To catch-up, airlines are attempting to entice wealthy customers by providing them with luxuries such as unlimited caviar and private rooms.
Emirates, a Dubai-based airline, intends to spend more than $2 billion enhancing the experience it provides to passengers while they are in flight. This includes redesigned cabin interiors as well as new meals, each of which comes with an unlimited supply of caviar.
Is Emirates modernizing?
The world’s largest long-distance airline, Emirates, has issued a statement elaborating on its plans to modernize the cabins of more than 120 aircraft, provide passengers with new meal options, including vegan options, and serve movie theater snacks like popcorn.
Passengers traveling in first class can now receive free unlimited servings of Persian caviar and vintage Dom Perignon champagne at no additional cost.
Despite having a yearly deficit of $1.1 billion as of the 31st of March, Emirates has made the decision to invest heavily in the development of new infrastructure.
While competitors in the industry are reducing their spending, the president of Emirates, Tim Clark, has stated that the company will continue to invest in order to provide “ever greater experiences for our passengers.”
How other airlines are dealing with situations that are comparable
“Revenge tourism” refers to the trend of individuals taking vacations to make up for vacation time that they “lost” during the epidemic. Emirates is not the only airline that is going all out to capitalize on this trend.
This year, Finnair debuted its brand new premium economy cabins, which feature seats that are approximately fifty percent more spacious than those found in the airline’s economy cabins.
Additionally, new long-haul business seats with sliding partitions were introduced by Air France in the month of May. These seats are intended for passengers who value some degree of privacy.
Emirates has told CNBC that there has been “a lot of interest” in these premium upgrades, despite the fact that it does not yet have final statistics on the matter.
Is that going to be enough?
These adjustments were made as a result of a study conducted by the sector, which concluded that corporate travel expenditures are not expected to return to their levels prior to the pandemic until 2026, which is two years later than was initially predicted.
Despite the fact that expenditure on business travel has been on the rise, the annual report of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) estimates that by 2021, it will only have reached $800 billion. This is significantly less than the nearly $1.4 trillion that was generated by business travel in 2019.
Demand for first-class tickets
One travel analytics company noticed an increase in demand for first-class tickets.
“Because of the epidemic, there was a dramatic decrease in the number of people who traveled by airplane. On the other hand, the proportion of passengers booking seats in first- or business-class on flights rose dramatically.” Olivier Ponti of ForwardKeys reportedly revealed this information in an email that he sent to CNBC.
Prior to the pandemic, Ponti reported a ratio of 13:87 between first-class and economy seats; however, by the year 2022, that ratio had increased to 17:83.
Will the upward trend sustain?
Even though there is no guarantee that the trend toward premium seats will be sustained when air traffic improves, it is easy to see why airlines would want to put effort into retaining premium customers, who on average have paid 575 percent more for a ticket than those flying economy this year.
But some people are doubtful.
According to Edward Russell, editor at the news site Skift for the travel industry, it is difficult to predict how a “minor” product modification will affect sales. This statement was cited by CNBC.
“The vast majority of passengers will either continue to fly with their preferred airline or alliance, or they will select the option that offers the lowest fare. There are not many people who will choose an airplane because it has a sliding door or because it serves free caviar.”