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Rick flies economy

I just read the recent Business Insider piece on Rick Steves. Interesting piece with many positive things to say of him. The only flying economy and his wishing that all planes had one seat class caught my eye.

If he can fly from Seattle to Europe in economy and not feel as cruddy as I do then I'm glad for him. My old body finds it to be a very rough start to a holiday.

One of the perks of upgrading to Economy Comfort or above is dedicated overhead bin space. When did that become an important perk? Yep, when people started traveling carryon only. Yes I know all the reasons sited for that and in reality its the customers convenience. Not worrying about bags not arriving, not waiting for luggage, and to make it easier to get around.

If you think its cost then fly Southwest with their 2 free bags policy and you'll see a ton of carryon luggage.

So basically the popularity of carryon only travel, which the RS community is a big part of, is also contributing to classes of travel that Rick doesn't want to utilize.

Posted by
7568 posts

cj, it's just my opinion, but I believe it's simply about revenue. When the landline and cell phone companies started labeling normal costs of business as if they were "fees", and internet sales of everything piled on multiple fees, it was easy to add more income to air tickets that already were a list of ... real ... government mandated fees.

I believe that the FAA, and our elected members of Congress missed an opportunity, when OUR OWN money started paying for security screening - INSTEAD OF THE AIRLINES (after Lockerbie and 9/11), was an opportunity to demand One Free Bag in exchange for BILLIONS spent on baggage security!

Posted by
7648 posts

Even now, after years of flying to Europe (and undoubtedly with more money in his bank account than 35 years ago), Rick doesn’t want/need a lie-flat bed, more legroom (he’s not tiny), or more shoulder space or privacy.

He also doesn’t mind being among the last folks to get off the plane. Or … should that one class for everybody be an “Economy Comfort,” with fewer seats overall, but more overall room for every passenger? With the need for work space when he’s compiling the day’s guidebook research and filming necessities, I’m guessing the one place where he’s not going as cheap as possible is lodging. He probably wants a room that’s not the absolute smallest, and perhaps encounters very few bathrooms down the hall anymore.

Posted by
4474 posts

Congress won't even require the airlines to seat preschool children next to a parent, even after the parents paid the "seat selection fee".

Posted by
230 posts

I may have interpreted your comment of dedicated overhead bin space incorrectly but I took it as having the space directly over your seat as your own. In no way do I mean to be sarcastic but if this is correct, I'd be interested in who you fly with that gives that. We've done premium economy/plus with Air France, Swiss, Lufthansa, and BA and have yet to find the bin space labeled for our seats empty when we get to our seat.

Posted by
6099 posts

Delta has comfort plus with dedicated overhead bins for those seats.

That said, though I've received complementary upgrades a few times, we typically fly Delta, Economy Plus. I have never not had a place to put my carry on/roll aboard bag.

I'm short, my husband is tall. We don't find the extra couple inches or three, of leg room, in comfort plus, to help much at all. Now when the plane configuration has 3 seats in a row, I'd like more a few extra inches in the width of the seat. I don't love when I have to sit for hours with a stranger's arm or leg touching me.

As much as I admire RS, I don't think he deserves much of the credit for the "carry on" bag movement. I think that started when airlines started to charge for checked luggage.There is another segment of folks that are fearful of a checked bag being delayed or lost, but I'm not sure RS gets the credit for that either.

Having grown up in Minnesota with kind of a Scandinavian ethic, of everyone should be treated the same, no one is "special", I think I understand where RS is coming from. Yup, the guy is rich and lives comfortably, but he does donate a lot of money, and unless he is a good actor, does seem to maintain a more modest approach to life.

Posted by
862 posts

On United Premium Plus, because we board before economy, we have rarely had a full overhead bin. And if you are lucky enough to get the bulk head seats, you have a designated bin because you have to put everything up. We always use to fly economy but upon entering our 70’s have found that our old bodies just don’t tolerate being cramped up for 10 hours at a time anymore, so for us it’s worth the extra cost. So happy that Rick Steves can tolerate it but if I want to still travel, I need to be a bit kinder to my body.

Posted by
2586 posts

If I use my United visa card then even if I'm in the back of the plane, which I usually am, I still get to be in boarding group 2 (I think it's 2) so the overhead bins that far back are empty when i get to them. I usually aim for the bin just forward of my row, not immediately above my row. I also like the trick of folding your blazer inside out and putting it over your bag. Something very Willie Loman about it.

Posted by
8239 posts

My wife is somewhat mobility challenged and she rides a folding electric personal scooter thru airports. She rides it up to the door of the plane with the families with small children. Therefore, we get free priority boarding.

Posted by
7463 posts

“…and if it were up to Steves, airlines would offer just one cabin class.”

I am glad there are many choices in life, and we can each choose how to spend our money! I have never paid for business class on flights, chartered a plane, stayed at a $$$$ hotel, etc. but I don’t see any problem with someone using their money they have earned & saved towards those options. So, I definitely am glad it’s not up to Rick Steves.

Posted by
5427 posts

If Rick wants to fly economy then that's his choice. When I'm flying long haul I want the extra space and the lie flat bad that business/first provides. Why does he want that choice removed? Would he be keen to pay more for his economy ticket if the lucrative premium classes were abolished?

Posted by
8647 posts

We use Southwest Airlines domestically whenever we can, which has one class service. But they have multiple pricing levels to provide flexibility (early boarding, refund ability, etc.) They're doing just fine business wise. And the rest of the airline business is indifferent to comfort complaints as long as they're making money, which, like any business, they're entitled to do. Not the government's business.

I remember travel "experts" recommending carryon only in the early '80s, especially for business travelers, before RS got much traction in the business. So it's not solely his invention. As influential as he is, most people still have never heard of him or care about his opinions. Carryon just seems to make sense to the larger traveling public fearing lost bags. Part of that "me first - to heck with everyone else" social development.

rant alert: re: dedicated overhead bins. I've flown Delta Comfort class, and one of the main reasons was for that "dedicated overhead bin space". It didnt mean that I personally had a specific designated space, just that those bins in that area were for those passengers, and main cabin folks weren't supposed to use them. But of course there was no crew person monitoring or policing that. On one such flight, the "dedicated overhead bin" above my row, was full of safety equipment, and the next one was filled by a flight crew member's three pieces of carryon luggage. My bag went into the main cabin bins five rows back.

Posted by
719 posts

I am glad there are many choices in life, and we can each choose how to spend our money! I have never paid for business class on flights, chartered a plane, stayed at a $$$$ hotel, etc. but I don’t see any problem with someone using their money they have earned & saved towards those options. So, I definitely am glad it’s not up to Rick Steves.

If Rick wants to fly economy then that's his choice. When I'm flying long haul I want the extra space and the lie flat bad that business/first provides. Why does he want that choice removed? Would he be keen to pay more for his economy ticket if the lucrative premium classes were abolished?

A big +1

Especially to

I definitely am glad it’s not up to Rick Steves.

I never had a problem in economy, always was quite content. But flying economy is no moral virtue.

Posted by
906 posts

I've flown economy plenty of times including military airlift to Japan via Alaska but I was younger then and my body could take a lot more. Now I'm older with bad joints that don't like being kept pinned into a specific position for long periods. And thankfully in a place financially to afford to splurge now. We generally only plan 1 European trip a year but try to extend our time there to maximize our time. Better one long trip with business class than two shorter trips with cheaper airfare. We mostly fly Sky Team airlines - Delta, AF, and KLM (my favorite).

My main hope with BC was to get more sleep. Sadly I don't seem to do any better than I did in Economy Comfort. But I can move around in my seat much better and, as originally mentioned, I arrive feeling better. I can stay well hydrated without worrying about a long wait for a toilet - which btw in BC are nicer. I'm pretty much over jet lag within a day. I also like that BC often comes with a priority security line. I have a knee replacement which either sets alarms off or requires a different scanner. Boy have I gotten tired of strange security agents patting me down. So anything that makes that process go smoother I'm happy with. Yes the food and service in BC is better. Yes I like the lounge access. The food/drink is nice but mainly that the seating is more comfortable for long layovers. We seldom need the 2 checked bags except possibly coming home when dirty clothes go in a packable duffle and my shopping goes in the wheeled bag.

I did fly Premium once last year - AF to Paris, KLM from Amsterdam to LAX. Not wonderful or all that much better than economy comfort. Can give deets if you care.

As for Rick, I sometimes think he's in denial about life over 60. While I love his guidebooks, I've noticed that if a tourist sight offers discount tickets for seniors it's seldom if ever mention in the guide. I wish him many more years of comfortable flying in economy but do wish he'd recognize that some of us are getting older, creakier yet still want to travel.

Posted by
3362 posts

I can’t remember the comedian or where I saw this. I think a late night show. He said everything is amazing. You are flying in a tube, through the air, sitting in a seat, going to exotic locales. That’s amazing!

Posted by
4474 posts

What does Rick have against people being able to make their own choices in airfare? Many of the pages in his guidebooks give choices of accommodations and restaurants in a variety of price points.

Posted by
420 posts

I’d like to point out a common misconception about dedicated overhead space. Delta does have dedicated space for comfort and first etc. It is not guaranteed however. Periodically I see someone having a screaming hissy fit because when they got on the plane, the overhead was full and they had “dedicated space”.

And since Delta is among the worst at enforcing carry-on restrictions, you can assume that there is often not enough space for everyone in comfort to put all their luggage in the overhead directly over their seats.

Just last night, I watched one man fill up the entire overhead bin with his manu carry-ons. And none of his stuff goes under the seat in front of him. He had diamond medallion tags on all his luggage which explains what he thinks he’s entitled to an entire bin. sadly Delta has a lot of these flyers.

As for Rick’s wish that the planes only have one seating class, I guess Rick is happy for all of us to pay a lot more to fly because the truth is a lot of those cheap fares we fly on are subsidized by the people sitting in the front of the plane, paying a lot of money. I know people who, for business reasons, will have to fly to Europe at the last minute and pay $10,000 for a business class ticket. That’s the profit so the airlines so they can offer you a $600 or $800 ticket. Sorry Rick but you’re just trying to drive up your own cost .

Posted by
8647 posts

Point taken, Carol. I do take issue with them using the misleading term "dedicated" in this case. I dont expect the bin directly overhead to be mine exclusively. But it should mean something more than "free-for-all". In the case I cited, I noted that the crew member passed the empty bins in the first class/business class areas before settling in.

Posted by
906 posts

Just for laughs, here's a tale of privilege that happened to a friend about 30 yrs ago. She was an Army Maj flying on a work trip. Got to her aisle seat and found someone else's bag under the seat in front of her. Looked around confused and asked who's it was. Lady in the aisle seat opposite said " oh its mine, you can move it if you want." The Maj did -- right out into the aisle.

Posted by
9 posts

I've always felt there was a market for a new "middle class" airline, which might be what RS is alluding to.

Right now the price and comfort difference between first class and coach is extreme. What if you configured a plane cabin to make it entirely one middle comfort class and set prices in the middle? You could cater to budget conscious business travelers and vacationers who need more legroom and better service and still (hopefully) recoup the same revenue. People who want to pamper themselves in first class or people who can't afford the extra $200 can still fly the legacy carriers, and the rest of us would get something "just right" in the words of Goldilocks.

Posted by
7016 posts

Tammy, that clip with Louis CK is hysterical!

I loved his line about when internet was just introduced to airplanes in flight, and halfway through it broke down, and some guy starts complaining. Louis says, "How quickly the world owes him something he knew existed only 10 seconds ago".

Posted by
221 posts

My win the lottery fantasy is to never fly economy again.

Posted by
313 posts

I agree with the statement "Flying in economy has no moral value."

If RS wants to fly in economy, he's free to do so. Personally, I've crossed the Atlantic 24 times now (counting both directions). The last two trips were in business class (SWISS and Delta), prior to that, economy (and for my trips for work I had to pay out of pocket just to get extra legroom). At this point in my life I consider myself to have "aged out" of flying economy.

Posted by
18793 posts

I think the more that fly First, Business and Premium Economy, the better. It needs to be a RS forum member requirement. Cause you are subsidizing my cheap seat snd I love you for it. Because you do this more people are able to fly than ever before in history. So think of it as a gift to society and human experience.

As for more checked bags, larger seats, free this and free that .... mama always said, ain't nothing in life free. This year the airlines are expected to have a 2.7% profit margin. With a profit margin that tight, you ain't getting any more than you are now until you pony up some more green.

I remember the days before deregulation when the feds controlled everything and a ticket cost 3x what it does today. Personally, I love it the way it is now. I only have to buy what I need. Standard seat, any seat will do, plus a carryon. And Business and Premium Economy Class pays a good chunk for me.

Posted by
383 posts

In my eyes Rick Steves has the right to travel anyway he wishes.

Yesterday 17th May, my wife and flew from Frankfurt to Detroit on a Lufthansa A340, a daytime flight selected by my sons. Scheduled departure 11.15 arrival 2.15pm, flight time a little under 9 hrs. There was a 45-minute delay, which was an adventure of its own. I was hoping to see some of Canada and the Great Lakes from the air. No such luck, nature intervened and decreed that cloud cover was the order of the day.

At my wife’s direction we fly business class. As an older jet the seats have slightly less room and privacy. Being replaced by A350’s.

This is the cultural experience, I enjoyed on board. The cabin steward and I hit it off straight away. He contributed to making it a great flight. Cannot say that about any economy flights I have had as the cabin crew have too many to look after. Not their fault.

On boarding an initial glass of Duval-Leroy Brut Champagne, which I drank slowly and had to skull for departure. Followed by a second in the air as my order was taken. This is what I had for lunch. Beef slices with oyster Mushroom with a glass of 2016 Chateau Ladignac, Medoc. Followed by steamed Halibut with champagne sauce, mash and a Ratatouille of vegies and a glass of Reisling vom Schiefer from the Mosel. A salted caramel tartlet followed by a double serving of a selection of Germany’s best cheeses and two glasses of Graham’s 10 years old Tawny Port. France, Germany, Portugal, and others at 13,000 meters. Who would have thought that a business class ticket could broaden one’s cultural experience.

Set my seat to lay flat, and then, according to my wife, sleep for a close to 5 hours.

Awoke to smoked duck breast and a Kolsch beer, selected by my cabin steward. As good as any one stared Michelin.

I would argue that this is a cultural experience. Others may view it as decadence. But not my clients and family. They are happy that I have looked after them and helped make their businesses successful and achieve the goals they set. They celebrate my travels as much as I do with them. A few really close ones have proffered that they would be disappointed if I did not get enjoyment from helping them to succeed. After all they are the ones who paid for it. One should be able to enjoy the fruits of one’s work. (About 2,000 years ago, a fine young man said words to this effect).

Steves probably has to be mindful of how the public and his customers view his actions. Demonstrably evident by the comments made here. While positive, there is lurking somewhere those who would like to adversely affect his business. Or just plain jealous of his work ethic. He has helped a lot of people gain life experience they probably otherwise would not have gotten.

He obviously enjoys the knowledge he gains and passes on by his travel methods and enjoys finer cultural experiences in other ways. Highly unlikely the Gulf State and other long-haul airlines in my region are going to go classless and disappoint the decadent. Perhaps, Rick will be disappointed on this occasion.

Freedom to travel anyway he wants. As I also have.

Regards Ron

Posted by
1808 posts

I just read the recent Business Insider piece on Rick Steves. Interesting piece with many positive things to say of him. ***The only flying economy and his wishing that all planes had one seat class caught my eye.*

Unfortunately, if Rick actually meant this, that airline would fail. It costs X amount of money to get from A to B and that flight has to generate enough money to cover those expenses with a profit margin. X divided by the number of seats equals the price of the ticket. There goes cheap seats!!! Prices would be just below Business Class but way above Economy Plus.

I believe Midwest Express tried this domestically many years ago and couldn't stay in business.

Someone mentioned winning the lottery. Big lottery...no doubt, private jet!!!

Posted by
18793 posts

Threadwear, the modern system with all its faults, makes it possible for more (including me) to fly than ever before. I would think more traveling is what RS would want? Those Business Class and Premium Economy seats I am certain are subsidizing a large part of my ticket. And those guys are loving it. Works all around.

Posted by
275 posts

Assertion: Those flying in business class are subsidizing those flying in coach. Further assertion: that without business class seats, economy seats prices would be significantly higher .

The argument given is that seat pricing is based on a cost basis. Hence, revenue from business class seats times number of business class passengers plus revenue from economy class seats times number economy class passengers create total revenue that is highly correlated to total expense.

This is likely untrue.

There is a market (and market set price for business class seats) and another independent market for economy seats. Both set their prices based on market pressures. Likewise suggesting less than truckload cargo subsidizes truckload cargo or expedited cargo subsidizes slower cargo is equally fallacious. Does the penthouse suite subsidize the normal room at a Hilton? Does the Haven on Norwegian subsidize the regular cabins on a cruise ship? Does wasabi beef subsidize a Big Mac? No, no and no.

They may all have different cost basis. But their prices are set my free markets.

Just look at the all economy seats for Southwest Airlines (with no business class seats) and see that it competes well in terms of prices with carriers with business class seats.

A business class/ lie flat seat takes up more space, requires more labor and has a different cost basis than an economy seat. In a 787, business class is typically in a 1-2-1 configuration. In economy, 3-3-3. What is the cost per square inch? What is the cost of food and labor per passenger? I dunno. But the pricing of each product is set by market forces.

Cheers! Now does anybody know where I parked my car? It was around here somewhere....

Posted by
18793 posts

I was trusting this to be accurate: https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/041315/how-much-revenue-airline-industry-comes-business-travelers-compared-leisure-travelers.asp

So we could go to one seat class, Premium Economy (or even "not quite" premium economy), throughout the entire plane and my seat would cost no more than my current basic economy ticket? Im on board for that. Where do I sign the petition?

Posted by
275 posts

I have the petition for you to sign but unfortunately I left them in my other trousers which have since been mislaid.

Assertion: I lose a lot of things.

Fact check: True.

Posted by
1808 posts

The argument given is that seat pricing is based on a cost basis.

No, that isn't for seat pricing. That is for profit making. I agree seat pricing is market driven, but unless you want to go out of business, your revenues better exceed your expenses overall in the long run.

The article Mr. E posted stated the airlines make only 60% of their revenue directly from passengers and the rest from other sources like selling frequent flier miles to CC companies and other travel partners.

Deregulation helped lower prices for the consumer, but it brought about a slew of fees. Fees for seats, food, luggage, etc.
If they could, airlines would charge for restroom use, oxygen masks and floatation devices. Domestically, sometimes it is cheaper to ship your contents of your luggage by UPS in advance than to check a bag.

I predict one of these days, all airlines will charge for a carry on bag. As the airlines keep getting hit with inflation of the cost of fuel and labor, etc., prices have to go up or more creative fees will develop. Maybe a WIFI fee is coming next?

"Oh, you wanted ice in that drink? We take Visa, AMEX and Mastercard." "Eating utensils for your meal? We take Visa, AMEX and Mastercard". LOL

Posted by
275 posts

So what you're saying is that the coach passengers are subsidizing business class seats 'cause they have to pay those extra fees for baggage and booze and what not while the business class passengers are mooching off the hoi polloi... interesting!

Posted by
18793 posts

Threadbare you are correct. But it works for poofolk cause we ain't got no luggage and fill up an old quart Dr Pepper bottle from the mop sink in the back of the restaurant nearest my gate. Trip On!

Posted by
1808 posts

David,

Nobody is subsidizing anybody, business class vs economy or vice versa. Airlines have expenses, they need income to meet those expenses and in order to compete in fare wars they have to find non-passenger income (non-airfare) like the article says is 40%. If an airline could find other non passenger income they can lower their fares even further.

Imagine if Apple owned an airline and the used their Apple technology profits to support Apple Airlines. They could lower fares so low they would dominate the industry. Obviously the government wouldn't allow that, but that's how a business can sell their products and services for less. E.g. WalMart.

Their total business model makes them the king of retail because they squeeze every expense possible to lower prices and still have decent net profit. Another business model is price clubs like Costco. Membership fees take care of the majority of a store expenses and this leaves room for Costco to sell product at a lower gross profit. Price clubs have the best business model in the retail world.

Airlines are not a good investment, that's why Gordon tried to sell off Blue Star Airline's assets, but Buddy teamed up with Sir Larry and stopped him. LOL

Posted by
275 posts

What I want to know is that if the earth is really round, then how'se come nobody can really prove it, eh?

Good day sir and happy travels.

Posted by
15694 posts

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways, once said: "If you want to make a million dollars in the airline industry, start with ten million dollars."

Airlines are in business to make money. They want to find as many profit centers as possible. Usually it was passengers and cargo. Then it reaized it could have different classes on the plane and charge different prices. First it came up with first class, then business class. There was a group of people willing to pay more for comfort and extra service. They were and still are charged disproportionally more than what they get compared to economy. The airline makes more profit per seat.

If the airline could fill each flight with upper class customers and a specific amount of cargo, it would pay for the flight. Everything else was basically profit. (Not 100% as extra people is extra weight which mean more fuel needed. And the like.)

And then airlines like Ryanair started. They offered dirt cheap fares but you paid extra for everthing else. The profit is made on the "everything else."

Other airlines saw this and started adopting the model. So, if you are on a legacy carrier paying the "basic economy" fare, you're paying a low fare but you will pay more for "everything else."

In case you are interested, in the US alone, airlines made an additional $5 billion from the everything else. Don't expect it to disappear anytime soon. People want cheap fares. They see the other fees as "separate" from their cheap fares.

Not the travel savvy people here of course.

Posted by
18793 posts

Unless someone is sure that if all the seats were the same, and every seat came refundable and every seat came with checked bag AND it would cost no more than what I am paying now, and there would be just as many flights to choose; in which case, sign me up!!!

But we know that ain't true.

And FrankII you are correct. They operate on less than a 3% margin. So, there is no price gouging or over charging or nickle and diming going on. Its just business survival. If they dont do it, and if they go out of business, then what are we going to do?

Posted by
1808 posts

FrankII and Mr. E.

Exactly, couldn't agree more.

An airline is a business and smarter people than us are working daily in those finance departments trying to come up with increasing capacity and increasing revenue in any which way they can. That is why 40% of their revenue does not come from the passengers directly. If they could get it to 50%, they could be more fare competitive.

Maybe on board bingo and the airline takes a 15% cut of the pot. Couple bucks a game? I'm in. Sure would pass the time away during that long flight over international waters.

Posted by
18793 posts

Q: What is my house worth?
A: What someone is willing to pay for it.

Nothing more exotic than that.

If they could fill the plane with $6,000 a pop Business Class folks, they would. Because those 24 guys and gals are 75% of the profit (in tickets and credit card fees and program fees and fees and fees). But they cant and they still need to fill the plane to pay for the gas, so they fill it with another 175 near breakeven chumps like me including our ticket and our paid checked bag (25% of the profit) so they can get the profit off the Business Class folk. You dont have to call that subsidizing my ticket. There are probably more financially savy terms for it.

Now I am looking for my car ....

Posted by
275 posts

Mr E, I think you got yourself a math error when you failed to carry the 4 and divide by square root of irony.

The cost to create an egg in the US by an egg farmer is around a nickel.

The retail cost an egg is the US about 25 cents.

The cost of an egg served at Lasarte (Michelin star restaurant in Barcelona) as part of a dish is about 25 dollars.

Hmm. Why the different prices?

It costs around 30,000 dollars (fully laden) an hour to fly a 787. At maximum capacity, that is about 75 bucks an hour per passenger. Call it 8 hours to fly New York to Paris so, what’s that, about 400 bucks.

I DEMAND FREE LUGGAGE AND A BLANKET AND A PILLOW AND A MAYBE A SANDWICH AND A BEER!

You know that Ricks Steves fellow was on to something when said everybody should fly economy. We could save a boatload of money and spend it on stuff like , oh, I dunno, saving the planet from the likes of me.

Posted by
275 posts

Profits explained by the underpants gnomes:

Phase I: Steal underpants.

Phase II: ??

Phrase III: Profits.

Have a great day!

Posted by
1808 posts

The 787-10 holds 330 passengers. If your $30,000 per hour is correct it takes 7 hours of flight or $210,000. This is $636.00 per passenger, but don't forget those baggage handlers in NYC and Paris and gate personnel and all the other "stuff" like royalties of movies, and all the entertainment and insurance (that has to be huge) plus that scrumptious food and drink. Multiply that by all flights and airports!!!

Again, airfare and baggage fees can't keep an airline in business especially if it is not a full plane.

Now, what about this egg and underpants? Are we talking about the tragedy of Humpty Dumpty and that great fall?

Posted by
15694 posts

I'm sorry, but I'm just shaking my head is disbelief. You're actually trying to figure out what it costs the airline for each ticket.

Unless you know lots of factors.....general overhead of the airline factored in and broken down to each flight, cost of fuel, airport fees, insurance, among others, you have no idea what it costs.

And you also left out a revenue source....... Almost every flight has cargo in addition to its passengers and their luggage. It could be everything from food to manufactured products to the mail.

By the way, I did some checking. That $30,000/hr to operate a 787 is offbase. That's the average cost to charter one. The best figure I could find for operating is around $11,000/Hr on average. But then, there are a lot o other factors involved.

Posted by
292 posts

Posted by Mr É (economy, confused)

Q: What is my house worth?

A: What someone is willing to pay for it.

Nothing more exotic than that.

Exactly.

Supply and Demand.

Posted by
275 posts

Frank, you are confusing me with someone who is making a serious argument rather than someone who is seriously having a good time.

P.S. Some of the info I got is from a retired pilot / sailing buddy of mine who not only makes a mean rum and coke but also claims to know something about the industry's economics. What do I know? Not much. I only ventured into this thread because I wanted to correct the notion that business class seat pricing subsidizes coach seat pricing. Also because, yeah, I am a bit of a stinker too. Sorry about that.

Have a good day sir!

Posted by
18793 posts

because I wanted to correct the notion that business class seat
pricing subsidizes coach seat pricing

But I am not convinced you did.

The one explination of where the profits come that i found [one does not mske a fact, but havent yet found anything contrary] supports the notion although it can be expressed other ways: the cheap seats exist to enable the airlines to profit from the Businesd Class. Or. If all the seats were the same on a plane, all the seats would cost more than the current cheap seats.

Posted by
275 posts

Mr E, let us not loiter in the arena of hot events. You missed my most salient point and that was of course is that I am a bit of a stinker,

Have a good day sir.

Posted by
1808 posts

I looked at American Airlines SEC Annual Report. Their net profit before taxes is 2.3%, under 3% as Mr. E mentioned. Nobody is subsidizing anyone on any aircraft because the entire airline operation calculates by Revenue Per Mile of their entire business. They know how many miles an aircraft has to travel on a particular trip and what the cost is per mile.

A fully loaded jet from JFK to CDG with high airfares in all sections subsidizes that flight from Chicago to Buffalo that is half full.

Does high fares subsidize low fares, yes theoretically. Business Class subsidizes Premium Economy, Premium Economy subsidizes Economy, a $1,200 airfare subsidizes the guy next to you who paid $950.00 etc., etc.

Back to the Rick Steves comment. Yes it would be nice to have the same exact plane, same exact seats, same exact amenities on every airline and travel like on a bus all for about the same price. Why stop there? Why not allow only one type of luggage for carryon and checked baggage. The airlines could sell their own specific baggage that would stack perfectly in the luggage hold and in overhead compartments. I think Rick likes certain socialistic efforts, but the world fortunately isn't a socialistic world.

How about all RSE tours cost the same price per day no matter where they go. A 10 day tour would only cost 3 days more than a 7 day tour.

I digressed a little, but it was fun.

Posted by
292 posts

Posted by Threadwear

Why stop there? Why not allow only one type of luggage for carryon and
checked baggage. The airlines could sell their own specific baggage
that would stack perfectly in the luggage hold and in overhead
compartments.

But what would happen to the Packing Forum folks???

No more searching for the perfect Mary Poppins bag that will hold your entire closet and only weigh 5-lbs when full.

No more sharing your latest, greatest find with the Forum.

And, and, and . . . .

;)

Does make you wonder though, why aren't the luggage manufacturers and plane manufacturers and airlines not collaborating on this?

$$$, I know.

Posted by
18793 posts

Does make you wonder though, why aren't the luggage manufacturers and
plane manufacturers and airlines not collaborating on this?

They are, but the people in Business Class dont want us to know ....................... YET!

Posted by
292 posts

Posted by Mr É (economy, confused)

They are, but the people in Business Class dont want us to know
....................... YET!

Spoiler alert!

Posted by
1855 posts

I’ve been checking in to follow the discussion about the economics of airline flights. I’m enjoying it. But perhaps if this is to continue then maybe it’s best to start a new separate thread? And to allow this one to get back to Rick’s flying style.

Posted by
18793 posts

We are discussing Ricks flying style. Or at least his stated desire for everyone's flying style (all passengers enjoy an equal experience ... presumably a better experience than Basic Economy but maybe he thinks we should all be in the same 30" pitch seat? Hmmmmm. I might have assumed too much. Okay Rick flies economy, but is it premium economy?

That video was fun to watch. Thank you. But do keep in mind that in the 1950's the cheapest ticket was 8 times more expensive (when adjusted for inflation) and the flight could take 11 to 14 hours from NYC to London (about 7 now), and I suspect there were a lot fewer flight choices. https://transportgeography.org/?page_id=2331 I suppose air travel could be as enjoyable as shown in that video if we reverted to 1950 costs.

Posted by
147 posts

Economy class does have much smaller carbon footprint.
Flying first class emits four times more carbon emissions than economy seating.