Would you pay more for comfort?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Steven Schwartz, Jun 5, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Steven Schwartz
    Original Member

    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,017
    Likes Received:
    2,195
    Status Points:
    1,270
    The following article maintains that airlines have decided they can afford to squeeze the passengers as long as the video is acceptable. My "favorite quote" is " it's about distracting the brain from the pain".

    I did some math picking a United 777. Adding 4-5 inches additional leg room and going 8 across instead of 9 would result in a loss of 15% of the seats. It means fares would have to rise about 17% for them to break even.

    Now many of us choose to fly in luxury but I really feel a lot of that is because economy was so bad and then we got hooked. So I wonder how many people would be willing to pay 17% more on flights of 4+ hours if it meant something approaching comfort? I'd do it in a heartbeat and wonder if some airline somewhere might see a competitive advantage. Here's the article:

     
  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,504
    Likes Received:
    20,198
    Status Points:
    16,520
    And it works to some degree. I started bringing my own inflight video entertainment on coach trips long, long before I discovered FT (and ways to get into C)... and many years before the iPad. Nine years ago (2003) I got myself a Tapwave Zodiac (PalmOS device) and filled my SD cards with videos from my TiVo. I even built a little external battery pack to keep it alive for long times. It made a big difference to my tolerance of long flights. For some reason I was never really able to read for extended periods of time on airplanes until recently.

    In the early days of E+ on United I bought the annual subscription because I figured it was worth the extra cost to have a bit more comfort. And I then made sure I would maintain at least 2P status every year. So yes, I would pay extra. Heck, 17%... looking at the domestic fares right now, I'd be happy if they were only 17% higher than what I paid last year.
     
    sobore, Global Explat, wrxmom and 2 others like this.
  3. uggboy
    Original Member

    uggboy Gold Member

    Messages:
    50,172
    Likes Received:
    133,426
    Status Points:
    20,020
    We fly always economy, our wallet decided this for us!;)
     
  4. Bay Pisco Shark
    Original Member

    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    2,072
    Status Points:
    1,270
    17% more is almost a "no brainer" but the way airline pricing works, this would never be a workable approach. AA tried it on the entire Y cabin for awhile (legroom, not width). That didn't last long. And when people aren't willing to pay 17% more (or at least not enough to fill up the cabin) from airline XX's fares, the 17% More Airways is going to have to lower its fares to fill up the seats. Certain carriers already have premium economy cabins (not just more legroom).
     
    uggboy likes this.
  5. thegrailer
    Original Member

    thegrailer Silver Member

    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    670
    Status Points:
    695
    First trip into this frequent traveling adventure was on a purchased subscription for E+. That purchase came with a fast track to 1P or 2P, I don't remember [or something like that???]. It was well worth the cost for IAD-NRT-BKK and back.

     
  6. NYBanker
    Original Member

    NYBanker Gold Member

    Messages:
    32,725
    Likes Received:
    191,901
    Status Points:
    20,020
    The vast majority of people (in the US at least) select carrier by fare with little regard to anything else.

    Proven time and time again. Exhibit I: MRTC.
     
    Espan, AnthonyB1609, uggboy and 2 others like this.
  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,504
    Likes Received:
    20,198
    Status Points:
    16,520
    But a (small) group is willing to pay more, either directly or indirectly (via loyalty).

    Exhibit 2: E+ and the various clones from Delta and AA.
     
    AnthonyB1609, uggboy and gobluetwo like this.
  8. misterbwong

    misterbwong Silver Member

    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    478
    Status Points:
    520
    This was my thought. Isn't this why we've been seeing more E+ seats? Instead of 17% markup for 100% of economy, why not a higher markup for a lower % of Y fliers?
     
  9. gobluetwo
    Original Member

    gobluetwo Silver Member

    Messages:
    806
    Likes Received:
    1,012
    Status Points:
    825
    Exactly. A large contingent of casual travelers (maybe even a large majority) are likely value-oriented/cost-conscious flyers. There may be some level of loyalty based on familiarity with a particular airline, but bottom line is that they'll go with a lower fares. I think this is why MRTC failed, where E+, Economy Comfort, etc are cash cows for the airlines. They satiate the elites and those others willing to pay for more comfort, while still affording the value options to the other travelers.

    Also, my family flew from ORD to HNL twice - in regular economy! - and lived, so it's not like it's some sort of water torture. Less comfortable? Sure. But bearable.
     
    mrredskin, jwsky and uggboy like this.
  10. jwsky
    Original Member

    jwsky Silver Member

    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    443
    Status Points:
    520
    I could not agree with this more. I would rather have the money to spend when I get there. Or be able to extend my trip with the extra money. This is especially true on a long vacation. Say a month in Southeast Asia. 30 hours sitting in a chair for 720 hours of liesure travel when I am there. A short turn around trip for work or maybe a wedding would be different. I might want to be fresh and more rested when I arrive.
     
    misterbwong and uggboy like this.
  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,504
    Likes Received:
    20,198
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Choice is good. Give me the choice to sit in E+ and I'll happily let you sit in E- for a cheaper price. :)
     
  12. Bay Pisco Shark
    Original Member

    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    2,072
    Status Points:
    1,270
    Yes, the posts (perhaps here and for sure elsewhere) regarding "12 hours in Economy on XX airlines, will I survive?" crack me up, and are likely to get a response from me regarding the countless thousands of people that die every day flying that particular airline in economy, because clearly, it killed them.
     
    LarryInNYC and uggboy like this.
  13. mrredskin
    Original Member

    mrredskin Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,422
    Likes Received:
    1,701
    Status Points:
    1,095
    i definitely do not agree with this. 30 hours of traveling, or however long it is in coach seats to your leisure destination, will eat in to your 720 hours of leisure. I would much rather have more comfort in a flying tube than to sit there and hate life for the first part of my trip - especially for a trip of that length. If it's a short trip, I can deal with an hour of coach.

    But to each their own!
     
    jwsky, AnthonyB1609 and uggboy like this.
  14. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    496
    Status Points:
    545
    I would and have paid more for comfort (upgrades) and convenience (Global Entry, US priority security and boarding).
     
  15. chaz4449

    chaz4449 Silver Member

    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    205
    Status Points:
    395
    I would definitely pay more for E+ as has been described throughout this thread. Especially when some airlines that have designated premium economy cabins charge substantially more for those seats. I've recently flown on DL (and being the lowly Silver Medallion that I am my upgrade didn't clear), and I was able to sit in some of their EC seats. I thought that they were pretty comfortable and that the leg room was just as generous as in F.
     
    uggboy likes this.
  16. Bay Pisco Shark
    Original Member

    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    2,072
    Status Points:
    1,270
    We each have our own shtick, and our own budgets, and our own pain threshold. And many of us started with FFPs and learned (even before the internets became popular) how to keep our budgets and fly without pain. Of course, the game has changed substantially since then. But for the most part, seats were just as cramped from the time I started flying regularly (mid 80s) until the present. My first very long haul, circa 1980, on Laker Airways, was a 3-4-3 DC10. The only "nearly luxurious" economy seat was on AirCal. Overhead bins were tiny. But of course, we all have short memories, and we're a lot fatter as a society.

    I don't count the $ of others who may want or need to fly in clase basura and spend another week of vacation, or eat in better restaurants, because those are the necessary choices. I may be the one staying across the street from the beach because perhaps the beachfront room just isn't worth an extra $100 or $200 a night to me, even if I can afford it.

    We each have our own shtick.
     
    Slow_Mustang, MSPeconomist and uggboy like this.
  17. Bay Pisco Shark
    Original Member

    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    2,072
    Status Points:
    1,270
    Get a new wallet!
     
  18. flyingbrick
    Original Member

    flyingbrick Silver Member

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    26
    Status Points:
    190
    Accurate in a way, but not really complete. The problem is the airlines are generally unable/unwilling to deliver a consistent product (of any kind) so people perceive little or no value to spending more.

    And MRTC is a perfect example of this. Heavily marketed before it was available on most of the fleet. Customers buying into the marketing were disappointed when they ended up on an old LRTC. MRTC was cancelled before the whole fleet was even converted. Does Mercedes have a reputation of selling cars of random quality and saying "thanks for your business" if you get a bad one?

    And UA E+ seems to be pretty successful (in spite of UA bungling much of it's rollout).
     
    uggboy likes this.
  19. jwsky
    Original Member

    jwsky Silver Member

    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    443
    Status Points:
    520
    True, it is different for all of us. I do not "hate life" on a crowded plane. On the way there, I am excited to be going. The ride home is not always so great. Maybe I like to punish myself a bit. I've done ten hour and longer bus rides across Central and South America. And in Burma and Lao as well. Sometimes sharing the bus with sacks of rice or livestock. So, a clean but crowded airtube with cushions on the seats is not so bad. I have to admit that I am getting too old for some of this s. So, I see a few up grades in the future.
     
    Slow_Mustang, uggboy and mrredskin like this.
  20. daemon14

    daemon14 Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,272
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    Status Points:
    1,075
    This is why I join loyalty programs and strategize who I fly. This year, my domestic flying is all on DL and my international coach flying is mostly on *A (with some award tickets in J mixed here and there). As DL GM, I don't really pay for comfort directly, though I pay for it by returning to DL for my flights. I just bought a ticket where DL was $30 more than the cheapest competitor, but I get free EC on a transcon (which is worth the $30) as well as 3000 extra RDMs for being an elite member. Of course, to buy EC directly would be more expensive. Who knows, I may get one of those "upgrades" I keep hearing about.

    Same thing with *A ... *G is relatively easy to obtain, so even though I'm flying in Y, I'll get convenience on the ground.

    Of course, I fly a lot of miles per year. For the non-FF who flies only 1-2x a year and can barely scrounge up 20K miles, the discomfort in a crammed plane is just a nuisance they have to put up with once in a while.
     
    uggboy and mrredskin like this.
  21. Always Be Flying
    Original Member

    Always Be Flying Silver Member

    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    113
    Status Points:
    355
    In a vacuum I would pay the 17% in a second - I have paid a lot more to go from Y to J - as covered above that is not how airlines work. The only product offering that works for me in the realm of this thread is the BA 4-class setup. Rots o' ruck with that domestically where 737's are long haul and if US could figure out a way to do mid-air refueling of Q200's they would run them PHL-HNL all day long.

    As much as I fly, my expectations re: service/comfort are zero - if I can be left alone (save the fellow FF community members I meet) and there is space to put my bag overhead, it is a WIN. Traveling USA domestic is bollocks so I usually sLUT it there and go J/F international where I can.
     
  22. NYBanker
    Original Member

    NYBanker Gold Member

    Messages:
    32,725
    Likes Received:
    191,901
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Extremely small (10% or less) of pax willing to pay cash.

    Paying with "loyalty" .... Is that really paying?
     
  23. NYBanker
    Original Member

    NYBanker Gold Member

    Messages:
    32,725
    Likes Received:
    191,901
    Status Points:
    20,020
    The vast, vast majority of flyers a) have to fly their company's preferred carrier or b) go to orbitz (or other such sites) and sort by price. This is what caused the race to the bottom in service in the US.

    E+ is successful? By what measure? Seats taken? Yes. People paying to sit there? Doubtful....but is there any public data?
     
  24. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,504
    Likes Received:
    20,198
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Isn't that what loyalty programs, fundamentally, are all about? I could fly LH or UA from SFO to FRA for maybe the same price. UA gives me an E+ seat, so they have an edge in getting my money. In fact, even if they were somewhat more expensive, I would pick UA because of that seat. (yes, I realize that they also share revenue on that route... so if that's a concern, go with UA vs. BA vs. VS on SFO-LHR).

    By the blessing it received from Jeff Smisek, who's been generally perceived as doing everything based on numbers. And by the fact that AA and Delta are busy copying UA. So no, there probably aren't any public numbers (do you expect UA to publish those?), but it seems clear to me that E+ is successful or else it wouldn't have survived the merger.
     
    Slow_Mustang likes this.
  25. Slow_Mustang
    Original Member

    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    760
    Status Points:
    745
    Why would I not? It is not my money that I would be spending, but children's inheritance!
     

Share This Page