If you're a super-wealthy traveler, flying just keeps getting more luxurious. For everyone else, you might soon find yourself with no option but to fly in the new super-budget "Squatting Class" where even the free snacks have been taken away.
Airline consumers accustomed to three seat classes on airplanes – Economy Class, Middle or Business Class, and First Class – are now faced with a shrinking, or even completely absent, Middle Class. While some airlines are clinging to the past paradigm, others are embracing a future where the seating classes are more unequal and ideologically divided than at any other time in aviation history.
"The 5 percent of fliers with the highest incomes now account for 40 percent of airline profits," said airline industry spokesperson Linda Forester. "For many airlines it only makes economic sense to respond to demand and modernize their seat and in-flight snack offerings to match the economic landscape."
But critics complain that some airlines are taking things too far by creating the new "Ludicrous Luxury Class" with lavish amenities that only a small percentage of the super-wealthy can afford, and forcing almost everyone else into the new Squatting Class at the back of the plane. In Ludicrous Luxury Class, passengers are treated to super-comfortable seating, more snacks and drinks than they could possibly consume in a single flight, pedicures and adorable hypoallergenic baby animals. Squatting class passengers get no seat, little to hold onto, no overhead bin space and the option to purchase a small packet of snack mix.