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beachbum1970
Posts: 97
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:36 am

Quoting IAH59 (Reply 39):
United seats are uncomfortable.

Do you remember which aircraft you flew? The Y seats on many s-CO 737s are known for being uncomfortable. Those seats were made by Koito, which is no longer in business. s-UA usually selected seats manufactured by Recaro (at least in Y) and are very comfortable. The s-UA IPTE 777s, with the new 3-3-3 seating, are made by Weber, and are quite comfortable.

The "comfort" of the seats themselves of course depends on the seat manufacturer. Some cost more than others. It's the airlines that decide which manufacturer to choose (cheap, mid-range, expensive) and how to install them in their aircraft (30-inch, 32-inch, 34-inch pitch).

Economy Plus on UA is actually a pretty comfortable way to fly in Y, especially on a long flight. The few extra inches of leg room make a huge difference for me. Just my opinion.
 
planeguy727
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:43 pm

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think the decline in F travel is a result of the economy. As airlines upped the game in J passengers discovered it was just as good (or close enough). I think this switch was driven as much by the airlines changing hard and soft product as much as anything.

The core cost of operating the aircraft over a give route is relatively known (controlling for changes in fuel), so if you run a business and can add incremental revenue from Y class pax that have learned to not expect much, wouldn't you be sure to include opportunities to capture that income? Think of the change from Privatair to mainline on AMS-IAH (I think that was the route). Did fine with just J, but why not capture the additional revenue by having the Y class pax too.
I want to live in an old and converted 727...
 
babybus
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:47 pm

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 44):
This may be true for low-cost carriers or carriers primarily serving vacation markets. But for the big business-oriented long-haul carriers of the world, the premium traffic is what makes the difference.

That's not true either. Economy is the back-bone of any airline. You'll always get Y class passengers but many flights go out with no J or F class passengers. That's a lot of plane not used.

Remember how BA, PA and TWA all pushed Laker Airways out of the market. they did that because he was taking their valuable Y class passengers. If Y class was not important they would be very happy for another airline to take the burden.

We also know that an airline makes a good profit on a £189 LHR-JFK fare but our modern day scheduled airlines charge £450 and more on that route. That is one hefty profit for a tight seat and a rubbish meal.
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
 
traindoc
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:06 pm

Just flew FRA-IAH on the LH 380. This plane has the new thin seats. Fortunately, my wife and I had an empty seat between us on the 3 seat side. As I am 6' 3" space does matter and I could sit crossways to be reasonably comfortable.

As to flying in Business, it was oversold and was not available at any price. But I am not whining.
 
cschleic
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:12 pm

Quoting dfambro (Reply 24):
Saying "stop whining" would be legitimate if there was an E+ type option at, say, $3500-$4000 on that itinerary. When the only alternative costs nearly 8 times as much, then it's really not an alternative.

Exactly. I'd happily pay 10% or 20% more for 10% - 20% more legroom, with that space offered on some U.S. carriers, and more so with DL now. But too often the only option is 50% more for E+ or 300% more for F which isn't THAT much better than economy.

The unfortunate reality is, people have become obsessed with getting a cheap price for everything, and the airlines recognize it. So they act accordingly.
 
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pvjin
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:19 pm

As long as making seats and legroom smaller also can be seen in ticket prices I have nothing against it. I already traveled over 12 hours (with fuel stop in Halifax) to Cuba on Finnair 757 with no IFE and really small amount of legroom as it is on tight charter configuration and had no problem with that. I fly to get from point A to point B, cheaper the price more I can do it, comfort doesn't matter.
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Vasu
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:28 pm

Quoting pvjin (Reply 55):
I fly to get from point A to point B, cheaper the price more I can do it, comfort doesn't matter.

I'm the same - Though I know everyone is different, I much prefer the quantity of flights over the quality of the seats/service!
 
MAN2SIN2BKK
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:28 am

I had the misfortune to fly in economy for the first time in 2 years in a crowded LH A321 from LHR to FRA last month; the experience even for a short flight was awful and not helped by the lack of service.
 
EricAY05
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:57 am

I am 6 foot tall, don't have any excess weight and I only have two problems with flying longhaul: people who are so large that they occupy "my" space and those damn IFE boxes! If I am lucky enough to avoid these, the seat pitch on most airlines is just fine, after all its not like I'm trapped in the seat forever.
 
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CPHFF
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:03 am

Quoting vaus77w (Reply 9):
Seriously though, airfares are just so cheap nowadays that anyone can afford to fly. If you want more comfort, you gotta pay for it. Quit whining.

  

Compare Y fares today vs. 20 years ago.
Compare fuel prices today vs. 20 years ago.

Somethings got to give........
If it weren't for UAW, Detroit would shine!
 
EricAY05
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:21 am

Quoting CPHFF (Reply 59):

That is true, but very often the extra comfort is not in proportion with the extra price. Let's say that you can quite easily book a return ticket from Europe to NYC for around 500e. If you want to fly business, you get some extra comfort, while the increase in price is not "some", but maybe 5x (is this about correct?) the price you pay for your discounted economy fare. The comfort certainly does not increase 5x! I know that it's impossible to really measure comfort this way, but I hope most people get the point.

Thus, I would not say that low airfares is a valid argument to defend uncomfortable economy seats. For many people flying would become a nicer expreience if they just took better care of themselves in their everyday lives. A healthier body survives flying much better than a mistreated one. Of course the tall people are an exeption, but the wide people in the majority of cases are not.

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.
 
triple7x
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:02 pm

Quoting EricAY05 (Reply 60):

I totally agree with you, the truth is airlines need to make profit in order to survive in the Aviation Industry.....
Just a 16 year old who loves aviation :)
 
danielkandi
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:21 pm

Eric, not only are they the same width, but they are rockhard to sit on. Honestly, i wish eco comfort at least had a softer seatcushion, otherwise calling it eco comfort is a bit of an overstatement. I just did AAL-SFO return, and the 2 longhaul legs were like night and day, even though I did Comfort both ways. Difference was, I forgot my own pillow (being drunk you forget things) in SFO, so I had not head support on my way home. Plus someone huge sat next to me enroute to AMS... So not much proper sleep heading home. I'd rather pay more than the 100 euro extra, if the seat was good.
Flown on : md80, md95, Avro RJ85/100, Q400, Atr42/72, a319/320/321, a332/a333, a343/346, b733 and up, 757, 747, 767 and
 
spacecadet
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:01 pm

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-NRT, 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.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
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usxguy
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:48 am

Not sure if anyone saw this thread on Crankyflier.com:

http://crankyflier.com/2012/12/04/me...e-need-for-wider-seats-guest-post/

I thought this made for a very interesting guest post. How wider seats could find their way on to airplanes…

The most difficult part of traveling for someone who is fat is in fact the traveling itself. I’m no small person, but thankfully I’m not OVERLY huge. But I still dread getting on an airplane if my upgrade doesn’t clear, or there’s someone in the middle seat. I stand at 6’1 and clock in at just over 300 pounds – so I’m someone you probably wouldn’t choose to sit by (which makes flying Southwest Airlines a bit more comfy for me). I’m also a frequent flier and spent 14 years in the business so I’ve been able to experience being fat on both sides. Airlines are squeezing us in with each new seat design or aircraft as we, in general, get wider.
xx
 
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Stitch
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:35 am

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 63):
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-NRT, 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.

In such a situation I'd likely just buy two adjoining Economy Class seats for $2800 and enjoy having 34-36" of seat width (by raising the adjacent armrest). And since you had paid for two seats, you could have the chicken AND the beef.  
 
spacecadet
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:06 am

Quoting Stitch (Reply 65):
In such a situation I'd likely just buy two adjoining Economy Class seats for $2800 and enjoy having 34-36" of seat width (by raising the adjacent armrest). And since you had paid for two seats, you could have the chicken AND the beef.

That probably *would* be a better deal. The downside is having to convince the person two seats over from you that that's actually your seat that they're dumping all their stuff on  
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
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lightsaber
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:30 am

I find it amusing people will complain but not pay for more room. AA tried MRTC and failed. People voted with their wallet.

Quoting vaus77w (Reply 9):
Seriously though, airfares are just so cheap nowadays that anyone can afford to fly. If you want more comfort, you gotta pay for it. Quit whining.

My thoughts. There are plenty of Y+ opportunities for those who want a litlte space.

Quoting tomkell92 (Reply 17):
Then you have BA who offer around 32" legroom, which is perfect, but when you look at the price for the flight, you die a little inside.

And you wonder why more and more take away the legroom...

Quoting planeguy727 (Reply 18):
Part of the problem with economy is that the public has come to see traveling on a "cheap" fair as some sort of god given right.

The problem is price transparency. Who doesn't check at least two websites for fares (unless you company forces you to use only one)?

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 63):
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 was amazed at how well B6 is doing selling their extended legroom.

Lightsaber
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Stitch
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:00 pm

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 66):
That probably *would* be a better deal. The downside is having to convince the person two seats over from you that that's actually your seat that they're dumping all their stuff on.  

I'd just put my carryon under my seat for take-off, then drop it on the adjacent seat during climb-out (after the "10K Ding"). If the adjacent passenger asks about it, I'd explain I purchased two seats for comfort and flash them the boarding passes.  
 
ElPistolero
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:53 pm

Quoting CPHFF (Reply 59):
Compare Y fares today vs. 20 years ago.
Compare fuel prices today vs. 20 years ago.

Somethings got to give........

Arguments like these always strike me as superfluous.

Time does not stand still. The aviation market is significantly larger than it was 20 years ago. Technologically, we have seen some remarkable innovation in engineering and computing. There's an entire economies of scale angle that you've perhaps deliberately, ignored. It applies throughout the supply chain - the cost of producing an aircraft is relatively cheaper today than it would be to produce the exact same aircraft 20 years ago, and the demand for greater fuel efficiency means that the aircraft being built today are far more economical and offer lower fuel consumption than 20 years ago. Throw in more efficient airports, more use of technology throughout airline ops etc - and you can see a whole lot of costs that have 'given'.

As for the topic, are seats worse? Yes. In 2005, I flew AC YYZ-LHR, followed by EK LHR-DXB. The AC 767 had the most comfortable Y seats I have ever experienced (they wouldn't be out of place in my living room, appearance apart). But no IFE. EK's 777 was in the 3-4-3 configuration, but it had IFE. Two similar duration flights. I remember thinking about which option I preferred more - comfortable seat (long gone courtesy of project XM) or EK's crap seat with IFE.

In the end, I concluded that since I rarely sleep in Y on flights - even red-eyes (too many crying babies), I would go with the latter. Seems airlines have come to the same conclusion. Entertain people, and they won't worry about comfort. Can I complain? Not really. I knew what was coming, but I wasn't opposed to it. And now that its here, well, c'est la vie.

With more airlines choosing the 17" wide seat options on the 787s (that would be 3-4-3 on the 777s), its only going to get worse.
 
ytz
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:04 pm

Quoting ElPistolero (Reply 69):
With more airlines choosing the 17" wide seat options on the 787s (that would be 3-4-3 on the 777s), its only going to get worse.

This. I used to be excited at the thought of AC fielding the Dreamliner. Now that I know AC is going to 9 abreast on the 787, the excitement has gone. Sadly, there really aren't many airliners that won't go 9-abreast on the 787.
 
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longhauler
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:36 pm

Quoting YTZ (Reply 70):
This. I used to be excited at the thought of AC fielding the Dreamliner. Now that I know AC is going to 9 abreast on the 787, the excitement has gone. Sadly, there really aren't many airliners that won't go 9-abreast on the 787.

9 abreast on the B787 doesn't scare me as much as 10 abreast on the B777! I too was hoping for 8 abreast on the B787, but they haven't officially announced anything. But time is against us. Had AC been the first customer for the B787, it likely would have been 8 abreast, much like the B777 is 9 abreast. But as higher density seating is becoming more and more accepted, the die is pretty well cast.

But ... look at the title of this thread. "Economy Seats Getting Worse?"

What to passengers want? A cheap seat. What are they getting? A cheap seat. Fares are cheaper now than they were 20 years ago, which are cheaper than 20 years before that, and 20 years before that.

So, are Economy seats getting worse? No, because they are getting cheaper. (Comparing to 1992 dollars, to 1972 dollars, to 1952 dollars and factoring in CPI). Are they comfortable? No, but that is not what the customer wants, or more to the point, wont pay for!

They are not getting worse, they are getting better. (cheaper)
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
ElPistolero
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:38 am

Quoting longhauler (Reply 71):
What to passengers want? A cheap seat. What are they getting? A cheap seat. Fares are cheaper now than they were 20 years ago, which are cheaper than 20 years before that, and 20 years before that.

So, are Economy seats getting worse? No, because they are getting cheaper. (Comparing to 1992 dollars, to 1972 dollars, to 1952 dollars and factoring in CPI). Are they comfortable? No, but that is not what the customer wants, or more to the point, wont pay for!

They are not getting worse, they are getting better. (cheaper)

'Cheaper' is a function of competition, not seat design. AF uses the same 777s with the same Y products to fly to the US and Canada. The prices at which it sells Y tickets in each country is different.

The extra seat per row allows airlines to sell seats cheaper, but whether they do that or not is based entirely on the market conditions, which is a simple way of saying that bad Y seats are not, in and of themselves, indicative of cheap prices. Only competition will decide that.

As for these comparisons to 1992 and 1972 - they are meaningless. It reminds me of Obama's remark about no longer having as many cavalrymen. It ignores the obvious : the rise of new aviation markets and the economies of scale associated with that, not to mention technological innovation. Different market conditions. FWIW computers (including the ones that brought the only improvement the Y product has seen over the last decade - IFE) are cheaper and better than ever before. Better, being the keyword. That said, I look forward to the day when someone reprimands me for complaining about the price of the latest $700 computer/phone by contrasting it with the price of a computer in 1972.

IIRC, ANA and JAL have gone for the 2-4-2 option on their 787s, so there is hope yet, but given that the EU/N. American TATL market is the market leader for deteriorating Y long haul products, I expect the EU and N. American carriers will go with 3-3-3. In some markets, this will make flights cheaper. In some, it probably won't.
 
MeanGreen
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:48 am

Ill say this: the Alaska coach seat was more comfortable to me than the US Airways A321 first class seat I recently occupied! The recline was horrible!
 
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longhauler
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:44 am

Quoting ElPistolero (Reply 72):
'Cheaper' is a function of competition, not seat design.

Exactly! If prices were fixed and airlines competed with service, then a 10 abreast configuration would not exist.

But if prices were not fixed, then the passenger decides what is most important to him, and by a very wide margin that customer states that price is more important than service/comfort. Competition therefore is now with price. So, another seat per row is added, and the airline has more room to adjust price, and passenger has less room to breath, but got what he wanted, a cheap seat!
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
ytz
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:07 pm

@longhauler

The problem though (as others have mentioned) is that airlines are only interested in catering to business pax and highly price conscious customers.

Customers with slightly higher disposable incomes willing to pay for better service, without full-blown J, have very limited options.

People say, there are plenty of airlines that offer premium economy. To start with, nobody does it inside Canada today. Even for the YYZ-YVR domestic long run. And then it's still not common enough on many sectors to have substantial price and service competition (like we see for J and Y). Hopefully, this changes in time.
 
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longhauler
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:47 pm

Quoting YTZ (Reply 75):
Customers with slightly higher disposable incomes willing to pay for better service, without full-blown J, have very limited options.

Normally I would say that the Customer dictates what the airline offers, (eventually), but in this case I think you are correct. With no competition in Canada, Air Canada (or Westjet) really doesn't have to offer that product. When one does, then the other will have to. That is assuming of course that there is demand.

If one looks at the history of a "middle class" (for lack of a better term) in Canada, one can see that the competition between Air Canada and Canadian Pacific is what developed the product. Starting first with a section of economy, the two airlines "leap-frogged" each other until the final product. F/J, or J/Y B737s or F/J/Y DC-10s at CP, and F/J/Y B747s, L1011s, B767s or J/Y B727s and DC-9s at AC.

It was competition that developed the product. And right now in Canada, there is none.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
ytz
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:08 pm

@longhauler

As cited in the other thread. Love what AA is doing with the new 321 TCONs:

http://aa.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=3560

Half of all Y seats are Main Cabin Extra. That should sell well. Sincerely hope, AC follows that model.
 
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longhauler
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:21 pm

Quoting YTZ (Reply 77):
Half of all Y seats are Main Cabin Extra. That should sell well. Sincerely hope, AC follows that model.

Yes, but you will note that this configuration is in response to competition. AA already had their Flagship B767-200s which will be replaced with these A321s, competing with UA's PS service. The Main Cabin Extra product is of course, responding to UA's Economy Plus.

Until one of either AC or WS has a domestic Premium Economy product, then neither will! (If that makes sense.)
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
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seabosdca
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:00 pm

Quoting YTZ (Reply 75):
The problem though (as others have mentioned) is that airlines are only interested in catering to business pax and highly price conscious customers.

Customers with slightly higher disposable incomes willing to pay for better service, without full-blown J, have very limited options.

That is because there are relatively few such customers, at least in North American markets.

Premium economy sections, where they exist, almost always have many fewer seats than J sections. (E+, which is just economy with a few more inches of pitch, is a different story.)

Most people who have enough money to justify paying for more than bare-bones Y are willing to pay for J.
 
ytz
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:45 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 78):
Until one of either AC or WS has a domestic Premium Economy product, then neither will! (If that makes sense.)

I get what you're saying. Just wish the stand-off would end! And if AC will go through a narrowbody fleet renewal at the end of the decade, might be a chance for them...so that us passengers are not waiting another decade!

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 79):
Premium economy sections, where they exist, almost always have many fewer seats than J sections. (E+, which is just economy with a few more inches of pitch, is a different story.)

Domestically though, you don't need more than E+.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:57 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 76):
Starting first with a section of economy, the two airlines "leap-frogged" each other until the final product. F/J, or J/Y B737s or F/J/Y DC-10s at CP, and F/J/Y B747s, L1011s, B767s or J/Y B727s and DC-9s at AC.

Also F/J/Y 747s at CP. When they introduced J (using the original F seats but 50 of them instead of 28), they moved F class to the upper deck (12 sheepskin-covered sleeper seats). They dropped F class (as did AC around the same time) not long after but forget whether that was before or after the 742s were disposed of (traded to PIA for 4 of their DC-10-30s).

F class reappeared on CP (by then Canadian) when the 763s and 744s arrived as they were 3-class originally, but F didn't last long on those either. When F was dropped, J seating was upgraded on both types to be virtually the same as the former F product.
 
spacecadet
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:28 am

Quoting ElPistolero (Reply 72):
It reminds me of Obama's remark about no longer having as many cavalrymen. It ignores the obvious : the rise of new aviation markets and the economies of scale associated with that, not to mention technological innovation.

Unless I'm missing *your* point, I think you missed *his*, which is exactly the same point you're making. (His point was specifically that we no longer needed 500 ships in our navy because we weren't relying on outdated technology like battleships and PT boats - or horses and bayonets - anymore.)

Quoting ElPistolero (Reply 72):
IIRC, ANA and JAL have gone for the 2-4-2 option on their 787s, so there is hope yet, but given that the EU/N. American TATL market is the market leader for deteriorating Y long haul products, I expect the EU and N. American carriers will go with 3-3-3. In some markets, this will make flights cheaper. In some, it probably won't.

It is ironic that JAL and ANA have always offered a better Y product than US or EU carriers, despite the smaller average size of their domestic customers. But they seem to refuse to play in this race to the bottom game; they are not trying to attract the most penny-pinching customers. Their fares are routinely higher than the competitions' on the same routes. JAL obviously has had some trouble with their overall strategy but ANA seems to be doing pretty well with it. So I disagree (and always have disagreed) with comments like:

Quoting longhauler (Reply 71):
What to passengers want? A cheap seat. What are they getting? A cheap seat.

Tell that to ANA.

You may as well look at the success of McDonald's and conclude that if you own a steakhouse, you may as well pack it in. This despite the raging success of many well-known steakhouses across the country, who thrive even in a market saturated with fast food outlets. The market for a slightly better quality of food is definitely there, just as it is for a slightly better quality of seat. There are a lot of people with incomes in between the poverty line and a Fortune 500 CEO.

Quoting YTZ (Reply 75):
People say, there are plenty of airlines that offer premium economy. To start with, nobody does it inside Canada today.

I feel for anyone who lives in an area not served by an airline that offers E+ or PE, but Canada is a small market. Big country, small population. Not enough of a population to have much competition.

But like I said 20 or so replies ago, it's a fairly new concept to be selling seats that are just slightly upmarket of regular economy. Some airlines in the past, if they had these types of seats at all, would *only* use them for upgrades - you couldn't even buy them if you wanted to. (ANA was once one such airline.) It's only recently that a lot of airlines have started selling them, and some have had some success with it, depending on the price and how they're positioned. So hopefully it will be more common worldwide in the future. I will always maintain that the market is there for reasonably priced upgrades for a bit of extra space.
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longhauler
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:51 am

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 82):
It is ironic that JAL and ANA have always offered a better Y product than US or EU carriers, despite the smaller average size of their domestic customers. But they seem to refuse to play in this race to the bottom game; they are not trying to attract the most penny-pinching customers. Their fares are routinely higher than the competitions' on the same routes.

They refuse to play in that race, because they can get away with it. They have a market that is willing to pay a premium for a better Economy product. That market does not exist in the United States to the point that any American carrier can fill a less dense Economy cabin at a higher fare.

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 82):
Tell that to ANA.

Tell that to AA's More Room Throughout Coach, or the first Midwest Express.

There were not enough American's willing to pay a premium for a better Economy product, so those products no longer exist.
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ElPistolero
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:05 am

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 82):

Unless I'm missing *your* point, I think you missed *his*, which is exactly the same point you're making. (His point was specifically that we no longer needed 500 ships in our navy because we weren't relying on outdated technology like battleships and PT boats - or horses and bayonets - anymore.)

Just poor expression on my part. More or less aimed at debunking this trend of comparing airfares from 2012 to 1992 and 1972. The world's changed too much for those comparisons to apply.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 83):

They refuse to play in that race, because they can get away with it. They have a market that is willing to pay a premium for a better Economy product. That market does not exist in the United States to the point that any American carrier can fill a less dense Economy cabin at a higher fare

ANA flies to six or seven US cities. How do they command a premium there if the market does not exist? Again, it doesn't neccessarily boil down to the seat - the overall product matters. People will pay a premium if the service is up to scratch. North American carriers, in general, are not known for their service - and the EU carriers are following their lead.

Besides, on the issue of this extra seat per row, in order for it to have any real effect, the airline would have to run a very very high LF. Looking at EK's 3-4-3 on a 777 thats essentially 30 extra seats in a Y cabin of 304. That amounts to 10% extra seats. It only helps them if they're clocking 90%+ load factors a flight, otherwise those seats aren't making the other seats any cheaper. EK can pull that off on some routes, but how many N. American carriers manage a 90%+ LF on a year round basis? Furthermore, is there a cost associated with carrying the extra seat (weight, maintenance etc)? TBH, I doubt AF runs up a 90%+ LF in Y on the vast majority of its routes. So the assumption that the extra seat will help allow airlines sell seats cheaper...it requires too many questionable assumptions.

Besides, this whole notion of cheaper seats ignores the reality of ancillary fees and nickel and diming, which are more true in N. America than anywhere else in the world. Most North American carriers are Ryanair (+ IFE in some cases) in domestic Y, albeit at significantly higher prices. The nickel and diming is very similar to ULCCs. This, too, should be factored into all of these questionable cost comparisons (cheaper now than XXXX AD).

[Edited 2012-12-12 19:08:50]
 
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:19 am

Quoting ElPistolero (Reply 84):
ANA flies to six or seven US cities. How do they command a premium there if the market does not exist?

Out of interest I checked tomorrow's flights in Economy.

From LAX to NRT, NH is the same price as UA or US. From ORD, NH is the same price as UA, and JL is cheaper than both. NH is cheaper than DL or UA from JFK/EWR to NRT, so it would appear that they are not commanding a premium fare, or are at least comparable to the competition.

But in reality, the point I was making is that for most of the time, it is the passenger that sets the fare and comfort!

If sufficient demand exists for a premium product, to the point that the passenger will pay for it then all airlines must offer that premium product or lose clientele. The passenger decides what he wants, and searches the company that offers it. But, as we know, the vast majority of passengers are looking for the cheapest fare.
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Viscount724
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RE: Economy Seats Getting Worse?

Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:34 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 83):
Quoting spacecadet (Reply 82):
Tell that to ANA.

Tell that to AA's More Room Throughout Coach, or the first Midwest Express.

There were not enough American's willing to pay a premium for a better Economy product, so those products no longer exist.

TWA's "Comfort Class" lasted about as long as AA's equivalent "More Room in Coach".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XuksUYX7Jg

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