The resurgence of business class

Media Releases 29 May 2017

Ticket sales have moved eight per cent from economy class into the premium economy and business class categories of air travel, according to figures released today from FCM Travel Solutions New Zealand.

These figures, from the Spotlight on Business Travel Trends 2017 report, show New Zealand businesses are choosing to move further to the front of the plane as airlines entice corporates back.

The introduction of premium economy was a game changer and this category’s popularity is growing steadily with eight per cent of all tickets booked in 2016. This is a leap from just 0.2 per cent in 2005.

Andy Jack, general manager FCM Travel Solutions New Zealand, said the report demonstrates that Kiwi executives are seeing the benefits to their business when travelling in these categories.

“With more choice than ever before, it’s not surprising that more businesses are choosing a higher category for their travellers.

“Travelling in premium economy or business class not only benefits the traveller, through a range of productivity gains, but it’s also a far more financially viable option for businesses now.

“Thanks to increased competition, prices have come back considerable, bridging the gap between these classes. Many businesses are able to justify the small increase in cost due to the productivity gains,” Mr Jack said.             

Mr Jack went onto say that while businesses are utilising technology more, the need for business travel is continuing to rise.

“As businesses expand, the need for business travel grows, especially as businesses expand internationally. People are having to travel further to meet the demands of their business.

“Travelling by premium economy or business class is clearly more comfortable, but also offer the traveller the opportunity to ‘hit-the-ground-running’. Access to priority lanes, premium check ins and business class lounges ensures the time away from the office can be used productively.”

Mr Jack also noted the new self-upgrade trend in travel policies, which gives the traveller the option to pay for an upgrade themselves, giving them access to their company’s corporate rate.