In the late 60’s and early 70’s, flying was something really unique. Passengers dressed for the occasion and were with countless amenities on board aircraft and a first class service. Obviously, at that time air travel was very expensive. In the late 70’s, air travel became popular, and the aircraft went from these unique places that used to be a simple ‘buses with wings’.
However, many passengers, pursuing different needs and status and comfort, continued to demand exclusive service. Therefore Airlines aircraft endowed their higher level classes. Several of them called Business Class, while others went further and dared to include an additional class called First Class. While in some long-haul routes a ticket can cost around $ 1000 in economy class, the same passage in Business can cost $ 5,000 and over 10,000 First.
The service was obviously quite distinct for the two upper classes, seeking to justify the significant price differences. Wider seats, more space between them, personalized service, access to exclusive lounges before and after flights, upscale menus, among others, are the features offered. In return, airlines derive a significant reward: Although international flights in Business Class and First Class flies only 8% total passengers, representing 27% of revenue for airlines.
The problem is that in recent years the demand for these higher classes, especially for First Class, has declined substantially. The financial crises experienced in developed countries have led companies to cut back their budget to pay travel First, its officers, urging them to travel in Business Class instead. Advito, a company that helps companies manage their corporate travel, consider that less than 20% of airlines allow their employees to fly in First Class on business trips, while more than 75% did authorize them to travel in Business. This has made load factors First Class has decreased, and that people who travel in these seats are passengers who obtain promotions within the frequent flyer programs. This has made more than one line of business itself, the First Class is becoming the place where commuters spend their accumulated miles, which has increased the need for airlines to include more chairs in their tourist cabins to take economic benefits also from this class.
For instance, Lufthansa considers that the 200,000 passengers a day, only 700 do so in Primera. If we add that several airlines have improved their service in Business, making it more similar to that passengers could get in first, and indeed the airlines are going to offer First – Business – Tourist in their aircraft to have Business – Economy Premium (Premium Economy) – Tourist, give the impression that the First Class in aircraft is destined to disappear.
Several airlines have decided to eliminate or reduce their offers First Class within the aircraft. Such is the case of Lufthansa, American, TAM, United, Qantas, Turkish, among others, deciding to improve its offer in Business Class. However, Arab airlines continue taking the opposite and instead continue to improve its offering First Class.
In May 2014, for instance, Etihad announced the launch of its new class within their A380 service will end the year. This class, called The Residence, blends the best that can be found in the current First Class Luxury with existing corporate aircraft. There will be two spaces of these in your A380, which includes private room, bedroom with double bed, private shower, butler custom … According to the CEO of the airline, the price of a trip in this super exclusive cabin can reach over $ 100,000. In addition to this, Etihad has also announced the launch of First Appartments, also in its A380, and First Suites for your B787-9, similar to those currently offering other airlines such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines.
About Emirates, has already announced that studies improve its offer in its First Class service, which currently offers 1562 private suites on 218 of its aircraft, including shower and spa service in the air on its A380. Again, the Arab airlines demonstrate their importance in the global aviation market and its unique service, going a bit counter to the other airlines to maintain these super exclusive services. However, this situation can be explained in its unique business model , to connect the world through their hubs located in the Middle East. For example, for a person who fly from New York to Bangkok, it would be part of the objective of Emirates, Qatar and Etihad market, paying this type service would be worthwhile because it would use its two long-haul flights, i.e. New York – Dubai / Doha / Abu Dhabi – Bangkok, while a passenger to go to New York to any city in Europe, part of the target market Lufthansa or Air France, for instance, only the would build on his flight from New York to Frankfurt or Paris, while intra-European flight only have access to a similar Economic class attached to the free chair and chair just better food than it receives from other passengers on the plane.
However, some different airlines to Arab retain their First Class aircraft assigned exclusively to those routes where there is demand for such travelers. For example, American Airlines has 8 chairs of this kind in their new B777-300ER that assigns more profitable routes, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and London. Air France recently launched its cabin La Premiere in their B777-300ER, although this type of aircraft flies to more cities that receive this new offering. Lufthansa has reduced the amount of chairs of First and implemented for the first time its history the Premium Economy. Striking is the case with British, which takes advantage of having its main hub in London, the city that source and destination of 9 10 routes where more chairs First Class offered worldwide, and 15 of 25 routes. Therefore, while in 1997 the B747-400 British had 332 Economy Class seats, currently have only 185 on average, while the rest of the plane is occupied by the most exclusive classes.
Incidentally, Centre for Aviation published the list of the 25 routes with higher offer First Class seats in the world. As mentioned, British part in 15 of these routes. Ten of the 25 routes offer more seats in this class are Transatlantic four united Europe with Asia, three in the Middle East, and three are Transpacific. Two connecting Asia with Australia, two bind to the Middle East to the rest of Asia and joining the United States and Latin America. Below is the full list:
This is how, although possibly the First Class comes not disappear entirely, will be very few airlines in very few routes where the market can sustain.