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Your June es­sen­tials: Will Mil­lard on tribal travel; reach­ing new heights in the Azores; the ben­e­fits of beignets; top foodie es­capes and much more... Econ­omy is no longer a bog-stan­dard class – air­lines are now split­ting this cat­e­gory into sev­eral op­tion

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Contents -

Who do the new air­line cabin classes re­ally ben­e­fit?

‘Surely any­thing that in­creases air­line pas­sen­ger choice is a good thing’

1 Econ­omy class is be­ing rewrit­ten

Econ­omy class. Its very name is the def­i­ni­tion of thrift and pru­dence. Af­ter all, what could be cheaper than that? Well, first came the oxy­moron of ‘pre­mium econ­omy’, then we col­lec­tively shud­dered at the idea of ‘ba­sic econ­omy’. Now air­lines are of­fer­ing sev­eral new de­grees of bud­get ticket, but is it too far?

Vir­gin At­lantic is one of a num­ber of car­ri­ers ex­pand­ing their of­fer­ings in 2018, launch­ing three new econ­omy classes: ‘light’, ‘clas­sic’ and ‘de­light’, each of­fer­ing vary­ing lev­els of con­ve­nience and ser­vice. So why are they do­ing it?

“Cus­tomers are look­ing for more per­son­al­i­sa­tion and flex­i­bil­ity,” says Shai Weiss of Vir­gin At­lantic. “By of­fer­ing three ways to fly econ­omy, we’re al­low­ing them to choose a prod­uct that fits their plans without los­ing out on their fly­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.” And they’re not the only ones.

United Air­lines and Ibe­ria have joined the list of car­ri­ers launch­ing pre­mium econ­omy classes in 2018. On face value, it cer­tainly seems like a trend that ben­e­fits con­sumers.

“In my view, surely any­thing that in­creases pas­sen­ger choice is a good thing,” says travel ex­pert Si­mon Calder. “Bri­tish Air­ways is launch­ing new long-haul hand bag­gage-only fares, and if I can save £100 lug­ging all my stuff on board and tak­ing ad­van­tage of the 46kg cabin al­lowance, I’m all in favour of it.”

How­ever, not ev­ery­one is con­vinced. With all that choice, it can some­times be hard to know ex­actly what you’re get­ting when book­ing, and some scep­tics have claimed that ‘new pre­mium’ is noth­ing more than a throw­back to what ‘econ­omy stan­dard’ was like in the good old days.

“I have mixed feel­ings,” says Emily Mc­nutt of travel ad­vice web­site the­p­oints­guy.com. “While it’s good that air­lines are of­fer­ing pas­sen­gers a more cus­tomis­able travel ex­pe­ri­ence, it could also get con­fus­ing, es­pe­cially if you’ve been used to get­ting cer­tain perks with your air­line for years.”

But with so many dif­fer­ent op­tions, there are un­doubt­edly more classes to suit most trav­ellers – and these are only likely to grow fur­ther. If you do your re­search be­fore you book, you can nail down the ex­tras that are im­por­tant to you for your ideal flight. That sounds like just the ticket to us.

Class clowns? The large num­ber of econ­omy op­tions may leave you bet­ter off, only so long as you do your re­search

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