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

Business Traveller - - CONTENTS -

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”?

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