Is American Airlines “Showing The Door” To Non-Rich Customers?

Is American Airlines “Showing The Door” To Non-Rich Customers?

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There are a lot of very bad airline industry takes on the internet, though this has to be one the worst I’ve seen in a long time…

“American Airlines just showed the door to customers who aren’t rich”

ZDNet published a rambling article that tries to draw conclusions about society based on American Airlines’ new Boeing 787-9 configuration. For context, it was recently leaked that American’s upcoming Boeing 787-9 deliveries will have a more premium layout.

The planes will feature new business class seats with doors, and they’ll have more business class and premium economy seats, while they’ll feature fewer economy seats. This configuration will just be available on select aircraft that operate business routes with lots of premium demand (for example, think London).

The ZDNet story makes so many bizarre points, yet seemingly doesn’t delve into anything for more than a sentence or two (which isn’t surprising, because the points simply don’t make sense). We can all agree with this part of the story:

What’s different about American’s latest Dreamliners is that they lean much more heavily toward customers who have, well, a lot more money.

These will have 51 Business Class seats. No, wait. 51 Business Class pods.

And these pods have doors. Welcome to the gated community, at 36,000 feet.

The latest Dreamliners will also have 32 Premium Economy reclining seats.

In total, there’ll be 41 fewer seats on these planes, as compared to American’s previous 787-9s.

It’s easy to fly to conclusions.

The conclusions the author arrives at, though, are bizarre. Among other things:

  • American’s new Boeing 787s are compared to how Southwest is now allowing its fares to appear on Kayak, but only for those who are part of a company
  • This reflects the greater inequality in society of haves and have-nots
  • This is going to cause a problem, because economy class passengers have to walk past “Fancy Class passengers who are already on their second glass of champagne,” and research suggests that walking past fancy seating is linked to increased unrest among economy passengers
  • “You’d think that airlines have already had enough unrest from passengers during the pandemic”
  • Airfare has “recently risen by around 20%,” which somehow has something to do with these seats?
  • This is a “slightly difficult situation,” because “it’s not like a restaurant, where the food is the same, the ambiance is the same, but some people order ridiculously priced wine”
  • Passengers may “see a greater, more palpable division of a potentially uncomfortable kind”
  • “If you’re a regular American Airlines Economy Class customer and you have to walk through the gated community, how will you feel when you get to your own seat?”
  • “One day, you might get the chance to fly in the gated community and open a door to your seat, it’s what they call the American dream”
American will introduce business class seats with doors

No, no, no, no, no

Let me start by saying that I’m the furthest thing from an American Airlines apologist, and I’ll agree that inequality is a big problem (and we’ll leave it at that, because I want to focus on the ridiculousness of this story, rather than get political). That being said, none of the author’s conclusions otherwise reflect reality, and the whole piece just seems intended to piss people off for no good reason.

Where do we even begin?

  • Airlines often have subfleets with different configurations, reflecting that demand is different depending on the market; American isn’t reconfiguring existing planes with this configuration, but rather the airline realizes that it doesn’t have enough business class seats to meet demand in some markets
  • The existence of doors generally doesn’t increase the footprint of a seat, so it’s not like anything is being taken away from economy class passengers to offer a more competitive experience in business class; this paints economy passengers as being incredibly catty, and just for no reason being opposed to those who paid for something nice
  • This more premium configuration has little to do with the pandemic, and has more to do with American’s projections of long term demand among business travelers (along with premium leisure demand)
  • Even Spirit Airlines, the ultra low cost carrier, has the “Big Front Seat,” and arguably nearly all the points being made above would also apply to that
  • I guess the author would love the direction American has been taking in general, by cramming more seats into planes, ripping out TVs, etc., in order to offer a more low cost experience
  • On major global network airlines, business class passengers are subsidizing economy class passengers in many business markets; that’s why long haul economy airfare is often so cheap
  • Take a flight between the United States and London in winter, and you may very well find that there are more passengers in business class and premium economy than in economy
American’s 777-300ERs have 52 business class seats

Bottom line

There are a lot of things that we can (and should) criticize American Airlines for. But American Airlines introducing a new premium Boeing 787 configuration shouldn’t be one of them. Airlines create products intended to meet demand in different markets.

The demand for business class between New York and London won’t be the same as the demand for business class between New York and Athens, and it makes sense for airlines to have different configurations to reflect that.

In this particular case, the upcoming Boeing 787-9s are clearly intended to become American’s new flagship aircraft, eventually replacing the carrier’s fleet of Boeing 777-300ERS (which have even more premium seats).

Suggesting somehow that economy class passengers should get their pitchforks out because doors are being added to business class seats is a weird direction to take. But hey, to each their own…

What’s your take on this situation?

Conversations (93)
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  1. DaveM Guest

    We Americans have a love/hate relationship with capitalism. Supply and demand is dictating the need for more comfortable (albeit more expensive) seating on long haul flights. Ironically (early on), the entire industry exclusively served the wealthy and the business travelers. Deregulation changed that. Must every airline be an economy class provider on long haul flights?

  2. Amir Guest

    I don't think there is anything wrong with premium heavy configuration planes on premium routes like London LHR or Paris CDG. The airline is just trying to meet demands. British Airways operates premium J heavy planes from LHR to JFK and nobody seems to complain about inequality.

  3. Nathaniel Guest

    Sadly more seats will NOT add anymore ‘class’ to those cabins. People whine and complain (mostly Americans) when sitting in Business, but many ‘upgrade’ into the cabin. Obviously this does not pertain to everyone, but I have seen enough of the show to standby my point. First and Business are great Premium products that offer a fine service. It’s unfortunate that some of the ‘entitlement’ minded people in the cabin takes away from the experience....

    Sadly more seats will NOT add anymore ‘class’ to those cabins. People whine and complain (mostly Americans) when sitting in Business, but many ‘upgrade’ into the cabin. Obviously this does not pertain to everyone, but I have seen enough of the show to standby my point. First and Business are great Premium products that offer a fine service. It’s unfortunate that some of the ‘entitlement’ minded people in the cabin takes away from the experience. Enjoy the product and leave the attitudes at home.

  4. Barry Owen Guest

    As a former flight attendant, I wonder how safe it is to have these doors barring passengers from easy escape out of a plane during an emergency. And I can see flight attendants miss seeing someone that might need assistance in an emergency situation.

    1. coutureguy Guest

      Doors must be stowed open during TTL. No worries about escaping in an emergency

  5. RacerX Guest

    As a constant Executive Platinum member, I applaud AA. I've earned my upgrades and if there are more opportunities to gain that seat, I'm all for it. If one is concerned about inequalities due to higher prices try flying the many cattle car cheaper airlines.

  6. Steve Fritz Guest

    Sorry, if you are in an airplane, you are already in the "have's" class.

  7. Eskimo Guest

    You have your clickbaits. They have their clickbaits.

    The world is full of BS, fake news, and propaganda.

  8. Renee Ruggles Guest

    Simply make the economy seats more roomy and comfortable and this will be a non-issue. Improve everyone's experience, not just those in 1st or business class. As stated, prices have increased, and that's for every customer. Airlines have been cramming economy customers like sardines for too long, with no updates or upgrades.

    1. coutureguy Guest

      They tried that back in the 90s "more room in coach", but no one wanted to pay for it. People always complain about seats, etc. on airlines, but evidence shows that people in the coach cabin don't want to pay for these better amenities. Most people buy the absolute cheapest ticket posisble, so airlines don't really have an incentive to make coach much better than it is.

  9. William Muhr New Member

    The author is either (a) simply trying to stir up some interest in his column, or (b) woefully ignorant of the economics and reality of modern air travel. Of course an airline would want to maximize revenue and not surprisingly treat its best customers well. His restaurant analogy is also off : trust me, if you are a great customer of a restaurant and need a last minute reservation you will get one - the...

    The author is either (a) simply trying to stir up some interest in his column, or (b) woefully ignorant of the economics and reality of modern air travel. Of course an airline would want to maximize revenue and not surprisingly treat its best customers well. His restaurant analogy is also off : trust me, if you are a great customer of a restaurant and need a last minute reservation you will get one - the person who rarely eats out will not. So AA wants to have more premium seats - that's their business model and they will see if it flies, no pun intended, in the market. IF you want cheap seats fly Spirit or such.

  10. BW Guest

    I guess I'm old. I recall when flying was not such a pain in the butt and actually FUN. Just yesterday had to fly from Charlotte to Tulsa. A hassle and uncomfortable. Wish high speed rail would come to America.

  11. John Guest

    Q: Does 'ConcordePerson' have enough original thought to post an original comment or will she always be on the defensive and merely reply to others?

  12. Widerightv New Member

    Don't go there Lucky... don't go there...
    OMG, you just stepped into it Lucky...
    Why do you do that? Dude!
    Now there is a cavernous divide between the masses again; and you just stirred up the pot.
    Bottom line... An airline will not set up an excessive amount of business class seats unless it penciled out.

  13. Mickey D Guest

    As a big guy, the Last time I flew, I bought both economy seats on the flight. The middle lifts up, and it’s a tremendous amount of space. Most comfortable ever; including business and was cheaper than a single business.

    Basically, I fly with the understanding that a single Econ seat is not an option. Either that means I drive my Navigator, or I opt for Business Class or dual Econ.

  14. Matthew Guest

    Actually, economy class passengers will be walking past business class passengers drinking warm Prosecco served in plastic glasses.

  15. D.Papas Guest

    The company will try to make more money.Nothing wrong with that. At the same time ,other companies will introduce the A321 ultra long range from NE U.S to Europe. The fares will go down. And I am sure, that if they see a big success and demand in business class ( on other carriers) , they will start all business class routes with the A321. And their cost will be less. So one word to summarize it. COMPETITION. It will come.....either way.

  16. Jim Guest

    I love it!! I will be the first to buy a better seat any chance I get. I love AA

  17. Alex Guest

    It's quite an accomplishment to have such a bad take that you make people defend American. I say this as an ExPlat as well.

  18. RJM Guest

    If people don't want to sit in economy then don't buy an economy ticket. I know what I'm buying when I book a flight on American. If business class is too expensive then I'll opt for Main Cabin Extra. Same legroom, narrower seat, and no food. Big deal. Since the pandemic the food in business class turned into the food people in economy used to pay for. Apart from Group 1 boarding, business class is just not worth it.

  19. asdf Guest

    Look at the behavioral problems the crew has to deal with: weirdos exposing themselves, drunks groping the stewardesses, psychos trying open the door in flight, ghetto women getting into fights with the crew and other passengers, etc.
    By raising the prices, you narrow down the market to serious travelers only.
    I would rather pay more if it means getting to my destination safe and unmolested.

  20. John Guest

    Well said, I had the same opinion of the original article…rambling nonsensical oratory with no point other to stir up some type of emotive response.

  21. Crosscourt Guest

    There'll be nothing premium on AA until their crew get better attitudes and service procedures and certainly serve ALL drinks, including pre take off, in glass, and not try to pass off sparkling wine as champagne and improve amenities etc.

  22. Dee Guest

    It’s time for US domestic airlines to upgrade their aircraft & level of service offered in the European & other international markets. This applies to both Business & economy classes.

    1. ConcordeBoy Gold

      Yeah, like BA: where they nickle&dime you 3 figures to pay for seat selection, after you've just spent 5 figures on a club seat. Yeah, really want more of that.

      Then there's KL: who's never quite figured out the definition of the word "flat."

      Or perhaps LH: where 2x2x2 is still considered modern. Yeah, US carriers should strive for that.

      ............maybe you should spend less time on generalized tropes, and more time learning about the...

      Yeah, like BA: where they nickle&dime you 3 figures to pay for seat selection, after you've just spent 5 figures on a club seat. Yeah, really want more of that.

      Then there's KL: who's never quite figured out the definition of the word "flat."

      Or perhaps LH: where 2x2x2 is still considered modern. Yeah, US carriers should strive for that.

      ............maybe you should spend less time on generalized tropes, and more time learning about the actual products/policies that exist?

    2. Michael Guest

      Well said a lot of backseat quarterbacks who haven’t stepped foot or sampled all the other competitors inflight service and offerings that give uneducated opinions.

    3. Gregg Guest

      Most of us will gladly take 2x2x2 if it comes with great service/food/wine and booze.

  23. Alan Guest

    I personally think that airline travel should be more expensive. It really shouldn’t cost less to fly somewhere than it cost to drive. I realize that makes me see elitist.

    1. ConcordeBoy Gold

      No, there's more accurate descriptors such asininity, than "elitist."

  24. Clayton Guest

    I self fund all my travel and it is my passion. I have spent years flying SleazyJet ( I'm based in the UK) and half a dozen other LCCs. I've flown BA, AA, LH, CX, VS to name but a few in coach plenty of times.
    Like many others I looked at those J & F cabins and dreamed "maybe one day I'll get to try a business seat, just once".

    Now, with one...

    I self fund all my travel and it is my passion. I have spent years flying SleazyJet ( I'm based in the UK) and half a dozen other LCCs. I've flown BA, AA, LH, CX, VS to name but a few in coach plenty of times.
    Like many others I looked at those J & F cabins and dreamed "maybe one day I'll get to try a business seat, just once".

    Now, with one recent exception, I fly exclusively J and use BA Amex 2-4-1 vouchers to fly F. It's only in the last 5 or so years I put some time and effort into understanding FF programs and how to make such things work off me and my modest budget along with booking 6,9,12 months out to get lower fares a lot of the time.

    Never once whilst I was dreaming did I feel any resentment towards those lucky enough to fly in the pointy end and I'm yet to meet a single person who does.

    This writer is clearly lazy as with even the most cursory check they would've found out that the oppressive "gated community" they make ref to doesn't exist as doors are never closed until after takeoff. From experience I can confirm that irrelevant of airline the CC will be on you in a flash if you try to close those doors during boarding and politely explain that they must remain fully open until you're in the air.

    Can you imagine the meltdown this child would've had had they been around when lie flat beds were 1st introduced.

  25. Troy Guest

    I don't even know where to start.

    One so called "expert" in the article said this. UGH!
    I hate "experts" who don't know aviation, but who comment on aviation.

    "It could be possible to have more planes load passengers in both the middle and front of the aircraft so travelers do not see passengers in the other section, DeCelles said. “Most aircraft do have doors in the middle, from what I am told...

    I don't even know where to start.

    One so called "expert" in the article said this. UGH!
    I hate "experts" who don't know aviation, but who comment on aviation.

    "It could be possible to have more planes load passengers in both the middle and front of the aircraft so travelers do not see passengers in the other section, DeCelles said. “Most aircraft do have doors in the middle, from what I am told from airline executives,” she said. The bigger issue is whether the airport has the capability of attaching two jetways to the plane.

    In addition to reducing the incidence of air rage, boarding at the front and middle of the plane could probably also make the entire process of boarding go faster, DeCelles said."

  26. DesertGhost Guest

    How do you know American's new 787-9s will replace its 777-300ERs? American's 47 777-200ERs have more premium seats (37J, 24W versus 30J and 21W) and fewer overall seats (273 versus 285) than its current 787-9s, so it seems more likely to me that those aircraft will be replaced. One other point: American's 777-300ERs are relatively new aircraft. Its 777-200ERs are getting a bit long in the tooth. It'll be interesting to see if (or how)...

    How do you know American's new 787-9s will replace its 777-300ERs? American's 47 777-200ERs have more premium seats (37J, 24W versus 30J and 21W) and fewer overall seats (273 versus 285) than its current 787-9s, so it seems more likely to me that those aircraft will be replaced. One other point: American's 777-300ERs are relatively new aircraft. Its 777-200ERs are getting a bit long in the tooth. It'll be interesting to see if (or how) American's older 787-9s will be reconfigured.

  27. Tim Guest

    I knew who the author of this article was before even clicking on the link (based on the title). Check out his previous work. As many other posters have noted, it’s all clickbait and deserving of major eye rolling. Nothing journalistic about it.

  28. George E Guest

    I really hate how crammed in economy seats have become. At 6’5” an economy seat can be literally painful with the amount of legroom Most American carriers offer in economy class. If I am traveling domestic, it’s usually not a huge deal, but will usually spring for A premium seat if the price is not crazy. For international travel I have been avoiding US airlines for years in favor of foreign carriers who offer much...

    I really hate how crammed in economy seats have become. At 6’5” an economy seat can be literally painful with the amount of legroom Most American carriers offer in economy class. If I am traveling domestic, it’s usually not a huge deal, but will usually spring for A premium seat if the price is not crazy. For international travel I have been avoiding US airlines for years in favor of foreign carriers who offer much better premium economy or business travel products. It’s actually refreshing and about time that US carriers are paying attention to the desires of their passengers.

    1. ConcordeBoy Gold

      "It’s actually refreshing and about time that US carriers are paying attention to the desires of their passengers."

      They do. No matter how much the likes of you (specifically speaking) whine, the airlines give "you" (generally speaking) EXACTLY what you TELL them you want...... with your wallet, not you lips.

      Look back in history: every time airlines tried to expand amenities/etc in general economy, they got burned for it, as overall passengers would NOT pay...

      "It’s actually refreshing and about time that US carriers are paying attention to the desires of their passengers."

      They do. No matter how much the likes of you (specifically speaking) whine, the airlines give "you" (generally speaking) EXACTLY what you TELL them you want...... with your wallet, not you lips.

      Look back in history: every time airlines tried to expand amenities/etc in general economy, they got burned for it, as overall passengers would NOT pay the slightest premium, over cheaper competitor offerings.

      You needn't take my or anyone's word on that: simply review the ultimate example would be AA's "More Room Throughout Coach" experiment from 2000-2002.

      So now, they give you exactly what you want; and by "want," they mean what you'll pay for.
      Want price uber alles? Economy minus.
      Want more legroom? Economy plus.
      Want more legroom, shoulder room, and a few amenities? Premium economy.
      Want all the above, plus a lie-flat and lounge access? Business.

  29. Creditian Guest

    Leftists….(1k words skipped)

  30. Doug Guest

    Some people earn their living criticizing (and envying) others, when they could just get on with it, become more successful, and even enjoy a better quality of life -- if only they'd devote their energy towards being constructive instead of whining.
    But that would require facing facts. Life isn't fair -- or unfair. It's just life.
    Even those facing conditions which many/most would agree could be deemed "unfair" still have choices HOW TO...

    Some people earn their living criticizing (and envying) others, when they could just get on with it, become more successful, and even enjoy a better quality of life -- if only they'd devote their energy towards being constructive instead of whining.
    But that would require facing facts. Life isn't fair -- or unfair. It's just life.
    Even those facing conditions which many/most would agree could be deemed "unfair" still have choices HOW TO FACE THEM.
    The choices might BE small, and might SEEM even smaller. But it's the small choices which determine ones outlook: positive, optimistic, upbeat -- or defeatist, negative, apathetic.
    Then -- surprise! -- each small choice, in either direction, builds upon the previous one, and LIFE is what results.
    Like it or not.

  31. Ginger Guest

    Geez, the author should move to China if he thinks all should march in lockstep and everything appears grey - but “equal.”

    It’s America. He should get a 2nd job, save his
    pennies and buy one of those premium seats on his next trip. Or do as I do and use miles to upgrade or book. These woke people need to wake up and smell the champagne.

  32. Steve Guest

    I wish American Airlines WOULD price the trash out of the market. Especially for international flights. 25% price increases, and 25% more spacing. Everything over 8 hours should be a premium economy seat or better. Especially tired of amateur fliers. Also they need to start making people watch videos about what is decorum and what is not, not just how to buckle a seatbelt!

    Like:

    It is not proper to recline your seat until the...

    I wish American Airlines WOULD price the trash out of the market. Especially for international flights. 25% price increases, and 25% more spacing. Everything over 8 hours should be a premium economy seat or better. Especially tired of amateur fliers. Also they need to start making people watch videos about what is decorum and what is not, not just how to buckle a seatbelt!

    Like:

    It is not proper to recline your seat until the aircraft has reached proper cruising altitude and the first indicator that it is OK to unbuckle your seatbelts comes off.

    No one should have to tell you to put your seat forward when its meal service time. You should know!

    Dont open the blinds when the cabin is dark and people are trying to sleep.

    Don't carry so much carry on baggage that you are forced to take up more than your allotted space. Everyone has a RIGHT to have their bag stored above their seat.

    Of course I dont need to tell anyone here this. Anyone that already follows here is already a professional.

  33. TravelinWilly Diamond

    Sounds like it was written by some aggrieved white dotard trash looking for yet *another* reason to hate yet *another* group.

    First they came to ban books, then ban math and science, and now ban comfort - make everyone on an airplane as uncomfortable and poor and stupid as they are.

    Sad!

    1. foo blah Guest

      Seems like the right-wing “aggrieved white dotards” are ACTUALLY banning books, and rewriting curriculums, and trying to control the content of libraries.

      That is SAD! (as fat hitler would say )

    2. Enrique Guest

      I take it..foo blah..that you do not have a biblical world view. So sad.

  34. derek Guest

    There is some truth to the matter that AA is chasing poor people off the airline. However, peoples' situations change in life. Few peoples' incomes are stable. They go up and down.

    If I am driven towards United or Delta, I will collect miles with them and avoid AA, even when I am on a rich expense account.

  35. George Romey Guest

    So I guess a $59 fare should now include a fancy business class seat because of "equity." Let's make the Tesla the same price as the Ford Focus because of "equity." How about this? If sitting in a fancy, spacious business class seat is important to you work hard to either be able to obtain a job that allows you to travel and book such a seat of be able to secure a job that enables you to afford such a seat out of your pocket.

  36. Scott Guest

    It will put them right into o bankruptcy:
    Last choice for flying anywhere.
    I am a weekly business flyer. Southwest is my primary carrier always will be. Great service: Delta Second. United is just as bad as American.
    It’s transportation that’s it. Common sense. If your foolish enough to pay for it so be it. I could find better things to spend that extra money on.

  37. D3kingg Guest

    He’s absolutely right. I agree with the author. Passengers walking past a gated community as they make their way to economy. Life is unfair indeed. What are the authors opinions on non revs that make it into this gated community on occasion?

  38. 9volt New Member

    Just sounds like a bitter and resentful guy who hates his position in life and does not want to do anything to better his situation, other than complain about it.

    1. Marg Guest

      Agree 100%. People should realize how petty and jealous they sound. These are probably the same people that can never get ahead. We can all attain what we want if we work hard and save. This is America for Gods sake! It’s all part of the losers thinking everyone should have the same even if they won’t work hard. I’ve never flown first class and have never been jealous of those that do. Everyone spends...

      Agree 100%. People should realize how petty and jealous they sound. These are probably the same people that can never get ahead. We can all attain what we want if we work hard and save. This is America for Gods sake! It’s all part of the losers thinking everyone should have the same even if they won’t work hard. I’ve never flown first class and have never been jealous of those that do. Everyone spends their money differently. These new pods look really cool. It might be tempting, especially if they gave you something besides those gross pretzels to eat. But I still eat them because they’re “free”! Lol

  39. Sven Guest

    You couldn't pay me to fly American Airlines, in ANY class seat. A low class airline with even lower expectations.

    1. Brian Gasser Guest

      I fly AA's JFK-SNA route in J and F. It has a comfortable seat, lounges on both ends, goes to the destinations I want to travel, the service is fine, and has good on time performance. You can always find something to criticize any company about, but I find AA's premium product cost competitive for what I am receiving.

  40. Aman Guest

    Well I certainly agree that the article has taken a very extreme and somewhat shaky position that sadly deviates from a broader and more pertinent narrative.
    US flag carriers frequently oscillate between positioning themselves as public services and for profit ventures. Essentially, when times are good they echo a free market and capitalist narrative echoing their right to drive profits and create value for their shareholders just like every business.
    But when the...

    Well I certainly agree that the article has taken a very extreme and somewhat shaky position that sadly deviates from a broader and more pertinent narrative.
    US flag carriers frequently oscillate between positioning themselves as public services and for profit ventures. Essentially, when times are good they echo a free market and capitalist narrative echoing their right to drive profits and create value for their shareholders just like every business.
    But when the going gets tough they without flinching position themselves as public service utilities that should be supported by tax payers dollars. Nothing wrong with that either.
    And here in lies the problem. If airlines are to be viewed as private enterprises that render an essential service to society then they must to their bit too.
    Premium heavy configurations are not an issue in themselves but it becomes a problem when an airline like BA monopolises 51% of the slot and then flies out 259 seater 747s in ultra premium configurations.
    Similarly, AA Delta and United sought government support during the pandemic- and now find themselves unable to cope with demand, cancelling flights, increasing waiting times and more importantly hiking up fares astronomically to maximise profits. Delta CEO’s recent statement pretty much sums up their position here and here in lies the issue- the relationship seems one sided and purely opportunistic. It’s only logical that a business being supported by tax payers owes a duty to the wider community.
    It’s not about seats and doors- concur that the article is banal.

    1. Brian Gasser Guest

      Even with subsidies from the Cares Act, Delta still lost $7B during the last two years. I don't see the relationship as one sided. No US airline except Southwest has an investment grade rating for its debt. US airlines are heavily regulated, taxed, with expensive organized labor contracts. These airline companies are lucky to make mid single digit profit margins over a decade of earnings.

    2. ConcordeBoy Gold

      "No US airline except Southwest has an investment grade rating for its debt."

      S&P hasn't had that position on any of the three (WN, FR, U2) since 2020.

  41. Mantis Guest

    If you base your entire life and identity around being a victim, you will see oppression in everything.

    1. lkmk Guest

      That perfectly describes the conservative crowd.

  42. Jacjetlag Guest

    Not so long ago, a quite famous athlete missed his flight from CDG-CLT and was "re-accommodated" to go through DFW....IN COACH. He stood in First Class and offered $1500 cash to trade seats. They all laughed at him. He filled every cubic inch of his allotted space in seat 23C, for 11 hours.

    1. lkmk Guest

      Michael Jordan. Who else would fly to Charlotte?

  43. Mike C Member

    A laughable take on the issue, and not 'woke' in the slightest. It's click bait with no ideological under-pinning. People in the 'back' of the plane don't resent the pointy end, they know what it costs to sit there and are happy to fly for the price they pay. As if they care how many 'big' seats there are. The more seats there are up front the cheaper the Y seats can be.

    I wonder...

    A laughable take on the issue, and not 'woke' in the slightest. It's click bait with no ideological under-pinning. People in the 'back' of the plane don't resent the pointy end, they know what it costs to sit there and are happy to fly for the price they pay. As if they care how many 'big' seats there are. The more seats there are up front the cheaper the Y seats can be.

    I wonder what their outrage was when BA used to operate their all J London City to JKF A319 flights, or when SQ introduced their all premium economy and J A350s from SIN to EWR?

    1. Ivan X Guest

      For the record, it was an A318. Loved that flight!!

    2. ConcordeBoy Gold

      BA had a far more recognizable all-premium seating longhauler, long before that crap A318 LCY service showed up. ;)

  44. Airfarer Gold

    What happened to boarding through door 2 and turning left for premium? Perhaps the airlines want Y people to see what they are missing.

    1. Chris Guest

      Because the premium demand exceeds the space available between L1 and L2. Even on aircraft like the 777-300ER most airline configurations included premium spaces that exceed what that space can configure. There might be a brand value add for Y passengers to see these seats, but that is not the primary reason for any expansion of J .

  45. Morgan Gold

    Silly article that makes no sense. It is like anything else in life, you pay more you get something nicer, and there is no prerequisite for flying business or first class that says you have to be ultra rich, it might be a hard working couple treating themselves on a honeymoon and it is there first time in business or first etc.

  46. Luke Guest

    Sounds like an article written by a hypocrite such as AOC who went on a socialist rant here and then will secretly book and fly in that "gated community" herself!

  47. Quo Vadis Guest

    I'm happy for Ben, Gary and the many others who will now have more opportunities to redeem their stash of bonus AA miles from the recent SimplyMiles promotion.

    This news seems good as AA was moving heavily towards uncomfortable sardine-seating arrangements (e.g. "Oasis", lol). Did AA execs have a 'come to Jesus' moment and experience a long-term change of heart in terms of fleet cabin configurations? I think the jury is still out.

  48. BookLvr Member

    I saw the original article and agree this is a terrible take.

    The ZDNet article also seems to normalize economy class seating with minimal space, which is arguably not a great way for people to fly on longer flights.

    With 51 business class seats, 32 premium economy seats, and 143 economy seats, over 1/3 of passengers will be able to opt for some variation of more leg room. This is a good thing.

    I...

    I saw the original article and agree this is a terrible take.

    The ZDNet article also seems to normalize economy class seating with minimal space, which is arguably not a great way for people to fly on longer flights.

    With 51 business class seats, 32 premium economy seats, and 143 economy seats, over 1/3 of passengers will be able to opt for some variation of more leg room. This is a good thing.

    I agree that class inequality is a problem. That said, I don't perceive commercial airline seating as a real battleground in this war. [It doesn't have the impact of, say, residential segregation by class, which impacts schools, hospitals, etc.] If I am flying on a 6+ hour flight, yes, I would like at least a little extra space. That goes double if it is an overnight flight. As my body gets older, I value this even more, as what was tolerable to my body when I was a college-aged human eager to travel as affordably as possible is less great for me now that I am middle-aged. I get off the plane feeling physically better if I have a little more room to stretch out.

    Bring on more business and premium economy! I hope more airlines opt for such seating arrangements.

  49. Brutus Guest

    Wow! Online Content Provider Posts Clickbait!

  50. John Guest

    Ben,

    I wonder if the more compelling point, if someone is eager to criticize the front of the place, is that premium cabins are quite inefficient in their carbon footprint?

    Probably premium-class passengers should have a large carbon-offset fee built into their fare, that would have to be paid even on award tickets.

    Would love to see you tackle this at some point…..

    1. David Guest

      Only if a proportional carbon offset is also added to economy fares. Let's see how much support that gets. ;)

  51. Goforride Guest

    Articles like this from ZDNet pop up on my Google search for airline news regularly. I didn't know what to make of it the first time I saw it. I hadn't read ZDNet in a decade at least. In the early days of the internet, ZDNet was one of the first online-only outlets and was a trusted source for information about all things computer. Back then, they spent a lot of effort talking about the...

    Articles like this from ZDNet pop up on my Google search for airline news regularly. I didn't know what to make of it the first time I saw it. I hadn't read ZDNet in a decade at least. In the early days of the internet, ZDNet was one of the first online-only outlets and was a trusted source for information about all things computer. Back then, they spent a lot of effort talking about the latest in consumer hardware.

    That has all stabilized now. Consumer hardware doesn't change much anymore so somebody has bought the ZDNet brand, hires stringers paid by the piece, and writes hysterical articles designed to get eyeballs on screens.

    I've seen the same thing from Inc. That used to be a magazine for budding, or at least aspring, entreprenuers. Now it's just another leftie, anti-business brand aimed at Karens and their ilk.

    1. Frances Price Member

      I worked for "Ziff Davis Interactive" and was there when ZDNet started, posting content from Ziff Davis family of magazines, and left a couple years after Cnet acquired them. Really sad about what they've become. They are now owned by same parent company that owns TPG.

  52. Never In Doubt Guest

    What do you know?

    Other online sites post click bait too!

  53. Bruce Guest

    @BenSchlappig The article by ZDNet is a bit ridiculous. But I will say this. The focus of so many travel blogs on premium travel is a little bit insulting to the masses who will likely never be able to afford it. The excuse that miles and points will allow ordinary people to experience luxury is a little bit bogus. It may work for some in the US but for most you have to spend a...

    @BenSchlappig The article by ZDNet is a bit ridiculous. But I will say this. The focus of so many travel blogs on premium travel is a little bit insulting to the masses who will likely never be able to afford it. The excuse that miles and points will allow ordinary people to experience luxury is a little bit bogus. It may work for some in the US but for most you have to spend a lot of money before accruing enough points to afford pretty much anything. Some videos like “how I survived economy class” or the hundreds upon hundreds of posts that only talk about business or first class get plenty of hits but come across as very insensitive. At the end of the day, 60-80% of the plane is economy class yet ~5% of posts are about economy class. That’s all.

    1. Amy Fischer Guest

      The blog focus on premium travel reflects the taste preferences of readers. Life is tough. I don’t want to see slum living. I want to see nice international travel experiences that I aspire to have. Even if you make the median salary, 2 weeks a year traveling “premium” in nice hotels and in business class is something to work towards every year.

      Inequality exists because genes nor groups are equal. Everything is different. A Dalmatian...

      The blog focus on premium travel reflects the taste preferences of readers. Life is tough. I don’t want to see slum living. I want to see nice international travel experiences that I aspire to have. Even if you make the median salary, 2 weeks a year traveling “premium” in nice hotels and in business class is something to work towards every year.

      Inequality exists because genes nor groups are equal. Everything is different. A Dalmatian is not equal to a Maltese. Each has their own traits. Inequality is only a bad thing if it reflects government coercion causing inequality and not nature.

    2. aoliveira11 New Member

      @Amy Fischer speaking of dog breeds, take your dog whistle of poorly disguised advocacy for eugenics elsewhere.

      "Inequality exists because genes nor groups are equal."? You are willfully ignorant and purposefully offensive.

    3. Joan Guest

      Bruce, Only in the last few years have I been able to travel in premium classes. Before that, I travelled all over in coach. I wasn’t jealous or resentful. Why should I be? People pay more to travel premium. I appreciate the option for people to travel in coach, at a reasonably low (or sometimes really low) price.

    4. Donna Diamond

      @Bruce - As someone who spent decades in the back of the plane, it was a far better experience back then than now and it was likewise dollar for dollar hugely more expensive. People want low airfares and the airlines offer less and less in order to satisfy that. The fact that “the masses” now have the ability to fly to international destinations is a huge leap forward, not an insult. Why malign people who...

      @Bruce - As someone who spent decades in the back of the plane, it was a far better experience back then than now and it was likewise dollar for dollar hugely more expensive. People want low airfares and the airlines offer less and less in order to satisfy that. The fact that “the masses” now have the ability to fly to international destinations is a huge leap forward, not an insult. Why malign people who have the discretionary income to move to the front of the plane? They’re making the cheap fares in the back possible.

    5. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

      It’s the same with sports journalism. 95% of all sports teams are shitty amateurs, yet the media just reports on the 5% professional teams, usually only covering the very best ones! Shameful and incomprehensible

    6. ConcordeBoy Gold

      Your post makes no sense: who wants to consume entertainment media that focuses on lowest-common-denominator mediocrity though?

      Car magazines that feature Ford Focuses and Kia Rios; versus Corvettes, Mercedes, and Ferraris?

      Vogue and Cosmopolitan, featuring the latest from the Walmart and Ross discount shelves, as the new fall line?

    7. lkmk Guest

      Or not even spend—everything Ben's said about his family implies he has very rich parents.

  54. Unhoeflich Guest

    Looking at a list of the author's articles, most of the titles seem like he's trying to make everybody Grandpa Simpson angry. Yawn.

  55. Nathaniel Guest

    It's honestly just more of the media trying to fuel a class warfare narrative that really doesn't exist as the overall cost of airfare makes it easier for everyone to travel.

    1. Sure... Guest

      Class warfare doesn't exist? What utopia do you live in?

  56. Rob Guest

    Funny what happens when the woke narrative machine hits a topic one actually understands.

  57. Steve S Guest

    Sorry but I'm excited by this news and so are other enthusiastic points and Miles folks. Why? More premium seats might mean more award availability!!!
    Look at the positives

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aoliveira11 New Member

@Amy Fischer speaking of dog breeds, take your dog whistle of poorly disguised advocacy for eugenics elsewhere. "Inequality exists because genes nor groups are equal."? You are willfully ignorant and purposefully offensive.

5
John Guest

Ben, I wonder if the more compelling point, if someone is eager to criticize the front of the place, is that premium cabins are quite inefficient in their carbon footprint? Probably premium-class passengers should have a large carbon-offset fee built into their fare, that would have to be paid even on award tickets. Would love to see you tackle this at some point…..

5
Nathaniel Guest

It's honestly just more of the media trying to fuel a class warfare narrative that really doesn't exist as the overall cost of airfare makes it easier for everyone to travel.

5
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