Companies Cutting Down on Booking Business Class

It was that distant voice talking to Kevin Costner’s character in the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams that said “If you build it, they will come” It worked well for him. The same can’t necessarily be said about the airlines attempt to revamp their business class cabins. Airlines worldwide are reporting below than normal bookings in their business class cabins. Sales for business class seats fell short for airlines like Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines in December. Both airlines are known for having the best business class in the industry. Qantas was even offering discounts on their business class options.


Experts are reporting that many companies who would normally book seats in business class for their employees are cutting back and opting to book in economy for short flights and economy plus on longer flights. The time seems to be coming when large companies need to curb their travel expenses.


The airlines business and first class options only take up 15% of the airlines capacity but nearly half of airline earnings come from customers who book in business class due to the more expensive price tag.


As the airlines invested millions to upgrade their premium service with new lay flat seating and state of the art entertainment offerings, the demand seems to be dwindling as worldwide economic conditions remain uncertain. Perhaps, the airlines might want to explore the option of creating a premium economy class cabin to act as a middle ground between business and economy. Some airlines have begun offering a premium economy class which features some amenities one might find in business or first class. American, Delta, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific are among those offering new premium economy class seating.


The airlines will need to focus on how to retain their current corporate customers and gain new ones in 2013. Offering premium class discounts on certain destinations could be the next big trend by many carriers to bring them back.