Friday, October 21, 2011
Airlines -- please let us book Premium Economy from flight aggregators!
Dear airlines: please settle on some standard naming for seat classes. It'd make it a whole lot easier to compare and purchase tickets online.
United has Economy Plus. Delta has recently unveiled Economy Comfort (does this suggest that the other seats in that cabin are Economy Discomfort, or is that just my take? :p). Virgin America calls their slightly-nicer economy seating Main Cabin Select. Many international airlines refer to their upgraded economy section as Premium Economy.
Maybe the airlines perceive this disparate naming, this differentiation, to be a positive thing for their branding. But I think this is awful for consumers.
Right now, if you, dear flyer, want to book a ticket online, you can use a myriad of fine online services to select from Economy, Business, or First Class tickets. But note there's no option for selecting the tier in between Economy and Business! :(
I'm guessing this is because the airlines could raise a fuss if the booking sites lumped this all under "Premium Economy." Perhaps there are also logistical challenges, too; I'm not sure if the fare data shared by the airlines includes straightforward info on premium economy fares, since -- for example -- Economy Plus seating isn't sold directly, but is instead an add-on or premier-flyer upgrade of sorts.
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But dangit, I'd like to be able to easily compare across airlines and book a more comfortable flight, and I sure as heck can't justify paying business class fares! Airlines would likely get more money from me and others if they let me compare and book premium economy fares on flight aggregator sites. Now... how can we convince them to do so?