Wednesday 17 January 2018

Ah, the good old upgrade days

THE Punt is an old romantic when it comes to aviation. Brought up in a family of airline enthusiasts, we revelled in watching big exotic jets arrive in Dublin Airport, and were thrilled when we flew into London Heathrow and glimpsed the sleek lines of Concorde parked up on the ramp below.

Concorde, of course, was an all first-class service, and it was built for the elite. It's fair to say that many, many people dreamed of flying supersonic over the Atlantic while quaffing champagne, but were never able to afford it.

Willie Walsh, below, is clearly not a romantic when it comes to airlines. Instead, he is a cold-eyed businessman, as he should be.

That business acumen that has taken him from Aer Lingus to the top job at IAG, parent of British Airways, must have played a role in the layout of BA's spanking new A380 Superjumbos.

The double-deckers will have room for 469 passengers, but only 14 of them will be flying first class.

Instead, the wealthier traveller will have to make do with business class (53 seats) or premier economy (55 seats).

That sort of "pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap" layout means BA will be able to charge a relatively puny £621 (€725) return to Los Angeles and £688 to fly to Hong Kong and back.

The Punt admires Walsh, but can't help but hanker for the time we were randomly upgraded to first-class from economy on a transatlantic flight many years ago.

Such unforeseen delights are almost certainly a thing of the past, which is a shame.

Irish Independent

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