|Quoting EricAY05 (Reply 60):|
Economy comfort is often an option, but again you rarely see sales in this travel class and again might end up paying unproportionally much for a very slight improvement in seating comfort. For example the economy comfort seats on KLM's 77W are just as narrow as the rest of the economy seats.
I think these Economy Plus type seats (whatever the airline actually calls them) are still a fairly new market that airlines are still trying to figure out. Clearly *some* airlines have found a way to make money from them because they're actually expanding the number of them available (JetBlue is doing this).
I think the economies of scale probably don't really work when you're talking about increasing seat *width* for these types of seats. Even though you'd only have to remove one seat per row, that still probably ends up doubling the number of seats removed for the entire E+ cabin. (I'm guessing the airlines would have to remove one row to fit the entire E+ section, so 8 or 9 seats in most cases. If there are 8 or 9 rows of E+, removing one seat per row would double the number of removed seats.) So then you'd have to double the premium already. Now, imagine that you have to also use totally different seats for this small cabin - not just the same economy seats moved a couple more inches apart on the track. So you have to actually customize and buy these seats and install them. Now we're talking even more money.
Some airlines have done this, but they end up just calling it Premium Economy and charging a whole lot more for it. JAL's Premium Economy, for example, looks pretty nice: http://www.jal.co.jp/en/inflight/inter/premium_y/
But it's insanely expensive for what it is. Last time I flew JFK
, it was about $1,400 for economy and $3,500 for premium economy. (Business was about $5,500, so it was about halfway between.) I think they mostly use this for upgrades - I can't imagine people pay for this.
Meanwhile, I could have paid about the same base fare ($1,400) on DL
and then upgraded to Economy Comfort for something like $100, and I would have had the benefit I *really* care about - legroom - without much extra expense at all.
I can't remember why but we ended up flying ANA anyway (I know how to get an exit row with them), but I remember they went around the terminal on both legs of the trip offering upgrades to their PE
for $300. But we said no to that because their PE
is really not much different than E+: http://www.ana.co.jp/int/svc/w_en/py/seat/777_300_02/
Obviously they were having trouble filling up the cabin at regular price and they seemed to still have trouble filling it up at a discounted price.
My sense is that there's really not much of a market for these "business lite" cabins, with both more seat width and more pitch and upgraded other services, because the prices are too high. If someone can pay $3,500 for an airline seat, they're probably just going to pay $5,500 for real business class - they're already into the realm of paying way more than necessary just to get where they're going, so they obviously have plenty of discretionary money. There *is* a market, though, for just more legroom at a reasonable fee. But that fee has to be reasonable; I don't think anything more than $100 really works, and it's going to be tough for any airline to do that while upgrading more than seat pitch.
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