until UA installs their new F seat on their 737's) that IMHO is awesome. My company will pay for domestic F and with a major client in Denver, getting a flat bed on a UA 757 is the best. I work hard, many late nights, and it's 3 hours of additional sleep that I can grab. AND I wear leggings, except I use a slice of white bread with the crusts cut off to hide potential "VPL" :lol:
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readytotaxi
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:27 pm

Quote; "AND I wear leggings, except I use a slice of white bread with the crusts cut off to hide potential "VPL" :lol:

PICTURE, PLEASE !!! :rotfl:
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Softaero
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:36 pm

VC10er wrote:
When I started this thread, it was only about 3 class international travel (Global/intercontinental) and who will keep it no matter what, and which traditionally 3 cabin (with a true First Class) may move to the 2 cabin model with a great "First-like" Business Class (under any name).

Does Business / Premium Economy (i.e. a different, larger seat than economy, not just economy with extra legroom) / Economy count as 3-class? Depending on airline, premium economy is essentially what business class used to be. When business class gets better than first class was 25 years ago, and economy is actually deteriorating somewhat (3-4-3 on 777s and less legroom), a large gap is left.
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:54 pm

incitatus wrote:
RayChuang wrote:
I'm sure the ME3 carriers (EK, EY and QR) won't be giving up their F sections anytime soon. Not when Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are major business centers in the Middle East and there are plentiful business demand for F service to those Middle Eastern destinations.



QR very close to gave it up - F only on the few A380s in the property. Abu Dhabi is not a major business center in the Middle East. Dubai on the other hand is. Dubai's market for premium travel is multiples that of Abu Dhabi. EK will stick with it. for EY, doing away with F should be part of the on-going shore up of its finances.


Abu Dhabi is a city with many high net-worth residents. Much like Saudi Arabia. So EY will keep it, at least on some routes, for as long as people are willing to pay for it.
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LINYUSA
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:39 pm

alfa164 wrote:
AI will keep First Class - because some Indian nabobs demand to travel only that way


You might have meant upper-class Indians. F.Y.I., a nabob was a colonist, usually British and living in India. "Nabob" seldom is used to mean anyone from the wealthier classes; it does have the connotation of snobbish, perceived superiority, usually towards foreigners considered as inferior.
 
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:57 pm

incitatus wrote:
RayChuang wrote:
I'm sure the ME3 carriers (EK, EY and QR) won't be giving up their F sections anytime soon. Not when Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are major business centers in the Middle East and there are plentiful business demand for F service to those Middle Eastern destinations.



QR very close to gave it up - F only on the few A380s in the property. Abu Dhabi is not a major business center in the Middle East. Dubai on the other hand is. Dubai's market for premium travel is multiples that of Abu Dhabi. EK will stick with it. for EY, doing away with F should be part of the on-going shore up of its finances.


EY would not give up F anytime soon, more then enough local residents to fill those seats. In addition, aircraft with F are tailored to destinations with F demand. Plus, tourists who visit Dubai also fly with EY, Y pax use the shuttle bus whilst premium pax use the limos... vice versa for EK.
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:42 pm

GianiDC wrote:
I guess todays C class is pretty much like F was a couple of year ago. Is there even a legacy which doesn´t have flat bed seats in C?
The next big thing in my opinion will be more and more luxurious Y+ seats and service to an extend to which Y+ will become the new C class.

I remember reading that the downturn of F and in return upgrade of C started during/after the financial crisis as Business travelers who previously were allowed to fly F had then to fly C. Of course airlines adapted and so we have the situation we have today. So you could say the whole class seperation is just marketing.


I think this is really what's happening. "first" seems excessive so the corporate agreement is to pay for business class. However in recent years many firms have moved to limiting business purchases to only the truly long-flights (often seen as 7+ or 8+ hour long flights). Hence now we see the advent of "premium economy" so that you can meet the "economy" requirement but get better service.

So in reality J is the new F; W is the new J; etc.
 
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:50 pm

BobPatterson wrote:
Upper Class would sound a bit snobbish.


This is what Virgin Atlantic calls their premium cabin no?
 
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:45 pm

My ex-employer created a 9.5 hour flight minimum before forking over for business class, it started at 7 hours but then they upped it to 9 hours. The conducted a major internal study starting with their 2 major HQ's (NYC and London) and factored in the most widely traveled to routes; the primary destinations that most execs traveled to. (also, if the route had a stop and pushed the travel time up to 12/14 hours, then they only looked at the length of each segment) At 9+ hours they eliminated paying for business class for more that 80% of international business travel vs 7 hours which was closer to 50%. That meant if you had a meeting in Sao Paulo from either city, then no business class. Now, IMHO, landing after a 9+ hour flight in economy at 6am and then taking a shower at your hotel to make a 10am meeting only hurt the company because you were either half dead in the meeting, or you flew the day before costing a whole day plus additional night in a hotel.

They had corp contracts with BA and UA and the price for Business for never over $3,500 no matter how long the flight was. That is a great deal.

I got a DVT at age 36 due to the amount of flying I did. I could have died. I was also in the hospital for 8 days. So, I had a Dr note to put me in business class for all flights over 3 hours, which HR couldn't fight. Ironic, but getting a DVT saved my flying life!

So, true F was 100% BANNED, and 80% of Business was choked out...it's also why I was VERY happy, even with UA Business, it was good enough.

Ultimately, I left the company years later.
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Re: Which global airlines will never, ever let go of true a First Class

Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:25 pm

KaiTak747 wrote:
ltbewr wrote:
Many past First Class passengers have alternatives including long-range corporate or personally owned jets. Many businesses will no longer pay for 1st Class, even on long haul flights, only allowing Business or even only coach plus or basic coach. As demand declines for premium seats, then they will decline in number, that is just reality.


I agree that very few people now fly first class paid for by their company.

That being said, there is a quantum leap in cost between long haul first class and private jets. There are far more people that can afford $10,000 airfares than can afford (or be willing to pay for) long haul private jet flights, which are $65K-$130K+

In my opinion, there will always be a first class, even if only a small number of airlines keep it. Business class will always be constrained by cost, as prices for businesses and consumers have to be somewhat reasonable. But there will always be very rich people who are happy to pay double for decreasing marginal benefits.

I will agree with this. I think there is also something to be said for the private jet experience versus a true widebody for long haul comfort.

I realize this is not a statistically valid sample size, but roll with me here. I have some good family friends that have a Challenger 605. My parents travel with them occasionally. They only fly it domestically or regionally. If they are crossing the pond, they fly commercial, and they only fly on airlines that offer First (LH, LX and BA are, I believe, their most frequent carriers). They have a jet; they just don't want to fly on it that far. They tell me that many of their friends who own aircraft take a similar approach. Now, I realize there is a set that has truly large cabin private aircraft, but as you get into larger and larger private aircraft, the number that are owned by private individuals as opposed to corporations begins to narrow.

I tend to agree that true F will continue to exist, but often as 8 or even 4 seats as seen on many 77Ws and A380s these days. You lose maybe 2-4 J seats at most compared to the space, as many J are now 1-2-1, as well. I see the market there.
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