Is Executive Air Travel About to Get Worse?

Executive Traveller Pain Points

Let’s be honest, most business travellers do not look forward to  flying.  Between the delays, sudden cancellations, flight rerouting and an overtaxed infrastructure there are more than enough pain points to complain about.  Many of our limousinepassengers speak to us about the poor system of communication and about overbooked planes filled beyond capacity.

But what we hear most from our limo service clients is how uncomfortable it is to fly the friendly skies these days. It is particularly painful for big and tall passengers. Many of our clients are unable to justify the business expense of an upgrade, so they suck it up and grit their teeth in economy, or end up paying exorbitant amounts out of pocket for business class upgrades.

Shrinking Seat Pitch Measurments

The good news is that air travel is about to get even worse. Several major domestic airlines, such as JetBlue, which previously used to boast the most legroom, will be reducing their seat “pitch” measurements by at least 3/4 of an inch. While it may not sound like much, every inch counts in cramped spaces (Pitch is better known as “the distance between any given point on a seat to the identical point on the seat in the next row forward or to the rear,” this according to SmarterTravel.com.) In a nutshell those teeny tiny seats are about to get even teenier and tinier.

From Boston.com:

“Southwest is one of several airlines squeezing seats closer together in order to pack in more passengers, create rows with extra legroom for people willing to pay more, or both. Southwest Airlines has started adding six more seats to its planes, losing an inch of room between seats in the process. WestJet, out of Canada, is whacking several inches of space to make room for a section of higher-fare seats with extra legroom“

Higher Cost for Basic Amenities

Legroom is basically following suit with in-flight meals checked baggage and pillows-once complimentary amenities are now available at a price. In a dog eat dog industry, this gives airlines the ability to showcase low base ticket prices, while creating a new revenue base from executive travellers that are able or willing to pay those additional fees.

This pattern isn’t something novel or brand new. Several airlines, including United, have been strategically selling pricier economy seats with ‘extended’ legroom for years. The real issue of contention is that the really cramped seats just keep getting smaller and smaller. More than 9 years ago, average seat-pitch size was 32 inches, today its 31 inches. More than a few major airline carriers offer seats as small as 28 inches, according to Boston.com.

The airlines say that they’ll be able to offer lower base price ticket options. The cold, hard truth is that no matter how they pitch it, fewer ‘reasonably priced’ seats will be available overall. What some carriers are doing is to remove rows of the smallest seats to make room for the “premium” seats. In other words, expect be pay more for that same, uncomfortable seat.

Special thanks CIO.com Al Sacco, Image:optimizedexective.com

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