Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The slow demise of domestic first class

Business and some variation of "Business/First" will be the new standard....

American Airlines sees need for first class on only small number of long-haul aircraft. Lori Ranson, APEX Blog

American Airlines has concluded that completely eliminating first class from its product offering would be  detrimental business decision as demand for service a step above the evolving business-class product remains steady in some its important premium markets. But similar to other carriers, American does not believe first class is necessary on a wide swath of its fleet, a conclusion reflected in the carrier’s decision to reconfigure its 47-strong fleet of Boeing 777-200 widebodies with business, economy and its “Main Cabin Extra” premium economy offering.
The carrier is retaining a first class cabin with eight seats on its new flagship 777-300ER fleet that will serve as American’s primary premium international aircraft once the 10 jets on order are delivered. American becomes the sole US operator of the 777-300ER later this year when it begins flights with its first aircraft from Dallas to Sao Paulo in December.
Citing American’s “long history of doing a two-class, three-class analysis”, company managing director of commercial planning and performance Jim Butler explains, “I think you need to look the network need you have and the products that are competitive or better than competitive in each of the different cabins.”
Airline have been headed down this road for a while, and I predict it won't be too long until Domestic First is a thing of the past, kind of like domestic food service in economy.

So First becomes Business which becomes "economy plus" which becomes economy w/seat selection which becomes "economy and you sit where we put you." Couple all of this with an overall reduction in upgrade clearances for many Elites and you have a serious devaluation of the domestic product. 

One thing that won't go down?

Prices. (Of course)

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