A look back at business travel in 1999
The early days of the internet and the dot-com bubble, plus rich and poor in San Francisco
OUR JULY 1999 ISSUE had a focus on the US, with features on Philadelphia, Detroit and San Francisco, advice on hiring a car in the US, news about Amtrak’s new East Coast trains, and recommendations for eating out in Atlanta, spending four hours in New York City and playing golf in Monterey, California. As the then-editor pointed out, the switching of capacity from poorly performing Asian airline routes to transatlantic had led to real price competition and affordable accommodation on arrival.
As the main news piece detailed, competition between British Airways and Virgin Atlantic was extending into bed length, with near fully-flat seats being introduced. The move to airline seats that become beds raised concerns from the commercial director of BTI UK Hogg Robinson, Mike Platt, who feared it would only lead to an increase in costs “because the most valuable commodity on a plane is space”. Would business class become “irrationally luxurious”? The answer turned out to be yes, but luckily (or unluckily) our expectations matched whatever the airlines could provide.
Would business class become “irrationally luxurious”?