all business (class)
November 12, 2005 7:08 PM   Subscribe

After the first time I flew on an upgraded ticket, I wondered why some airline didn't just make slightly more expensive tickets on a plane filled with fewer, roomier seats for those that crave comfort (basically, all business class). Well, it looks like someone has at Eos Airlines. The seating arrangements look fantastic, going from roomy seat area to flat bed to double table with two seats (for a coworker), with privacy and aisle access for all. Unfortunately "slightly more expensive" is pretty high at $5k for NYC to London, though that's cheaper than major airlines. Business Week has the full story on this new venture.
posted by mathowie (47 comments total)
posted by TwelveTwo at 7:16 PM on November 12, 2005

I like PepsiB...


Hi Matt!

Second link is broken, BTW. Looks like Eos has Another Quality Unlinkable Website (it'd make you think they're a US Goverment operation, if it wasn't for the fact they seem to be interested in your comfort and they're debt free).
posted by nmiell at 7:20 PM on November 12, 2005

$5000 seems pretty steep to me, new york to london.
posted by brandz at 7:21 PM on November 12, 2005

Second link worked for me (running Firefox on OS X). Five thousand is very, very steep - a quick Orbitz search shows NY to London at less than $500, leaving Monday and returning a week later.

And yet....that's some damn comfy-looking flying. As someone who goes a little crazy cramped up in a airplane, if I could afford that I'd be sorely tempted. Then again, I can also buy NyQuil for five bucks and drug myself for the whole flight.

What I'm hoping for is that this starts a trend, offering air travel that doesn't resemble sardines packed away. Maybe a bit of real competition will help.
posted by kalimac at 7:27 PM on November 12, 2005

I fixed the link. Yeah, I love the seat design and think they're doing something innovative, but I'd much rather see a 200 seat plane become a 100 seat plane instead of the ultra-luxury layout they're going for. I can fly to london for $500-1,000, so I'd say I could see paying $1500 to fly, tops. I know it's like a $8-9k trip in business class, but 5k is still way high.

I kind of wish there was an upscale jetblue that wasn't out of most people's price range. Something like: charge double, but have half as many seats with twice as much room. It can't be that hard to do can it?
posted by mathowie at 7:28 PM on November 12, 2005

$5000 seems pretty steep to me, new york to london.

My former employer (a well-known investment banking firm) automatically paid for business-class seats on any trans-Atlantic flight, even for schlubs like me. For many businesses, planning ahead isn't really an option.

As long as the rate is below business class on other airlines or close enough that a expense account traveler would gladly pay the difference for the extra perks the price shouldn't be an issue.

posted by Opposite George at 7:29 PM on November 12, 2005

nmiell, get out of my head!
posted by notsnot at 7:34 PM on November 12, 2005

Looks like the same seats BA has in first class on transatlantic flights...
posted by sexymofo at 7:40 PM on November 12, 2005

$5000 seems pretty steep to me, new york to london

Worked for Concorde — for awhile, anyway.
posted by Rothko at 7:49 PM on November 12, 2005

They fly into Stansted.
posted by carter at 7:51 PM on November 12, 2005

In other words you're screwed for making a connection through Heathrow or Gatwick. Also, the Stansted 'Express' is anything but ...
posted by carter at 7:52 PM on November 12, 2005

expense account traveler would gladly pay the difference

what about the common folk?
posted by brandz at 7:53 PM on November 12, 2005

Unrivaled comfort?


Where are the scantily slave girls/guys with ostrich feather fans?

Where is my personal kicking boy?

Where are the tasty human souls for snacking?

posted by Samizdata at 7:56 PM on November 12, 2005

im too poor to care about this.
posted by j-urb at 7:57 PM on November 12, 2005

It's not just about the expense account traveler. It's about the travel who isn't average height. At 6'4" any coach seat is just too small and the upgrade to first class is too expensive - especially for trans-atlantic flights.

I see it more as a health/comfort issue than a "class" or "wealth" issue.
posted by vannsant at 8:08 PM on November 12, 2005


They aren't pricing their seats for "the common folk." As long as there are enough business travelers they don't care.

Many business travel departments will book an employee on the cheapest available seats in a given class, conforming to some arrival/departure time and airport profile within some tolerance. Mr. Business Traveler doesn't get to pick the airline (in theory.) Once business travel departments get wind of this and barring any major reliability issues, they'll have plenty of customers.

Of course there will be individuals who'll pay up for better accomodations, but my point is there are probably enough business travelers that it won't matter.
posted by Opposite George at 8:10 PM on November 12, 2005

Of course there will be individuals who'll pay up for better accomodations, but my point is there are probably enough business travelers that it won't matter.

I should have said, "Eos is probably banking on it not mattering." Only time will tell if they can pull it off.
posted by Opposite George at 8:14 PM on November 12, 2005

i agree with j-urb then. i'm just too poor to care about this or the business class. as a matter of fact, fuck the business class.
posted by brandz at 8:41 PM on November 12, 2005

Oh please....if you can't handle a 5-hour flight from NYC to London, then you shouldn't be flying. These prices seem a bit steep to me.

This kind of service only makes sense to me for red-eyes and long-ass flights like L.A. to Sydney.
posted by camworld at 8:46 PM on November 12, 2005

brandz, well to be fair if there weren't a biz class there probably wouldn't be steerage either.

I flew biz R/T Tokyo < -> SFO once and econ Tokyo < -> LAX mebbe 10 times, not much diff, really. Not a $4000 diff at least; shit, that's like 10 nites in a nice hotel.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:50 PM on November 12, 2005

yeah, i just did 2 weeks in italy for less than $4000.

somehow, it seems to me we ALL pay for business class, one way or another.
posted by brandz at 9:44 PM on November 12, 2005

You pay $5000 for a ticket from anywhere to anywhere, I've got to jerk that knee and opine that you're either an idiot or an "I'm a very important businessman!" asshole or possibly both.

Fuck the business class, indeed! (...and Sony and Bertelsmann and Symantec. I think that's it, for today)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:46 PM on November 12, 2005

I can't wait until I can travel on someone else's dime! Of course given that I work in software development (as opposed to the business side of things) I guess I might as well sit here and wait until monkeys come flying out of my butt.
posted by clevershark at 9:52 PM on November 12, 2005

Air New Zealand is adding these types of seats to their long-haul flights, which makes sense for those 14 hour flights to San Francisco.
posted by X-00 at 10:33 PM on November 12, 2005

My first biz class seat was London-Johanesburg, on Virgin. Very nice! The flight is 10 hours, so the extra cost is worth while (when the company pays). These seats look nice when flying alone, but I liked Virgin's better for flying with my partner. Company policy provides business class for such long flights.

I dread the very idea of flying that same flight in economy class (what we call "with the chickens", after the old movies with chickens on the trains). This keeps me from making use of my annual free (economy) flight back to Europe.

I don't really care about the better food in biz class, but I do like the leg room (6'2") and general lack of a cramped environment. Also it is nice to be generally treated better with the more expensive ticket. And Virgin is nice with their departure and arrival lounges and meals.
posted by Goofyy at 11:57 PM on November 12, 2005

How about a ticket where you endure a few hours of "discomfort" and grant the other $3000 to a scholarship fund? Or would that just be encouraging the competition?
posted by tcy at 12:47 AM on November 13, 2005

Interesting. A friend of mine just launched an airline doing pretty much the same thing -- MAXJet -- except it's a lot cheaper. Weird that two airlines would start up basically at the same time running the same route (JFK-Stansted).

The entire process of starting up an airline is just mindboggling.
posted by fet at 3:45 AM on November 13, 2005

Indeed: the joys of affluence ? Hey Matt, why don't you get back on your recumbent instead of touting the joys of affluence ?

More people per plane = faster route towards Global Warming driven climate instability from which - as always - the poor suffer the most.

So - indirectly - cushy business class seats = developing world climate disasters.
posted by troutfishing at 3:50 AM on November 13, 2005

The point with Business and First class isn't the comfort during the flight, but how you feel the next day.

If you're flying London to San Francisco, and then have to be up for a full days work the following morning - when jetlag will have had you awake at 4am anyway - then lie-flat seats and on-demand meals make a lot of sense for your company to pay for. I've flown longhaul economy many many times, and it wipes me out. Longhaul business leaves you perky and ready to go. Fresher air and better seats make a big difference if you need to be fully functional the next day.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 3:50 AM on November 13, 2005

Pfft. I'd rather drop that wad of cash at my destination. Just give me some opiates, and pack me in like a sardine. $5k can buy an awful lot of valium....
posted by crunchland at 3:50 AM on November 13, 2005

"Weird that two airlines would start up basically at the same time running the same route" - no, not weird at all. It's driven by an absurdly skewed US GINI, and the trend is also worldwide though the US is on the cutting edge.
posted by troutfishing at 3:51 AM on November 13, 2005

Unless you're referring to something else, what does income inequality have to do with flying to London?
posted by fet at 4:01 AM on November 13, 2005

clevershark - I'm in software development, too and I flew business class from NYC to Bangalore. That 24 hour trip (with stopovers in London and Mumbai) would have been seriously unbearable in economy. Thankfully my Indian-born CTO recognized this and upgraded me with his miles. I was able to arrive in the wee hours, and be at the office and productive by noon.
posted by bashos_frog at 4:27 AM on November 13, 2005

Midwest Express has had the fewer, larger seats thing for at least a decade. plus, they bake chocolate chip cookies onboard. Unfortunitly, they don't fly to a lot of places
posted by Davidicus at 6:30 AM on November 13, 2005

Slightly more expensive as in ball-crushingly expensive.
posted by Joeforking at 6:36 AM on November 13, 2005

fet - quite simply, dramatic growth in income inequality ( worse in the US than in most places and common in many nations worldwide though probably not in all ) has swelled the pool of customers wiling to pay for swank airline accomodations.

That's not a profound observation - it's standard business school fare.
posted by troutfishing at 6:50 AM on November 13, 2005

I could take at least 6 vacations to Europe for that price, including rt air, hotel and spending money (and the padding on those seats looks very thin). Business class currently for NY/London is running far less than that also (and Stanstead sucks--way too far from London and the other airports--it's only good to connect to cheapo budget airlines to go elsewhere).
posted by amberglow at 7:01 AM on November 13, 2005

IN other news, "Rentaslave, Ltd." provides diligent, economical developing world servant labor, via special arrangement with the US INS, for those discriminating few who crave well pressed shirts, breakfast in bed, tidy bathrooms, and well tended gardens.

Servants are carefully screened for docility, proper hygeine, and knowledge of English. They also are tagged with an electronic tracking device which notifies local police should they leave their employer's premises without permission. A remote controlled electronic shocking device, to enhance servant diligence, is available for an extra charge.

Back to fancy airlines.........
posted by troutfishing at 7:03 AM on November 13, 2005

Is this [luxury airline] something that I need [an assload of money] to know about?
posted by Jon-o at 7:35 AM on November 13, 2005

Fuck the business class, indeed!

first and business class pays for everyone else to fly. bascially, you've got five percent of the seats paying ten times the normal ticket price.
posted by 3.2.3 at 8:38 AM on November 13, 2005

EOS and MaxJet aren't really comparable. I actually think EOS has better prospects.

EOS is an all-first-class product, priced at the level of full-fare business class seats on the big carriers. It's going after the big market of clients who routinely buy business class seats (executives, investment bank employees, and rich leisure travelers) and want a better class of service, and the very small market of people who regulary buy first class seats and who are sensitive to bargains.

MaxJet is an all-business-class product, priced around a full-fare economy seat. The problem with MaxJet is that the full-fare economy customer is actually a tiny market -- basically those whose travel is so urgent and scheduling so unlucky that they have to pay the walk-up fare, and whose companies are so penny-pinching that they won't pay even for business class.

The vast majority of business travelers whose companies make them fly economy have enough advance notice and flexibility to get a much cheaper ticket, and their companies won't give them the spread required to buy a MaxJet seat, and non-rich leisure travelers can't afford walk-up tickets under any circumstances. And even when you're talking about the full-fare business traveler, most penny-pinching companies aren't from or doing business in New York -- the need for onward U.S. connections will throttle MaxJet, when EOS can do find just shuttling people back and forth from the New York metro market.
posted by MattD at 8:45 AM on November 13, 2005

Am I the only person who likes flying?

NY to London is actually 7 hours. It can be a bit wearing (I always go red-eye on the way east), but it's nicer than Ney York to Toronto because that flight is too short to enjoy the flying sensation. The next time you have a flight, just imagine you are nine years old again. Only it's harder to get the flight attendants to let you into the cockpit when you are 28.

But even if you don't like flying, you can just tell yourself, at least it's more comfortable than American Geryhound. (Though not more comfortable than Canadian Greyhound, which stops and lets you walk around every few hours).

I was wondering though about economy bunks in planes or buses - would it be possible/economical to make seats that became flat bunks for red-eyes - maybe three tier bunks or something? I just don't sleep well upright - I get neck cramps. I really should buy one of those shaped cushions.
posted by jb at 10:06 AM PST on November 13 [!]
posted by jb at 10:08 AM on November 13, 2005

I like the idea.

I guarantee that the haters in this thread have never held a job with 30%+ travel for years upon years.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:12 PM on November 13, 2005

I like the fold-out beds -- it'll make the Mile High Club initiations much less cramped.
posted by LordSludge at 2:05 PM on November 13, 2005

Wait, wait, wait. You're doing this full-time now and perusing websites for luxury air travel? Man, I should've started a website a long time ago.
posted by graventy at 2:17 PM on November 13, 2005

As I sit in a $500 cargo-class Delta seat from Cincinnati - London for nine hours this Thursday, I'll have plenty of time to think, "Curse you, mathowie, for showing me how the other half lives! I crumble my in-flight snack wrappings in your general direction!"
posted by tizzie at 2:38 PM on November 13, 2005

Am I the only person who likes flying?

Yes. Are you short?

too short to enjoy the flying sensation

You mean the sensation of being cooped up in a tin can with too little oxygen, all of it recycling the digusting viruses your co-flyers have contracted from little Timmy and the rest of his kindergarden? The sensation of your skin drying moment by moment, impervious to all lotion-like ministrations? Or is it the sensation of the pain building up behind your patella? The rage that develops when the person in front of you refuses to put the damn seat up, even though she is only five-two? The claustrophobia that descends when you consider just how many people are pressed in all around you, ready to run roughshod over your hands and skull in the event of an unfortunate landing?

vannsant: It's not just about the expense account traveler. . . . I see it more as a health/comfort issue than a "class" or "wealth" issue.

Only someone with the money to afford it would say that. Why do you think other tall people fly coach? Because they are masochists who don't care for their health?
posted by dame at 3:45 PM on November 13, 2005

« Older In 1975, over 4 million people attended the...   |   Plants and peoples of Britain and South Asia Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments