According to some frequent fliers the quality of first class has been on the decline for years now. If the frills are going away from the premium seating its largely because they’ve taken all that they can from the regular seating. Have you seen how some airlines charge you for EVERYTHING? Even the drinks on the flight will cost you.
First class isn’t what it used to be, at least according to frequent airline passengers like Bonnie Friedman. She’s been flying in the front of the plane for years and has witnessed the slow and sad decline of premium service.
“It was never fabulous,” says Friedman, a communication consultant who lives in Maui. “But in the last three or four years, it has most definitely lost what little luster it had. The planes are cheaply made, the seats are smaller, the bathrooms almost too small to get into – and I’m a small person.”
In first class. Yes, first class.
Friedman, like a lot of other air travelers, has noticed a marked decline in premium service. Seats have shrunk. Leg rests vanished. The food is barely edible, and the service is unacceptable.
And let’s be clear about what we mean by first class: We’re talking about domestic flights and generally excluding the competitive transcontinental flights, where airlines still make a half-hearted attempt to put the “first” into first class.
If you’re thinking, “What do I care if first class is in a tailspin? I only fly in economy class,” then think again.
First class is the best an airline can do, and economy class is arguably the worst. But the two move in tandem, so as first class falls off a cliff, the good people in the back of the plane suffer, too, as airlines reduce seat size and slash service. We’re all in this together.
The decline of first class raises two important questions: First, why the cuts? And second, what can you do about it?