Delta and American Airlines are making big changes (but not for everyone)

Delta and American Airlines are making big changes (but not for everyone)

Underside of an airplane saying Delta

More comfort for more money. (A screenshot from a Delta video.)

Delta/Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk

more Technically incorrect

Let’s get excited.

Yes, the past two years have been dismal for air travel, but we are emerging on the other side.

Now there will be joys. There will be real customer service. There might even be free food.

Yes, sure, I’m getting carried away, but some of the biggest airlines generate some of the greatest excitement. For some people with larger budgets.

It’s new. It’s brilliant. How much do you have?

Enter American Airlines. It’s been something of a song and dance – and, as far as I can tell, a buffet – announcing shiny and stylish new cabins in Business Class and Premium Economy Class.

That is to say on the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A321XLR.

Those who pay significantly more will experience suites with more space and the pinnacle of gated community privacy, a sliding door. If you’re not completely immune to the grime of the rest of the world, how can you relax?

Those who pay a little less, but still more than economy, will find new reclining seats. No, these do not have sliding doors, but they do have privacy wings. Because even a little separation between your ears and the aisle – or the person sitting next to you – is a significant bonus.

Delta Air Lines seems to be thinking along the same lines. It does glorious things for its Premium Economy customers.

New crockery, for example, and a new menu to match. Sample: Impossible Meatballs with Polenta, Pomodorini Sauce and Broccolini.

I don’t see privacy wings, but do you need them when you get a bigger seat and a better meal?

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Delta also offered a hint as to its most expensive experience improvement strategy. The airline’s Vice President of Brand Experience, Mauricio Parise, said: “Delta Premium Select sits at the intersection of luxury and convenience, offering customers the opportunity to indulge in a roomier seat and a premium experience at a lower price than our Delta One Cabin.”

It makes a lot of sense. You want to get out of the economy and you usually change your lifestyle while traveling, so why not treat yourself?

Hello, CFO. You are my best friend, you know

American Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Vasu Raja has best explained the evolution of air travel.

Speaking at the Skift Global Forum in September, he said: ‘People don’t need to keep a work life for five days, a personal life for two days and set aside two weeks a year for holidays.

Instead, Raja explained that more and more people are combining business travel with the attempt to overcome business travel. (This last part is sometimes called leisure.)

Many already refer to this as bleisure. I think the first syllable sounds too much like blehbut that’s just me.

But that’s still where your CFO could play an important role. No, you don’t want to take a relaxing trip with them, but they could have a big influence on your comfort level.

As Bloomberg Recently reported, business class seats are costing a bit more these days, just as many companies are cutting back on their travel budgets.

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A management consultant said Bloomberg that he didn’t have the budget to fly his team business class to a corporate gathering and was forced to travel economy class. Even though he offered his team days off instead, he still thinks that 20% of them will decide they don’t want to be part of the team too much and opt out.

Yeah, because economics isn’t for fancy business people, is it? Where is it? Some tech companies are stealing a lot of employees these days.

How is the air in the back?

Let’s spare a moment of reflection, however, for Economy Class passengers. Those whose budgets may not extend to privacy wings.

Is there good news for them? Well, there might be a few. The Federal Aviation Administration actually asks you, the flyer public, your opinion on airplane seats and what their minimum size should be.

On average, airline seats are 1.5 inches narrower than before. There’s also about 4 inches less clearance between the front seat back and the back of yours.

As you got older – physically, that is – the seats got smaller, especially in economy class. Which surely contributed to an increase in friction on the planes.

The FAA’s reasoning for finally asking questions appears to be purely based on how quickly a plane can be evacuated in an emergency, when humans are so tightly packed together.

Organizations such as FlyersRights have been trying to get rules enacted for years. FlyersRights insists (PDF) that the health of passengers is also important. Problems like deep vein thrombosis and simple, excruciating pain are really important.

Many believe that airlines could still try to steal an inch here and an inch there.

Meanwhile, if you have the cash to burn, your comfort level closer to the front of the plane might increase.

This is the way of today’s world, isn’t it?

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