Frequent flier miles are no longer the magic key for getting upgraded into a Business or First Class seat.
Airlines are dropping domestic upper class fares to entice shoppers, because why give away the seats for free when you can actually make money?
We all know customer service and loyalty mean diddly squat to airlines these days, and soon those points you worked so hard and long to accumulate will be soon obsolete.
“Airlines are recognizing that if they are going to have these seats, they should be using them for something other than upgrading frequent fliers,” Bob Harrell, a consultant who tracks fares, told the Wall Street Journal.
An analysis of 200 million tickets sold from 2012 to the end of April of this year found the gap between the price of coach and the price of first class steadily narrowed during the time frame.
In April, the average domestic first-class fare was $577 more expensive than the average coach fare. In April 2012, first-class tickets were an average $805 more than coach.
Over the three year period, the number of first-class fares sold rose 48 percent.
If you’re have top-tier elite status with an airline, the kind where you’re flying internationally on business class several times per year, per month even, you may be graced with a free upgrade every now and again. If you don’t, be prepared to pay to sit in the front of the plane.
United Airlines said it sold 50 percent more domestic first-class flights in its third quarter last year compared with its third quarter in 2013. Revenue from domestic first class was also up 20 percent. The big bosses use this data to infer that customers are more willing to pay for first-class seats. But, it probably has more to do with shrinking coach seats than an overall propensity to spend more.
Airlines are also offering significant discounts on long-haul international flights for seats that cost normally cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, The Wall Street Journal reported. Travel agents and consolidators often have a first look of the lowest Business and First Class fares.