- In response to the coronavirus pandemic, some airlines have stopped offering first class seating options to travelers.
- The move comes as many airlines are starting to opt for smaller planes in response to a drastic reduction in air travel.
- Airlines may not recover from the coronavirus until 2022, some experts say.
The airline industry has been particularly affected by the coronavirus. And for good reason, traveling is probably one of the last things people want to do these days. And while traveling by plane – per se – is much safer than you can imagine, going to a busy airport is not a smart decision in the midst of a global pandemic.
Airlines, for their part, are trying to adapt to air travel at the age of COVID-19. That much, The Points Guy reports that a number of international airlines have recently discontinued offering first class seating options to passengers.
There are several reasons behind this strategy. For starters, with fewer passengers than ever, it is possible for travelers to buy a bus ticket and take advantage of a lot of space. At this point, a friend of mine recently flew from Denver to Boston and said the plane has a maximum capacity of around 20%. In other words, you don’t even really need to get a first class ticket when most flights are pretty empty.
What else, The Points Guy notes that many airlines offering international routes “have moved from double-decker jumbo jets like the 747 and the A380 to smaller, more fuel-efficient planes with less space on board to justify their offer”.
That said, airlines that no longer offer first class seating options include El Al, Etihad, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Qatar Airways.
The first international class has already started to die out in recent years and the sudden drop in demand due to the pandemic certainly does not help. Although there is a good chance that Qantas will never again fly planes with first class cabins, we hope that Etihad, Lufthansa and Singapore only temporarily block the cabins because they do not know which aircraft they will use in the coming months. They are probably trying to avoid selling seats that they cannot deliver.
Regarding the overall financial impact of coronavirus on airlines, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that the industry as a whole could lose up to $ 84 billion in revenue this year. In North America alone, that figure could reach $ 23.1 billion in the end. Unless the development of a new vaccine is imminent, the Newspaper adds that the airline industry may not be able to fully recover from the coronavirus pandemic until 2022.