British Airways scrapping first class on new planes

It’s official, we’re in trouble.

British Airways has decided to remove first-class seating on four of its new flights, The Guardian newspaper has reported. The carrier is also considering removing the service from other flights.

The move comes after a fall in demand for first-class seating, brought on by the economic downturn, which apparently is even affecting people who will pay three to ten times more for a ticket just so they get to wear special British Airways pajamas and dine on lobster. Another problem is increased competition from business class, which offers many of the same amenities such as early boarding and seats that convert into miniature beds. In these hard economic times, even millionaires are willing to go without jammies and lobster if they at least get premium seating and don’t have to go to the bathroom with the middling classes.

British Airways needs to find ways to cut costs. Demand for both first and business class has fallen sharply, and it has just reported a 401 million pound ($638 million) loss even though it is still adding routes. A new direct flight from Heathrow to Las Vegas will not have first class seating.

Existing flights will keep their first-class seating at the moment because company officials state that the cost of tearing out the section and replacing it with business class or coach seating would be too expensive. This could have a good effect on the more proletarian passengers–because with more empty seats in the posh section, there would be a greater chance of getting upgraded. The potential bonanza may not last long, however, because BA might follow the lead of other carriers like KLM and Delta and scrap first class on transatlantic routes altogether.