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Alpha 1
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Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Fri Aug 06, 2004 11:12 pm

Was at a meeting yesterday, with local management talking about certain aspects of CO for '94, and going into '05, and one of the things they said is definitely going forward is the reconfig of the 735. It will go from a 10/04 config, to a 6/108 configuration. I think they said the date they would start the retrofit, but I can't remember what it was.

I looked, but didn't see a topic confirming this. If it is in here, my apologies.

[Edited 2004-08-06 16:12:32]
 
UnitedTristar
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Fri Aug 06, 2004 11:24 pm

How are they going to do 6 in F with out mixing the F and Y cabins?! F on the 73 is 2x2. Interesting!

-m

 Big thumbs up
 
Cory6188
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Fri Aug 06, 2004 11:29 pm

It will probably look something like this:

1A 1B Closet
2A 2B 2E 2F
-------------
Economy (3x3)

[Edited 2004-08-06 16:30:10]
 
Alpha 1
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Fri Aug 06, 2004 11:32 pm

You probably have it right cory. Or it will be like:

Closet 1EF
2AB 2EF.

I think that makes more sense, but I could be wrong.  Smile
 
Cory6188
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Fri Aug 06, 2004 11:34 pm

At the moment, CO's 735 seat map shows the closet as being on the right side of the aircraft. I initially had it your way, but I edited it after looking at the current seat map online.

[Edited 2004-08-06 16:34:36]
 
UnitedTristar
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Fri Aug 06, 2004 11:38 pm

Oh interesting! Sorry I am use to UA's 737's with just the bulkhead then boom right into F class. Makes since though.

-m

 Big thumbs up
 
JOSEMEX
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Fri Aug 06, 2004 11:41 pm



So we have another devaluation of the Onepass porgram, with less first class seat available for upgrades. It's bad enough that the ratio of single-class ERJ's keeps growing, and the 753's are being reconfigured with less first-class seat.

Hey, CO, everyday you're making it harder and harder to choose you over other carriers!
 
HOMER71
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Fri Aug 06, 2004 11:59 pm

Except for the ones that always fly coach...  Big thumbs up
"On spaceship earth there are no passengers...only crew."
 
Alpha 1
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 12:01 am

Hey, CO, everyday you're making it harder and harder to choose you over other carriers!

Yes, how dare CO look after it's bottom line. Horrible!!
 
dutchjet
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:10 am

Cory6188 has the configuration correct, there is a closet on the right side of the aircraft and the 2E/F seats are the best on the aircraft with a bit more legroom and a cutout in the bulkhead to strech your legs.

This was rumored a couple of months ago, but the info that I got was that it was NOT going to happen......too bad it was wrong. OnePass members are not going to be happy; they were annoyed with the cutback in F seats on the 753 and the same will happen here -probably even more so, while the 753s fly mainly leisure routes, the 735s frequently show up on business routes with high frequency, such as EWR to ORD/DFW/ATL, etc.

We can argue over whether or not it is important to keep OnePass members happy......but a major attraction to the CO program has always been unlimited F class upgrades when seats when seats are available, with less F class seats in the system, fewer upgrades are available. On the other hand, with CO only giving 50% Elite status miles on bargain fares, there will far less CO Elite members anyway.

I understand the business logic, but from a marketing point of view, CO may be asking for trouble.
 
Benjamin
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:11 am

Yes, how dare CO look after it's bottom line. Horrible!!

Although, if people choose other airlines now, this move *may* not be a beneficial to CO.
 
Britair
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:19 am

Wow, no wonder US carriers find it tough making money if the attitude of the flying public is "I want! I want! I want an upgrade! I want you to configure premium seats that I'm not gonna pay for! You owe me an upgrade!"

I feel for CO and the rest! It's a shame the American flying public can't be re-educated to understand you get what you pay for. Business is business. If the plane is full up front, it's full up front!
 
DeltaMIA
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:24 am

It will go from a 10/04 config, to a 6/108 configuration

Why would you take out 4 first class seats to add 4 coach seats? Unless there is a typo and the configuration is going to 6 F and 110 Y.
It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.
 
Cory6188
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:26 am

The config is currently 10/94, so a downgrade to 6 F will result in a gain of 14 Y seats.
 
coboeing777
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:29 am

The current configuration of the 735s are 10/94, so taking out the 4 FC seats opens up room for 2 extra rows of coach, which equates to 12 new seats for a total of 106 in Coach. Where would the 2 extra coach seats go?
 
NLINK
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:33 am

First class needs to be done away with on most domestic routes anyway since very few people pay for it in the first place. I would prefer a jetblue/song type configuration with a little more leg room for all.
 
DeltaMIA
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:34 am

OK that makes more sense. Thank you for the clarification.
It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.
 
dutchjet
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:40 am

The current configuration of the 735s are 10/94, so taking out the 4 FC seats opens up room for 2 extra rows of coach, which equates to 12 new seats for a total of 106 in Coach. Where would the 2 extra coach seats go?

------------

My thoughts exactly.....currently row 9 in coach has only 4 seats, with the A and F seats deleted due to the emergency row. Is it possible that CO is going to adjust this arrangement. My original thoughts were that the 10/94 would simply become 6/106.
 
jcs17
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 1:34 pm

I can understand the cuts in F seats on the 753 since those a/c largely serve leisure destinations and CO only has around 15 in the fleet. However, I think CO would be wise to designate a limited number of a/c as 10/94 and the rest as 6/108. There are certain 735 markets out there that do justify having a 10/94 config--namely EWR-DFW/ATL/ORD. Sure, it makes scheduling a little bit more complicated, but I think that the scheduling woes would be offset by placating some already miffed OnePass elites. I mean, there are gonna be some really unhappy Elite Platinum members when they find out that they can't get an upgrade on a solidly booked 3hr. 30min. flight between Dallas and Newark.
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
 
wgw2707
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:18 pm

Britair, I'm afraid you don't quite understand the way the US airline business works.

In Europe, the business class on intra-European flights is more or less comparable to full fare coach in the US. The middle seat may be blocked, or adjustable width seats may be used which reduce the configuration to 2+3. A moveable divider seperates European business class from coach. The real difference is apparently in terms of the food service et cetera. The fares are basically the same as full fare coach in the US, the difference being that unlike in the US full fare coach passengers get a seperate cabin and better amenities. The fact that most seats in a given aircraft have to be convertible to business class means that business class and economy class passengers get the same seat pitch, usually around 33".

In the United States Domestic First class is totally different. It always consists of wider, purpose built, non-adjustable seats (usually leather rather than the cloth of the main cabin), with a seat pitch of at least 37", and usuall a lot more (it can get up to 60" on some domestic widebody services). The fares are high, and most passengers travelling upfront are travelling on upgrades.

Unlike in Europe, where a businessman pays a full fare and flies in business class, here businessmen pay full fare to fly in coach, but over time earn elite status in a particular Frequent Flyer program. Once they reach that status. they use it to upgrade themselves to domestic First Class, which tends to be expensive even for business travellers on expense accounts (which increasingly mandate coach class travel). Consequently, to gain a marketing advantage tend to provide larger First Class cabin than is normally required by actualy demand for First Class seats, as this encourages business travellers to fly on that airline, as they get a better chance of being upgraded.

There is of course a problem with the way this is done, and in my opinion too many passengers currently are getting upgraded. I think it's logical to reduce the domestic First Class capacity throughout the country to something more in line with actual demand, and perhaps take advantage of the reduction in FC to not only increase the number of Y class seats, but also the Y class seat pitch. Thus, the number of sold vs. upgraded F class seats will change in the direction of the former, and at the same time an enhanced Y class will help to prevent over-infuriation of business travellers on full fares.

-WGW2707
 
COAB767
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 4:37 pm

Sure glad CO Mike doesnt have any 735s in it's fleet!!!!
Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"
 
baw716
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 4:55 pm

WGW2707
A question: What would happen if:
a) A major US carrier shifted its premium cabin to more of a European type product and increase capacity in that cabin and keep the fares at full coach levels? I think if you compare rasm on a European leg to rasm on a similar US leg, I would imagine that the unit rasm are not going to be too different. What do you think?
b) Would the US business traveler appreciate having slightly more personal space and a meal as opposed to flying in the back and buying a meal?

The only reason I ask is that, on balance, European business class service is, for the most part, on par with US domestic F class service. The only significant difference between the two is the seating (2+3, usually). With convertible seating, the number of seats could be changed based on the load and those that pay full Y get C class and we forget about upgrades entirely?

I have some ideas about this, but I would like to hear your thoughts, since you mention that there are significant differences between the US products and the European ones in the premium cabin. NB: I'll give you a hint about which product is better...
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
 
nwa man
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 5:27 pm

I'm sure NW thanks CO for the move... given the number of OnePass elites that switched over to Northwest after CO went to the 0.5 EQM for QSTL fares. This move might push a few more Continental frequent flyers over to the Red Tails - sure, CO offers a better F product, but F in a DC-9 beats coach in a 735 any day of the week.

As far as analysis of the move goes, I'll just say this... most companies like to harp on the 80/20 rule, the fact that 80% of their revenue comes from the top 20% of their customers. Well, the top fifth of CO's passengers are certainly accustomed to upgrades. All I'm saying is that in a loyalty-driven business, it seems odd for CO to focus on the fickle Priceline/leisure crowd rather than the EliteAccess/actual elites. I guess their most loyal customers will have to get even more used to Economy, provided they're not on an ERJ already.

I'd like to hear what people like CODC10 and other OP elites think about this change... methinks it'd be a bit different than the pro-company spin offered in this thread so far.



Regards,

N-Dub
Create your own luck.
 
Britair
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sat Aug 07, 2004 5:32 pm

Hi WGW2707,

Thank you for that reply. I was half expecting to get roasted, but thank you for your clear and interesting reply.

I have flown US domestic first many times and of course European business class and I tend to agree with BAW716. Yes there is more personal space in US first class, however I do find the level of service much higher on European business products. I guess things will take a long time to change, but I think the European model to be more cost effective for the airlines.

Have a good day.

Cheers  Smile
 
codc10
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sun Aug 08, 2004 3:06 am

Obviously im pretty disappointed to see this move, further devaluation of the program and further substantiates my theory that CO has too many Elites, and thus needs to take steps to cut back on the numbers. Most of the changes to the program and to the actual inflight product over the last 18 months certainly point in this direction.

As a Platinum over the last four years, I've missed quite a few EUA's on the 735 even with the 10/94 configuration, so I'm sure it'll be next to impossible for even Golds to secure an upgrade with this 40% reduction in the "prize" coupled with nearly a 15% increase in coach seats to potentially bring more Elites into the mix. I feel bad for the many Elites who commute on a regular basis on CO flights between EWR-ORD/DFW, where the 735 is usually the only option.

As far as NW, I bet plenty more CO Elites will be "splitting time" between the two carriers, at least since NW offers better EUA odds for the lower-level Elites. Still, I dont know how long the honeymoon will last over there, a buddy of mine told me that a rumor is circulating NW camp that the A320 fleet may see a reduction to 8 or 12 FC seats instead of the very EUA-friendly 16 seat existing configuration. We'll just have to see, I'm something like 14/16 on NW this year.

The best we can hope for is that CO moves some 737-300/700s onto these more business-oriented routes where I'd imagine yields would be higher due to less competition from LCCs, and replaces them on some lower-yield leisure routes with the now higher-capacity 735.

I'd hate to say it but I can't imagine the rest of the 737/757 fleet is far behind in this latest trend of reduction in FC seating.
 
klwright69
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sun Aug 08, 2004 3:58 am

The ebb and flow of the industry is interesting. I remember the final days of Eastern Airlines. Remember EA thought the key to survival was enlarging the first class cabin to attract more high customers.

I suppose CO's analysis indicates that the gain in revenue from more coach seats will offset any negative reaction. At least they are not eliminating first class on the 737-500 all together.

I do not think this is bad move at this time. I don't think CO needs 10 FC seats on some of the markets CO's 737-500 serves. But as someone said, I think for certain routes currently served by the 737-500, it might be a good idea to look at a 737 model with more FC seats.

Maybe CO can switch the 737-500 to certain markets where it is truly needed that is currently served by an RJ. IAH-BFL certainly comes to mind!

 
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STT757
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sun Aug 08, 2004 4:25 am

"CO only has around 15 in the fleet"

CO has only 9 757-300s, the remaining six orders were defered and converted to addtional 737-800 orders.
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
masseybrown
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sun Aug 08, 2004 4:27 am

I got the impression from the April earnings conference call that CO is moving toward attempting to sell all its 1st Class seats and too bad about the upgrades. They will try to improve Coach for the full fare passengers by seating in the front, guaranteeing no middle passenger, priority boarding, etc.

Resizing the F/C cabins probably reflects how many seats they think they can sell rather than give away.
 
klwright69
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sun Aug 08, 2004 7:09 am

MasseyBrown, you said something I have heard before. When I worked for CO way back in the day, (not the best days for CO), another CO employee told me that one thing that kept CO from being profitable was the fact that "CO gives too much away." Now I didn't ask further what he meant, but it is just interesting that you bring up that statement!

Any other CO folks want to comment??
 
Alpha 1
Topic Author
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sun Aug 08, 2004 10:05 am

However, I think CO would be wise to designate a limited number of a/c as 10/94 and the rest as 6/108.

I disagree. Each a/c type needs to be uniform. If you have two different types of 735 configs, you could have 10 F/C pax booked on one, and when the a/c put on the route only has 6 F/C seats, then you have to compensate those customers.

I know someone will mention CO's two configs on the 752, but one is primarily for international routes, and one for domestic. Not that scenario with a 735.
 
syncmaster
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sun Aug 08, 2004 10:12 am

"Hey, CO, everyday you're making it harder and harder to choose you over other carriers!"

Yes it really sucks that CO needs to make money so they can pay for the F class seat to begin with.

"Although, if people choose other airlines now, this move *may* not be a beneficial to CO."

I think that that would probably be a risk worth running for them, most non-business travelers and more and more business travelers do not care what airline as long as they get from point a to point b in one piece with as few stops as possible and it needs to be cheap. Hence more leisure travelers using LCC's, not necessarily due to price but a lot more point-to-point non-stop service.
 
JOSEMEX
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sun Aug 08, 2004 1:16 pm

>Yes, how dare CO look after it's bottom line. Horrible!!<

I'm not saying CO shouldn't look after its bottom line. All I'm saying (and that is a fact) is that CO is making it harder for me to choose them over other carriers.

I used to go out of my way to fly CO, maybe even paying a premium to do it, now I find myself running out of excuses to do it.

[Edited 2004-08-08 06:30:27]
 
jcs17
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sun Aug 08, 2004 1:28 pm

I disagree. Each a/c type needs to be uniform. If you have two different types of 735 configs, you could have 10 F/C pax booked on one, and when the a/c put on the route only has 6 F/C seats, then you have to compensate those customers.

I know someone will mention CO's two configs on the 752, but one is primarily for international routes, and one for domestic. Not that scenario with a 735.


C'mon, Alpha. There are plenty of CO 757 domestic routes that get the international version of the 752. If Continental did go with two different configs on the 735, they should probably put them on flights where there would be very low probabilities of aircraft changes. Thats exactly why you would maybe only put them on the EWR-ATL/DFW/ORD runs. Since those 735s basically go back and forth between those cities, a 10F config could easily be pulled off without much problem.

I hope you spent your $5 well.  Big grin
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
 
Alpha 1
Topic Author
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sun Aug 08, 2004 2:41 pm

C'mon, Alpha. There are plenty of CO 757 domestic routes that get the international version of the 752.

Yes, there are, but it's set ahead of time what routes get a 75B, and which one get the standard 752 domestic. For obvious reasons, CO tries to keep the two fleets seperate, including on which domestic routes. Obviously, some substitutions occur that put a 24/159 752 on a route that is slated for a 16/156 75B, but not often.

I still think one config for the 735 is appropriate.

By the way, this may be the first time I ever saw you on Aviation, Jcs!  Smile And yeah, the $5 went towards lunch the other day. Thanks!  Big grin
 
wgw2707
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Sun Aug 08, 2004 9:04 pm

In response to Baw and Britair, I think it would probably not be advisable for US network carriers to replace their current domestic First class with a European-style business class for the following reasons:

1. US Business passengers are used to, and expect, high comfort 2+2 seating. They are also used to service that is marginally better than that in coach but not awe-inspiring either.

2. The distances involved in US domestic journeys are longer than those on intra-European flights, I would guess the average stage length is twice as long. I imagine bearing the average stage length in mind, the average US business traveler would greatly prefer the enhanced comfort of typical American domestic first class products to the enhanced service of the standard European business class.

3. Transitioning from the current product to a European style one would be expensive, and a risk that I don't think any US airline wants to take at the moment.

I would guess that overall the revenue generated by US domestic first class is on a par with that of intra-European business class, with the US domestic first generating more revenue with fewer seats. I would also guess that having a large US-style domestic first cabin does actually offer more revenue-generating potential than the European-style business class, in the unlikely event that every seat sells out at the high fares charged, but then again having a large first class cabin would also potentially detract from coach revenue.

I think what Continental is doing is quite possibly the best course of action. Reduce the domestic First Class cabins to what has a chance of selling on a given flight, yet maintain free upgrades so that in the event that a seat doesn't sell it will be available to frequent flyers at no charge. However, considering the excellence of Continental's domestic first class product compared to that of say, Delta or United, the likelihood of actually having to offer free upgrades is diminished.

This reduction in First Class on the 737-500 may be unpopular with business travelers, but it's a great business move overall. Considering that this reduction is only being applied to the smallest aircraft in the CO mainline fleet, one which tends to operate shorter stage lengths where the comforts of business class are less necessary, I don't think the overall effect of this adjustment will have any profoundly negative effect on Continental at all. Some frequent flyers might be a little bit peeved, but I seriously doubt this would be enough to push them over the edge and cause them to switch their allegiance to another carrier (especially when you factor in the extremely attractive nature of the new CO+DL+NW alliance).

Basically, to sum it up, I think what CO is doing here is reducing overcapacity in the First Class cabin on an aircraft that operates routes where the added comfort of First Class is less relevant. I predict this will result in improved revenues for the airline.

-WGW2707

 
flyboyaz
Posts: 2077
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Mon Aug 09, 2004 1:50 am

CO execs are pretty smart. While it will tick off the elites...they have to do what is best for the company. Any sensible person would understand that. If it increases revenues, than they should do it. Since the 735 is a fairly small plane anyway, increasing the coach seats I'm sure would lower the cost to fly the plane. I think that is something that HP needs to do as well. As much as I like having FC seats, I think we should reduce the number to increase capacity. Our flights are so full all the time and we sell VERY little FC seats. It would make good business sense.
Catch a ride on a smile!
 
dutchjet
Posts: 7714
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2000 6:13 am

RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Mon Aug 09, 2004 2:32 am

This is a very interesting discussion.

CO is looking at and addressing a very difficult issue......the opportunity to add 8 (or 10?) revenue producing seats on each 735 versus cutting upgrade possibilities for its best and most loyal customers. Its the accountants against the marketing people, and this time it seems that the accountants have won!

While some here dont place much important on ELITE frequent flyers and claim that the ELITEs are "not entitled" to the special treatment and upgrades that they have come to expect, those passengers are very, very important to an airline as they tend to spend more on their airline tickets, of course fly more often, and will use their airline of choice even if the routing may not be the most direct or convenient. While I certainly agree that no one is entitled to sit up front unless they pay an F class fare, upgrading has become an industry practice and is considered by most frequent flyers the number one benefit of being an ELITE frequent flyer. CO was one of the first airlines to promote this practice.

On the other hand, these are tough times and CO is doing what they have to do in order to increase revenues - I may not like it (I am a CO platinum elite) but I understand it. I also trust that CO studied this long and hard before they came to this decision (as I posted earlier, there were rumors about this months ago and it seemed that the decision was NOT to do it, but I guess that $45 per barrel oil prices changed CO's mind).......I have no idea how many F class seats are actually paid for on a given flight, but I suspect its not many, thus with 6 seats up front on the 735s, the few that actually pay for F class can be accommodated and there will still be an opportunity for CO to reward its most frequent flyers on most 735 flights.
 
masseybrown
Posts: 5480
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RE: Confirmed: CO Going To 6 F/C On 735

Mon Aug 09, 2004 2:16 pm

FWIW, I just looked at where CO flies 735's out of the hubs - and it's almost totally on routes where they have a monopoly or else don't face much competition that offers 1st Class seating, EWR-ORD being perhaps the biggest exception.

With that pattern of flying, their competition won't offer much that can beat them.

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