I came across this article from the Associated Press..take a moment to read it and then tell me if I’m wrong.

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I read this article and at first glance I see it as an attempt to bring the whole class war-fare argument to air travel. Am I missing something here? Seems like the author went out of his way to describe life in front of the plane as being that of comfort and opulence (USair Mahi Mahi right? maybe not the best example….) and then basically “by the way” refers to coach (while hinting at sitting in the middle seat) as getting better but the divide between elite travel classes like first and business growing at a faster rate than in the past. I’ve been hearing this “growing divide” argument more and more in society especially from the disgruntled young masses “occupying” everything these days. So now that argument comes to the airline cabin?

I’m not sure what argument he’s trying to prove. He states elite class passengers pay substantially higher fares compared to coach flyers. So shouldn’t a passenger paying more for a better seat have a better experience? And I know he refers to improvements in amenities for flying in first or business due to an improvement in the health of the airline industry but the article seemed to try to make me feel guilty that the coach flyer is suffering in steerage. Even his title “No pillows in coach, but it’s sundae time up front” seems to cry “sour grapes”. Maybe it just me.

I have always thought and defended the position that flying is not a right but a privilege to those willing to pay the premiums to get virtually anywhere in the world in a matter of hours. But reading this article, it seems like strong hints were made that there’s a growing “class” inbalance on board and that it’s the elite class flyer’s fault for demanding the premium treatment at the expense of not having enough resources left to improve life in coach.

I think the author understands that premium class brings premium fares, but does he realize that these elite class flyers are among the few reasons that airlines can turn a profit on a flight? From all the numbers that I’ve seen in the past, a full coach cabin on a 737 can still yield an operating loss on a flight unless there are premium fare passengers aboard.

In my travels, I’m usually fortunate to fly in at least business class, and I know that my fares have grown proportionately faster than that of coach fares. To me it seems that the premium fares may be moving up faster than coach on a percentage basis. When I look at coach fares today, they’re not that much different than 2-3 years ago. However business and first class fares are noticeably higher.

Maybe its just me, maybe I’m just sensitive to all of this “crying foul” and “poor me, I’m a victim” mindset that seems to be infecting parts of our society. I’d like to hear what you have to say. What side of the fence (or curtain) are you on? Do I get it? Am I just feeling guilty? Or is my head in the clouds?

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