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Airlines court business travelers with new perks

By Greg Goodsell
March 17th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

After a devastating 2009, where air flights lost as much as $9.4 billion globally, airlines are seeking to recoup lost dollars by offering luxurious amenities for frequent fliers and business travelers.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) Many airlines have decided that the business traveler is far more likely to fly than those who use planes for vacations or special occasions. Bob Harrell, an airline consultant, tells USA Today that domestic refundable fare paid by a business traveler is five times the lowest price paid by a flier who bought a non-refundable ticket in advance.

To this end, airlines will be courting business travelers with such features as bed-like seats and gourmet dining. Comfort is key in making sure business fliers arrive at their meetings in top form, travelers and industry experts say.

Delta Airlines says they will be investing $1 billion through 2013 to enhance services and amenities. Delta will be installing flat-bed seats for BusinessElite passengers on 90 airplanes. In addition, Continental Airlines is putting in seats that recline 180 degrees in BusinessFirst cabins.

In another trend, regional carriers, known for shorter flights will be making longer trips, and will be offering first-class service. Passengers will soon be able to receive premium service on flights from Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth to such cities as Atlanta, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Washington.

Airlines had planned to offer these new amenities  before the recession. Business travelers will be able to take advantage of them now. Analysts see an uptick in airline travel.

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