Numerous aviation blogs had a good chuckle at this Dallas Morning News story about Southwest CEO Gary Kelly flying first-class on Delta the other day. He was returning from Atlanta after the launch of Southwest, with its no-frills business model. (Southwest doesn’t fly nonstop from Atlanta to Dallas at the moment).
Southwest, of course, has acquired AirTran and plans to eventually eliminate its business class. It isn’t really what you’d call deluxe – first crack at a pack of cookies and a pre-flight drink – but neither is it very pricey to upgrade. The upgrade fee starting at $49 has made the roomier environs of business class an easily attainable mini-splurge.
But that’s not the Southwest way. Goodbye, roomy. Hello, “open seating.”
Not everyone is excited about this change. The publisher of a travel newsletter predicts business travelers will migrate to Delta.
On the other end of the travel spectrum The New York Times ran a great story mourning the end of first-class airplane cabins replete with starched linens and gourmet chefs. These days, the article lamented, an attendant might hand you a lukewarm “bargain washcloth” masquerading as a hot towel and act like that’s first-class service. Hmmff.
To our great relief, the Times’ story was accompanied by an article that can only be described as travel porn, detailing amenities (mostly on international flights) ranging from fresh orchids to on-board showers and double beds. Well now, that’s more like it. If you can spring for many thousands of dollars for an airline seat. Or suite.
What do you think? Is the price of a first or business class seat worth it? Would you like to see business seats retained on AirTran planes? Or is the cheapest seat always the best seat?
- Jennifer Brett/The Buzzfirstname.lastname@example.org