More and more prefer private jets to first class

The decline of the first class, for several reasons

Fewer and fewer people choose it: because for some, the business class is not so different and because someone else prefers private jets. The first classes of airlines in the world are in decline. They have never been more luxurious and full of services than today, but fewer and fewer people are choosing them.

According to data from OAG, a company that analyzes airline flights over the last decade, most airlines offer fewer and fewer first-class seats on almost every route. In ten years, the number of first-class seats on Lufthansa flights has almost halved, and in ten years, the number of first-class travelers from Los Angeles to London has dropped by forty percent. Major airlines such as Air New Zealand and Turkish Airlines have even withdrawn the first classes of their offer.

The Economist recently spoke about this, trying to understand why: the quick answer is that many high-net worth travelers now choose to travel in business class or economy class, and more and more affluent or very famous prefer private jets.

At the beginning of their history, commercial flights had no class. The economy, the cheapest and least comfortable class, was introduced in the 1950s; the business class arrived in the seventies, designed for those who, during the flight, had to work in peace or to better rest, to be able to work as soon as they landed. In the mid-nineties, the Premium Economy arrived, a cross between the economy and the business class. Henceforth, not all societies have got these four classes, but if they have them, they are in that order, from the best (to the most expensive, with a few exceptions and in strange cases) to the worst:

Airline classes, in two words

• First class: the best, with the best flight and ground services
• Business Class: designed, as its name suggests, for business travelers
• Premium Economy: newly created as an intermediate solution
• Economy: the basic class, with less services and space than others

The first class, a marketing tool that has lost its effectiveness

In recent decades, there have been two clear trends in scheduled flights: some companies have focused, especially on shorter flights, on low-cost offers, removing all non-essential services. At the same time, many large companies have concentrated, especially on flights of several hours, on the first classes, increasingly luxurious and reserved, in which it is also possible to take a shower. Already in 2014, Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of Air France-KLM, said that the first class was “little more than a marketing expedient” and that “nobody really earns money”. The trick was this: if a traveler sees that Emirates, British Airways or Air France have excellent seats in first class, he is led to think that, therefore, the economy will not be so bad.
For a while, the idea worked. The first classes helped airlines to differentiate themselves from low cost flights. In addition, the first classes were luxury offers, in a period – in the late 90s and early 2000s – in which the luxury world was going well. That means there were people with a lot of money and when they wanted to travel, they were not paying attention to expenses.
Why, then, does The Economist write that “many analysts predict that the first class is about to disappear”? In short, service in other classes has improved. Now, for example, it is possible to fully tilt the seat, to sleep more or less comfortably, even in a professional environment.
As Greeley Koch, who works for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, said: “Most companies believe that this option in Business is enough for their employees and that only a few jackpots are therefore entitled to a first class paid by the company. “Those who continue to fly in Premium do so because they want more privacy and because they like certain additional imperfections and the ability to choose how to manage their flight time, for example deciding what and when to eat.

Better a private jet hire?
A private jet hire for eight people for his business may be more profitable than paying 8 first class tickets.

Because a private jet can land and take off ready from the destination, often a factory located hundreds of kilometers from airports for airliners, but near airports for private planes, which are 10 times more numerous in Europe (over 3000 against about 300).

For those who really have a lot of money, private jets  are incredibly convenient, reserved, with no boarding and departure times. There is the problem of pollution: while it is true that a first-class seat generates (for services offered and space occupied) twice as much pollution as a seat in the economy, it is also true that many private jets flying half empty they do much more damage to the environment than a large scheduled flight full of people, knees crushed under the seats. But again, there are cases where the alternative to the private jet, when it comes to reaching destinations far away from big cities, is to use multiple cars, which ultimately would consume as a jet private.

A private jet hire for eight people for his business may be more profitable than paying 8 first class tickets.

Categories Uncategorized