Turkish Airlines to Cut Comfort Class: What Is the Future of Premium Economy?
According to various reports, Turkish Airlines has announced that it will remove the Comfort Class cabin from its its fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
The reasons for the failure of the implementation of the Turkish Airlines version of premium economy class include:
Apparent low demand
Too many seats available — 63 seats, to be exact
Lack of consistency, as reported by FlyerTalk members
A lack of awareness
Inability to launch a similar version of Comfort Class on narrow-body aircraft
As first noted by FlyerTalk member starflyergold back on October 23, 2012, a decision to remove Comfort Class from aircraft operated by Turkish Airlines is contrary to industry trends where other airlines are looking to add premium economy cabins to their fleets of airplanes.
I have not experienced being a passenger of Turkish Airlines in the Comfort Class cabin, but Seth Miller of The Wandering Aramean weblog has — and he believes that “from a personal perspective it is a shame; I think they priced their Comfort Class at the right point to be a great value for the customer. Then again, that’s probably why it failed as a product.” Disappointed FlyerTalk members generally agree and also provide suggestions on what Turkish Airlines could do in terms of Comfort Class for the future.
Airlines such as Delta Air Lines — which first introduced its version of premium economy class on international flights greater than two years ago — seem to be performing well. Other airlines — such as Cathay Pacific later that year — jumped on the bandwagon of offering an international premium class cabin on their aircraft…
…but — in light of the decision from Turkish Airlines to no longer offer Comfort Class on its aircraft — is the future of the premium economy class concept in jeopardy?
Despite the latest news of American Airlines a few days ago with the apparent trend by some airlines to attempt to cram and jam as many seats as they possibly can onto their aircraft, I do not believe so — at least, for now. Premium economy class is an opportunity for those who cannot afford a premium class experience to at least enjoy a taste of the amenities at an airfare that will not bankrupt anyone — such as extra leg room, for example. It fills in some of the gap between economy class and business class by offering what some might call a more tolerable economy class experience.
More importantly, however, is that as long as offering a premium economy option is financially feasible for an airline, it will continue to offer it.
Although Turkish Airlines purportedly intends to improve their business class and economy class offerings, it may not be a bad idea to revisit how to experience first class on an economy class budget. Many of the suggestions posted almost seven years ago can still apply today — and I am sure you can think of additional ways to mitigate what some perceive as the misery of the economy class cabin and attempt to be more comfortable…
…or you can just splurge for a seat in either the business class or first class cabin with your frequent flier loyalty program miles or cash and eschew the economy class experience altogether if there is no premium economy class product being offered.
What do you think? Does the demise of Comfort Class by Turkish Airlines portend a cloudy future for the premium economy class concept — or is it simply an anomaly? Do you enjoy the concept of premium economy class? Do you believe that premium economy is today what the introduction of business class was years ago?