Mar 27, 2007
First Class on the Airbus A380
I've flown to the other side of the globe a few times, and it really sux. My last trip from home to Jakarta was 40 hours, door-to-door. That's 40 hours of crappy air, crappy sleep, never-ending noise, bad food, no shower, and did I mention the crampedness? I can hardly imagine what it would be like if I were tall (or wide). I continue to be amazed by the stamina of travelers older, larger, or less fit than myself. Ugh.
Just to ballpark what kind of price one might pay for a long trip in an Airbus A380, I did a price comparison for First Class, Business Class, and Economy class tickets on a Singapore Airlines flight from JFK to SIN (Changi in Singapore). Result? $11k, $6.5k, and $1k. Wow. That's $10,000 to be (relatively) relaxed for much of a two-day journey.
There is a certain logic to spending money for better travel -- at least if it's for business. The quality guru W. Edwards Deming wrote about a young woman whose company sent her to visit with him for a day to learn more about TQM. Deming noted that the company flew her out economy class on red-eye, and that she arrived at his interview virtually exhausted. "What kind of learning is she going to do in that condition?" Deming asked. In another 1990s-era article about the luxury of a private business jet, one CEO said to another who was considering purchase, "who the hell's time is worth $1,000 an hour?!" (the per-seat cost of running a private jet.) The other CEO countered, "I'll pay you $1,000 an hour for the next year in exchange for all the profits you generate for your business." The first CEO got the point. But I still doubt that he bought a jet.
In any case, before you decide that First Class will never be for you, click for my favorite current TV commercial from State Farm.
Plus, the more planes we put in the air per person-mile traveled, the more we contribute to global dimming. Global dimming offsets global warming, right? So I'll snuggle up to Al Gore in my lounge-a-bed on our next transatlantic--
I think it's possible to divide the space of any 'mass transit' compartment into sitting, standing and napping space for all passengers, while decreasing or keeping constant the volume required for transport. No need to upgrade. On an oversold train last summer, there were no seats left so I lay down across the (hardside) luggage in the luggage bin and was more comfortable than I would have been, seated. Had there been seats available, I wouldn't have tried it. Necessity is a mother.
Posted by: Dave | Mar 27, 2007 12:17:40 PM
See here for more on contrails:
Re: sit/stand/nap, I recently had my first experience with railway sleeper cars. For sure, there's the space for sitting, standing, and sleeping (if not always at the same time).
The Japanese have their in-town napping rooms with tightly stacked bunks.
Regarding the infamous drawings of Africans on 18th & 19th-century slave ships: I recently read that mortality rates among sailors were comparable to those of slaves. Not that I'd want either role, but I was surprised by the count on that measure. (FYI: I've poked through a variety of web-sources to verify this. The short version is that it's hard data to pin down, but consider this source:
Posted by: Phil | Mar 27, 2007 7:22:06 PM
As a New Yorker, let me warmly assure you that you can get from JFK to sin in under an hour if the traffic's right, and it'll run you about fifty bucks plus tolls and tip.
Posted by: Barry Campbell | Mar 29, 2007 4:31:05 PM
I miss my free business class upgrades.
Posted by: Timmy | Mar 29, 2007 10:47:55 PM