Friday, October 17, 2014

Sneetch class

James Kwak has a sharp and funny post on the economics and branding of first-class air travel.
Ultimately, what Suites Class is selling, along with every other “luxury” first-class cabin in the air, is a feeling of distinction. Air travel is a miserable experience for everyone involved, mitigated only by the immense convenience of being able to show up in another part of the world in a matter of hours. The glamour of high-end air travel, as with any other luxury good, is a function of exclusivity. Now that, thanks to Southwest Airlines, most people can afford to get on a plane, there have to be ways to pay more and more to get on the same plane. To get people to pay more, you have to give them something: an emotion, a brand, a story, something. And that’s why we have Suites Class.

1 comment:

  1. I hate the way air travel is always labeled "miserable". It isn't. You go great distances in significantly more comfort than ever. I see the label as sad comparison to sitting a fat ass on a couch as the standard of life. I experience far more discomfort hiking or running in the rain than on a plane and I undertake both known that discomfort is better than fine.

    It's the same disease as complaining about your cell connection to LA when you live in Boston and you didn't have to call "long distance" and pay by the minute or pump change into a call box or worse. Yeah, it's not the same as a great connection but that just shows there's room for improvement.

    I'm making this comment because the rapid pace of technology has shifted expectations from "what will it take to do this?" to "it can't do this or that". Not long ago, it took days to render graphics - and you had to load entire photoshop images into RAM - and now you can render faster on a freaking iPad. Instead of thinking, "wow, that's great", we've grown to expect more and more and more. When we do that, we lose a significant part of life, the part we spend so much time talking about as the most important pieces of our existence: the ability to slow down and appreciate what you have. I can bleeping call my kid in LA any time, any place, not set up a call time and pass the phone around quickly so we don't run up charges.