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Bye Bye United First Class

Have we seen the end of domestic first class on United? A report out today says that their reduced-full-fare unit TED will grow from a reported 45 aircraft (out of about 450) to, get this, 200 (about half of their fleet). Assuming this small newsletter has any idea what they’re talking about, that would be a huge change and a move toward what I’ve alluded to a few times: major carriers will likely move to a mostly coach US configuration, and save first class for international (just as the European carriers are moving toward). I hate to jump on the JetBlue bandwagon and say, “well, this worked for JetBlue, it’ll work for everyone else.” I don’t think that. But I do think that in the new world, short-haul domestic first class is likely unnecessary. TED’s growth, JetBlue, and the tests Delta’s doing between Atlanta and Kansas City & Houston (36″ pitch, no first class), certainly point in this direction.

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