DUBAI: Business class passengers will be able to choose which elements of premium travel they pay for post-pandemic as the industry adapts to changing customer demand said Emirates President Sir Tim Clark.
“In the past we never had the tools to be able do that, to create an 'a la carte' menu for business class travel, which allows you to pick and chose and the various price points that go with it,” Clark told aviation consultant John Strickland in an interview for Dubai’s Arabian Travel Market trade show.
“I think that’s a very smart thing to do. We’ve seen how it works with low cost but perhaps that’s been a little bit more controversial. The value proposition in doing that is really quite staggering if you get it right. And we are not alone in doing that . In the end automation allows us to do all of that even in the economy cabin as well.”
Gulf carriers including Emirates have been stung by the collapse of air travel in general and especially the decline in the premium cabin segment where they have been able to generate huge profits in the past. The top deck of its workhorse double decker Airbus A380 has been devoted entirely to premium travel with it’s famous onboard bar a big draw for business class passengers.
Now carriers are rapidly re-thinking how business class travel is likely to contribute to future earnings, with the leisure segment expected to lead the industry out of its current trough.
However Clark insisted that air travel would eventually emerge from the restrictions it now faces and the flying experience would revert to pre-pandemic times.
“It will all go away,” he said. “So the notion that you have our crew clad like ‘Darth Vader with PPE masks and visors inhibiting what we are really good doing — that will go. You’ve got to believe that.”