Even as most flights are packed these days, some planes still take off with plenty of vacant seats, including in First and Business Class, effectively losing the airlines hundreds of thousands of dollars. Offering lower last-minute fares on undersold flights seems a logical solution, and carriers do it sometimes, but those attempts are utterly insufficient.
Let’s look at a recent international flight — most U.S. airlines give away free upgrades on domestic routes to fill their premium cabins. I picked a United Airlines flight on a route with traditionally heavy demand in Business Class: San Francisco to Sydney. As the above image shows, on June 19, that Boeing 747 left with 18 empty seats in Business Class, including on the upper deck…
- Nicholas Kralev is an author and expert on diplomacy, world affairs and global travel. He hosts the weekly program "Conversations with Nicholas Kralev." A former Financial Times and Washington Times correspondent, he has traveled around the world with four U.S. secretaries of state — Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright. He has flown over 2 million miles and visited 84 countries.
Subscribe to updates
- How money in domestic politics affects U.S. diplomacy
- Once expelled, gay diplomat thrives in Foreign Service
- U.S. expects Syrian stockpile destroyed ahead of schedule
- Politics’ role in U.S.-Canada diplomacy
- From the peanut fields of Alabama to the Foreign Service
- Can diplomacy be taught?
- Asia still ‘distant third’ in U.S. priorities, ex-Obama official says
- U.S. calls on China to lift flight limits
- The royal family’s role in British diplomacy
- Behind the scenes of running an embassy