First class v Economy: America’s divide reflected in the friendly skies

The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is based on data collected by a large international airline over several years and many thousands of flights.

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Image from Southwest Airlines ad campaign

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2016 – A recent study by an unnamed airline shows that the process of walking past champagne sipping 1st class causes those economy passengers blood pressure to rise. And we, those on the wrong side of iron curtain, can’t deny it.

But it is not a misunderstanding that those passengers have either earned or paid for that privilege, its that those in the back are treated like the second class passengers that they are. A bit of an analogy for today’s Indiana political contest and Donald Trump’s call to put America and American’s first – booting politicians to the virtual back of the plane.

This is nothing new. Airlines have long put profits over passengers reducing services while flying, turning an Airbus into a virtual bus trip experience. Today a discount airline fare quickly escalates with the addition of luggage fees, the cost of inflight snack and the option to purchase a seat a little larger, and a little closer to the front of the plane.

One place to find out how other flyers rate their in-air experiences is Airline Quality  where reviews of Africa’s newest bargain airline Kulula show a general satisfaction with the airlines comfort, while recognizing that the service offered is low cost and service light.


Is it because the airline goes out of its way to inform travelers of the cost of putting a plane into the air?  Interesting to this conversation is that 10% of every dollar goes to the staff.

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What the airlines are missing is that, those in the back of the plane are just looking for the same polite treatment – along with enough room to sit comfortably.

Any traveler can empathize with the cattle image on Kulula Airlines planes.
Any traveler can empathize with the cattle image on Kulula Airlines planes.

Southwest caught the wave of calling discount air travel what it is, followed by other discount airlines that provide an equal playing field for comfort, or lack thereof, leveling the flyers expectations in a manner that is consistent, and often humorous.

Southwest Airlines using humor in it's message
Southwest Airlines using humor in it’s message

Deborah Netburn of the Los Angeles Times reports that a new study finds that class division in the skies can have a real and occasionally dangerous effect on passengers in both sections of a plane.

Researchers report that the simple presence of a first-class cabin on an airplane is correlated with a nearly fourfold increase in the chance of an air rage incident in economy class.

If you’ve felt your blood pressure rise after seeing passengers being served champagne on the tarmac while you’re fighting for overhead space in coach, you are not alone. A new study finds that class division in the skies can have a real and occasionally dangerous effect on passengers in both sections of a plane. Researchers report…

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