No Sympathy For Passengers With First Class Envy

Martin Romjue
Posted on November 29, 2016

Does the sight of these British Airways first class seats make you seethe? Well, buy a ticket! (Creative Commons photo from Gary Bembridge via Creative Commons license here)

Does the sight of these British Airways first class seats make you seethe? Well, buy a ticket! (Creative Commons photo from Gary Bembridge via Creative Commons license here)

I've seen plenty of media reports during the last few months about a study showing air rage incidents in economy/coach class are 3.8 times more likely on airliners with first or business class cabins. CNN report here

Missing from these breathless recitals of a National Academy of Sciences study is the fact first and business class passengers PAY more for the comfortable seating, either through higher fares or air miles earned. But the study naively asserts a breakthrough insight on human inequality. It compares such class-based air rage to road rage, which upon surface level thought, doesn't make sense.

Road range stems from independent drivers of vehicles clashing over invasions of roughly equal traffic or lane space. The air rage is purely irrational. Any passenger with even a minimal perception level should comprehend first or business class passengers have their seats because of a) differences in airfares or b) timing of reservations. Should a business class passenger be resented because he paid $75 more at the check-in kiosk for an upgrade than another coach class passenger declining said offer?

This air rage study could apply to the limousine industry: Do customers waiting in airport cab lines resent arriving passengers being ushered immediately into chauffeured luxury vehicles? Ever see a cab passenger shake a fist at one riding in a Lincoln MKT? I've never heard of or seen any ground transportation rage, but if a scattershot researcher alleged the same variables as for air rage, the conclusion would likewise deserve to be dismissed as ridiculous.

If the National Academy of Sciences and its gullible media flock want to portray inequality, they should look at the equality of opportunity, not result: Is anyone being denied the right to reserve a first class seat on a first-come, first-serve basis? Are first class passengers arbitrarily upgraded for free? If the answers are no, then this entire question, research, and analysis are pointless and prove nothing.

And if a traveler headed to coach class feels angry upon passing passengers in first class, then I have a gentle suggestion for the irate loser: Go Greyhound, where you can choose among seats that are all equal.

Related Topics: airlines, business travel, client markets, customer service, first class, research and trends

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