As time marches on, every industry on the face of the earth finds itself in a struggle to keep up with the ever changing environment. The airfare industry is no exception, and while flight remains a fairly exclusive and unrivaled form of transportation, that doesn’t mean that consumers don’t expect more from their airline experience these days.
With the emergence of fast evolving technology in the last decade or so, the real competition is between all of the various airlines in an effort not to look outdated when compared their passengers. This means everything from the inclusion to extensive onboard technology to more services provided is being used in an attempt to convince customers that they made the right choice.
Business and first class flying has especially seen a lot of change in the past few years. Much has been made in the media of the new “ultra luxury first class” flight experiences that are now offered by at least half of the airlines. With everything from individual cabins to on flight bars and lounges becoming commonplace, it is easy to see how it seems like the future lies in luxury. It is important to note however, that the price points of these first class experiences are out of the price range of most people.
So in order to improve the flight experience for as many people as possible the business class of flying, which has traditionally been seen as more elite than economy class but not as fancy as actual first class flying, has been upgraded to resemble the old version of first class. The innovation here is basically the proliferation of widespread luxury in the airfare industry.
The next big step in the airline industry mirrors what is happening in the real world. Almost everyone has access to some sort of an advanced electronic device, usually in the form of a smart phone. Therefore, people expect a little more in the technology department on their airplanes than what has traditionally been provided. One of the ways that airlines are combating this now is by providing electronic tablets like iPads to their customers. Since iPads have a whole host of uses, this has been a smart move on the part of the airlines. It has allowed them to replace a number of old devices like the televisions and the phones with a single, more convenient device. it cuts costs and delivers what the customers want.
The last big change has less to do with the customers as it does with the planes themselves. The whole world of transportation is in a weird transition phase, with companies attempting to make the jump to greener technology without negatively impacting their bottom lines. This is true with airplanes as well. Solar powered flight is still mostly a quaint notion at the moment, but it is being tried. If it is successful, it will be the next logical step for airlines, as it eliminates the expensive consumption of fuel and it makes the customers feel good about traveling in a way that is good for the planet.
The world is changing rapidly, and more and more people are flying to make it in our globalized world. This and emerging technology has forced airlines to adapt with the times, and so far they are doing a very good job.
Daniel Palmier is a leading Boston CEO, Real Estate Investment Manager, and Founder of UC Funds.