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Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - INBOX FORUM - BUSI­NESSTRAV­ELLER.COM/FO­RUM


POST OK, I’ll be the first to ad­mit it… I’m guilty! Af­ter seeing the Sau­dia busi­ness class lounge in JED I had a sofa se­lected for my nine-hour tran­sit on the re­turn jour­ney and all I needed was a pil­low (I al­ways carry my own light blan­ket)… where could I find one of them? Upon land­ing in JED I shoved my J-class pil­low in my bag and off I went. I read an in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­cle about theft from air­craft, pri­mar­ily of bed­ding prod­ucts. Air­lines are up­ping the ante in the amenity de­part­ment with more lux­u­ri­ous du­vets, pil­lows, etc. As a re­sult more and more are walk­ing off the air­craft.

Some­one dis­em­bark­ing at a home base with a lit­tle kiddy wrapped in an econ­omy blan­ket is one thing. Walk­ing off gung ho with a busi­ness class pil­low tucked un­der your arm is an­other, es­pe­cially if the air­craft is down route – pil­lows aren’t changed over away from base, only the cov­ers are changed. So if some­one walks off with one, that’s one pas­sen­ger who will not have one on the re­turn if the flight is full. I know “col­lecta­bles” aren’t lim­ited to bed­ding – there’s crock­ery, cut­lery, etc. Vir­gin At­lantic cheek­ily printed “pinched from Vir­gin At­lantic” on the bot­tom of their salt and pep­per grinders, as they’d be­come so de­sir­able. I’ve even seen peo­ple take rolls of toi­let pa­per from the bath­rooms and shove them in their cabin bag­gage.


I will ad­mit to there be­ing five Crab­tree & Eve­lyn Con­corde eau de toi­lette bot­tles tak­ing pride of place in my bath­room cab­i­net (not all from the same trip!).


Years ago BA used to have cash­mere throws in F, and I think my wife may have for­got­ten to re­move them from around her shoul­ders on dis­em­bark­ing on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions. They are made of acrylic now (en­hance­ment?) or some such equiv­a­lent, and she has be­come a re­formed char­ac­ter, al­ways leav­ing them on board.


Great ques­tion! I have a stash of metal cut­lery from most air­lines I’ve flown (tea­spoons are my favourite). I’ve never taken a pil­low or blan­ket purely due to lack of space in my carry-on, but of­ten been tempted. When I was young I did col­lect safety cards – which may have been rather self­ish in hind­sight. I do have a nice linen head­rest with the Aegean logo on it on my bedroom arm­chair. I also have a lovely MEA branded cof­fee mug. Pre­vi­ously, when I trav­elled far less fre­quently, such col­lecta­bles had more mean­ing to me. Nowa­days, the less carry-on/off lug­gage the bet­ter.


Yes, I like to have a sou­venir tea­spoon from each new air­line like an­other re­spon­dent. I have also when un­der­tak­ing a long car trip re­quir­ing a snooze en route taken a pil­low and blan­ket. I also have a nice Vir­gin mug and of course an S&P set (as they do in­vite this par­tic­u­lar one as an­other re­spon­dent said!). And the BA busi­ness creams on oc­ca­sion. I also use the BA/ Vir­gin py­ja­mas all the time!


POST So af­ter years of spec­u­la­tion it sounds like this is go­ing to hap­pen. In a pod­cast Q&A with Tim Clarke re­gard­ing pre­mium econ­omy, he ex­plic­itly states that they will be in­stalling pre­mium econ­omy on the new A380s ar­riv­ing in 2020 and the en­tire con­cept has al­ready been “specced”. I won­der if we will see other ME air­lines fol­low suit?


Of course we will – even though QR con­tin­ues to claim its econ­omy class is as good as its ri­vals’ pre­mium econ­omy. In EK’s case in­tro­duc­ing pre­mium econ­omy had to hap­pen at some stage. More and more of its non-Gulf ri­vals have in­tro­duced pre­mium econ­omy in re­cent years and as you know EK is not about fly­ing peo­ple to and from Dubai alone.


No pre­mium econ­omy gives great things to trav­ellers over econ­omy, only mi­nor tweaks that we pre­vi­ously had in a de­cent or­di­nary econ­omy… but, it gives the air­lines vast ex­tra profit per seat for a neg­li­gi­ble in­vest­ment… at least long haul in busi­ness seats you ac­tu­ally get some­thing worth­while.


As a fre­quent user of pre­mium econ­omy on Air Canada, BA/Open­skies and Nor­we­gian, I com­pletely dis­agree. I've never had 38″ (or 43″) pitch in econ­omy. To have 23 per cent ex­tra seat pitch is ex­cel­lent and whilst not ex­actly like an older cra­dle seat, not that far off, ei­ther. In fact, Open Skies 757 Prem Plus seats are old BA cra­dle seats, fit­ted with 38″ pitch. So pre­mium eco is not that far away from busi­ness class in 2000, in terms of seat­ing, though a long way away in F&B terms.

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