Travelling in a premium cabin on a long-haul flight is probably the best it has ever been, thanks to flat seats. Having a seat that converts easily to a bed is attractive to frequent flyers and the well to do holidaymaker.
However, it does make you wonder if there is a space in the market for a business class seat that does not turn into a bed at the push of a button. The way pricing is arranged, you would think there might be room for this.
Isn’t That Called Premium Economy?
People might argue that it already exists in premium economy. This product is priced somewhere between economy class and business class and features better amenities than down the back. Surely this must be the business class without flat seats? Well, no.
Having flown in both cabins, it is clearly nothing like a business class experience. Airlines have taken great pains to make sure of that as well. A great premium economy has the potential to cannibalise business class and you don’t want people actively selecting the cheaper product.
A True Business Class Without Flat Seats
What I’m talking about is a true international business class experience without the beds. All the bells and whistles such as the lounge access, higher level of frequent flyer points, much better food with more choices, plus all the drinks.
Stepping back in time, you can see the kind of thing I mean. At the top of this post is British Airways Club in the late 1980s/early 1990s period and below is Pan Am’s Clipper Class, also from the 1980s.
While the seats are old fashioned in the pictures, this is what I am getting at. The same product as offered now, but in a seat that has some recline and perhaps a foot rest, over having a flat seat.
It is akin to what they do on trains, and used to do on flights back in the early to mid 20th century, with the choice between a seat and a sleeping berth. Depending on the price, it could be a winner.
A lot of people will sleep in the flat seats – even on daytime flights – which is why people are often instructed to leave the window blinds down. I get the attractiveness of the product, even though I am not much of a sleeper when flying. Laying down to try to sleep is more relaxing than not having the option to do so.
Even so, with the price of business class being far above most premium economy pricing, it suggests there may be a point in between that is going unnoticed. I know I would pay more to upgrade for all the additional perks offered, even if I didn’t have a flat bed to sleep in. The question is, would other people?
What do you think? Perhaps this is a good idea or maybe you have another that is worth sharing? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by British Airways via this article on BT.
Pan Am Clipper Class ad via Pinterest.