After the epic inaugural SIA A350, Singapore to New York non-stop flight Airlineratings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas discussed the future of long-haul travel with CNN’s Richard Quest.
Mr. Thomas was invited into the CNN studios in New York in the Time Warner Building for the Quest Means Business one-hour show which aired at 3 pm local on Friday, October 12.
Mr. Quest is recognized as the world’s leading business-aviation commentator.
Previously Mr. Thomas flew with Mr. Quest on the record-breaking Hong Kong to London – the wrong way – nonstop conducted by Boeing in 2005.
And Mr. Quest and Mr. Thomas were also on the first Qantas nonstop from Perth, Australia to London.
The two videos below show the entire segment.
In the interview, Mr. Thomas said that he believes that one of the future battlegrounds for ultra long-haul travel is going to be premium economy.
“The reality is there is not much more that can be done for the business or premium traveler. They are offered a bed, magnificent food and wine, and all the connectivity that current technology can provide,” said Mr. Thomas.
But there is a lot more room for improvement for the premium economy passenger said, Mr. Thomas.
“For some airlines, this class is just an afterthought and many don’t offer it. The reason? They are concerned that it will erode their business class traffic,” said Mr. Thomas.
“Ïn fact overwhelmingly premium economy is being filled by economy passengers sick of the big squeeze going on down the back.”
Mr. Thomas said that more and more passengers are looking for a value proposition when flying.
“Who really wants to fly in economy class? We all want to fly business or first but can’t justify the cost. Premium economy is the answer.”
And the airline that perfects that class the fastest will reap the rewards predicts Mr. Thomas.
“Right now Air New Zealand is possibly the leader in that space, said Mr Thomas.