Airline scraps first class seats, because the posh like it rough

19 February 2010

The world may be edging out of recession, but it's forced many of us to take a long, hard look at the money we piss up the wall. The net-result is that Oz-based Qantas Airways are cutting first class services from the majority of its flights, after their chief executive stated that on a typical flight, six out of ten first class seats are empty.

Bitterwallet - QantasQantas flies to 16 domestic and 21 international destinations, but the changes in first class availability will mean passengers will only be able to fly up front between Australia and London via Singapore, and direct between Australia and Los Angeles. The airline will ''reconfigure'' the seating arrangements to squeeze about 100 extra seats on their A380s and 50 on their jumbo jets. Earlier in the week, CityJet - a subsidiary of Air France - launched a new premium economy class, replacing current business class seats on their flights, meaning less room for around a third off the ticket price.

If other airlines were to follow the same model, would this flood of cheap seats mean a tumble in prices for air travel? Probably not. Given that the bulk of revenue from a flight comes from the 10 to 15 per cent of passengers willing to pay a premium for first class travel, it's unlikely a big increase in seat availability will mean lower prices. Even if the increase in economy fares generated a similar level of revenue, the massive increase in weight would surely see any profit swallowed up any profits in fuel costs and staffing.

TOPICS:   Travel

7 comments

  • guy_incognito
    Qantas is cutting FIRST class, not business class. the latter will still make up the bulk of the revenue no doubt, but they'll squeeze a few extra pennies in by filling up the seats that will replace the first class offerings that were normally empty. it makes sense - and you can still travel in (relative) style and comfort if you have the dosh.
  • higgy
    Doesn't matter if they keep business, there's no way the cost of flying 100 extra passengers in economy will prove more profitable than first class. Wouldn't be economy prices increased to offset the loss in revenue. The airline could still argue "more cheaper flights" are available.
  • guy_incognito
    if first class = empty, then that means zero profit (and potential loss). so if that trend continues, then yes, they've still done the right thing. and yes, i agree that economy prices may increase on average as well...
  • Andrew
    Why not just make first class a bit cheaper?
  • guy_incognito
    Because first class goes to 11.
  • Sideysid
    Remember that theres four classes on BA/Qantas. Business class (or club class) is still extraordinarily expensive for us mere mortals (3-4k ish to oz), no doubt they'll still make mega bucks by getting rid of a few First seats (8k ish to oz) if their not being filled up, and plugging the spaces with economy/premium economy.
  • Ten B.
    [...] drop their first class seats because no one wants to shell out to sit in [...]

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