Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

First-Class Business Airlines' Pitch to High-End Customers Varies

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

First-Class Business Airlines' Pitch to High-End Customers Varies

Article excerpt

THINK OF AIRLINE seats as prime real estate, where the more the space and the classier the neighborhood, the more the cost.

But the extra money, up to $1,000 round trip, can be worth it to those who use airborne hours for relaxation, sleep or work and consider added space, personal video screen and fine food and wine essential to a successful trip.

For years, airlines provided two classes of service: first and economy. About 10 years ago, business-class service was introduced as an intermediate category, offering more space and service for a non-discountable price set between first class and full-price economy fares. Now, business class has replaced first class on many international flights operated by Aer Lingus, AeroMexico, Air Canada, Continental, Finnair, KLM, SAS and TWA. These redesigned classes are carriers' attempts to corner a bigger share of the market on longer domestic and international flights. SAS EuroClass seats are 21 inches wide with a 32-inch pitch - the distance between your seat back and the seat back in front of you - and an 11-inch recline. But for an additional $500 each way, you can get a sleeper seat that fully reclines and has 52 inches between seat backs. The added fee is for any U.S.-to-Scandinavia flight. Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class has seats 18.5 inches wide that recline 12 inches. The fare of $4,538 weekdays, $4,738 weekends, from New York's JFK to London, includes limousine transfers to and from airports at both ends. British Airways has begun upgrading its First Class to 21-inch seats that open flat into a 6.5-foot bed with down-filled comforter in a private cubicle with an entertainment system and dining table. All for $6,734 round-trip between New York's JFK and London. American Airlines' First Class (Premium) service from JFK to London is also $6,734 round trip, but individual space varies with the aircraft. …

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