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The money behind first-class travel: Why do tickets cost so much

First-class plane tickets can cost as much as 70% more than the economy airfare and much more if you were to travel internationally. And yes, it comes with coveted perks and pampering. Regardless of the price that needs to pay for, there are still quite a lot of travelers that are willing to pay for it. The majority of its market include larger companies who have a contract and negotiated fares for their employee travel.

In choosing a first-class seat, you’ll have extra legroom and is being offered by meals by the Michelin-starred chefs. There’s also an in-flight shower. And today, a passenger can compare it as a first-class hotel in the sky given its services and amenities being offered. To give you an idea, an economy flight from John F. Kennedy Airport located in New York City-bound to London Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom is around $915. If you prefer to travel in first class, be ready to pay $5,407. The difference between the two given airfares is extremely massive. Purchasing the premium cabin seats also entitled you to discounted tickets and other promotions.

What’s appealing about purchasing a first-class seat is the perks that you’d be able to receive. There are some people who hate being crammed like a sardine in a can, especially for long-haul flights. Sometimes, airlines do offer notoriously bad food in an economy, but not in first class. Some of the food being served include grilled asparagus, jasmine rice, and Mahi-mahi with lemon herb sauce. Other airlines are even said to serve ice cream sundaes from Ben & Jerry’s.

Once a passenger is fueled by quality food, no doubt that it’ll be able to rest with a flatbed, bedding, and turn-down service. The airlines also provide pajamas and eye masks. Other possible amenities being offered include a private TV screen, goodies, in-flight Wi-Fi, expensive gift bags, and knitted socks. To give you an example, an Emirates A380 has two shower spas as well as heated floors. On the other hand, The Etihad’s A380 provides its passengers three different first-class suites which include a living room.

In addition, as a first-class passenger, you’re given exclusive access to the airport lounges before and after flights. Here, you can grab a pre-flight drink or take a shower. Other lounges do offer mani-pedis. What’s more interesting is that some airlines even provide a shuttle to their connecting flight using a Mercedes or Porsche.

There are still various passengers who choose to travel first class and are willing to pay more to receive excellent services and convenience. For them, it’s better off leaving the plane refreshed with less stressed and minimal jet lag. You really get what you’ve paid for since it creates a sense of exclusivity, more privacy, and comfort. The location of first-class seats when it comes to boarding and deplaning is also convenient.

According to analysts, some airline companies like Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines earn a huge amount of money at the front of the plane, as they sell several business and first-class tickets most especially on long-haul and premium-heavy flights.

In the month of August, almost 6.4 million passengers flew in premium seats on North American flights. In percentage, it’s around 9% of the total 67 million seats sold and occupied. The above figures released is from Cirium, the industry data provider. On the other hand, Delta Air Lines announced its operating revenue of around $12.5 billion which is $1 billion higher if it were to compare to the previous year. According to the said aviation company, the revenue blows up due to the 10% increase in premium product ticket revenue.

In the years, excellent industry consolidation and a strong economy paved the way for airlines to invest in a more fuel-efficient aircraft inclusive of better cabins, especially on premium classes. They give emphasis on revamping business class.

In a normal scenario, the front part of the aircraft on the majority of international flights has become more of a hybrid of first and business class, offering almost the same amenities found on various flights to Europe. With that, even the low-cost carrier, Jet Blue, is trying to be on the game and willing to grab a slice and penetrate the business-class market as well.

Jet Blue commenced with its game plan in April, saying that it intends to start several flights on a daily basis from New York to London with the use of the long-range version of the Airbus A321. The company named its premium service Mint. Jet Blue’s version of the business class is much cheaper than what its competitors are offering to the market.

It’s no secret that aviation companies are using a strategy called airline revenue management. In such a way, they will be able to maximize the company’s profitability and prioritizing passengers based on fares.

According to a professor at the University of Dayton, Janet Bednarek, aviation companies nowadays are getting more sophisticated. They are on the point that they have free will to charge the amount of money they need just to fill those seats. That’s how they make their money.

Nowadays, Airlines are decreasing the number of spaces allocated to those first-class travelers but still, carriers like Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines have gained huge amounts of revenue in offering premium cabin services.