Those flat-bed seats for international business-class fliers? Now that most airlines offer them, they are not so special anymore.
Instead, in the newest iteration of the battle for deep-pocketed fliers, the airlines are introducing an ever-growing assortment of in-flight amenities to go with those seats.
Delta Air Lines, in the latest move, plans to announce today that a partnership with Westin Hotels and Resorts will give business-class passengers on international and transcontinental flights “Westin Heavenly In-Flight Bedding," starting this summer.
That follows the introduction in the last two years of upgrades in business-class services by airlines like American Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific and Qantas, featuring everything from improved mood lighting and in-flight entertainment to designer amenity kits and the option to preorder meals by email.
Carriers are willing to invest in the services, said Henry Harteveldt, an analyst for Hudson Crossing, a travel industry consultancy, because “profits from long-haul, international premium cabins can be five times greater, or more, than what is earned in economy, and several times greater than what is earned on domestic or regional flights."
“Since the end of the last financial recession in 2010, we’ve seen the beginning of reinvestment by airlines in their products," he added.
Delta’s Westin bedding is part of a new, broader strategy to cater to passengers’ need for a good night’s sleep, company executives said. They pointed to customer research, which has shown that this is the No. 1 priority for all passengers, regardless of their class of service.