Aviation has always had a premium aspect with the offerings of first class and business class travel. But, the industry is changing and it has differentiated itself by going “cheap” (like Southwest) or “premium” (like EOS or personal aviation).
Recently, Eclipse Aviation announced it had delivered its first Eclipse 500, the world’s first very light jet.
EOS Airlines has established itself as the premier airliner for luxury travel between New York and London. The EOS difference, according to the website, is “With only 48 guests on a plane built for 220, everything changes.” EOS provides a fully flat bed, boasts of plenty of leg space, trumpets its efficient check-in procedures, and offers a “gourmet” dining experience. Fares vary according to date/time of flight, but a business contact of mine recently travelled on EOS and paid approximately $5000 for the roundtrip ticket.
Silverjet was recently covered in BusinessWeek as entering the business class market. As BusinessWeek notes, Silverjet is “betting on design and service to stand apart from a crowded field” while using “premium seating”. Silverjet is hoping to tap into a quasi-price conscience group of premium fliers by offering prices lower than EOS.
It will be interesting to see where the demand is in all of this posturing in premium air travel. In my opinion, the more luxurious an airline makes its service, the easier it can create a difference between itself and its competitors while reaching profitability faster through premium ticket prices.