The New York Times had an illuminating story by Michelle Higgins on Sunday about why coach class service is going to hell – and why first and business classes are going the other way.
It’s all about the economics, and I’ve mentioned some of the factors here before, but the Times story wraps it all up in one concisely devastating package. Here’s a compelling statistic from the story:
United says just 8 percent of its customers — the ones paying a premium for first and business class — generate 36 percent of passenger revenue.
So the airlines need to keep high-end business travelers happy because those travelers demand good service, and they’re paying for it. And the remaining 92 percent of us? All the airlines have to offer us is a low price, because that’s all we really insist on.
But, folks, I have to ask again: is that all we really want? Is it all we really deserve? We’re still providing 64 percent of the revenue, and the airlines need that money, too.
We won’t get what the passengers in first and business class get because we can’t or won’t pay for it. But don’t we deserves decent treatment for our money?
Don’t we deserve seats that we can fit into without causing us pain? Don’t we deserve clean planes? How about customer service agents who answer the phone and understand what they’re talking about?
Can’t we hold out for that, at least?